Stephen King's apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and tangled in an elemental struggle between good and evil remains as riveting and eerily plausible as when it was first published. A patient escapes from a biological testing facility, unknowingly carrying a deadly weapon: a mutated strain of super-flu that will wipe out 99 percent of the world's population within a few weeks. Those who remain are scared, bewildered, and in need of a leader. Two emerge-Mother Abagail, the benevolent 108-year-old woman who urges them to build a peaceful community in Boulder, Colorado; and Randall Flagg, the nefarious "Dark Man," who delights in chaos and violence. As the dark man and the peaceful woman gather power, the survivors will have to choose between them-and ultimately decide the fate of all humanity.
In its 1978 incarnation, The Stand was a healthy, hefty 823-pager. Now, King and Doubleday are republishing The Stand in the gigantic version in which, according to King, it was originally written. Not true . The same excellent tale of the walking dude, the chemical warfare weapon called superflu and the confrontation between its survivors has been updated to 1990, so references to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Reagan years, Roger Rabbit and AIDS are unnecessarily forced into the mouths of King's late-'70s characters. That said, the extra 400 or so pages of subplots, character development, conversation, interior dialogue, spiritual soul-searching, blood, bone and gristle make King's best novel better still. A new beginning adds verisimilitude to an already frighteningly believable story, while a new ending opens up possibilities for a sequel. Sheer size makes an Everest of the whole deal. BOMC selection, QPB main selection.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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April 28, 1990
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