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The Stand This is the way the world ends with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death And here is the bleak new world of the day after a world stripped of its institutions and emptied ofpercent of its people A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen Oh wow, it hasn t even been a year since I finished this and I m rereading again I m not sure what I can say about this massive tome that hasn t been said before, but I came, I read, and I conquered I also really enjoyed it along the way, which says a lot due to my struggle with committing to massive books Does anyone know if there will be a new book to screen adaptation of this one in the near future, or if the old mini series is worth the time Anyway, I m satisfied an Oh wow, it hasn t even been a year since I finished this and I m rereading again I m not sure what I can say about this massive tome that hasn t been said before, but I came, I read, and I conquered I also really enjoyed it along the way, which says a lot due to my struggle with committing to massive books Does anyone know if there will be a new book to screen adaptation of this one in the near future, or if the old mini series is worth the time Anyway, I m satisfied and a tiny bit relieved to be finished 3 Thanks to everyone who pushed me to make 2019 the year I picked up The Stand and for all the people who cheered me on along the way 06 25 2020 Five months later FINISHED What a ride Glad I kept notes on how the novel impacted me throughout, because January 2020 was a very different time in my life than June 2020 This review exceeds the character limit, so I will post my uncut final update in the comments 06 04 2020 Dreams play an important role in The Stand Survivors of the super flu dream both of holy Mother Abigail and evil Randall Flagg, but where their sympathies lie determines their allegiance Like Star War 06 25 2020 Five months later FINISHED What a ride Glad I kept notes on how the novel impacted me throughout, because January 2020 was a very different time in my life than June 2020 This review exceeds the character limit, so I will post my uncut final update in the comments 06 04 2020 Dreams play an important role in The Stand Survivors of the super flu dream both of holy Mother Abigail and evil Randall Flagg, but where their sympathies lie determines their allegiance Like Star Wars 1977 , you can choose to join the Dark Side or not Although I think King is drawingfrom the Book of Exodus than George Lucas epic space opera, it is interesting that both were released within a year of each other.Also interesting, how vivid my own dreams have been lately Since the beginning of the pandemic I ve had reoccurring nightmares All of them some variation on the same theme impending doom.I dream of drowning most frequently The plot shifts, but it always ends with me driving off a bridge, trapped as my car slowly fills with water I beat against the glass to no avail, scream until I m out of breath The water rises to my neck, sometimes entering my lungs, before I finally wake in a panic This dream occurs so often I ve memorized every article on the Internet about how to properly escape a submerged vehicle Not that that makes it any less scary.Other slow deaths have infiltrated my nightly subconscious One was a complicated scenario where my living body was dumped into a heap of COVID corpses and I suffocated under their weight I woke up horrified and, at the same time, thinking I should write everything down The premise had a juicy E A Poe vibe.I ve also dreamed of an evil man Perhaps Stephen King is to blame for this, though I don t think my nightmare man is an unconscious interpretation of Randall Flagg He is a magician of some kind though, with an ability to order minions to terrorize the innocent In my dream I was with a large group of friends in a park, I think, when his henchmen started shooting It was one of those weird dreams where you see it coming, but are also taken by surprise I knew the man was evil and capable of such things, but still felt shocked when it happened.The worst part about these nightmares is waking up and realizing they aren t over.05 06 2020 What s life like during a pandemic I suppose people will ask years from now For me, at least, the staying at home part isn t bad Where there s books and Internet, I m good I m still employed from home and taking online classes, so too busy to let staying in every night be oppressive.That said, I still find myself suddenly panic stricken The smallest thing sends me a spiraling Planning a birthday party and realizing it s impossible amid a swirl of uncertainty Will I still have a job in six months Will it be safe to travel Will the next wave of virus be even worse Will I be dead by then what about my family Other things too Watching a movie where people happily interact can be an escape, or a grim reminder that those moments were the before times times we may never see again.Are my panic attacks unwarranted Probably Mostly But how can I be sure Even if we do eventually return to normal, what s the long term psychological impact Can I ever attend a concert or visit an amusement park without imagining a plague of death in the air The new developments haven t been reassuring It s not just flu like symptoms the virus causes blood clots which can lead to fatal strokes The strain that s out now issevere than the original strain Maybe you get it once and you have antibodies, maybe you can get it an unlimited number of times The official death toll continues to rise to terrifying numbers, but they re also saying the virus could have gone global as early as December 2019 How many COVID deaths haven t been counted Hundreds Thousands By the way, says some government leaders, we believe this virus was manufactured in a Chinese lab Great What does that mean Was China reckless Was this intentional and we have a nuclear war to look forward to Oh, and murder hornets.Ugh Anyway, back to The Stand I ll admit to still reading slowly It s good Really good But I can only handle small doses at a time King is revving up to create the ultimate Good vs Evil battle Stakes of Biblical proportions I still got about 500 pages to read, but I can see why people find that aspect of it appealing I m not convinced it s Top 5 King material yet, but I m willing to let the adventure roll on and be convinced otherwise.04 16 2020 Future me, whenever you decide to re read The Stand which I m sure you will at some point remember that the end of Book 1 gets boring But don t give up, because the adventure really starts with Book 2 There s a lot of direct homage to The Wizard of Oz, like there is in The Dark Tower series Slightly cheesy, I suppose, but Oz is up there among the great quest novels so it s worthy And like Oz, King populates his journey with unexpected characters who become close to your heart You ll fear for them, and really hope they don t die even though in the back of your mind you suspect they will.Hopefully you won t live to see another global pandemic, but if you do don t read The Stand during it You will be tempted, because it is perhaps the definitive literary achievement of pandemic stories, but it won t make you feel better It will make you feel worse.If it s been 19 days since you last updated your review blog, remember that looking back at what s happened in the world will be depressing For example, 19 days ago only 1,000 Americans were documented as succumbing to the virus Now that number is 34,000 and growing rapidly Globally, there s been 144,341 deaths These numbers include only those who were officially counted, of course The world is unfair, and you know that there are manywho society didn t deem important enough to be included in the statistics.One good thing about revisiting The Stand will be recognizing that no matter how horrible your current political situations are, remember that most political situations are horrible In the 1970s, King imagined a president who refused to take any responsibility for the handling of a pandemic Had King s president lived long enough for the other branches of government to approve stimulus checks, there s no doubt he would have demanded that those checks bear his name Situations change, but people generally don t.If you are absolutely determined to re read The Stand during another pandemic, remember that it s okay to take a break and read other books before coming back to it I recommend gothic romances They re a good melodramatic distraction from all the real drama swirling around.03 28 2020 The Stand did get good again I m at 35% Been reading faster than normal because I have this conspiracy in my head that the coronavirus will finally end the day I finish reading this book Unfortunately, even at my current pace, that might be severalmonths I m trying, world, I m trying LolAs for current affairs, today is sadly noteworthy because over 2,000 people have officially died from COVID 19 in the United States Just two days ago we hit 1,000 dead The way things are going, it s very realistic for those numbers to continue doubling every few days.The virus itself is still somewhat mysterious Is it airborne Kinda yes, kinda no How long can it stay on surfaces Several daysish Can you get it from touching cardboard boxes Maybe Will warmer weather do any good Don t count on it Who can you trust No one, of course, because even the seemingly healthy can spread it all around.The president expects everything to be fixed in a few weeks so churches can be packed on Easter Sunday We d all get a good laugh out of a comment like that, except the situation is too dire.What else has been going on So much I can t even keep track The government somehow came up with 2,000,000,000,000 to infuse the economy, save businesses and give people enough money to hopefully keep the lights on Pretty cool, I guess, but I think we re all wondering what will happen next if this goes on for severalmonths.A number of celebrities and politicians have caught the virus, some have died from it A grim reminder that this really does impact everyone You can t buy your way out of this mess.03 19 2020 Today marks my first full week of not leaving the house There s little incentive to at this point Movie theaters, restaurants, and book stores are all closed And even if they weren t, the risk of getting COVID 19 isn t worth the reward Fortunately we saw this coming and our house is stocked with food, water and other essentials I m thinking we can last another two weeks before needing to venture out again.Being honest, I ve struggled to pick up The Stand as of late King usually delivers a delicious dose of escapism disaster, but under the circumstances it s all hitting too close to home Like reading Cujo while living with a rabid dog.I also think the last few chapters have been really boring, though I m at 26%, which probably translates to page 350ish, and the most recent characters have really snoozed the action I know I still have a bazillion pages to go so I ll hold off before giving final judgement, but in this present state I wouldn t call it his best work Of course this wouldn t be the first time that a King book had a lengthy lull before launching back into life changing thrills.We ll see how I feel after another week Hopefully I ll have better things to say about The Stand, and will not have yet descended into madness.03 13 2020 It s a misty Friday the 13th I m reading The Stand on my break, which happens to be at home now The office is still open, but we ve been instructed to work from home for the unforeseeable future This doesn t come as a surprise since nearly all gatherings have been cancelled Talk shows are without an audience, theme parks are closed, movie releases are all delayed The upcoming presidential debate has been relocated to avoid cross country travel Entire countries are on lockdown.It s all playing out eerily similar to Stephen King s doomsday scenario The book, so far, has been a crystal ball for what happens next Within hours of reading a passage where King s president delivers a cough filled address stating that virus concerns are blown out of proportion and a vaccine will be delivered next week, Mr Trump appears in the oval office and assures all Americans will have access to testing and free medical treatment Surprise, surprise, both presidents lied.What s still to be determined is just how deadly this virus is On one hand you have 22 dead in a single Seattle nursing home, but on the other it s been suggested that hundreds of thousands of infected people are running around who don t even know it because they don t have symptoms or they aren t serious It seems like either way I m not personally at high risk, but I am worried about those who are.These are certainly interesting times, to say the least.03 03 2020 have to share this frightening quote from the book before I forget The President is scheduled to speak tonight at 6 00 PST and his press secretary, Hubert Ross, has branded reports that the President will speak from a set mocked up to look like the Oval Office but actually deep in the White House bunker hysterical, vicious, and totally unfounded Advanced copies of the President s speech indicate that he will spank the American people for overreacting, and compare the current panic to that which followed Orson Welles s War of the Worlds radio broadcast in the early 30s.02 28 2020 Up to 15% Starting to question my logic that reading this during a pandemic will make itfun I became physically disturbed last night while reading in bed Like, on the brink of a panic attack It s all getting too real The careful pacing particularly Stephen King, prophet that he is, describes our current world too well One case spreads to ten, to fifty, to a thousand The government doing all it can to prevent blame, to avoid panic Of course that s making it worse.For historical reference, what s going on right now is that there arecoronavirus cases outside of ground zero China than in Last I heard that includes 56 countries, with rates rising every day Other than China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Japan seem to have it the worst The W.H.O just raised its risk assessment from high to very high, which is their most extreme rating outside of declaring an outright pandemic Saying the world is under pandemic essentially succumbs to the realization that the virus is unstoppable and everyone on the planet will eventually be exposed.The death rate for the coronavirus is somewhere between 2 3% I calculate that 2% of the world population is 154 million.There s also been a case where someone previously cured of the coronavirus caught it a second time.At home, our president has censored the CDC from making any announcements about the virus without approval by the vice president When asked why the stock market is tanking, he blamed the recent Democratic debate.Still unclear which is scarier right now, Stephen King s novel or reality.02 11 2020 I ve been reading this a while, but only at 10% My main thought right now is that it s entirely unfair for Stephen King, probably writing most of this while still in his 20s, to be this good Old characters, female characters, rich, poor they all come across so real it s startling How can one mind comprehend so much How does he articulate it so well He builds this terrifying world one person at a time and it s so much scarier that way I m in awe.In other news, over 1,000 deaths have been attributed to the coronavirus That s approximately 2 3% death rate for those infected Better than the 99% death rate in The Stand, so there s a bright side Of course, there are Internet rumors circulating that China is under reporting and the real count is significantly higher.01 27 2020 What better time to see what The Stand is all about than during a global coronavirus pandemic Given this book s epic length, I m going to do a review journal with spoiler free reactions over the many months I suspect it will take me to finish.Three chapters in, and of course I m hooked Would expect nothing less from King It may be a big ass book, but he doesn t wait around to get started For this rollercoaster, you skip the line and sit right up front Clickity clank, clickity clank, then a straight drop If the rest of the ride is this intense, and the coronavirus doesn t kill me first, I m going to be one frazzled mess by the end M O O N That spells Damn, what a great book I knew King had it in him, I am a fan of his brilliant 1977 haunted house thriller The Shining, but I did not expect this.The best post apocalyptic novel ever Maybe, that is a broad category teaming with great work from talented writers, but King s The Stand is an epic, genre defining work.My friend Michael has a profile statement, something to the effect of finding our next 5 star rating I like that sentiment, and am excited by the opportunity th M O O N That spells Damn, what a great book I knew King had it in him, I am a fan of his brilliant 1977 haunted house thriller The Shining, but I did not expect this.The best post apocalyptic novel ever Maybe, that is a broad category teaming with great work from talented writers, but King s The Stand is an epic, genre defining work.My friend Michael has a profile statement, something to the effect of finding our next 5 star rating I like that sentiment, and am excited by the opportunity that our next favorite book is out there waiting to be read a new best friend of an author to whom we ve yet to be introduced Here s mine I m late to the party, just reading this for the first time in 2015 I think I was always a little intimidated by the length It s a beast, and I was a glutton for punishment reading the 1990 extended version, weighing in at a heavyweight 1153 pages But it s a runaway train, grabbing the reader up and taking him or her where Stephen King wants to take you.Yes, it s a book about a devastating plague, but also so, so muchKing weaves in an allegory about the viruses amongst us There is also the spiritual quality of the book, King shows how we are sinners in the hands of an angry God, and that dreamers will survive and survivors can still dream.I could not help making a comparison with the Left Behind series, and associating Flagg to Nicholai Carpathia though King s characterization is farcomplex and well rounded, and like Milton s Satan, the most interesting character here is the villain This makes me appreciate his The Gunslinger series and I want to search out Flagg and readabout him.This is also an American epic and in its context an American eulogy King shows us the good the bad and the ugly of what we are and what we can be An observant reader will see references to Ursula K LeGuin word for world is woods , to Jim Morison, Edgar Allan Poe, Woody Guthrie, and hell even Rod McKuen.I know Mr King and have enjoyed many of his works and I have now been amazed by his finest Want to catch the flu Read The Stand.I caught it twice in the month it took me to read this book Twice I m rarely sick so it s clearly a thing.Post apocalyptic book where most people die from a super flu That part was my favorite.It then becomes a battle between Good and Evil Some fantasy elements were included This part was still solid I liked how we got to follow the characters and get to know them I felt some similarities to Station Eleven so if you like The Stand I would give this on Want to catch the flu Read The Stand.I caught it twice in the month it took me to read this book Twice I m rarely sick so it s clearly a thing.Post apocalyptic book where most people die from a super flu That part was my favorite.It then becomes a battle between Good and Evil Some fantasy elements were included This part was still solid I liked how we got to follow the characters and get to know them I felt some similarities to Station Eleven so if you like The Stand I would give this one a shot too I loved this book I read the uncut version years back when I lived in the States, maybe in 2002 I loved everything about it except the ending I m a big fan of Stephen King and have 23 of his books on my shelf Stephen King can only write a good ending to a book by chance That said, the first 95% of his books is generally so good that I can forgive the ending.One of the things I like best about King s writing is the way he breathes life into characters and every day settings For a horror wri I loved this book I read the uncut version years back when I lived in the States, maybe in 2002 I loved everything about it except the ending I m a big fan of Stephen King and have 23 of his books on my shelf Stephen King can only write a good ending to a book by chance That said, the first 95% of his books is generally so good that I can forgive the ending.One of the things I like best about King s writing is the way he breathes life into characters and every day settings For a horror writer this is crucial You have to make everything utterly believable so that when the monster comes and the stakes are raised the reader feels it s all real and cares about what s at stake The short story, The Body, on which the film Stand By Me is based is a great example of King s genius at making complicated, flawed, awkward, real characters.Anyway, The Stand, is not typical King as the main core of it is an apocalypse, and the super natural horror element is rather secondary and low key for most of the story The apocalypse is a believable one, a flu pandemic with a mortality rate so high that only a tiny fraction of the population survives King tears the world down in terrifying slow motion and playing on our fears of pandemics it is at once horrifying, touching, and fascinating King is great at slowly pulling everyday reality apart.The cast of characters who survive this catastrophe is sizeable, diverse, and interesting A pyromaniac with an array of mental issues, a man with learning disabilities, a singer who was in the act breaking big, othersordinary but no less fascinating under pressure.The literary institutions of this world sniff at horror writers as much as they do fantasy writers but I find King s prose and insights into the human condition to be as powerful as those in many of theplodding works of literary fiction I ve read Readers often don t notice it because it s not what they came for But King is interested in people and how pressure acts on them No one can tell what goes on in between the person you were and the person you become No one can chart that blue and lonely section of hell There are no maps of the change You just come out the other side Or you don t King shows us the inception of the disaster, plots its course through his scattered and varied cast, and slowly brings those actors together into two communities in the aftermath.The two communities we focus on centre on the supernatural aspect of the book, one of them is home to the good folk, and the other to the bad The bad camp is ruled over by Randal Flagg who roams through the pages of quite a few of King s books, The Dark Tower in particular.The book concludes with the fight between these two camps and ultimately the ending was a touch unsatisfying for me, though not awful by any means The journey to that ending however was a fascinating thrill ride and well worth the price of entry If you ve not tried Stephen King before then this is a fine place to jump in be warned though, it is perhaps the longest of his books with a page count to rival GRRM at his most long winded Join my 3 emails a year newsletter prizes. Wow So I have had this awesome paperback door stopper for some time Gift from friend I decided to get the audio through the library and of course now I have added it to my Audible wishlist The narration is freaking awesome The whole damn book is freaking awesome The thing is, I didn t think I would like it because I barely remember the movie and am not sure I liked it That was a long time ago and who the hell knows I m just extremely happy I finally read it Yeah It s long, but most b Wow So I have had this awesome paperback door stopper for some time Gift from friend I decided to get the audio through the library and of course now I have added it to my Audible wishlist The narration is freaking awesome The whole damn book is freaking awesome The thing is, I didn t think I would like it because I barely remember the movie and am not sure I liked it That was a long time ago and who the hell knows I m just extremely happy I finally read it Yeah It s long, but most books I read or listen to are so that s neither here nor there I just loved reading about all of the people and events And I did laugh at times YES, scary stories do have some comedy at times Lol Anyhoo, enjoy peeps Happy Reading Mel M O O N spells spectacular I first read THE STAND in the early 80 s It was during the Christmas break I lived out in the boonies with my family, and after the holiday hoopla was over I planted myself in my favorite chair and sat there for 4 days devouring every page only leaving for bathroom breaks, meals and sleep.30 years later my reading experience was a little different I read it with my Goodreads friend Lisa who had the uncut version, while I had the original I stopped and started M O O N spells spectacular I first read THE STAND in the early 80 s It was during the Christmas break I lived out in the boonies with my family, and after the holiday hoopla was over I planted myself in my favorite chair and sat there for 4 days devouring every page only leaving for bathroom breaks, meals and sleep.30 years later my reading experience was a little different I read it with my Goodreads friend Lisa who had the uncut version, while I had the original I stopped and started as she caught up there were huge amounts of messages back and forth on the characters, the differences in editions, who we loved who we hated, and everything and anything we could think of to discuss It was a month long readbut the one thing both experiences did have in common was I LOVED IT each time At a remote U.S Army base, a strain of influenza is accidentally released Despite a lock down soldier Charles Campion is able to escape with his wife and child By the time the military is able to track his whereabouts Campion has spread the disease around parts of Texas triggering a pandemic which kills off 99 percent of the population The one percent are left in survival mode spread out over the entire country and plagued by strange dreams about two individuals which eventually draw some to Nebraska and some to Las Vegas.Hemingford Home, Nebraska Is the home of Abagail Freemantle Mother Abagail a 108 year old woman who receives visions from God She is the embodiment of good.Las Vegas, Nevada is where Randall Flagg has set up shop Randall is also called The Dark Man and The Walking Dude He lives to cause death and destruction and has supernatural powers which allow him to be human, animal or demon He is the embodiment of evil.King said that he wanted to write a fantasy epic like The Lord of the Rings, only with an American setting and that is just what he did THE STAND is a wonderful epic fantasy adventure about good vs evil One that I would recommend to anybody who hasn t read it yet, and even to those who have Dear Stephen,I m sorry I just don t like you in that way I know we ve been friends for a long time, but I just never developed those kind of feelings for you, even after eleven hundred pages I feel like we only moved forward in fits and stops, and we were just never able to sustain a kind of even handed development of the kind of chills and thrills a person really likes Shock someone enough times with snot running out of their nose, and it just becomes a little meaningless And there are onl Dear Stephen,I m sorry I just don t like you in that way I know we ve been friends for a long time, but I just never developed those kind of feelings for you, even after eleven hundred pages I feel like we only moved forward in fits and stops, and we were just never able to sustain a kind of even handed development of the kind of chills and thrills a person really likes Shock someone enough times with snot running out of their nose, and it just becomes a little meaningless And there are only so many ways to view a dead body before one gets kind of numb instead of apprehensive Using the journal device to move things forward seems a little crude, when what we really need to do is talk I have to confess, I ve felt kind of uncomfortable watching you struggle with religion and spirituality You sparked my interest when you posited that this might be the battle between the age of reason and that of irrationalism, and the dark man was the last vestige of doomed rationalism I thought for a few minutes we were headed somewhere really special, but you didn t seem very confident, and the theme fell apart I will say there were a few surprises along the way, which I found pleasant I appreciate you avoiding the obvious character arcs, especially when it comes to redemption I was glad to meet most of your friends, especially Joe Leo, Stu and even Kojak Your military friends bored me out, though, especially Starkey I don t even get why you like spending any time with those guys Such a bunch of fossils I do have to say, I was really impressed with how you must have studied disease modelling and progression I almost felt like was there.Sometimes I get the feeling that you don t really see me as a person, just a baby maker You even have an extended soliloquy about it, as if I wasn t even here reading your words It bothers me, because you took the time to develop nuanced male relationships Larry, Stu, Lloyd , but the women were about reproducing or were cannon fodder Since you allowed technology to remain, I m not going to buy into your lowest most functional society mentality, no matter how many sociological theories you throw at me And then there s the elderly black woman as representation of all that s spiritual Perhaps even Mother Earth If I m rolling my eyes, it s because it s another aspect of compartmentalizing women as either maiden, matron or crone, and people of color as closer to God s being savage and all, as you so helpfully illustrate in your The Circle Closes afterward Honestly, it s kind of juvenile, and a little disappointing when I know you are capable of so muchIt s time for me to move on I m sure you ll find someone special eventually, Stephen, because you are such a really great guy And so unusual, too.With Three Stars,Your Friend Always.Cross posted at None of us want to see portents and omens, no matter how much we like our ghost stories and the spooky films None of us want to really see a Star in the East or a pillar of fire by night We want peace and rationality and routine If we have to see God in the black face of an old woman, it s bound to remind us that there s a devil for every god and our devil may be closer than we like to think A plague has escaped a lab killing most of the population, only a few, a mere fraction of the whole, None of us want to see portents and omens, no matter how much we like our ghost stories and the spooky films None of us want to really see a Star in the East or a pillar of fire by night We want peace and rationality and routine If we have to see God in the black face of an old woman, it s bound to remind us that there s a devil for every god and our devil may be closer than we like to think A plague has escaped a lab killing most of the population, only a few, a mere fraction of the whole, has immunity or manages to survive being infected It is over in a matter of weeks Civilization grinds to a halt, then collapses, and then falls into chaos.A Mad Max world is born A virus that kills 99.4% of the people it infects is a very stupid virus Even the Black Plague had a 20% survival rate, so for a virus to act this stupidly, it would have to be man made The last thing any virus should do is kill the host Death of the host leads to death of the virusNow most of the young folks and old folks were gone, and most of those in between God had brought down a harsh judgment on the human raceInvariably, we can t help bringing God into any situation where we think a judgment has been handed down on humanity, but he she doesn t have anything to do with this This is man destroying himself Some would make the case that God could have interceded, could have saved us if we had been worthy, but then when have we ever been worthy Since we are made in his image I do think sometimes what God, if he exists, likes least in us is what he likes least about himself The whole theory of God is built on good and evil If evil exists, then oddly God exists The Vatican has been working relentlessly to prove for centuries that pure evil exists to justify the whole need for their continued existence The proof might be rising out of the ashes of this virulent plagueHe was coming, Flagg was coming like some terrible horror monster out of the scariest picture ever made The dark man s cheeks were flushed with jolly color, his eyes were twinkling with happy good fellowship, and a great hungry voracious grin stretched his lips over huge tombstone teeth, shark teeth, and his hands were held out in front of him, and there were shiny black crow feathers fluttering from his hair The survivors are dreaming about the Dark Man, and they are dreaming about the old black woman in the cornfields of Nebraska These dreams are as vivid as they are confusing There is a battle for their souls going on They must choose Do they go to Randall Flagg, or do they flock to Abagail Freemantle You would think it would be an easy decision Don t most of us think of ourselves as good people Of course, we would join Abagail, the self anointed prophet of God Except, maybe it isn t so clearly cut as the two groups grow, it is starting to look like an even split Abagail brings her flock to Boulder, Colorado, wanting to use the natural barrier of the Rockies to be the dividing line between her good people and the evil people following the Dark Man Not to mention that she knows there has to be a reckoning But are they evil When people from the Boulder Free Zone mingle with those from the Dark Side, they find them to be normal people, just like the people they left back in Boulder The biggest difference is that they are afraid, and fear, as we know, is the most insidious and easiest way to control people It becomes very clear that Abagail s army is really only fighting one man, one man with supernatural powersNever Tap, tap, tap The crow, looking in at him, seeming to grin And it came to him with a dreamy, testicle shriveling certainty that this was the dark man, his soul, his ka somehow projected into this rain drenched, grinning crow that was looking in at him, checking up on himSo it is sort of interesting to speculate about whether there are truly evil beings like Randall Flagg in the world, waiting for their opportunity, waiting for people to need someone larger than themselves to lead Their power grows as people choose to believe in them As long as civilization exists and people are reasonably content, a person like Flagg is never given an opportunity to thrive We through our own discontent empower evil.This novel is one of the King epics A fan poll on Goodreads, The Best of Stephen King Poll, shows that his fans still believe this is his best book My favorite book, and the one that I feel will be considered his masterpiece, isIT , a book that I feel really brings together all of his best skills in building characters and shows off his gift for creating twisty, scary plotsIT is 2 on the Goodreads poll Pennywise, in my opinion, might have had as large an impact on reading watching audiences as Norman Bates in Psycho Once you have been introduced to Pennywise try walking past a storm drain without giving it a wide berth The Stand has a large cast, and most readers will have a favorite character I liked several characters, actually, and wondered if I was going to find myself in a George R.R Martin universe where identifying with a character was tantamount to self inflicted grief I was fortunate to stick with Stu Redman He is a hick from Texas who continues to show hidden depths as circumstances shape and reveal his character He made me smile with the following response, when it looks like dire circumstances may lead to a slow deathRalph came over to Stu and knelt down Can we get you anything, Stu Stu smiled Yeah Everything Gore Vidal ever wrote those books about Lincoln and Aaron Burr and those guys I always meant to read the suckers Now it looks like I got the time Gotta love the thought of a redneck from Texas reading the unabashed New York homosexual.In the forward, Stephen King talks about the meeting he had with the publishing group about the size of The Stand It was originally published at about 800 pages, but then when they decided to reissue the uncut version, he was able to put back in about 400 pages that he had been forced to exciseI reluctantly agreed to do the surgery myself I think I did a fairly good job, for a writer who has been accused over and over again of having diarrhea of the word processorHe agreed to the cuts because the publishing team made a compelling case They were able to show him the sales from his previous four books, the profit margin, and if he sold the same number of books of The Stand, how much slimmer the profit margin would be, because of the cost to produce the 400 extra pages So the cuts were not made for editorial reasons, but for common sense accounting reasons King was very happy to have the orphaned material reunited with the rest of the book The book does bog down at times for me I think that is inevitable with a book this size King is taking on some larger themes here and for the most part keeps all the plates spinning in the air I read a lot of post apocalyptic books, and I m sure if I ever let myself be put on a couch, a psychologist will explore those reasons thoroughly, but one thing I notice, while I am immersing myself in The Stand, is that I have a greater appreciation for my life and the cocoon that civilization wraps around me to keep me safe and provide me with the necessities so that I can have the time I want to read, putter, and write Maybe I m not as obsessed with the END OF THE WORLD as much as I am finding new ways to appreciate the wonderful life I do have I have to admit, though, that I had to agree with lifestyle philosophy of the sociologist Glen BatemanBut Bateman himself hadn t wanted to get in on the ground floor of society s reappearance He seemed perfectly content at least for the time being to go for his walks with Kojak, paint his pictures, putter around his garden, and think about the sociological ramifications of nearly total decimationI would hope I could ignore the siren calls of the ancient, wise woman in Nebraska and the seductive pull of The Dark Man and just enjoy the peace and quiet of atranquil world without the constant noise of people talking on their cell phones, music blaring from cars, planes taking off from airports, and millions of electrical lines humming It is truly amazing any of us can think f you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


About the Author: Stephen King

Stephen Edwin King was born the second son of Donald and Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King After his father left them when Stephen was two, he and his older brother, David, were raised by his mother Parts of his childhood were spent in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where his father s family was at the time, and in Stratford, Connecticut When Stephen was eleven, his mother brought her children back to Durham, Maine, for good Her parents, Guy and Nellie Pillsbury, had become incapacitated with old age, and Ruth King was persuaded by her sisters to take over the physical care of them Other family members provided a small house in Durham and financial support After Stephen s grandparents passed away, Mrs King found work in the kitchens of Pineland, a nearby residential facility for the mentally challenged.Stephen attended the grammar school in Durham and Lisbon Falls High School, graduating in 1966 From his sopho year at the University of Maine at Orono, he wrote a weekly column for the school newspaper, THE MAINE CAMPUS He was also active in student politics, serving as a member of the Student Senate He came to support the anti war movement on the Orono campus, arriving at his stance from a conservative view that the war in Vietnam was unconstitutional He graduated in 1970, with a B.A in English and qualified to teach on the high school level A draft board examination immediately post graduation found him 4 F on grounds of high blood pressure, limited vision, flat feet, and punctured eardrums.He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students they married in January of 1971 As Stephen was unable to find placement as a teacher immediately, the Kings lived on his earnings as a laborer at an industrial laundry, and her student loan and savings, with an occasional boost from a short story sale to men s magazines.Stephen made his first professional short story sale The Glass Floor to Startling Mystery Stories in 1967 Throughout the early years of his marriage, he continued to sell stories to men s magazines Many were gathered into the Night Shift collection or appeared in other anthologies.In the fall of 1971, Stephen began teaching English at Hampden Academy, the public high school in Hampden, Maine Writing in the evenings and on the weekends, he continued to produce short stories and to work on novels.


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