The Stand by Stephen King…end of humanity?

The Stand is a post-apocalyptic novel revolving around the survivors after an outbreak of the “superflu” in America. Think of it like the swine flu, but way worse. Everyone who comes in contact with it dies, except for the few lucky people who are immune to it.  The survivors eventually end up following either Mother Abigail, whose society represents Christianity & democracy, or Randall Flagg, whose society represents an Antichrist cult & dictatorship. It’s basically a “good vs. evil” kind of book.

When I first saw The Stand at the library, I wasn’t sure if I really want to read a book over 1150 pages long or not, though I admit, I am strangely fascinated by stories that have to do with viruses. I have mentioned in my other post (Take that, Kindle!) that this is my very first “big book,” so I didn’t really know what to expect from it. Even when I read books that are 300 pages long, I would often feel that there’s already enough stuff going on. So with a book more than 1150 pages long, was it possible to make it interesting as well? Did Stephen King, one of the most famous contemporary authors, live up to the challenge?

With a curious mind, I decided to read the book. Here’s what I think of the beginning, middle, and the end of the book:

Beginning: Wow, just what I thought. The book does get draggy at times. I don’t like the fact that it’s going into every detail. I just want to know what happens next. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that it’s the uncut version. Oh well, it’s not bad enough for me to stop reading it. After all, there are hundreds of pages left…but it better get more interesting soon!

Middle: I cannot put the book down! I am actually somewhat glad that the beginning was draggy. It allowed me to know all the characters and feel for them. Because of the great characterization, the book ended up being insanely addictive!

End: The ending was meh…was I expecting too much since the middle was so amazing? Or does it actually have some deep meaning behind the ending, which I didn’t get? Or is it just a Stephen King thing, since I read somewhere that he rarely plans a plot when writing?

Nevertheless, I think this book is worth reading. It’s the journey that counts, not the destination. ^_^ The ending could have been better but I did enjoy most of the book.

It kind of makes me think about the possibility of the world ending like this. I feel that we have put ourselves on destruction mode ever since we decided we’re going to become more civilized. We decided that we don’t want to chase after our food. We wanted to control how much food we get instead,  and hence we went from foraging to farming. Because the people living next to you might not be the people you like anymore, we started having fights with each other. Over time, towns became cities, which then became countries. Our desire for control grew with the size of the population; We started to feel the need to control everyone that was not one of us, and we did this by destroying & taking over their land, resources, etc….our definition of civilization is having control.

“Always remember, Kojak, that control is what separates the higher orders from the lower.” 

So to accidentally release a virus from the military (which is what happened in The Stand) is not at all impossible. I wonder how will our react to it. If the “superflu” really did happen, will we see it as a global pandemic or just another over-hype made to gain more profit? Hmm…

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4 responses to “The Stand by Stephen King…end of humanity?

  1. Of course humanity ending and the world ending are not the same thing…and on that happy thought!

    Christian/democracy and anti-christ/dictatorship – can I have a third option!

    Good review – I think I will wait for the film though!

    • Yes, you are correct. World ending and humanity ending are different. I meant humanity ending. As you can probably tell, I kind of just wrote this all at once and forgot to go back and check if everything made sense…

      With all the amazing things you can do with film nowadays, the TV mini-series in 1994 might not do enough justice to The Stand. Great storyline, decent budget…sounds like an awesome movie series already 😀

  2. I went on a Stephen King kick last year, I read ‘The Green Mile,’ ‘The Stand,’ and ‘Thinner’ all in a row. ‘The Stand’ was by far the best, it’s truly an epic…and it looks like we both read the Uncut version. Even though it was long and detailed it absolutely kept my interest. Yes, I agree that the ending was a little on the “meh” side.
    Re. the poll above, I’m voting for global warming but there are any number of human made disasters that could wipe us out, another possibility would be somebody setting off an Electro-Magnetic Pulse that sends us back to the stone age.
    Have you read ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy? It describes a similar end of the world as we know it scenario to King’s but with less of a fantasy element. Very beautiful though.

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