November and December 2011's SK Flavor of the Month - The Stand (Unabridged)
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Okay, I don't remember exactly when the uncut version of The Stand was released, but I know it was somewhere around the time of Insomnia and Rose Madder.
I'm not a hundred percent sure of the value of adding the uncut version to the flavor of the month, but I figure it gives folks who aren't interested time to catch up on past books, or take the holidays off (and I know I would be unlikely to ever read the unabridged version of the book without a 'reason'), so here we go.
This will be my first go at the uncut version. I've read the original twice. It is not one of my favorite King books, but I did appreciate it a lot more the second time.
My paperback version has illustrations by Bernie Wrightson, so that should be fun.
I never read the orignal but I have read the uncut version twice. Both times it took me a long time ( like a year!) but I enjoyed it both times. I actually consider it one of King's best books.
I also appreciate you tucking this book it at this time. I am several books behind and will try to use this time to catch back up with the rest of the group.
Of course I have to ask.....Do you have next year's list ready?
#2 - Of course I have to ask.....Do you have next year's list ready?
I've been mostly following the books in publication order. There's a good SK bibliography here:
Really, the unabridged Stand should have fallen between The Dark Half and Four Past Midnight, but I goofed.
Using that list I would say we'd be starting in January with The Green Mile and working on down the list (skipping rarer things like Secret Windows and I would assume the Storm of the Century screenplay).
I don't think that I ever read The Secret Window but I loved The Storm of the Century screenplay. I actually watched the miniseries and missed the last episode. I couldn't believe it! I looked everywhere for the screenplay because I couldn't afford to buy it, used book stores, the big library near where I work, friends who like King and then I checked the little bitty library in my hometown and there it was!
The story of storm of the century was good. I found it disconcerting to read the actual screenplay. I am trying to decide if I want to take on reading the stand again. It's sitting there on my bookshelf, fat and happy, smiling at me. damn book. I am finishing The Girl with the Dragon tattoo first and then I will look at the The Stand. I love it, but it is loooong.
Reading the expanded version and loving it. forgot how really good the book is. Had forgotten about the characters and the little side stories that happen on the way.
I have also been watching the miniseries version, which of course I have on DVD. Two thoughts.
1. The movie holds up really well after ~ 20 years. Some good actors in their and some bad ones, but overall a pretty good film
2. In the prologue, King mentions wishing Bruce Springsteen would play Larry Underwood (not in a serious way, but just wishing) and it struck me how awesome that would have been. I like who plays him and I think he gets the character rather well, but still the Boss in a King movie would have been awesome.
Dearie me, I just started the book today (have read the two author's notes and The Circle Opens).
The Stand is never gonna be my favorite book (or even my favorite King book) but familiarity with the story is making it feel... comfortable.
#8 - I agree that the miniseries was pretty well done. The last time I watched it, I thought it held up. I'll probably be watching it again soon.
I did NOT like the actor that played Flagg though. I haven't encountered him yet this go-round, but my impression of Flagg is someone gaunt and dark. Small in a way. From my memory, the TV Flagg was beefy and muscular and sandy haired.
Yeah, I think though King wanted to make the character attractive physically, so that you could see how folks were drawn to him, but then psychologically, spiritually appalling.
Here's a drawing linking flagg more to Walter from DT:
And the guy from the mini-series, Jamie Sheridan, who was also on Law & Order for a few years: http://anexerciseinfutility.blogspot.com/2008/09/i-rode-subway-with-randall-flag...
Okay. hovering around page fifty now. Larry Underwood has just gotten to mom's house. Book One has always been my favorite part.
Can I just get one thing off my chest that's bugged me since I first read The Stand umpteen years ago?
I HATE 'Baby, Can You Dig Your Man?' Good lord. That song title just makes me retch. For some reason it makes me think of David Soul and his hit 'Don't Give Up On Us'. I don't know why, but there it is.
Okay. I feel much better now.
I'm around page 100. Larry is showing what a dick he is. I met St. Nick (whom is just too much of a typical King golden-boy for my taste). Stu is in Atlanta and Fran's mom just freaked out.
I loved the chapter showing the plague spread from the cop in Arnette outward, comparing it to a chain letter. I don't remember if that was in the original version or not, but it should have been. Very well done and I love how King sketches out a few characters even in that short space.
I'm at page 165. People close to the main characters are starting to get sick and die. Fran's mom, Larry's mom. The sheriff watching out for Nick. The words "Captain Trips" were just uttered for the first time a few pages back.
I have to say I like the slower pacing of the expanded novel. It makes it feel more epic. If I ever reread The Stand in the future (and let's face it, I probably will) I would choose the uncut version.
But I admit that in part I'm enjoying it because I am already familiar with the story. I recommended the book to my better half who is not a King reader. Her first question was "does he go off on a bunch of tangents?" and I realized she would probably like the originally published version more.
Jseger, you did make me laugh - "Oh baby he's a RIIIIIIIGHTEOUSSSSSSS man"! I can hear it in my head now. The updating in the extended version is very clunky as the language the characters use is still very much of its time, and Larry's song, which was bad enough the first time round, is even worse when it's supposed to be a 90s song. The odd 90s reference, ie Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, isn't enough to really update it.
Having said that, I love the extended version. You are absolutely right - it is more epic in tone. I read it first and it didn't put me off one bit, in fact I 'got' the original more because I'd read the uncut version first.
King COULD have revised the end part, the trek through the mountains with the appearance of Nick the friendly ghost. My only real complaint with either version.
You've got a version with Bernie Wrightson's illustrations? So have I. They're fantastic.
Page 305-ish. Trashcan Man had fun with Cheery Oil. Larry just stepped in to the Lincoln Tunnel.
I’m not really sure what I felt about Rita. Larry is a dick and I don’t care for him. But then Rita sort of deserved what she got. I dunno. Anyone else feel differently?
I have to say that I’m enjoying the book a lot more this time out. Not sure if the expansion helped the book for me or if it is just that I haven’t hit mother Abigail and Boulder and all that.
#14 - I agree. The book really did't need to be updated. Who is going to decide to read The Stand based on whether it is set in the 80's or the '90's? And the updates did cause problems like you mention.
This is my first time through reading the extended version, but having done so, I couldn't imagine going back to the original.
And yes, I have Bernie's illustrations. I only wish there were more. Illustrations in a cheap-o mass market paperback are a rare pleasure and I've loved Bernie Wrightson since I discovered the Swamp Thing way back when (via Wes Craven's awful adaptation of it unfortunately).
15-Larry is a dick and I don’t care for him
I agree Larry is a dick, but I think in the end he might be the most interesting character in the story. He is really the only character who there is any question about which direction he will go. He is a dick, but he knows he's a dick and is trying to fight off his dickish tendencies.
Wow, that might be the highest concentration of usage of "dick" that I have ever written. Oh, except when I sent that letter telling a guy he was the dickiest dick dragging dick in the kingdom of dickdom. (Actually never happened, but now I'm going to have to remember it for later use.):)
Man, I am behind! I'm on page six hundred and something. Trashcan Man is simultaneously arriving in Las Vegas and riding there with The Kid (who seems a little too cartoonish to be real, but whatever).
You know, I've been thinking. If we were characters in the story, we all like to think that we would fit in with King's working-class heroes in Boulder. But do you ever secretly suspect that you would probably wind up in Las Vegas, or is it just me?
De-lurking to say that that is a *fantastic* question, James! I remember being more than a bit annoyed at some of the people in Boulder, and then thinking, "Oh no! I'd probably be in the Vegas crowd!" Lol!
Still chugging along. Somewhere around page 790. Harold just earned his nickname and arrived home to find Nadine on his porch.
I have to say, at this point in the story, I like Harold better than anyone else in the Free Zone Committee. I've realized that Fran, Stu and the rest strike me as smug. They just don't seem to have enough character flaws. Even Larry.
Harold seems like he's really struggled and grown believably (even if he was a cartoon at first) and I feel for him. Meeting Nadine really is a tragedy for him.
Hmm, I don't care for the heroes (except Mother Abigail) and am rooting for the villain. Yeah, I'd probably wind up in Las Vegas...
Viva Las Vegas.
Harold really is the tragedy of the story. He finally finds acceptance, and even admiration, then he is seduced into whatever comes next. A shame Frannie didn't toss him one somewhere along the way. Probably would have made all the difference.
I finished the book last week and watched the mini-series over the weekend.
The end of Vegas felt less deus-ex-machina than I remembered. Not sure if the ending was subtly different in this unedited version, or if it was just that I already knew what to expect.
Having just watched the miniseries again, I'm noticing what a week director Mick Garris is. The casting of the mini-series was nearly perfect (except for Flagg, who still seemed off to me). But man, at times the mini was so clunky. Part 3 especially.
I was wondering how awesome it would be if AMC or FX could commit to a one season, 20-ish episode mini-series take on The Stand. There's certainly enough story to support it.
Hmm, I would vote AMC but FX would be good too. AMC seems to capture time periods well like with Mad Men and Hell on Wheels. Also they do post apocalypse well with Walking Dead. I think they could pull off the update well. FX has done some great shows too with Justified, Rescue Me and American Horror Story but they might go over the top.
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