In 1978 Stephen King published a shorter version of The Stand to critical acclaim. He reworked and restored the cuts, added new material, and this 1,153-page novel became a 1990 bestseller.
A flu virus being tested by U.S. government labs as a biological weapon is accidentally released, causing the deaths of 90 percent of the American population. Survivors, who had natural immunity to the virus, begin to migrate in search of other survivors.
One group drifts into Boulder, Colorado, where a 108-year-old black woman with a deep Christian faith becomes the figurehead around which people attempt to rebuild America according to its Declaration of Independence and Constitution.
A second group drifts into Las Vegas, where a “dark man” attracts people who are uncomfortable with religion and representative democracy.
A clash between them is inevitable.
Although there is a supernatural element to the novel, its most terrifying elements are all-too-familiar aspects of human nature we see on daily newscasts. King draws all his threads together into a plausible ending, leaving readers with a great deal of uncomfortable reality to think about.
Unfortunately, I’m afraid readers in 2020 won’t read such a long book, no matter how good—and The Stand is the best of the King bestsellers I’ve read.
The Stand, complete and uncut, by Stephen King
Viking. ©1978, ©1990. 1153 p.
1990 bestseller #7; my grade: A
©2020 Linda G. Aragoni