Hardcover Ê The Stand MOBI ↠

The Stand 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 ofpercent of its people A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides or are chosen 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, 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 virusNow 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 raceInvariably, 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 plagueHe 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 powersNever 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 himSo 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, isIT , 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 plotsIT 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 deathRalph 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 exciseI 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 processorHe 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 BatemanBut 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 decimationI 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 atranquil 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 seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at 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 suc 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 muchepic 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 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 onl 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 muchIt 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 06 25 2020 Five months later FINISHED What a ride Glad I kept notes on how the novel impacted me throughout, because January 2020 was a very different time in my life than June 2020 This review exceeds the character limit, so I will post my uncut final update in the comments 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 Like Star War 06 25 2020 Five months later FINISHED What a ride Glad I kept notes on how the novel impacted me throughout, because January 2020 was a very different time in my life than June 2020 This review exceeds the character limit, so I will post my uncut final update in the comments 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 Like Star Wars 1977 , you can choose to join the Dark Side or not Although I think King is drawingfrom the Book of Exodus than George Lucas epic space opera, it is interesting that both were released within a year of each other.Also interesting, how vivid my own dreams have been lately Since the beginning of the pandemic I ve had reoccurring nightmares All of them some variation on the same theme impending doom.I dream of drowning most frequently The plot shifts, but it always ends with me driving off a bridge, trapped as my car slowly fills with water I beat against the glass to no avail, scream until I m out of breath The water rises to my neck, sometimes entering my lungs, before I finally wake in a panic This dream occurs so often I ve memorized every article on the Internet about how to properly escape a submerged vehicle Not that that makes it any less scary.Other slow deaths have infiltrated my nightly subconscious One was a complicated scenario where my living body was dumped into a heap of COVID corpses and I suffocated under their weight I woke up horrified and, at the same time, thinking I should write everything down The premise had a juicy E A Poe vibe.I ve also dreamed of an evil man Perhaps Stephen King is to blame for this, though I don t think my nightmare man is an unconscious interpretation of Randall Flagg He is a magician of some kind though, with an ability to order minions to terrorize the innocent In my dream I was with a large group of friends in a park, I think, when his henchmen started shooting It was one of those weird dreams where you see it coming, but are also taken by surprise I knew the man was evil and capable of such things, but still felt shocked when it happened.The worst part about these nightmares is waking up and realizing they aren t over.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 issevere 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.Ugh 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.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 manywho 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.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 severalmonths I m trying, world, I m trying LolAs 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 daysish 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 severalmonths.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.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 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 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.02 28 2020 Up to 15% Starting to question my logic that reading this during a pandemic will make itfun 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 arecoronavirus 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.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.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

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