Finished: Jan. 23, 2011
First Published: 1978, 1990
Genre: Apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, science fiction, paranormal
Acquired: Purchased new at a mall bookstore.
Reason for Reading: I am (re)reading King's books in chronological order. This was next on the list.
There are thousands of reviews of The Stand online already. I can hardly assume to add any more insight to what has already been said about the book so I won't try but rather instead give my impressions. I've read The Stand before, the original version, back when I was somewhere between 11 and 13. I know this as Cujo is the first new book of his I waited to buy when it came out. Since I'd read the original version, I chose to read the "uncut" version this time around. With 30 years between reads I am not in a position to compare the two as I only remember The Stand affecting me as a book that has stood out as one of the best books I'd ever read my entire life. It scared me and haunted me at the time.
The re-read has lost that affect on me. I didn't find it scary or incredibly creepy but I've read so many apocalyptic books since then that the novelty has worn off. I must remember though that those other books are all looking back at The Stand as their model and while some may get close, Justin Cronin's The Passage, none ever exceed King's original epic apocalyptic novel. That said it still is an incredibly well-written, compelling story that never lags. It has a huge cast of characters and this is when I enjoy King the most as he is a master at juggling a large ensemble and he can develop even minor characters who only have a few chapters to a point where you remember them long after the book. As a kid I remembered Larry the most and it was his character I was looking forward to meeting again but upon this second read as an adult Larry didn't affect me the same way. This time I found myself attached to Stu Redman much more. He is certainly the man I would want to have around if I was in such a situation! In King's preface he states that this is not his favourite novel but is widely mentioned as his reader's favourite. (I wonder which *is* his favourite). Not having read all his books I can't make that claim, yet, but of the ones I have read it did stay with me the most. After this re-read I can see why. It is not just a story but a world that the reader slips into and loses themselves. The classic struggle of good vs. evil keeps you on the edge of your seat and though I mentioned I didn't find the book scary or creepy, it certainly has many uncomfortable moments of gruesome and pure evil that are not for the faint of heart. In the end the book is not what I remembered it to be but it was a new experience with adult eyes that I understood more deeply and it still has a hold over me. I can truly see an apocalypse of this variety being a possible reality. A story that will consume you for days and haunt you for years.
Now, I have not seen the mini-series so I am going to add that DVD to my queue and I also see that a comic book series has been made so I'll try to get the volumes of that as well.