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The Stand: Expanded Edition: For the First Time Complete and Uncut (Signet) Mass Market Paperback – May 7, 1991
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In 1978, science fiction writer Spider Robinson wrote a scathing review of The Stand in which he exhorted his readers to grab strangers in bookstores and beg them not to buy it.
The Stand is like that. You either love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. Stephen King's most popular book, according to polls of his fans, is an end-of-the-world scenario: a rapidly mutating flu virus is accidentally released from a U.S. military facility and wipes out 99 and 44/100 percent of the world's population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil.
"I love to burn things up," King says. "It's the werewolf in me, I guess.... The Stand was particularly fulfilling, because there I got a chance to scrub the whole human race, and man, it was fun! ... Much of the compulsive, driven feeling I had while I worked on The Stand came from the vicarious thrill of imagining an entire entrenched social order destroyed in one stroke."
There is much to admire in The Stand: the vivid thumbnail sketches with which King populates a whole landscape with dozens of believable characters; the deep sense of nostalgia for things left behind; the way it subverts our sense of reality by showing us a world we find familiar, then flipping it over to reveal the darkness underneath. Anyone who wants to know, or claims to know, the heart of the American experience needs to read this book. --Fiona Webster
From Publishers Weekly
Survivors of a chemical weapon called superflu confront pure evil in this updated and even more massive version of King's 1978 saga. "The extra 400 or so pages . . . make King's best novel better still," said PW. " A new beginning adds verisimilitude to an already frighteningly believable story, while a new ending opens up possibilities for a sequel . "
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
I won't give away anything, I'll only say take your time and enjoy the ride with King's epic. I loved every word.
The book is split into three books according to the table of contents. Book 1 (Captain Trips) and 2 (on the border) are the biggest books - basically sections. The 3rd book, which has the same name as the title of the entire book "The stand" is the shortest of all of them, containing only 18 of the books 78 chapters. Book 1 (Captain Trips) is probably the best overall. As it describes the outbreak of the superflu and introduces all of the main characters that each have incredible back stories. I've never read a book this big before and it was amazing to read 400 pages without being bored and still only feel like the adventure was just beginning.
Things slow down in book 2 when the main protagnists (there are many) kind of settle down in Boulder Colorado after all being led there through dreams and visions from a very old woman, arriving as a hodgepodge of separate groups during their journeys, after having met each other through a variety of strange ways and sometimes complete happenstance. The city continues to grow as more are led there by dreams and visions. Of course, on the other side of the mountains, people are being led to another city via dreams and visions, except these dreams and visions come from a demonic man, probably satan or someone one notch below. This individual, who has the human name of Randall Flagg among some others, has the goal of rebuilding his city and gathering arms. The book eludes to the fact that Randal Flagg gathered people who were technologically inclined so their city was much more functional than that of Boulder whose inhabitants struggled to get the electricity turned on. The main characters in boulder decide to form a make shift government which occupies a large part of Book 2. One reason why the book started to decline for me. This book also introduces the old woman, Mother Abigail, who people have been seeing in their dreams. After the main characters keep seeing her in their dreams over and over, they come to the conclusion that she must be real as crazy as it is, and thus they go to Boulder. For me, the introduction of her character, was my least favorite chapter. There is no justification for her abilities. Her story didn't add anything. God has just picked her for reasons unknown. Things started to get interesting again near the end of book 2 going into book 3.
I don't know exactly which parts were included in the uncut version. But I imagine that some of the things I didn't like must have been the uncut portions as many others have also criticized. There really is a lot of stuff in the book that just doesn't advance the story which is probably why it was taken out in the first place. Who knows, if I read the original, I might have given it 5 stars.
The first time I picked up this book was when it first came out in paperback. I remember writing a letter to the author (whichever sent) asking - no, begging for a sequel. I downloaded this expanded version last year and though I have just finished my third reading of it, I find the longing still as strong.
Stephen King' s ability to weave characters and plots and themes so intricately is as compelling today as s it was when he first burst on the scene. His newer books have drawn me into the story and made the idea of it SO believable that indeed I believed in vampires and clowns that lived in sewers-Even aliens placing a dome over a small town.
As I began the most recent read of The Stand, the Ebola epidemic was winding down and the measles woes were ramping up in the US. There were even rumblings of the measles outbreak being the result of a government conspiracy and this year's flu is a strain not well covered by the immunizations as the strain had mutated. Ah, scary thoughts when reading this book. What Mr. King manages to do each time is to weave a story of good vs evil wherein good triumphs but not in a predictable or easy way. Thank you for this Mr King from a long time constant reader.
I'd say the strongest part of this book was the characters. I found myself having an opinion about just about everyone I met. Some characters I loved and some I hated but there wasn't a single one I didn't care about. This made it real easy to be invested in what their mission was. I especially liked that you get to see both sides.
If you enjoy post-apocalyptic reads then you should give this one a read.