While Stephen King has rightfully garnered a reputation as a horror writer, some of his best fiction revolves around stories of everyday humanity affected by elements of the supernatural, such as the Dead Zone. After awakening from a five-year coma, John Smith has come back from the ether with a clairvoyance to see certain futures and hidden pasts of others by touch alone. Opting to use his powers for good, John is called upon for such tasks as helping the police to catch a elusive rappist. when he shakes hands with a political candidate at a rally, he sees a future where the candidate will start a nuclear holocaust as president. Leading John to the ultimate dilemma of potentially altering the future, and perhaps even losing his life in the process. While this is a novel about a supernatural ability, and how John lives after his accident as well as how other people around him react to him and his new ability is the theme of the novel. A reader feels for him because he comes out of his coma an altered man, alternately awed and feared by those who cannot understand what it is to receive an unwanted gift for psychic vision. . He wrestles with the possibly that assassinating the politican will lead to his probable death or his incarceration. Is the future he glimpsed even certain.
The Dead Zone tackled issues to do with predestination, and what the future holds. Were things happening just because Johnny was drawing attention to them because he thought they were going to happen, or would they have happened anyway? Should he tell people, or let nature run it's course? And when he is driven to act on a vision that he thinks will affect the greater population, the big issues roll out. even if precognition probably isn't something we all need to dwell on, because King brings up other conundrums about human nature and other things for the reader to chew over.