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The Stand by Stephen King – My Life For You *Spoilers*

August 1, 2011
The Stand by Stephen King

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 cant ignore it. Stephen Kings 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 worlds population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil.

I love to burn things up, King says. Its 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

The Magnum Opus King Novel — A Must Read!
First, I must address issues from haters of The Stand:

It deals too much in good and evil
One argument here is that good+evil is the only theme King works into all of his books, but thats not what Stephen King is about. King has stated that what he truly writes about is people, and the relationships people have with one another. If you cant stand some good vs. evil, then dont try any Shakespeare or anything, your head would explode.
Its too long.
A real end-of-the-world scenario would not shorten itself for your convenience, impatient one.
Its boring
Thats because your attention span sucks. Go read Twilight.

And now onto my thoughts on the book; this novel was amazing. Its complex, has true character and story. It has gritty realism, and yet is so surreal and outlandish.
This is the breakdown of the epic story:

BOOK I: Captain Tripps
A biological man-made virus gets out of a military base, and the only surviving soldier goes AWOL with his wife and daughter, unknowingly taking the virus with him. They reach Texas, the home of our first protagonists, mainly Stu Redman. When the virus spreads in Texas, there is a military takeover to stop the spread, little do they know its already head east. When the superflu virus kills most of the town, Stu Redman later escapes confinement, uninfected. Select people all manage to survive the plague in their individual areas, as it becomes evident to the nation that the plague is government-made, and martial law takes over to stop this spread of information. Theres rioting, violent censorship, vigilantism, and civilization begins to collapse.

BOOK II: On the Border
These individual survivors witness the fall of society and the death of millions via failed government or the superflu. They are all, in their individual areas, on their own, until they begin having dreams of a 108-year-old black woman living in Nebraska. These survivors all start heading out amongst the post-Apocoylpse country, and eventually even finding each other, linked with this dream of an old black woman named Mother Abigail. When these survivors find each other, the main goal in their cross-country oddyssey is to find Mother Abigail, as they realize there is something important about her. However, various other survivors across the country, including an inmate, a pyromaniac, a nymphomaniac, various criminals and misfits are drawn via dreams to a different savior, a drifter in Las Vegas (or what was Las Vegas) that they only know as the Walkin Dude, or the Dark Man. This saviour is much different from Mother Abigail, this saviour is Randall Flagg. When the survivors find Mother Abigail, they also find the deserted Boulder, Colorado, where their civilization is to be built, and known as the Free Zone. Mother Abigail and her survivors build this society as a free, democratic society with a foundation of peace and civil diplomacy. Randall Flaggs society in Las Vegas, however, is built upon totalitarianism, and torture and even crucifixion to those disloyal to Flagg. It is clear that Randall Flagg is something a little bit beyond human, if human at all. Flaggs supernatural influence reaches the Free Zone, as well, and causes two survivors there to cause horrible acts of treachery against their new establishment. With this, the Free Zone survivors become aware of Flagg and his civilization in Las Vegas, and are sent by Mother Abigail to travel there and confront him. To stand.

BOOK III: The Stand
This final part of the novel is the Apocolyptic confrontation, or stand, between good and evil, between the followers of Mother Abigail and the followers of Randall Flagg. Ive decided not to give anything away, only to say some will be disappointed with this ending, but others will be blown away by it.

Ultimately, The Stand is, as has been said, a book you either love or hate, and thank King, I loved it.

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The Stand by Stephen King


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