The Stand (Unabridged) - Stephen King
“The stand” was first published in 1978 and I first read it shortly thereafter. It made a big impression on me and I kept a copy of it that eventually disintegrated on my bookshelf. In 1990, “The Stand” was republished with about 400 pages of material that had been cut from the original release . This audiobook is a reading of the 1990 version.
As vividly as I remember certain passages from the book, it’s surprising how much I’d forgotten - I must’ve blanked out the parts i didn’t like. Other than some 1980s cultural references and a lot of additional incidental material, I can’t tell the difference between this version and the 1978 original. I don’t think the additional material improves the story.
As much as I like “The Stand”, I find it a little irritating as well. It’s a huge, horrifying epic that builds slowly, suddenly acquires a weird quasi-religious element that really doesn’t go anywhere, and then - pffft - it’s done. For me, something’s missing, King presents this mind-numbing catastrophe with his usual flair, but like most authors of this kind of novel, he seems less sure about how to convey the terror and desolation of his characters to the reader. The dying part is an easy thrill, but living is hard. I suppose after killing off 99%+ of the population, an author hasn’t got much gas left to think about the survivors with anything but the most banal suppositions. Or maybe it just wasn’t his point. Unlike some of the more recent examples of the apocalyptic novel, this one isn’t militaristic, an excuse to gun up and start shooting, the characters are all just ordinary people. (Mind you, theres’ plenty of King-style gore and screaming mimis to go around, though).
“The Stand” stands up pretty well to the test of time. It’s a story written in the 70s, tweaked a bit in the 80s, set in 1990, and being read now. Some of us who’ve lived through all those dates may feel some weird time yaws, you’re liable to experience the mid 70s, late 80s and ideas that seem almost current in the same paragraph
“The Stand” remains one of my favorite King novels, (well I’ve only read about 6 of them), despite its flaws. Now this audiobook of it will sit on my iCloud until some apocalyptic event wipes out the internet.
I’d definitely recommend it - the book, I mean... well... maybe the internet thing too if it’ll get rid of Facebook and Twitter...