If you know someone would do something evil in the future, how far would you go to stop him? Would it stretch to murder?
That was the dilemma facing John Smith in Stephen King’s Dead Zone.
Dead Zone is one of Stephen King’s earlier books but I have only recently picked it up. It was published in 1979 but in 1983 it was made into a movie with some pretty decent actors in it such as Christopher Walken, Tom Skerritt, Colleen Dewhurst and Martin Sheen. Incidentally, Martin Sheen played a crooked politician who was destined to be the President of the United States. I wonder if the producers of West Wing were watching this movie when they decided to cast him as the President!!!
Anyway, John Smith is just another average man (well, with a name like that, he can’t help but be average, can he?) with one marked difference. He is a psychic. He can see the future or the past just by touching a person or an object.
The gift was fully awoken when he revived from a five year coma. He was ridiculed and ostracized. Some people say he was a fake, a charlatan. Others wanted to use his gift but most of the people fear his gift, forcing him to hide himself far from other people.
A chance encounter with a politician, Greg Stillson, during a rally changed his life forever. While shaking hands, John Smith received a premonition. The politician will be the President of the United States one day, and he will cause a disaster of global proportions.
What would you do in this case? Tell someone? Who would believe you when you do not have any evidence?
John Smith brooded and pondered. He watched as Stillson’s star shines brighter and brighter. He watched and hoped that someone, somewhere, will notice Stillson’s potential for evil and do something to stop him.
He waited in vain.
There was no one else. There was only him.
Stillson must be stopped before he plunged the world into disaster. Even at the cost of John Smith’s life.
John Smith died, in the end, in a failed assassination attempt. Stillson did not. He survived.
But John Smith’s prediction did not come to pass. Something has changed. Enough to change the future for the better.