The Stand by Stephen King
New English Library (paperback), 1990 (uncut edition)
BLURB FROM THE COVER
First came the days of the plague. Then came the dreams.
Dark dreams that warned of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil.
His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms.
When a man crashes his car into a petrol station, he brings with him the foul corpses of his wife and daughter. He dies and it doesn’t take long for the plague which killed him to spread across America and the world.
‘Wake up now, Sally’.
A louder mutter: leeme lone.
He shook her harder.
‘Wake up. You got to wake up’.
Charlie’s voice calling her. For how long?
Sally swan up out of sleep.
The Stand is not only my absolute favourite Stephen King novel; it is my favourite novel of all time. This was my eleventh or twelfth read-through. I lost count after I’d read it eight times. My current copy is my third one after reading one second hand hard-back and another paper-back to pieces. It’s safe to say I love The Stand. Considering The Stand is one of his early novels only IT and The Dark Tower novels comes anywhere close to this novel’s greatness. I love everything about The Stand. Almost everything but I’ll get to the negative in a moment. The Stand is a huge, sprawling ambitious monster of a novel. I love the way Kind chooses to bring about the apocalypse in the form of Captain Tripps. Who could have thought just the flu could cause so much devastation? The Stand originally started out life as a short story called Night Surf in his collection Night Shift. From small things greatness comes or something like that. I love the huge cast of characters in The Stand. The novel is a big door-step with my copy over 1400 pages but I felt every word was necessary. I love the way the story builds to the shocking explosion in the Boulder Free Zone that causes things to veer in quite a different direction. One of the most touching events is when the Boulder Free Zone sends spies to Flagg’s people in Vegas. One of them is a woman called Dayna. She makes some friends in Vegas including a woman she would love to call her best friend. The normalness of most of Flagg’s motley crew shocks Dayna and shocked me. I think Dayna and the rest of the Boulder Free Zone were expecting a bunch of psychos and monsters. Some are but others could fit easily in the Bounder Free Zone. There’s only one thing I don’t really like about The Stand and that’s all the religious references and overtones especially the hand of God causing the Trashcan Man’s A-bomb to explode. I felt this was a little over the top at times but didn’t affect my enjoyment.