Book Cover
Title The Stand
Series ---
Author Stephen King
Cover Art ---
Publisher Signet - 1980
First Printing ---
Category Horror
Warnings None

Main Characters

Stuart Redman, Glenn Bateman, Nick Andros, Tom Cullen, Nadine Cross, Fran Goldsmith, Harold Lauder, Joe/Leo Rockway, Mother Abigail Freemantle, Randall Flagg, Larry Underwood

Main Elements Post apocalyptic, demons

Epic terror to chill your dreams

June 16, 1985. That is when the horror began - the evil that started in a laboratory and took over America. Those who died quickly were the lucky ones. For the scattered survivors, wandering through a country turned into a gigantic graveyard, life has become a nightmare struggle. They escaped death, but now something even more terrifying is waiting to claim them - the most fiendish force evver to seek all humanity as slaves and victims. A strange, faceless, clairvoyant figure that is reaching for their very souls.

I don't get it, why is this book so famous? I mean horror's not my thing, but after I got past the initial plague (and an induced nightmare involving avoiding vomiting sick dogs vomiting from which I woke up seriously disturbed and grossed out) I didn't even find it scary. What is was, was very, very, very slow moving. My copy is the original abridged version, at about 800 pages and I could easily cut out about half of that and not miss out on much of anything.

See, what happens there's the flu that gets loose from a military facility that wipes out the vast majority of people in America minus a few who are immune. That takes maybe a third of the book (including about two pages straight of Larry staring at a dead cat). But this isn't a plague story, not really, it's just a really long setup scene.

Ok, the next third we jump around from person to person as they try to figure out what to do and slowly but surely join up with each other. You could cut the cast in half since most of the characters don't add much to the story.

Then half of the remaining third is the people come together in one place to start building a new community, set up some rules, get some electricity running, figure out how to get food, etc.

Now woven throughout there is a fine thread warning of a battle to come, a kind of anti-christ rising in the West, and the good people of the East are drifting together to find the one that will lead them against the darkness. This is the real story, that "Stand" bit that's in the title. Only when you finally get to the actually stand bit, the build-up, the sacrifices, everything that led up to that point is moot and the big scary bad guy isn't even beaten by the good guys. If the good guys hadn't even shown up it would still have unravelled the exact same way. I didn't get was the most anti-climatic 800+ pages I'd ever read.

Now this review makes it sound like I hated the book...I didn't really. See, the only reason I read it was because I want to read the Dark Tower series, and The Man in Black in The Gunslinger is none other than Randall Flagg in The Stand (or so I'm told and certainly seems that way to me). So I wanted to get more background on that character, and I did find that part interesting. And I did like some of the main characters like Stu, Nick and Larry.

But man...took a long time to get to where it was going. And imagine I got lucky with the abridged version find in a use bookstore. The version in bookstores is the uncut version at 1153 pages! That's another 350 pages *faints*

At least I can now claim to have read one of the classics in horror and I can continue with The Dark Tower series. Apparently just about everything King wrote before The Dark Tower ties into it in some way. Father Callahan from Salem's Lot, Flagg from the Stand, and many cameos of characters, places, things and creatures. I didn't want to read all of King's works, but the three with the biggest connections are The Stand, 'Salem's Lot and The Eyes of the Dragon (which I need to read next).

Posted: February 2017


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