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The Stand

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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.
For hundreds of thousands of fans who read The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King's gift. And those who are listening to The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival.

1152 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1978

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About the author

Stephen King

2,530 books828k followers
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 sophomore 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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Profile Image for Justin Tate.
Author 7 books972 followers
October 17, 2020
As soon as Chinese New Year got cancelled, I knew coronavirus was serious. Then the virus spread just like viruses do in every horror novel. So much so, in fact, that my immediate first thought was not to stock up on bottled water and toilet paper, but that it's finally time to read The Stand.

Naturally I'm a Stephen King superfan, so it's strange I hadn't yet read what is commonly considered his magnum opus. In the back of my mind I knew there would be a right time to read it. I thought it might be after King's death (rue the day) or after reading everything else by him. As a way to fully compare it to the rest of his oeuvre. Clearly, however, a once-in-a-100-years pandemic was the sign I was looking for. This is it, folks. It's time.

As it turned out...maybe not the best idea. After seven months of living through this, there's a level of new normalcy. But in those early days, during constant uncertainty, seeing nearly 4,000 Americans die daily, entire nursing homes wiped out, entire families...it was scary as hell. Reading a scary book during a scary time isn't nearly as fun as it sounds.

I kept a reading journal throughout this time. Partly because I wanted to remember my reactions throughout such an enormous read, but also to monitor my mental state during a pandemic. Much of my journal entries relate to bad dreams, reactions to the news, or just keeping up with the death count. Many times Stephen King's world was a close parallel to the real world, resulting in much anxiety and much admiration for a writer capable of prophecy.

Here's the full, unabridged copy of my The Stand review journal:

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.

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.

02/28/2020 - Up to 15%. Starting to question my logic that reading this during a pandemic will make it more fun. 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 are more coronavirus 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.

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.

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.

03/19/2020 - 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.

03/28/2020 - 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 several more months. I’m trying, world, I’m trying! Lol

As 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 days...ish. 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 several more months.

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.

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 many more who 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.

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 is more severe 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.


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.

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.

Since the beginning of the pandemic I’ve had my own reoccurring nightmares. All of them some variation on the same theme: impending doom.

***Goodreads Word Limit Reached, read the rest HERE .***
Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,976 followers
September 10, 2015
You know what’s really scary? Getting sick while you’re reading the first part of The Stand. Just try running a fever, going through a box of tissues and guzzling the better part of a bottle of NyQuil while Stephen King describes the grisly deaths of almost every one on Earth from a superflu. On top of feeling like crap, you'll be terrified. Bonus!

After a bio-engineered virus that acts like a revved up cold escapes from a U.S. government lab, it takes only weeks for almost all of humanity to succumb to the disease. A handful of survivors are mysteriously immune and begin having strange dreams, some of which are about a very old woman called Mother Abigail asking them to come see her. More disturbing are nightmares about a mysterious figure named Randall Flagg also known as the Dark Man or the Walkin’ Dude.

As they make their way through an America almost entirely devoid of people, the survivors begin to unite and realize that the flu was just the beginning of their problems. While some are drawn to the saintly Mother Abigail in Boulder Colorado who tells them that they have been chosen by God, others have flocked to Flagg in Las Vegas who is determined to annihilate all those who refuse to pledge their allegiance to him.

If King would have just written a book about a world destroyed by plague and a small number of people struggling in the aftermath, it probably would have been a compelling story. What sets this one apart is the supernatural element. Flagg is the embodiment of evil and chaos. He's a mysterious figure who has been giving the wrong people the push needed for them to make things worse for everyone, and he sees the plague as his chance to fulfill his own destiny as a wrecker of humanity.

And on the other side, we have God. Yep, that God. The Big Cheese himself. But this isn’t some kindly figure in a white robe with a white beard or George Burns or Morgan Freeman. This is the Old Testament God who demands obedience and worship while usually rewarding his most faithful servants with gruesome deaths.

King calls this a tale of dark Christianity in his forward, and one of the things I love about this book is that it does feel like a Biblical story, complete with contradictions and a moves-in-mysterious-ways factor. Stories don’t get much more epic than this, and King does a great job of depicting the meltdown of the world through the stories of a variety of relateable characters. (Larry Underwood remains among my favorite King creations.)

One of my few complaints is that this features a lot of King’s anti-technology themes that he’d use in several books like Cell or The Dark Tower series. We’re told repeatedly that the ‘old ways’ like trying to get the power back on in Boulder are a ‘death trip’. The good guys gather in the Rocky Mountains, but if they try to get the juice going so they won’t freeze to death in the winter, they’re somehow acting in defiance of God’s will and returning to the bad habits? Not all tech is bad tech, Mr. King. Nature is a bitch and will kill your ass quicker than the superflu.

Here’s another thing I’m not wild about. When this was published in the late ‘70s, the bean counters at King’s publishers had decided that the book as written would be too pricey in hardback and no one would pay a whopping $13 for a Stephen King hardback. So King cut about three hundred pages.

Around 1990 after it had become apparent that King could publish his shopping list as a best seller, he put those pages back in and released the uncut version. Which I’m fine with. The original stuff was cut for a financial reason, not an editorial one, and there’s some very nice bits of story added in. If King would have stopped there, we would have had a great definitive final version as originally created by the author.

Unfortunately, he seemed to catch a case of Lucasitis and decided to update the story a bit and change its original time frame from 1980 to 1990. I’m not sure why that seemed necessary to him. Yes, the book was a bit dated by then, but it was of its time. He didn’t rewrite the text (Which I’m grateful for.), but just stuck in some references to Madonna and Ronald Reagan and Spuds McKenzie.

This led to a whole bunch of anachronisms. Would students in 1990 call soldiers ’war pigs’? Someone in New York picks up a phone book to look up the number to call an ambulance instead of dialing 911? A song called Baby, Can You Dig Your Man is a huge hit? None of it quite fits together. There's also a layer of male chauvinism and lack of diversity that you can overlook in a book written in the late '70s, but seems out of place for a book set and updated for 1990.

The things that irritate me are still far outweighed by one of my favorite stories of an apocalyptic battle between good and evil.

I’m also glad to get a long overdue audio edition of this book. Great narration and 40+ hours of end of the world horror make for a damn fine listening experience.
Profile Image for carol..
1,575 reviews8,230 followers
March 5, 2013

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 much more.

It'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 http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2013/0...

Profile Image for Lyn.
1,883 reviews16.6k followers
February 15, 2019
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 much more. King 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 far more complex 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 read more about 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.

Profile Image for Mark Lawrence.
Author 72 books51.7k followers
August 15, 2023
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 of breaking big, others more ordinary 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 the more plodding 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.

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Profile Image for Nilufer Ozmekik.
2,313 reviews44.1k followers
October 4, 2021
Another flashback Saturday and I’m holding unabridged author’s cut version which weighs in at 1141 pages. Yes I know, only holding a book that you started equals to about 5 hours training exercise is challenging thing and of course reading a book about highly contagious superflu which escaped from US Army biological weapons facility in the middle of the pandemic makes you think I’m out of my mind. ( Of course I am! If you check a few reviews of mine, you already found out my true mental state!)

I know I’m doing the wrong thing at the worst time but I honestly say: this is my favorite King book and at least rereading first 250 pages ( in my opinion those are the best parts of the book) made me remember why Mr. King earned his throne at the literature kingdom.

The first edition of the book was published on 1978 and at the new editions, the cultural references have been changed to connect with the new generation readers. ( I also read most of the editions) This is my routine at the 8 to 12 hours international flights: I cannot sleep during the flight so I carry another edition with me to enjoy my vacation accompanied with lots of Bloody Mary.

When I dive into the chapters and read about Texan Stu, very pregnant Frannie, chubby Harold, rising star Larry, I start to feel at home. ( I don’t know why a biblical story made me feel like that but this layered multi character driven story telling always help me get lost in the extremely creative taste of literature. )

This is a group of survivors’ story who are immune to the virus and suffer from strange dreams. At those disturbing Mother Abigail summons them or a very dangerous dark figure Randall Flagg wants to join him at the dark side.

Eventually as some of the dreamers join to Mother Abigail at Boulder Colorado who tells them, they’re chosen people, the others go to Sin City to join Mr. Flagg for his big annihilation plan.

I think the biggest challenge is not reading this book. The filmmakers who are brave enough to adapt this into series accepted the biggest challenge. After 1994’s series adaptation with Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe, the producers have been working on a better version to adapt this masterpiece properly into 10 episodes streaming series.

From Ben Affleck, David Yates to Scott Cooper, too many directors wanted to be on board but later dropped out because of creative differences, schedule conflicts. And finally Josh Boone became a director and started to work on dreamy cast: Christian Bale as Stu and McConaughey as Randall Flagg. Yeap, unfortunately it didn’t happen but don’t worry we still have satisfying cast : James Marsden as Stu and Pennyweise’s real life brother as Randall Flagg.

I am curious about series even though I have questions about the challenges of adapting something so good and struggles to reflect those layered characters we read at the pages into scripts ( at least King’s young son Owen is one of the screenwriters) but before finding out, I guess I’m getting one more long ride with this apocalyptic, outstanding novel one more time!

Profile Image for Chelsea Humphrey.
1,483 reviews79.1k followers
April 21, 2020
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.
Profile Image for Baba.
3,620 reviews988 followers
June 28, 2023
“The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there... and still on your feet.” One of King's greatest works - a battle between good and evil on a grand scale, with a seemingly endless cast of characters. Mankind's final folly and how both darkness and light fight over what remains. If you've never read it, you need to do so, right now!

Despite the 1,325 pages the story never stops. I love the understated start and how King pilots numerous character journeys in this rapidly changing world. We also get a full-on take of the Dark Man. Almost every character has a real story of growth (or descent), it's like King's great work to show that no matter how far you fall, how much you limit yourself, we all have potential to be more, to give more.

Captain Trips which is the scourge of humanity itself, could be a bestselling novel by itself! Never more comprehensively and with such creativity has mankind been routed! Remember the names that will stay with you forever - Stuart Redman, Franny Goldsmith, Nick Andros, M O O N that spells Tom Cullen, Larry Underwood, Mother Abagail, Harold Lauder, Nadine Cross, Glen Bateman & Kojak, Ralph Brentner, Susan Stern, Dayna Jurgens, Lucy Swann, Judge Farris, Randall Flagg AKA The Dark Man, Lloyd Henreid, Trashcan, 'The Kid'. M O O N that spells 9.5 out of 12 (a strong Four Star read).

2003 read; 2006 read; 2018 read
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,858 followers
November 28, 2021
The definitive apocalypse masterpiece, maybe until reality writes a better story.

Many different characters in slowly escalating situations of despair and tragedy.
With the extra King spicing of terror, torture, and horror, this makes one, or maybe the best, description of armageddon. And it´s not worldbuilding or über cool enemies, it´s this combination of crazy, not always good, protagonists, antiheroes, and great, sheer lunatics that make this unbelievable rollercoaster the best end time ever. Apocalypse rocks if the King is in the house.

Don´t trust the government
Seriously, it´s not as if anyone is still doing stupid things like that, but how it happened, how politicians and the military reacted, how they didn´t have any problem with mass murdering their own citizens to avoid a panic, censor the media, go full Gestapo mode and, of course, causing the whole mess with secret biological warfare programs is, well, completely realistic. They would have to do, because as long as it doesn´t escalate completely, it would be the only ethical decision to sacrifice some for the sake of the country, not just for patriots, but just following simple logic. Better lose some cities and dozens of millions of people than all of them. Although I guess if a resident evil style biological warfare project would go really wrong, or be used by an enemy, nothing would help.

Comparison of The Stand and It
It´s one of Kings´most complex, interwoven, and ultra many, often one time use, character spiked works, which is the biggest difference to the only real (single novel) opponent, It. It has its small crew and stays with it, close to no disposable sidekicks, and especially no big picture, meta, worldbuilding level. Probably that´s the reason why some prefer The Stand and King himself says too that his fans are often telling him that it´s their favorite, although he doesn´t understand why. It simply can´t reach the epic, big scale, world ending level, because Kings' intention was to write one of the best novels about childhood, wrecked American dreams, small town terrors, and the Lovecraftian, lurking evil inside all of us. Mission accomplished.

The Stand, on the other hand, is a battle of good versus evil, a dark fantasy horror milestone so intense, dense, and completely absorbing, because it combines the unbelievable characterization skills with a good, and that´s truly nothing King can always deliver because he is no plotter, story with a satisfying, credible end. And all the details, the world, the extremely slow beginning with the escalation towards overkill, all the crazy characters entering and leaving the stage, and, of course, many average people´s problems given to the mix. No matter how dead the world is, we still have freaking everyday issues and relationship problems.

Big city vs one horse town.
So good to live on the countryside… Sorry if this may seem insensitive, but the really brutally penetrated ones will always be the metropolitan areas, not just because the slums and hellhole district actually are already a nightmare, but because the collapse and chaos will be worst there. Maybe because it´s generally kind of incredible how these megastructures, these ape hive mind super colonies function, but are much more fragile than one might expect. Take away food and the possibility to escape and one doesn´t even need Captain Trips to get the population quite wacky.
King uses this difference to construct completely opposite kinds of fear, the seemingly infinite solitude of the wild with some grains of small towns and the disturbing rests of a megacity now populated by corpses, cannibals, and crazy people.

Characters and writers' block.
Many cool secondary and one time use characters, extra plotlines, and groups consolidating and escalating together.
The reason for the extremely dense atmosphere is the combination of different sets of characters, weirdo antagonists, and a perfect mixture with the stellar characterization and atmosphere King is famous for.
I do also get why he had his writers' block while creating this ingenious masterpiece, because he is no plotter and nearly scribbled his way towards an abyss because he had too much of everything for someone who didn´t know how it should end. Luckily, he found his way back, but just how he got until the point of hitting the wall without confusing the reader or himself, especially because, ahem, you know, booze and drugs and stuff, is amazing.

A grain of magic
There´s not really that much high fantasy or complex witching around system, one could also say plot over people focus, and that´s why it´s so absorbing, why having terrible, frightening, wonderful nightmare adventures together with the crew feels so damn good. Some psi, mind control, precognition, animal magic, elemental powers, but the real driving engine here is the madness, evilness vs goodness, and especially the shade of grey in between with protagonists switching sides, developing new disgusting goals, or refraining from doing necrophilic cannibalism and stuff. If there would be more, today (2021) standard epic fantasy with real überhuman god power magic, it couldn´t have such a unique, dense, and not really that action focused atmosphere, without any unnecessary words on freaking endless pages of pure ecstasy.

The real philosophies and ideologies behind the good and evil fractions are manifold, one could waste a great load of time overanalyzing it, but I´ll let everyone find her/his own interpretation and add mine to the mix:

The Lovecraftian big bad new government
The darkness of confused, evil souls who unite under a new leader who combines elements of many of Kings´most beloved big cosmic horror and barbarian human traits to mix the perfect, bloody cocktail. Could be seen as a homage to the inherent bad in all of us and systems constructed by mentally unstable apes, philosophically vivisected until regurgitation, or just appreciated at what it most likely is. One of the most realistic, without the demonic superpower elements except secret military research has already reached new levels, descriptions of how a collapse of civilization would most likely end in new dictatorships.

The better, progressive, eco and human friendly alternative
The good ones are seemingly helpless, just have their will, community, and some dream controlling power and soft psi magic to fight the armed to the teeth demonic hordes, but similar to many other deus ex machina solutions, the mind is stronger than tons of steel. What makes it especially satisfying is the multifaceted characters´ evolution towards good or bad and how extremely stylish and cool the real and mental confrontations of big bad and old as dirt good and their team members play out. Of course, in reality, our good team of friends would immediately be raped, tortured, and eaten, rape torture eat repeat style as some like to call it (and not necessarily in that order), but hey, even King has to integrate some optimistic moments to help his readers to better handle the horror. And to get a story too, of course.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Emily (Books with Emily Fox).
554 reviews60.5k followers
November 19, 2018
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!
Profile Image for Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin.
3,538 reviews9,965 followers
May 6, 2018
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 🖤🐾🐺
Profile Image for jessica.
2,555 reviews35.7k followers
February 1, 2019
goodness me, this book was a chore. it took me nearly a month to finish and by the 12 day mark i was really regretting reading the unabridged version. and along the way, i realised that this is a classic case of me liking the idea of the book so much more than the book itself, which is so unfortunate.

i thought the beginning started off really strong. i was enjoying seeing how the plague affected everyone differently and the lengths everyone had to take to survive the mass confusion and looming death. oh, and nick. nick is the best thing to come out of fiction since i dont know when. and although an attachment to a character is enough motivation to finish a book, its sometimes not enough to actually enjoy the book entirely.

what really made me check out was when the dreams started becoming a major focal point to the plot. i just could not get behind the whole mother abigail vs. randall flagg story line. i understand that stephen king has wonderful and deep messages in his books, but if im not really engaged with the story, then im not going to invest the extra time to try to analyse everything. so i know i missed out there, but i cant bring myself to care more about it.

so what began as an interesting story turned into a very religious subtext of good vs. evil. its an ambitious story, but one i just wasnt quite feeling by the end.

2.5 stars
Profile Image for Delee.
243 reviews1,136 followers
February 20, 2017
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 read...

...but the one thing both experiences did have in common was- I LOVED IT each time!!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!
Profile Image for Diane Wallace.
1,152 reviews66 followers
September 18, 2023
Haunting read!
It's a scary good and well written book. (paperback!)
Profile Image for Jeffrey Keeten.
Author 3 books249k followers
March 23, 2020
“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 virus.

”Now 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 race.”

Invariably, 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 plague. ”He 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 powers. ”Nevermore. 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 him.”

So 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, is IT , 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 plots . IT 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 death: “Ralph 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 excise. ”I 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 processor.” He 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 Bateman. ”But 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 decimation.”

I 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 a more tranquil 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 see more of my most recent book and movie reviews, visit http://www.jeffreykeeten.com
I also have a Facebook blogger page at:https://www.facebook.com/JeffreyKeeten
Profile Image for Petrik.
688 reviews46.1k followers
March 11, 2018
3.5/5 stars

M-O-O-N. That spells I am done with this MOONstrosity of a tome.

This is the biggest single book I’ve ever read in my life so far—It’s 470k words and it’s even bigger than Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson—and although it doesn’t go into my personal favorite list, I enjoyed the majority of the book.

The Stand is totally not what I expected. I really thought this would be a super thrilling plot-driven with a lot of actions book due to the nature that the story revolves around a plague outbreak. As it turns out, The Stand is a HIGHLY characters’ driven book with the plot moving at a very slow pace, and as great as it was, sometimes it did get a bit excruciating.

One of the two that stands out the most from this book—other than the gigantic size—in my opinion was the theological nature and the classic tale of a battle between good versus evil.

“That wasn't any act of God. That was an act of pure human fuckery.”

There are a lot of symbolism to the aspect of light versus darkness here. To give one example of many, with the country being ravaged by the outbreak, the survivors ended up joining either Mother Abagail’s group (the good) or Randal Flagg’s group (the evil); Mother Abagail is located in the East (where the sun rises every day) and Randal Flagg is located in the West (where the sun set). I enjoyed reading almost all the characters’ perspectives and survivor’s tales and I really think if you love a HEAVY theological talk in your fiction, this is a must-read.

“The beauty of religious mania is that it has the power to explain everything. Once God (or Satan) is accepted as the first cause of everything which happens in the mortal world, nothing is left to chance...logic can be happily tossed out the window.”

Other than the theological talk, the characters were almost absolutely delightful to read. The characters developments in this book were astounding to say the least and it was awesome to see how far these characters changed from where they began. Plus, Stephen King writes very unconventional and memorable characters in The Stand such as Nick, Tom Cullen, Randal Flagg, Harold, Larry, and Mother Abagail to name a few.

Picture: Mother Abagail by Bernie Wrightson

Now, the parts that didn’t work for me. First being Stephen King’s prose took quite a while for me to get used to. Second, and probably my major problem with the book, The Trashcan’s man chapters were atrocious. I didn’t enjoy any moment reading his POV, it was messy, felt juvenile, and during my time reading it, I knew immediately this his meeting with the Kid was going to be the one that was cut out from the first published edition of this book, and I was right. It was a painful 70 pages chapter which in my opinion offer close to zero points to the story. Finally, with a book this HUGE, I really expected the ending to blow me away but the ending ended up being anti-climactic. I also can’t help but think that the first edition of this book (the 800 pages one) would probably be a better experience. Stephen King received the title “word diarrhea” for a great reason and a lot of the words in this book in my opinion definitely deserves to be flushed.

Overall though, I think The Stand is still overall a great book. Even though it’s not a genre that I dive into frequently, I found myself amazed by the characterizations and compelled to read what happened to most of the characters. It’s unfortunate that there were a few hiccups with the pacing and ending but I still will recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed a heavy theological discussion and memorable characters in their read. Thank you also to my good friend, Celeste, for giving me this book as a late birthday present!

You can find this and the rest of my Adult Epic/High Fantasy & Sci-Fi reviews at BookNest
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
September 2, 2021
The Stand, Stephen King

Publication date: October 3, 1978.

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King.

It expands upon the scenario of his earlier short story "Night Surf" and outlines the total breakdown of society after the accidental release of a strain of influenza that had been modified for biological warfare causes an apocalyptic pandemic, which kills off the majority of the world's human population.

King dedicated the book to his wife, Tabitha: "For Tabby: This dark chest of wonders."

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز یازدهم ماه اکتبر سال 2005میلادی

عنوان: ابلیس (ایستادگی)؛ اثر: استیون (استیفن) کینگ؛ مترجم: نرسی خلیلی فر؛ تهران، واژه آرا، 1383، در دو جلد، 1252ص، شابک دوره9646498566، شابک جلد نخست 9646498647؛ شابک جلد دو 9646498655؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده ی 20م

در روز بیست و سوم ژوئن، وحشتی مرگبار سراسر «آمریکا» را فرامیگیرد؛ بازماندگان در گورستانی، به وسعت دنیا، در تلاش برای بقا، و در کابوسی دائمی سرگردان هستند؛ آنها که زنده مانده اند، یا به سوی پیرزنی میروند، که نماد خوبی و نیکویی است، یا به سمت مردی تاریک، که نماد شیطان است

کتاب «ابلیس»، رمانی پساآخرالزمانی و فانتزی، نوشتاری از نویسنده ی نامدار «آمریکایی»، «استیون(استیفن) کینگ» است؛ آنگاه که مردی از یک آزمایشگاه بیولوژیک فرار میکند، زنجیره ای از رویدادهای مرگبار، به هم میپیوندند، و ویروسی جهش یافته، منتشر میشود، که در طی چند هفته، نود و نه درصد انسانها را از بین میبرد؛ آنها که از مهلکه جان سالم به در میبرند، در ترس و سردرگمی به سر میبرند، و به شدت به یک رهبر نیاز دارند؛ با پیشروی داستان، دو نفر برای رهبری و هدایت جامعه ی کوچک، پا پیش میگذارند، زنی یکصدوهشت ساله و خوش قلب به نام «مادر آباگیل»، که از بازماندگان میخواهد جامعه ای در ایالت «کلرادو» بسازند؛ و مردی شرور به نام «راندال فلگ» که از آشوب و خشونت لذت میبرد

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 14/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 10/06/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
May 13, 2023
The Stand is my favorite book of all time.

This was my third time through it and my opinion hasn't changed one bit. I am in awe of this creation.

Full review to come...stay tuned!!!

Let's be real though, if that ever actually happens, it's just going to be me swooning for roughly nineteen paragraphs. Don't hold your breath.

Profile Image for megs_bookrack.
1,616 reviews10.7k followers
November 26, 2022

I'm going to pick this up again soon. I can just FEEL it!


I'm bummed, but postponing my reread for a little while.

I have so many other books I need to focus on right now.
Profile Image for Mohammed Arabey.
709 reviews5,735 followers
December 5, 2022
لماذا تقرأ رواية 1440 صفحة؟

لأنها رواية ستيفين كينج الأطول، لم يلجأ هنا لديستوبيا معلبة مجهزة مسبقا، وحده قادر ببناء واحدة من البداية

!لكنها 1440 صفحة

لأنها ملحمة ليست خيالية بل معاصرة عن عالمنا..ماذا لو أصابه وباء بيولوجي قضي علي 99% من سكانه

!في 1440 صفحة؟

لأنها تصور لآخر الأيام، القيامة، عن المواجهة، الخير ضد الشر .. قل لي هل أنت مستعد لمواجهة المسيخ الدجال حقا؟

!لكنها رواية..وفي 1440 صفحة

لأنها 3 روايات بواحدة، تبدأ بمواجهة للنفس البشرية..صراعات نفسية لشخصيات مختلفة تواجه أصعب أيام حياتها
تخيل الناجين في أرض موتي، جثث بكل مكان..الجميع فقد احباءه ومعارفه..فقد أيمانه... الشدائد كتلك هي ما تظهر معدن البشر
نحن من صنعنا الأوبئة الجديدة والأسلحة البيولوجية والجرثومية في المختبرات العسكرية لنستخدمها كسلاح
فماذا لو انقلبت ضدنا؟
لقد سبق كينج ساراماجو بسنوات في رسم الفوضي التي تنتج عن وباء مكتسح وتغيرات التي تحدث بنفوس البشر

كما أنها عن علم الاجتماع ..وكيف سيكون الناجين مجتمعا من جديد
وكيف أننا دائما نكرر أخطائنا
ربما يكون الإنسان قد خلق علي صورة الله، لكن المجتمع البشري خلق علي صورة الشيطان، لكنه دوما يحاول العودة لاصله
بل وبعد النجاة من الموت عليهم مواجهة كبري ...مواجهة الشيطان ، في اختبار اصعب
وَلِيُمَحِّصَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَيَمْحَقَ الْكَافِرِينَ
ذلك لأنها أيضا عن فلسفة الإيمان بالله...أو الشيطان

!!تبدو لي كرواية تبشيرية دينية..وفي 1440 صفحة

لكنها رواية إنسانية، عالمية، كلنا يواجه شياطين نفسه، والاغراءات بالسلطة، الاستحواذ، عدم تحمل المسئولية، حتي فكرة المسيخ الدجال واتباع الشيطان هي أمر ذكر بالأسلام كما المسيحية وله تشابه بكل الاديان
وحتي إن لم تكن مؤمنا، فصدقني حتي أبطال الرواية لم يكونوا كذلك
الجمال في جنون التدين هو قوته علي تفسير أي شئ. بمجرد قبول أن الله (أو الشيطان) هو المسبب اﻷول في حدوث كل شئ في العالم الفاني، لا شئ يبقي للصدفة..المنطق يمكن ألقاءه من الشباك بسعادة
قد يكون فكرة الشيطان والمسيخ الدجال غير منطقية لملحد..لكن الشيطان هنا قد يكون مجرد زعيم، طاغية..محب للسلطة يجمع أتباعه كالأنعام
من يهدر المليارات في صناعة الاسلحة النووية ، الجرثومية..وباء ليقتل به غيره

لقد كتبها ستيفين كينج بالسبعينات، بعد نهاية حقبة الستينات بمخاوفها وذعرها من حدوث حرب نووية اخري مخيفة بلا معني يضيع بسببها ملايين البشر، وسط اتهامات بتجارب الأسلحة البيلوجية
وما أشبه البارحة باليوم

!في 1440 صفحة؟

نعم ستيفين كينج ثرثارا بحق..يكثر من وصف الطرق والاشارات للمنتجات الأمريكية والعلامات التجارية من سيارات وحتي الأطعمة المعلبة
نعم كثير من السطور كانت حشوا، لم تؤثر في الأحداث بشكل مباشر ولكنه بنفس الوقت يجعلك تعيش وسط الأحداث
فهذا التطويل جعلني أجوب الولايات المتحدةالأمريكية من شرقها لغربها أكثر من مرة، كطريق الحج، في ديستوبيا مرعبة مقبضة..عشت بها شهرا في تجربة لن أنسها

!بالطبع، أنها 1440 صفحة بحق الله

لأن ضخامتها هي سبب جعلها رحلة تعايشها لا تنسي
هي أهم أعمال الكينج، ولو انها ليست الأقرب لقلبه ومع ذلك وافق في إعادة نشرها بنسخة أكبر بها كل ما حذفه في وقت نشرها الأول في 1978
وعندما عرفت تلك الأجزاء وجدت أنها ما جعلني من ربع الرواية اﻷول أشعر بقرب أكبر من الشخصيات بالأخص، لاري أندروود وفراني جولدسميث وعمق لشخصياتهما وتطور ملحوظ لهما لاحقا

أتعجب من هذا الذي يقرأ نسخة مختصرة من رواية ضخمة ثم يقول لك أن لا تطور بشخصياتها ويكتب عنها مراجعة يهاجمها

لكن ما جذبك لتتخلي عن كل الكتب لتستكمل قراءة رواية في 1440 صفحة؟
أعلم أنني لن أقنعك عزيزي القارئ بما يكفي، بل ربما لا أرشح الرواية بقوة كبعض أعمال ستيفين كينج اﻷخري
ﻻنها رحلة قد تجد نفسك مجبرا لأستكمالها...أو تتوقف في ربعها الأول وتفضل الرحيل عنها كما من رحل عن الاحداث بسبب "كابتن الترحال"، "الرحالة"، "الإنفلونزا اﻷعظم"، بل وطوال قراءتها ستجد عقبات أشد قد تجعلك ترحل عنها

لكنك إن صمدت، حتي المواجهة
ستجد نفسك شهدت مواجهة عميقة، قوية لها أكثر من بعد

ولنر لاستطيع تقييم رحلتي تلك بتقسييم المراجعة للثلاث كتب التي أحتوتها الرواية

الكتاب اﻻول : كابتن الترحال
من 16 يونيو الي 4 يوليو -480 صفحة فقط
هنا كما قلت، ستيفين كينج يبني ديستوبيا من الأساس
بعكس كل الروايات الشهيرة الحالية التي تبدأ مثلا في مجتمع تم تدميره من قبل بسبب حرب، كارثة طبيعية، أو بشرية، ربما نووية ، وباء، أو حتي حاكم طاغية مستبد .. كل تلك الروايات التي تبدأ بجو دوستوبيا معلبة، مجهزة مسبقا

لكن في هذه الحالة...الوباء المسبب للديستوبيا هو المعبأ والمجهز مسبقا...في مختبرات الاستخبارات العسكرية الأمريكية

هنا الرواية تبدأ في أمريكا..التسعينات، تعاني كما الكثير من الدول وقته�� ، تعاني كما ستعاني دوما ؛ الازمة الاقتصادية ، التضخم...زيادة السكان وقلة الموارد فأرتفاع الاسعار كالعادة..حزب الديموقراطيين..ألخ

ولكن في مختبر عسكري تابع للحكومة الأمريكية يفلت منه فرد أمن بسيط شهد وفاة مفاجأة لكل من بالمعمل علي كاميرات المراقبة بالخارج...ليهرب قبل أن يغلق باب مباني المختبر اوتوماتيكيا بالكامل للاحتواء، و يأخذ عائلته ويرحل عن الولاية بأسرع وقت

تصدم سيارته صباح اليوم التالي بمحطة بنزين في الولاية التالية، ولحسن الحظ- أو سوءه- يلحظ ستو ريدمان السيارة المسرعة فيغلق مضخات البنزين بسرعة كي لا تنفجر بالسيارة بالمحطة كلها
(ياليتها انفجرت) ، (حقا؟)
ومن تلك البلدة الصغيرة، بمقابلة عابرة تلو الاخري يبدأ كابتن الرحلات، الرحالة، الإنفلونزا العظيمة

وصف السيد كينج كان كابوسيا هنا لكيف أنتشر المرض، هناك فصول كأنها تروي من منظور الوباء نفسه ولكن بشكل غير مباشر، كيف يقابل شخصا مصاب شخصا اخر سليما، ليذهب لشخص اخر يرتحل لولاية أخري حاملا مرض ينتشر بسهولة في الهواء..بشكل تفصيلي غريب كابوسي

وقد يكون بدأ قويا، يقتل في لحظتها، لكن بأنتشاره طالت فترة حضانته...وصار كشفه أصعب
فأعراضه أعراض مجرد برد عادي ، برد أول الصيف العتيد، لكنه يتحول لكل مضاعفات البرد والإنفلونزا البشعة حتي يودي بحياة المريض

ثم تتطور الامور بسرعة
قمع عسكري أعلامي ، مستشفيات تعج بالمرضي والموتي ، فوضي في الأعلام ورعب في الشوارع والجيش يضع حواجز بالطرق بين الولايات التي لا يعرف سكانها إلي أين يفرون من الأساس

وقبل أن ينتهي هذا الكتاب الكابوسي (الجزء اﻷول)، يكون قد تم القضاء بنجاح علي 99% من سكان أمريكا وبالتبعية العالم كله -بسبب ذكر عابر أنه أيضا وصل الصين وروسيا-..كابتن الترحال قام برحلات ناجحة بحق
ولكن هناك ناجين لم يصبهم الوباء...ولكنهم 1%فحسب

وبالطبع لم ينس السيد كينج أضافة فصل قبل نهاية هذا الكتاب عن كيف أن ال1% من السكان الناجين لمناعتهم من الوباء ،قد يلقي ربعهم نحبه بسبب أسباب أخري طبيعية
تخيل كل جيرانك وشارعك والحي الذي تقتنه ميتون ببيوتهم أو سياراتهم العالقة في أزدحام مروري لن يفك أبدا، هل سيتحمل عقلك واعصابك؟
طفل رضيع لديه مناعة لن يستفاد بها من ذلك الوباء، سيموت في غضون ساعات وحيدا

ذلك الفصل بالاخص كان قاسي ببشاعة ، أسلوب السيد كينج به كان عبقريا ، أضافة عبارة "ليست بالخسارة الكبري" بعد أغلب الوفيات التي نتجت بأسباب غير الوباء أصابتني بالرعشة ، حتي إن كانت عن مدمن هيروين مات بجرعة زائدة لم يجد من يساعده

لكن تلك الشخصيات التسع بهذا الفصل والتي تراوحت قصتهم بين صفحة ونصف الي سطر ونصف ليسوا الوحيدين الذين عانوا قسوة السيد كينج
بل الشخصيات الرئيسية نفسها التي نجت الوباء أيضا ستشهد قسوة أشد وطرا
والتي سنتعرف عنها لاحقا
ولكي لا احرق لك مصائر الشخصيات لنر الكتاب الثاني

الكتاب الثاني : علي الحدود
من 5 يوليو الي 6 سبتمبر - 660 صفحة فقط

الأن كل الشخصيات الرئيسية -من مختلف الولايات- بدأت تتحرك من المدن الخاوية الا من جثث الالاف الموتي بكل مدينة لتتجه الي مصيرها
ولكن الي اين؟
هذه هي النقطة
لا يوجد مجتمع الان ، بل سيتم بناء مجتمع من الاساس من جديد
أرني رجلا او امرأة وحدها أريك قديسا. أعطني اﻻثنين وسيقعا في الحب. أعطني ثلاثة وسيخترعوا أمرا ساحرا نسميه ‘مجتمع’. أعطني أربعة وسيبنوا هرما. أعطني خمسة وسيجعلوا أحدهم منبوذا. أعطني ستة وسيعيدوا أختراع العنصرية أعطني سبعة وفي سبع سنين سيعيدوا أختراع الحروب.
وهنا يلعب ستيفين كينج لعبة المواجهة النفسية

هناك البعض يحلم برجل مظلم ، يمشي في الظلام يسبب برودة وقشعريرة لمن يراه ويحاول ان يجند اتباع له
واحيانا تتنتقل الاحلام الي سيدة سوداء عجوز معمرة في مزرعتها تغني طيلة النهار اغاني وابتهالات تبارك الله
والغريب ان الجميع يحلم بكلا الشخصيتين ، وكل نفس لها أن تفضل طريقا عن الاخر

تفسير جزء الأحلام الجماعية رغم ان بها شئ من الميتافيزيقا "ماوراء الطبيعة" هو أن الأحلام عاما تتأثر بشكل كبير بالوعي الجمعي ، وعندما وصل سكان الارض ل1% فقط فقد كان سهلا التأثر بالاحلام ويتكون ما يشبه حلم جماعي

قد يكون الرجل المظلم "راندل فلاج" لأنه تابع للشيطان له بعض القدرات الخارقة للطبيعة لينادي علي اتباع له بالاحلام، ولكن كهبة من الله يحلم البعض ايضا بتلك السيدة العادية، "اﻻم أباجايل" ، المؤمنة فحسب..والتي تشعر أن الله أختارها لتعمر لسبب جاء وقته

فتتخذ الأم أباجايل دور أرشاد الناجين الذين سيتوجهوا لها ، حسب رؤياها من الله، للذهاب للغرب للاستقرار بمدينة سيسمونها "المنطقة الحرة" عند شرق جبال روكي

بينما يختار الجانب الاخر الذهاب لغرب جبال روكي ، للاس فيجاس نيفادا...لدي رجل الظلام..رجل الشيطان

وهنا سيتكون المجتمع، من جديد
أو باﻻصح، المجتمعان

ونتابع بشكل مرهق وقوي كيف يتقابل شخصيات الكتاب الاول مع شخصيات جديدة علي الطريق ، التحالفات التي تحدث بين الشخصيات ، وتشهد معهم اهوال ما حدث بالولايات الاخري برحلة طريق شاقة عبر الولايات الامريكية
وكل شخصية او جماعة حسب وجهتها

هنا يقدم ستيفين كينج نقاش مستمر طوال الاحداث هنا عن المجتمعات وتكونها.. كيف قد يكون مجتمع يديره شيطان طاغية يحكم رعاياه بالخوف..ويخطط كل مجهوداته كيف يقضي علي غيره
وكيف يمكن ان يظل مجتمعا متشتتا متخبطا برغم من ان نواياه صالحة، ديموقراطي، ولكنه يحاول تنظيم فقط بشكل بيروقراطي تنظيمي عقيم وبأجتماعات لا تنتهي مما قد يؤدي لضعفه

بل والاهم كيف يمكن للمجتمع الصالح التجهيز ضد الشيطان؟ العدو الخارجي؟
هل يبدأ ايضا في ارسال جواسيس؟ التحضير ﻻسلحة اخري؟ ربما بيولوحية؟ وباء اخر؟

بل لماذا بعد كل هذه الصعاب (وباء قاتل)..(تذكر ان صنعه البشر بنفسهم)، يظل عليهم مواجهة الشيطان؟؟
هنا نعود للآية التي ذكرتها بأول المراجعة
{وَلِيُمَحِّصَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَيَمْحَقَ الْكَافِرِينَ * أَمْ حَسِبْتُمْ أَنْ تَدْخُلُوا الْجَنَّةَ وَلَمَّا يَعْلَمِ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ جَاهَدُوا مِنْكُمْ وَيَعْلَمَ الصَّابِرِينَ}

أعترف انني لثاني او ثالث مرة أقوم بأدخال الدين في رواية لستيفين كينج
لكن هذا بالظبط شبيه لرد الأم اباجيل علي احد الشخصيات التي أتهمت الذات الإلهية بالظلم لوضع البشر دوما في لعبة شطرنج بين الانسان والشيطان
لان الانسان نفسه بداخله نفس الصراع دائما. . ودائما ما يحتاج لمواجهة

فكرت الام ان قد يكون ��ذا حدث ايضا في المجتمع بعد طوفان سيدنا نوح، بالتأكيد كان هناك انقسام اخر بين البشر الناجين
وقفة أخري
مواجهة النفس...مواجهة الشيطان

فحتي في مجتمع "المنطقة الحرة" كان به نفوس مضطربة مخفية بينهم..يميلون للظلام أكثر في الخفاء
المواجهة هي التي ستظهر المؤمنين وتقويهم
وكلما كانت اسرع، كانت نتيجتها حاسمة اكثر

في هذا الجزء أيضا يناقش الرموز الدينية واهميتها للبشر..ماذا اذا توفت الأم اباجايل؟ هل سيتزعزع ايمان الناجين الذين كونوا هذا المجتمع الصغير بسبب الارتياح النفسي لهالتها الدينية؟
الامر بالظبط كالمرتدين بعد وفاة الرسل.. ولكن بشكل رمزي من خلال الاحداث مقدمة بشكل ملائم وعصري ويدعو للتفكير

لذا كان لابد من المواجهة
الوقفة الاخيرة

والكتاب الثالث والاخير

الكتاب الثالث : المواجهة
من 7 سبتمبر الي 10 يناير - 300 صفحة فقط

{إِنَّ كَيْدَ الشَّيْطَانِ كَانَ ضَعِيفًا}

والان، هذا هو الجزء الاسوأ بالنسبة لي...والاجمل بنفس الوقت
الجزء الاضعف... والاكثر حماسة بنفس الوقت

تخيل انت تقرأ اكثر من 1100 صفحة لعلك تتوقع ملحمة ومواجهة تستمر لصفحات طويلة مليئة بالحرب والدماء والجمل الرنانة والاقتباسات الدينية القوية

لكن الامر تم بشكل ابسط بكثير، واقسي بكثير مما توقعت بنفس الوقت
لن احرق لك الامر
لكن المواجهات التي تمت بين الشخصيات والشيطان، المسيخ الدجال ، وضعف حيلته أمام قوة الايمان وتزعزع صورته امام اتباعه هو امر يستحق القراءة
الاسلوب هنا كان ساحرا وحماسيا
طوال الوقت كنت اكتم انفاسي، اشهق ، او اتحمس كأني اريد ان اصيح
فقط كل شيء تم بسرعة اكبر مما توقعت

اسمعك تقول ،
كيف 300 صفحة ام تكفيك، هناك روايات تتحدث عن ما هو اكثر من ذلك في 300 صفحة فقط؟!!؟

حسنا، لن احرق لك الامر
ولكن جزء كبير يصل للنصف من الكتاب الثالث والاخير يدور في الطريق الي المواجهة ، وطريق العودة
في طريق الذهاب يناقش السيد كينج ببراعة اهمية رحلات تطهير النفس، كرحلات الحج في كل الاديان ، كخروج -مع الفارق- الانبياء والرسل للعراء في صوم للوحي الإلهي

اما في الجزء الذي يدور في مدينة لاس فيجاس ، المجتمع الذي يتزعمه الرجل المظلم، فيقدم فيه السيد كينج عن طريق الجواسيس المرسلين من المنطقة الحرة للاس فيجاس، مقارنة مثيرة للتفكير بين المجتمعين
كيف ان الحكم النازي، حكم الطاغية، يؤدي الي جعل البشر يحافظون علي مواعيد عملهم ويسارعون في انجازه، بعكس الحال تماما في "المنطقة الحرة" حيث هناك شئ من التراخي رغم أهمية العمل
لكن بنفس الوقت الحكم النازي ، حكم الشيطان الطاغية، يجعل المحكومين كأشباه بشر...يعيشون في خوف دائم، لان الطاغية لا يملك غيره يعطيه لهم ليحكم به

فلصالح من تنتهي المواجهة؟
ثم ماذا بعد؟

كيف سيكون المجتمع بعد ذلك
هل سينجح النسبة التي تقل قليلا عن 1% من البشر العيش بسلام

ام ان الدائرة ستنغلق
وسنكرر أخطائنا
ويعيد التاريخ نفسه؟

الي هنا تنتهي مراجعة الأحداث
اتمني ان تكون عرفت الان صديقي القارئ لم قرأت رواية 1440 صفحة..وماذا خرجت منها

من ستصطحبهم أغلب ال1440 صفحة

دون حرق مصائر

ستو ريدمان

هو مفهوم ستيفين كينج عن "رجل الشارع البسيط" ، الرجل الجدع العادي
الغريب أنه رغم وجوده في دور رئيسي إلا أنه لم يكن شخصيتي المفضلة..كان رجلا عاديا في ظروف غير عادية ، هذا كل شئ
ولأن الشدة تظهر معادن البشر..حسنا ، لهذا قلت عنه انه الرجل "الجدع" ، رحلته بعد الوباء هي الأصعب بحق..ربما لم تتطور الشخصية كثيرا لاحقا لكن التجربة هي ما ستخلف به أثارا واضحة

فراني جولدمان
شابة جميلة ، عفوية جدا..ايضا قد تعد شخصية عادية رغم كل شئ لكن ما ستمر به من مصاعب يجعلها يظهر معدنها القوي ، بالأخص في الربع الأول عند معرفتها بحملها ومواجهتها لوالديها

ولكن تقريبا مشهد تحملها المسئولية بوفاة والدها كان من أصعب المشاهد..وأصرارها علي أن تدفنه بنفسها رغم صعوبة الامر، رسمها كينج ببراعة، وظهرت بلوحة من لوحات الرواية

وإن كنت عرفت أن فراني يمكنها تحمل المسئولية بهذا الشكل بالربع الأول ، فهي بهذا عكس الشخصية المناقضة لها

لاري أندروود

مطرب الروك ، شخصيتي المفضلة...ربما بالاخص بسبب فصوله مع أمه أليس أندروود
أمه تواجهه بحقيقته ، بصراحة ووضوح؟ نعم، لكن بقسوة؟...لا أعتقد.. قالتها له مباشرة أنه من النوع الذي يأخذ ويأخذ ولا يعطي، لا يتحمل مسئولية … ظنت ان السنون قد تجعله ينضج لكنه مازال لاري القديم، يقع في مشكلة فيلجأ للحل الأسهل
لكن توافق أمه علي أن يمكث معها في بيته القديم في ضيقته ، بل وتحضر له كل المأكولات التي يحبها من الصغر حتي دون أن يطلب

لاري شخصية مثيرة جدا لان هناك مثله الكثيرين، بل للاسف شعرت بشئ ما مألوفا عندي
لا يقصد ان يكون سيئا..يندم بعد فوات الاوان..لكنه يظل دوما مطاردا بذلك الندم..كما ظل مطاردا بكلمات أمه، وشبح اتهامه أن�� "ليس بالشخص الجيد"..ربما هو كذلك؟

الفصول التي جمعته وأمه أغلبها من النسخة الممتدة -كانت محذوفة في النسخةالقديمة- ، وهنا أ��تقد أنك ستدرك سر جمال الرواية الطويلة إن كانت مكتوبة جيدا
التفاصيل هنا ستجعلك تتفاعل مع لاري، تحبه، تكرهه، تشفق عليه كأمه...وبالاخص شخصية أمه والتي اراها من اجمل ما كتب كينج من الامهات

ستيفين كينج مشهور بالامهات القاسية المستبدة -أم فراني، الشخصية السابقة، خير دليل- لكن أليس رغم انها واجهت لاري بعيوبه لكن تصرفاتها الصامتة معه كانت اقوي تأثيرا
وربما لهذا كان سبب ثراء تحولات شخصية لاري من البداية للنهاية

أعتقد ان كل مشاهده مع امه لاتنسي، ملوها الثلاجة لما يحبه ، مصروفه ليدخل السينما برغم من سنه الكبير، وعده لها لاصطحابها للعبة البيسبول في يوليو ، صراعه النفسي الشديد وقت احتضارها ووفاتها والذي اعتقد انه هنا كان نقيضا نوعا ما ممتازا لدور فراني

نيك أندروز

شاب صغير ابكم وأصم ، يتيم، عصامي، ظروف معيشته الصعبة جعلت تحمله للمسئولية أهم خصاله
شاب صاخب رغم مظهره الهادئ وحالته
يتحمل المسئولية من بداية ظهوره مع مأموربلدة صغيرة، بل وحتي يرعي زوجته بعد رحيله.. ولم يعلم وقتها مقدار المسئولية التي ستلقي عليه لاحقا

من المشاهد التي لاتنسي له هو عندما اعترف للأم أباجايل أنه غير مؤمنا، ردها كان جميلا وواقعيا...ودوره في المجتمع الوليد عاما كان مكتوبا بشكل جيد جدا

جلين باتيمان
هو خبير علم الاجتماع العجوز، رجل ذكي فطن...يقرأ بسهولة كيف سيكون المجتمع الذي قد يتكون من الناجين رغم انه اول ظهوره لم يتقابل سوي ستو ريدمان وكلب اسماه كوجاك

منذ بداية ظهوره أخر الكتاب الاول وهو "رمانة الميزان"، ذلك الذي لا ينطق عن هوي، بل ينطق عن اقتباسات، اغلب اقتباسات الكتاب ستجدها منه
ينطق عن علم نفس بشرية وعلم اجتماع وفلسفة...كيف ان التاريخ يعيد نفسه . كيف ان بناء المجتمعات لم يتغير، الوعي الجمعي والاحلام...العلاقات بين المجتمعات...بل وحتي الاجزاء الدينية ايضا رغم انه غير مؤمن

هارولد لويدر

شاب مراهق وحيد، بدين، لا يملك سوي الكتب والكتابة كرفقة دائمة...واعجاب قديم من طرف واحد بصديقة اخته التي تكبره ببضعة اعوام...فراني
هارولد شخصية مهتزة غير واثقة بنفسها...ولكنه عبقريا، ذكيا
ولذكاءه وسعة حيلته وافقت فراني ان ترافقه في رحلة البحث عن ناجين، غير أن ذلك بسبب أن ببلدتهم هما اخر ناجين من الوباء

تطورات الشخصية كتبها ستيفين كينج بشكل عبقري طوال الاحداث مع كل الشخصيات التي ستنضم معه وفراني ، ليكون من الشخصيات القليلة التي تطورت شخصيتهم بشكل كبير علي مدار الرواية
-ستيفين كينج ممتاز في رسم مثل تلك الشخصيات-

سيدة اربعينية مرفهة، لكن رغم انها قد تبدو قوية وصلبة بعد نجاتها من الوباء إلا أن نيويورك بعد الوباء كانت قادرة علي تحطيم اعصابها
الشخصية مرسومة بشكل جيد ومؤثر بالاخص بالنسبة للاري اندروود
أقتباسها من رحلة عصبة الخاتم في رواية تولكين الملحمية الاشهر "ملك الخواتم" في بداية رحلة 'الخروج' من نيويورك مع لاري كان موفقا. خاصا ان رحلة تولكن، والتي تعتبر ملهمة ستيفين كينج الرئيسية لكتابة تلك الرواية الملحمية علي غرارها.. ولكن في عالمنا، بامريكا بدلا من الأرض الوسطي الفانتازيا

مجرم محبوس في قضية قتل ارتكبت لانه كان تابعا لمجرما اخر مختلا
لكن الوباء بدلا من ان يتسبب القضاء عليه، تسبب في انه كان علي وشك الموت من الجوع والعطش وحيدا في الزنزانة

حتي يأتي من معه المفتاح لاخراج مجرم كهذا
ومن سيكون سوي رجل الظلام نفسه
ليكون لويد..كما في قبل الوباء كما في بعده.. مجرد تابع لقاتل
مع الاختلاف

رجل صناديق القمامة
مختل بسبب ماض قاس وظروف عائلية سيئة يحكيها لنا السيد كينج بالتفصيل
يهوي اشعال الحرائق بهوس شديد
خمن الي اي جانب سينضم

شخصية مثيرة، شابة في اواخر سنوات الشباب لكن شعرها المختلط اسوده بالبياض سببه حادث قديم غامض
نادين شخصية متحفظة، تخفي امرا ما يقتلها بصراع نفسي رهيب بين قبول ورفض
يقابلها لاري أندروود خلال الرحلة مع فتي صغير عجيب به شيئا من الشفافية، او كما يفضل السيد كينج اطلاق عليها "اللمعان" كما في اسم روايته التي سبقت تلك
The Shining
كلا الشخصيتين كان ممتعا في قراءة مشاهدهما بالاخص عند لقاء الأم اباجايل

وهناك الكثير من الشخصيات الاخري التي تظهر بعد ذلك، مهمة ولها روح ، واخري عادية او مجرد فرد اخر في المجتمعات التي ستتكون، وشخصيات اخري غير ما سبق لها دور مهم ومحرك في الاحداث حتي لو صغر
لكن لضيق المساحة لنر اهم شخصيتين

راندل فلاج/رجل الظلام/ظفر الشيطان
عند ظهوره بالربع الاخير من الكتابالاول استنكرت الماورائية والجزء الفانتازي الذي قام ستيفين كينج تقديمه به
لكنه بمرور الأحداث ستفهم ان كينج يقصد به انه أداة الشيطان، مخلبه او اصبعه او ظفره
كالشيطان ينمو ويقوي في الفوضي، في زعزعة الايمان، في مثل تلك الاحداث الكابوسية

لكن في هذا العدد القليل من البشر، وبعد قيامة صغري قام بها البشر بايديهم، قدمه ستيفين كينج كرمز للمسيخ الدجال
ليختبر به البشر، ليجمع اتباع، ويكيد للجانب الاخر..المؤمن

اعجبني بشدة رموز الظلام المحيطة بتلك الشخصية، مواجهته الضعيفة بالبداية للأم اباجايل كحيوانات ابن عرس
ولكن اعجبني اكثر انه لم يلجأ لتهويل وتعظيم شخصيته الخيالية لجعلها الشيطان نفسه مثلا، فقط رمزا

كالجانب الاخر

الام اباجايل
سيدة عجوز مؤمنة ،تكلمت عنها في جزء الاحداث
تحولت لرمز ديني لسبب إلهي يحلم بها الناس
الجميل هنا ان كينج قدم حياتها بشكل تفصيلي قبل ذلك
لكن الاجمل أنه حاول ان يقسو عليها فقط لينفي خطيئة قد يقع فيها امثالها
من يجد تجمع الناس حوله
خطيئة الشيطان

لا يتبق سوي حروف قليلة، واعتقد ان الي هنا ينتهي المراجعة "المختصرة" للنسخة "الكاملة" لملحمة ستيفين كينج الاضخم
في 1440 صفحة

محمد العربي
من 1 مارس 2017
الي 31 مارس 2017

-يمكنك متابعة مراجعات الكوميكس لمزيد من التفصيل-
Profile Image for Ginger.
789 reviews375 followers
March 9, 2020
Laws yes, I finished this huge ass book!

I’ve been wanting to read The Stand for years. I put it off because of the sheer size of the book. I finally kicked my butt in gear and read this post-apocalyptic tale of good vs evil.
I love post-apocalyptic/dystopian plots and I knew I needed to read this. I'm so glad I did!

I went into this book not knowing much about the plot or characters. I did not watch the TV mini-series of The Stand which was produced back in 1994. I'm glad that I didn’t watch it or know what type of plot and characters that Stephen King was going to introduce me too!! I think it's better that way.

The Stand starts off with a deadly plague that kills most of the world’s population. I enjoyed reading about the trials and tribulations of the survivors trying to navigate in this new world. I loved this part of the book!

And because of the death and destruction that occurs, Randall Flagg, the Dark Man comes back for the remaining survivors. Dun dun dun!

I ended up reading the unabridged version of this dystopian tale. I do think that some of this “extra” of the unabridged version could have been cut out. I still loved the overall story though and have to give this book 5 stars because of the amount of world building and characterization that King ends up writing about.
One thing that I had issue with on the unabridged version was the Trashcan Man chapters. It slowed down the pace for me and made me miss the other characters.
Now that I’ve finished the book though, I understand why King wrote those chapters and wanted them in the book.

I absolutely loved the ending of this book! I’ve read some reviews that had problems with it, but it worked for me. I’m not saying more due to spoilers.

Last of all, some of the characters in this book will be with me for years. That’s the skill and brilliance of King when he writes a character driven plot.

Nick Andros, Tom Cullen and Glenn Bateman will always be my favorites.
And I will always hate Harold Lauder with a raging passion. What a weasel! Speaking of weasels…

And now thanks to King, I want an Irish Setter like Kojak. Fetch Kojak, fetch!
Profile Image for Daniel B..
Author 3 books32.5k followers
October 18, 2018
Dear god this was a lot to get through but DAMN was it worth it. WOW
Profile Image for Alex is The Romance Fox.
1,461 reviews1,121 followers
April 19, 2017
I never get tired of reading this book. It's my absolute all time favorite reads. Every once in a while I have to go back and read it again and again....and it's just as good as the first time I read it those many years ago.

1st Review

The end of the world where humanity takes a stand between good and evil.  photo tumblr_lxgvwaXGzD1qzi80do1_r1_500_zpse984a180.gif
I am a Stephen King fan and whilst I have read most of his books, The Stand has remained my all-time favorite. I read it when it was first published in 1978 and I was really happy when a longer and uncut version came out in 1990 and have since read it many times. It remains an incredible, riveting and unforgettable story. The ultimate post-apocalyptic/horror/fantasy and thought provoking novel.

The following content was provided by the publisher, giving a brief synopsis of the story and information on the 1991 uncut version.

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 of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides -- or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abigail -- and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man.

In 1978 Stephen King published "The Stand, the novel that is now considered to be one of his finest works. But as it was first published, "The Stand was incomplete, since more than 150,000 words had been cut from the original manuscript.

Now Stephen King's apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil has been restored to its entirety. "The Stand: "The Complete And Uncut Edition includes more than five hundred pages of material previously deleted, along with new material that King added as he reworked the manuscript for a new generation. It gives us new characters and endows familiar ones with new depths. It has a new beginning and a new ending.

What emerges is a gripping work with the scope and moral complexity of a true epic.
For hundreds of thousands of fans who read "The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King's gift. And those who are reading "The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival. [image error]
This is one book that’s left a lasting impression on me and I love picking it up and reading it all over again and again. How quickly and easily greed, corruption and playing the Hand of God can bring humanity to its knees and even with the possibility of their total extinction. That thought is not that far fetched with all the stuff that’s being done today, all in the name science. Hah!!!!!!!!The plot line which is divided into three parts/books follows the experiences of the plague survivors before, during and after the catastrophe and the roles they play in the story. It’s dark, intense, terrifying and uplifting…there’s hope, faith, religion, love, hate, fear, fate and redemption. A suspenseful and emotional build-up to the final face-off of good versus evil. There’s a meaning to everything that happens in the story – the betrayals, the dreams, death and births. There is nothing random in anything.

But it’s the realistic and deep characterization that’s astonishing. Complex and well developed characters that leap off the pages. It gives us a deeper understanding using the viewpoints of many of the characters – their back stories show the differences in the morality of humankind.
The vivid descriptions make the plot and characters so real and believable.

There are so many great characters in this story that some have left a lasting impression on me.
[image error]

Stu Redman, a quiet, moral and unassuming character that inspires people to continue their fight against evil.
“Men who find themselves late are never sure. They are all the things the civics books tell us the good citizen should be: partisans but never zealots, respecters of the facts which attend each situation but never benders of those facts, uncomfortable in positions of leadership but rarely unable to turn down a responsibility once it has been offered . . . or thrust upon them. They make the best leaders in a democracy because they are unlikely to fall in love with power.”

Abigail Freemantle, 108 years old and believed to be the oldest person and survivor in the world and claims to be God’s prophet and is instrumental in bringing the good forces together.
[image error]

“God doesn't bribe, child. He just makes a sign and lets people take it as they will.”
“The Lord provides strength, not taxicabs.”
And a fine answer to why God had chosen her to be the messenger of God
“...you'll find that God often chooses to speak through the dying and the insane...A healthy person might be apt to filter the divine message, to alter it with his or her own personality. In other words, a healthy person might make a shitty prophet.”
And then there’s Randall Flagg also known as the Dark Man, The Walking Dude, friendly, smiling and helpful… but one can sense the evil and darkness behind that facade – a true villain.
 photo Randall_Flagg_by_Clayman84_zps4f9dfc66.jpg

A demon wearing a denim jacket that displays a button of a pig wearing a cop’s cap one the one lapel and the other with a smiling face button.

The sound that his well-worn, sharp-toed cowboy boots make as he walks the prison corridors to “save” Lloyd Heinrich. A face of true and dark evil.

 photo images3_zps10819083.jpg

“He was known, well known, along the highways in hiding that are traveled by the poor and the mad, by the professional revolutionaries and by those who have been taught to hate so well that their hate shows on their faces like harelips and they are unwanted except by others like them, who welcome them to cheap with slogans and posters on the walls, to basements where lengths of sawed-off pipe are held in padded vises while they are stuffed with high explosives, to back rooms where lunatic plans are laid.”

“He’s in the wolves… the crows, the rattlesnake, and the shadow of the owl at midnight and the scorpion at high noon. He roosts upside down with the bats. He’s blind like them.”

Because humanity never learns from his mistakes. Bad things that happen are quickly forgotten pushed aside as memories past…and so the circle begins again. An eternal and never-ending battle where neither side wins or loses.

Stu & Frannie, at the end say it all………….
“‘Do you think… do you think people ever learn anything?’
She opened her mouth to speak, hesitated, fell silent. The kerosene lamp flickered. Her eyes seemed very blue.
‘I don’t know,’ she said at last. She seemed unpleased with her answer; she struggled to say something more; to illuminate her first response; and could only say it again:
‘I don’t know.’”
Some more quotes I really liked -
“There's precious little reform in the human race.”
Profile Image for Matt's Fantasy Book Reviews.
264 reviews3,975 followers
February 3, 2023
Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.

3.5 stars. An entertaining book and a wonderful thought experiment, but was far longer than it needed to be with a rather disappointing conclusion to the story.

I was extremely excited to read this book, as I have heard over and over that this is one of Stephen King's (one of the biggest writers of all time) best book. Having had very little exposure to Stephen King, I didn't know what to expect when I started into this goliath of a book.

The premise of this book is wonderful, and something I have never read about before but have thought about plenty of times. But the ultimate problem with this book is it is far too length. And I don't say this because it takes too long to read, I have read books longer than this that I have given 5 stars to - but this book goes on, and on, and on, and on, AND ON about character development to a ridiculous degree. At some point you need to get to the plot, but I suppose this is just Stephen King's style.

I know there is a condensed version of this book, but honestly I don't even think that would cut this book down to what it would need to be in order to be appealing to me. While I did love the characters in this book, there was too much random stories going on that ultimately didn't help me appreciate this story any greater, and it felt like he was just writing stream of consciousness and trying to rack up as many pages as possible at points.

But once the plot really starts moving in the 2nd half of this book, my enjoyment skyrocketed. I loved so much about the conflict itself that I couldn't put the book down, and even given my dislike for the first half of this book I was planning on giving this book a 4 or 4.5 rating.

Unfortunately, the conclusion to this story is anti-climactic to say the least. For so much build up, I expected the most epic of showdowns, but what I got was a whimper not a bang. It's unfortunate, but ultimately I still did enjoy my experience, but I can confidently say that I will never re-read this book.

Check out my YouTube channel where I show my instant reactions upon finishing reading fantasy books.
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,996 followers
October 6, 2016
The Stand Abridged: 5 Stars
The Stand Unabridged: 3.5 to 4 Stars

I hope that Goodreads lets both of my star ratings of this book go through as I already rated The Stand Abridged years ago, but in case it doesn’t, I am combining my review of the two into one.

The original Stand is one of my top three favorite books of all time (the other two being Brave New World and 1984 – I am a sucker for post-apocalyptic/dystopian). I don’t think The Stand is the best introduction a person could have to Stephen King (that lies with Salem’s Lot or The Dead Zone), but it is a great story of good vs evil that shows King’s writing chops to the extreme. Other than a slow spot in the middle , it is perfectly paced and un-put-downable.

That is where my problem with the Unabridged version lies – and I have seen other reviews complaining about the same thing; some even saying that the abridged version of The Stand is their favorite King book, and the Unabridged their least favorite. There is just too much extra!

I think the editors had it right when they cut down some of the extended scenes - they slow the pace considerably of what was a roller coaster ride of a book. There are extensive scenes at the beginning of the book and in the middle that felt like they would never end. The already slow part I mentioned above is now close to 400 pages – longer than most books I read! The best paced part was the action packed final 200 pages or so, and they were almost the same as in the abridged version. In fact, all the parts I enjoyed the most were there in the abridged version – and I don’t think I enjoyed them just because of familiarity.

Another thing that the extended parts caused was getting out of touch with the characters for a much longer time than before. Several times I found myself asking “Where is so and so – it has been forever since we heard what was going on with them”. It caused me to lose my connection with some of the minor characters because they are now overshadowed by the major characters. Also, most of the added parts related to the good guys, which made the story lines of the bad guys almost feel like an afterthought. Probably the best new part was .

In summary, I think if I didn’t have the abridged version to compare it to it may have been a 4.5 or 5 star book. But, with the 5 star abridged version out there, it is no contest. While it is interesting to learn more about the characters, it throws the pacing off and makes it more of a chore and less of a joy to read.
Profile Image for Samadrita.
295 reviews4,678 followers
September 8, 2016
One of the reasons why I would never club Stephen King together with any of the other best-selling writers of his generation (Grisham, Archer, Patterson, Sheldon and so on) is this :-
None of them match King's calibre as a story-teller. They don't even come close.

If somebody spins an intriguing tale, his characters get in the way of my enjoyment of it.
If somebody excels at characterization, his plotting is rather unconvincing.
If somebody plots a story well, then his writing turns out to be flat.
(And if you're unlucky enough, some of them mess everything up.)

But Stephen King possesses that rare talent of getting everything right - the story, the unraveling of the plot, the imagery, the underlying implications, the characters, the backdrop, the world-building, the writing - down to the very last detail.
He can grasp your attention at the onset, reel you in slowly but surely, give you nerve-wracking moments of pure anxiety, make you visualize a scene exactly the way he must have imagined it, feel for the characters in his story as if they were people of flesh and blood you were familiar with and, at some point, render you completely incapable of discerning between reality and the make-believe world of his imagination. And you're caught in the same nightmare as the characters of his book are plunging deeper into with every passing moment.

The Stand is one such Stephen King creation. Arguably known as his best written work yet, The Stand, I'm happy to inform readers, deserves every bit of the praise and adulation it continues to receive worldwide till this day.
Now don't get me wrong. The book is nothing new when you glance at the blurb. It is nothing you haven't already read or known about because it is the story your mom/dad/grandma must have read to you as a kid - while you listened moon-eyed with wonder and awe, overcome with emotions you couldn't quite fathom.
It is the ever-fascinating and timeless tale of good triumphing over evil that you have come across enough times yet can never possibly get over.
It is that same story, but with a distinct Stephen King-esque flavour.
Add a dystopian, post-apocalyptic, anarchic world in the grip of an epidemic that claimed most human lives to the eternal conflict between good and evil, and the summation result will lead to The Stand.
But it is so much more than this simple one-sentence summary. Every character, every plot device, every written scene has been constructed and put together so fastidiously in this book that at the end of it one feels that the reader is assigned with the task of collecting and preserving every piece of the gigantic puzzle to form this humbling, larger-than-life image the author had begotten.
Everything is done so ingeniously, that the mesmerized reader can only sit back and watch this spectacle of gargantuan proportions unfolding right in front of his/her mind's eyes.
Horror, psychological ramifications of events, political intrigue, war, chaos in the absence of a centralized administration, a crumbling world order, basest of our human tendencies - King doesn't shy away from exploring the entire gamut of human actions and emotions in a world where nothing of the old establishments has survived.

This man can write. There's no doubt about it.

In terms of sheer volume, scale and narrative sweep, it is an epic. In a way it is The Ramayana, The Mahabharata, The Iliad and The Odyssey or a concoction of all the elements that transformed each one of these stories into epics the world will never cease to look upon with the utmost respect.
It is the story that never becomes stale despite the number of years you insert between the time you read it first and read it for the umpteenth time in some other form. It is the story that transcends barriers of language, culture, religion and history and will always be told and retold in possible ways imaginable, for as long as humanity survives.
It is the story you are bound to be won over by even if you're snotty enough to swear by your copy of Ulysses and frown upon the Stephen Kings of the world of writing simply because they don't have much of a chance of ever winning the Man Booker or Pulitzer or *gasp* the Nobel Prize.
It is the story of good, evil and everything in between. It is the story of love and hatred, loyalty and betrayal, sin and redemption, fate and co-incidence, rationality and the inexplicable. Of unalterable mistakes and innocence lost. Of the goodness of the human heart and the face of the Devil.
At 1100+ pages, it was rather much too short.
I almost wished for it to never end.
But then again one can always re-read to start the cycle of awesomeness all over again.
Profile Image for Matt.
936 reviews28.6k followers
October 11, 2019
“[Charlie] was hunched tensely over the steering wheel, his face drawn in the dim glow of the dashboard instruments. ‘If the gates are closed, I’m gonna try to crash through.’ And he meant it. [Sally] could tell. Suddenly her knees felt watery…But there was no need for such desperate measures. The base gates were standing open. One guard was nodding over a magazine. She couldn’t see the other; perhaps he was in the head. This was the outer part of the base, a conventional army vehicle depot. What went on at the hub of the base was of no concern to these fellows…I looked up and saw the clock had gone red…She shivered again and put her hand on his leg. Baby LaVon was sleeping again. Charlie pattered her hand briefly and said: ‘It’s going to be all right, hon.’ By dawn they were running east across Nevada and Charlie was coughing steadily…”
- Stephen King, The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition

A lot of authors have attempted to narrate the end of the world. None quite manage to do so like Stephen King. This is a big book, and as subtle as a sledgehammer, but the end of the world requires a large canvas, and subtlety is not a necessity for this type of material. In short, this is a near-perfect melding of genre and author.

King’s premise for The Stand is firmly rooted in an old-fashioned distrust of the government. In the opening pages, a highly contagious virus – the superflu – escapes from a U.S. Army biological weapons facility. Despite drastic, murderous attempts to quarantine and suppress, the virus spreads the world over. Most people fall victim to this lethal bug; however, a small number of folks, for mysterious reasons, are immune.

King tells this story in the only way he knows how: voluminously. This fully restored, unabridged “author’s cut” weighs in at 1,141 pages.

(I read this is mass market paperback, which was a true test of my aging eyes. I suppose it’s shorter in other versions, but it’s no novella, no matter what way you slice it!).

This length is partially an indulgence, something you can get away with if you are an international bestselling author. Yet King also uses the space to construct a vivid, consistent, and painfully real portrait of a country gone to hell: highways clogged with vehicles; the power gone; bodies littering fields; simple medical procedures turned lethally serious. King has given himself the latitude to not only show the macro effects of the plague, but also the smaller, telling details, such as the fact that all the beverages the characters drink are warm.

(That would be the real tragedy of the situation. All those Diet Dr. Peppers, all of them room temperature and spicy as hell. One shudders to think of it).

The Stand is a deliberately paced novel. It is a thriller with extreme patience. The first 300 pages or so is all set up, following various, unconnected characters whom – it turns out – are impervious to the superflu. During the middle portions of the book, these characters, including East Texan Stu Redman, music star Larry Underwood, pregnant girl Frannie Goldsmith, and fat guy Harold Lauder, start to make their way towards each other.

(And yes, my facile descriptions of these characters are intended to make a point. Despite certain attempts at shading, especially in making putative hero Larry a bit of an ass, all of King’s characters start to meld together. They aren’t distinct as human beings. Even at the end, I was trying to keep certain individuals separate in my mind. King has created some memorable characters in his career, but this is not a character piece).

King has taken his share of literary criticism (while reaping popular success), but he is an undisputed master storyteller. He writes in the third-person omniscient, taking a Gods-eye view of the world he has created and destroyed. His style is one that would burst the blood vessels of most creative writing professors. His prose veers from formal to slangy, often within a single paragraph. His writing is peppered with idioms, pop cultural references (old television shows, movies, and even commercial jingles), snatches of music, and contains an annoying level of puns and malapropisms. King is a product of a culture that valued the collection of trivia over standard intellectualism. He is, therefore, easily accessible to others of that same culture. On the upside, the prose is easy and fun and effortlessly maintains interest. On the downside, The Stand was first published in 1978, so many of the references are hopelessly dated. (The natural consequence of being up-to-the-minute is that the minute passes so quickly).

Besides the time-capsule references, the other disadvantage of King’s voice is that it tends to overwhelm the characters and the situations. It has a homogenizing influence. Everyone talks the same and thinks the same. In one conceit, King excerpts the minutes of a council meeting in the Boulder Free Zone (where survivors have congregated); unsurprisingly, the tone of these “minutes” sound remarkably like King himself. The author and the characters almost become one. This is a disheartening prospect, when the narrator is describing a sex scene and all you can picture is Stephen King’s photograph.

A great deal of time is spent giving depth and detail to a post-civilized landscape. There is a very real-seeming, Swiss Family Robinson-like aspect to the proceedings, as various survivors find ways to carry on in an environment bereft of government and modern conveniences. King goes to extremes to remind you on every page of the conditions his protagonists face. Indeed, there is an entire section in the book devoted to one-off characters dying in relatively mundane fashion, underscoring the heightened dangers you face when the safety net of community has been cut away.

The realistic grounding is necessary, because Stephen King (being Stephen King) also has some supernatural elements to add to the mix.

All the survivors, immune from the superflu, begin having shared dreams. Actually, there are two dreams. One dream, the good dream, leads people to an old black woman in Nebraska, Mother Abigail (Here, King indulges an unfortunate propensity for mystical black characters). Another dream, the evil dream, leads people to a Satan-like figure known by several names, but mainly as Randall Flagg (a recurring character in the King canon).

The two dreams lead to a coalescing of flu survivors into separate camps. The good guys, including Larry, Stu, a deaf-mute named Nick Andros, and a low-functioning man named Tom Cullen, gather in Boulder, Colorado, and attempt to rebuild society. The bad guys, including a spree killer named Lloyd, make camp in Las Vegas (naturally!).

As you might have gathered, it is these two forces, good and evil, that must eventually come to conflict. And it is the good people of Boulder who will eventually make the titular stand.

This biblical setup gives King ample opportunity for pop philosophizing. He even creates a character, sociologist Glen Bateman, for the sole purpose of soliloquizing on topics such as community dynamics and embryonic democracy. At this point, King’s reality, which he has worked so hard to create, begins to dissipate. It is replaced by cheap symbolism and on-the-nose commentary.

For instance, with Glen’s help, Randall Flagg is tagged as a fascist, who crucifies anyone who dares cross him; yet his brand of leadership is efficient at getting the lights turned on. Meanwhile, the Boulder folk start committee after committee, strangling themselves in bureaucracy; but at least they have free will and a voice and the constitution.

The Bible 101 also gets to be a bit much. I got that Mother Abigail was supposed to be Christ-like before she wandered off alone into the wilderness.

All this adds up to an endgame disappoints. (Minor, non-specific grousing behind the tag).

With that aside, The Stand’s virtues more than make up for any shortcomings. My chief complaint is the eyestrain associated with any mass market paperback. Of course, the eyestrain was worth it. The Stand is a fine mess: an ambitious, overstuffed epic that gleefully spills out in every direction. While it lacks the forcefully-focused storytelling of King’s best works, it will definitely remain a landmark against which other world-destroying writers will have to contend.
Profile Image for Fergus, Quondam Happy Face.
1,029 reviews17.7k followers
October 1, 2023
Our disintegrating modern ethical cliff - hanging in a sheer drop over our grim future world in the Stand - will soon utterly collapse. Then what?

Well, you know, and I know, that Hell is Deep.

Should we heed pale Dante's warning and "give up hope, all you who enter in here?"

No. Because we're not there yet. Repentance's Window of Opportunity is still open!

The Tibetan Buddhists describe the Land of the Dead as a land in which all reference points are lost. We will soon know Nothing For Sure. Our pride, which had always given us our bearings, is now gone in a puff of smoke. No friends, no diversions.

You know, Sartre had it wrong - Hell is not other people - it is only our narrow, naked self under the Bardo's Bright Light. Where is forgiveness now?

Well, remember that puff of smoke?

This is Hell's - or Heaven's, depending on how we lived our life - Anteroom. You pays your money and you takes your chances. Life is tough, and then you die. The Bardo's bottom line.

But there's another option. We can now make the best of a bad situation. As King's band of fighters here do. "It is not too late to seek a better world!"

I read The Stand in the languid summer of 1980, in a paradisal resort getaway in Canada's Kawarthas. It was a gift to my girlfriend and me (was it intended as Fifth Business, as in the blockbuster novel? You betcha!) from my Mom. She had stayed here many times, and had relished its gastronomical cuisine.

You see, Mom was dying of terminal cancer - she knew it and we knew it. But she knew we were deeply in love, and she only wanted to see our two wedding bands before her exit! And she did - just before, in fact.

What had I packed in my luggage before we left the smog 'n stress of the city for this heaven on earth?

As much of the Stephen King oeuvre as I could carry! So it was to be the Perfect Storm...

You guys know by now I am an Aspie who refuses to read signals - but that vacation I read 'em all, in our rich near-neighbours' gestures. I became utterly antsy, and so dug deep into those novels in order to self-medicate. It worked.

And I've been in a state of simmering High Anxiety ever since, though now confidently medicated. But I remembered back then St. Paul's words - "marry or BURN."

That was Mom's Fifth Business. And it did the trick.

But now that we all face The Disaster on a daily basis, we know that its grim aftermath, as Stephen King says, is Anarchy. There are always sorrowful survivors who must face That New Disaster.

King says we will never be able, naturally, to go back to utopia.

So what then? Put on a perpetually glum face and sink deep into nothingness? Heaven forbid - for at that time all our preferred anodynes will be permanently out of stock - for all the stores will be boarded up.

No. Remember November 22, 1963?

Kennedy had just been gunned down. Anarchy loomed like a Death's Head.

The great W.H. Auden simply wrote:

Remembering his death
How we choose to live
Will decide its meaning.

So, fast forward again sixty years.

Now we're ALL burning, and soon must pay the piper.

Hell is murky. The Death's Head has appeared again.

Whatever will we do? Well, how we choose to act or not to act will decide the Disaster's meaning.

And when that time comes I know I'll be sure to make my STAND.

Will YOU?
Profile Image for Jessica.
593 reviews3,364 followers
October 22, 2007
I read this book ages ago, but it's fresh in my mind every time I wind up stuck in traffic underneath the Hudson.

It's about almost everyone in the world basically catching a bad case of the Plague and dropping dead. This premise doesn't seem very far-fetched, which could make it either more or less entertaining, depending on your temperment.

Here's my opinion about good old Stevie King: he's got a real problem with endings. He'll spin these long, terrific stories, but way too often they're all based in suspense, and he lures you to page 600 or whatever, and leaves you high and dry. I read the first half of _It_ in sixth grade and had to stop, as the book had completely deprived me of my ablity to sleep. Two years later, I'd finally recovered enough to brave It again, and the ending was so stupid that I sorely wished I'd saved myself months of clown-terror wakefulness by finishing it the first time. I mean, don't get me wrong, the guy can write. But he almost invariably writes himself into a corner, and his endings are a let-down.

The great thing about The Stand, to me, is that King a. demonstrates that he's aware of this problem and b. uses his weakness jujitsu style, combined with wish-fulfillment, to great effect. You can just see him crouched at his typewriter, chewing on something and grumbling, "Christ, what's my problem..... These goddamn endings.... I just need a deus ex machina."

I liked the Stand. The Stand's good stuff. It's not one of the scary ones (well, it's scary in a different way than, say, The Shining), and in addition to having an ending I appreciate, it also gets pretty silly, but still: Recommended. Yep.

Profile Image for Whitaker.
294 reviews511 followers
July 9, 2011
I’ve said before that romance fiction taps into a primal desire for comfort. It’s a fantasy, a snuggie to wrap up in curled up with hot chocolate and toasty roadhouse cookies. The Stand falls squarely into that category, and adds hot rum to the mix as well.

The subtitle of The Stand really should be A Very Norman Rockwell Apocalypse. It’s a political fantasy set in the aftermath of a GM plague: a mutating flu virus with 99.4% transmissibility. Needless to say, 75% of the world’s population dies. Well, as far as we know, since the novel is set in the US, and except for maybe two widely separated sentences in its 1000+ pages of text that tangentially mention the spread of the virus to China and Russia, the rest of the globe is one huge blank.

It is not only a political fantasy, but it is a particularly American political fantasy. The trajectory of the novel could be described by this triptych of American Gothic:

First picture: Standard American Gothic; Second picture: American Gothic zombified; Third picture: American Gothic with Uncle Sam and the Statute of Liberty

The crux of the conflict is between the good guys (who proceed to set up a Kumbaya egalitarian republic) and the bad guys (who run a pseudo-religious dictatorship/cult). The good guys are gathered in by Mother Abigail, an African-American woman (and the only significant person of colour in the entire book I believe), who plays the obligatory role of Virgin Mary/Mother Goddess/Earth Mother. The bad guys are led by Randall Flagg, a persona of pure evil, the Antichrist in all but name.

Now I’ve nothing against comforting fantasy. It’s clearly hit some kind of sweet spot with a lot of Goodreaders. Good wins out, of course, and if you think that this is a spoiler, well then you’ve been living under rock for a century (this is Stephen King for crying out loud, not Thomas Mann).

But what made the whole thing an indigestible corn syrupy mess for me is that it’s essentially founded on the idea that Bad People do Bad Things Cause They’re Possessed by the DEVIL. Seriously. Randall Flagg has this weird power over people where he takes over their minds. Yeah, it’s true that bad people are attracted to him even if they also find him repulsive. But King makes it clear that Flagg has some kind of occult power to influence them.

Now, if this was ultimately about Flagg getting into a fisty-cuffs with Mother Abigail, with her using her own weird (but good weird) occult power to control her minions in some kind of heavenly smack-down, I would be okay with that. But it’s not. The forces of egalitarian righteousness are Good Simple Salt-of-the-Earth folk exercising their God-Given Freewill, laws yes they are! (One of them talks that way, I kid you not.) The spineless terrorised people under one Flagg are, on the other hand, mindless zombie spawn about to unleash nuclear Armageddon on the US of A.

And that just really pisses me off.

Cause in all of human history, it’s always been the rallying cry that the Other Side are in league with the Devil. That’s what makes it okay to rip out their guts, rape their wives, and bash out their babies’ brains. Hey, cause they’re not people, like us. When really, all it is is that that they aren’t people like us.

That they aren’t people is such a sweet little fantasy. And one of the most vile and deadly ones too. It's sad to see it be perpetuated here. For shame, Stephen King! For shame!
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