I was so super fucking excited to get to The Stand. It’s been so long since I’ve read it that I barely remembered any of it, I just knew that it’s one of the greats. This book is so good that there is a cult of Stand-fans that feel that King never needed to write anything afterwards. I highly disagree, because I love so many of his books, but it just goes to show how amazing this book is.
The flow of this book is so genius it’s insane. It starts you out getting to know all of these interesting characters, and then BAM, disease outbreak! Captain Trips, the superflu, kills most of the world, and all that’s left are random motley crews across America. For the first third of the book it seems like it’s just going to be about society rebuilding itself, maybe people forming factions and warring against each other, but oh no.
The story morphs seamlessly and believably into the ultimate battle between good and evil. All of the people left on earth are forced to choose between light and dark, and the narrative gives an incredibly deep look at both of them. You get the internal battle in each person, some finding it easy to choose a path, and others wary of which way to turn until the bitter end. Even then they wonder if they made the right choice.
I love that in the end, you don’t really know who won, either. I feel as if this is an intentional parallel to life out here in the real world. That no matter what, neither good nor evil will ever really win. All we can do is just try to do our best, and live our lives. What makes The Stand the best kind of masterpiece is that it had me questioning my own world constantly. Or wondering what I would have done in any of the given situations.
Anyway. I could talk this book to death. It’s wonderful. If you’re looking for epic end of the world stuff with a spiritual fantasy twist, look no further, because no matter how much time passes, this book will always Stand up. (See what I did there?)
For The Dark Tower Fans:
There is so much Dark Tower in the Stand it’s almost too much to list! The man in black himself is the main antagonist, Randall Flagg, the walkin dude. And then just a lot of little things, little references that will come to fruition in the Dark Tower series.
At one point Larry Underwood is reflecting on the events in his life, and he thinks: “A stone, a leaf, and unfound door.”. Or when the Judge is on his way west and the crow starts tapping at his window, and he thinks “that this was the dark man, his soul, his ka somehow projected into this raindrenched, grinning crow[…].
I love it, every little bit of it. I feel as though The Stand is where we really start to see that the story of Roland and his tower have been brewing inside of Stephen King all along.Fear Factor:Is it terrifying to think of having to bury everyone you know because you’re the lone immune survivor of a deadly plague? It is terrifying to think of trying to survive in this new world, not knowing if anyone you come across wants to kill you? Is it terrifying to think that even after all of that, if you do survive, you still have to fight half of the human race, and you have no idea whether or not you’re on the winning side? Or even the right side?While this book isn’t in-your-face scary, all of these underlying themes just made my skin crawl the entire time I was reading it. When you put yourselves in the character’s shoes, that’s when shit gets real, yo.See Also:This article on the 1994 Stand miniseries. This guy talks about why The Stand is great, and why it shouldn’t be made into a movie. It articulates my exact thoughts on the subject. So fuck you, Ben Affleck, and leave The Stand alone.
“He could taste it, a sooty hot taste that came from everywhere, as if God was planning a cookout and all of civilization was going to be the barbecue.” -The Stand, Stephen King, 1978