Posted: March 18, 2009
Category: Short stories
Word is that King wrote Ur directly for Amazon and their launch of the new Kindle and when I started it I was a bit concerned that it would be too much advertisement for Kindle instead of a good story: After reading the story I must say that I feel ashamed to have ever thought, even for a second, that King would have sold out. There are some lines like “You can download books from thin air, and you can make the type as big as you want. Also, the books are cheaper because there’s no paper or binding.” that could be used in commercials for Kindle but they are few and don’t affect the story the slightest. In other words, they really don’t matter.

Ur is about Wesley, an English professor that gets himself a Kindle. He does this because his girlfriend thinks, and even walks out on him because, he refuses to, as she puts it, “read off the computer”. Strange reason I admit but it’s the case here and it makes Wesley orders a Kindle and even though they only come in white he receives a pink one. And he soon discovers that it’s different in more ways than just the color.

This Kindle has something called Ur Functions. When Wes tries them he soon discovers that what he gets here are books and news from different dimensions. There are more than 10,000,000 Ur’s and Wesley’s is number 117586. When he then selects a different Ur he gets all the books a specified author has written in that specific Ur and that are not the same as in Wesley’s Ur. Same with the news, here he gets news from the selected Ur and that’s quite different from what he knows to be reality. Some a lot and some just minor details.
Then Wesley finds something called Ur Local. Here he can read the local news. The only thing is that he can only read news from future dates…

I must say that I really like Ur and the story really sucked me in from the first to the last word. I read the entire story in one sitting and loved every minute of it. My concerns that it would be too commercial proved to be wrong and in a different context I imagine no one would have reacted to the few lines that sound a little like sales pitches from Amazon. Ur is as solid as we’re used to when it comes to Stephen King stories.

Lilja's final words about Ur:

As I said I like Ur a lot even though it was quite frustrating that it was released exclusively for Kindle users initially and the rest of us had to wait to read it…even if it was a wait well worth taking.

If you want to comment or discuss this review, please mail me.