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The Stand

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
3,727732,817 (4.27)2 / 317
For use in schools and libraries only. A monumentally devastating plague leaves only a few survivors who, in a desert world, experience dreams of good and evil in confrontation and, through their choices, move toward an actual confrontation.
  1. 50
    Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon (jseger9000)
    jseger9000: Another post apocalyptic horror novel that is often compared to this one.
  2. 20
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (clif_hiker)
  3. 20
    The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition by Stephen King (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Same novel with an additional 300 pages restored
  4. 20
    World War Z by Max Brooks (timspalding)
  5. 10
    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: An ensemble cast of flu survivors journey across the U.S. and through the remains of civilization to fulfill their fated roles in these novels. The Stand is more graphic and action-packed, with a clear theme of good vs. evil.
  6. 10
    Armageddon's Children (The Genesis of Shannara, Book 1) by Terry Brooks (lquilter)
    lquilter: Terry Brooks' Armageddon's Children is basically a YA post-apocalyptic gathering of the forces, much like Stephen King's adult-fiction version, The Stand. Brooks' AC is more high-fantasy good-versus-evil, and King's is more Christian eschatology, but both involve dark forces working towards a final show-down, in a post-apocalyptic world.… (more)
  7. 10
    Earth Abides by George R. Stewart (sturlington)
    sturlington: Stephen King has said that Earth Abides was an inspiration for The Stand.
  8. 10
    Zombie Fallout by Mark Tufo (cmwilson101)
    cmwilson101: Epic, apocalyptic tale of survival with supernatural elements of good v evil
  9. 10
    Famine by Graham Masterton (Bridgey)
    Bridgey: America in breakdown although the stand is more supernatural. Both have groups of individuals trying to survive an apocalypse.
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English (69)  French (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (72)
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
Originally published in 1978. Read so many years ago when Stephen King was the most popular author in my age group. But for me? Most boring novel I have ever read and I couldn't tell you one thing about it. Way over-rated! I literally thought I was going to have to slit my wrist just to get out of it. ( )
  MissyIvey | Sep 17, 2022 |
DNF at page 455. It's not bad, I just don't have any desire to read another 1,000 pages of this book. Doesn't seem worth the time when there are so many other books to read.
  SarahMac314 | Aug 12, 2022 |
Loved it. ( )
  btbell_lt | Aug 1, 2022 |
One of Stephen King's best! The Stand is the pre-Post-Apocalyptic novel that set the standards for all others. His blend of believable obstacles with hallucinatory dream-like sequences makes reading this substantial book a joy and an agony. I still re-read this book about every 5 years. It's become an old friend. ( )
  Windyone1 | May 10, 2022 |
I read the expanded/uncut version, which is pretty lengthy at 1,348 pages! I’ve never read the original version. This novel is split up into three unevenly-sized books and reads very much like a trilogy. The first book is about 450 pages and introduces us to a flu-like epidemic that’s spreading throughout the US. The second and third books deal more with the aftermath. There are some aspects of the story that haven’t aged well since its original 1978 publication date. There are hints that the virus eventually spreads elsewhere in the world too, but this is a very US-centric book. There’s almost no mention of what’s going on elsewhere in the world, which frustrated me at times. Even within its US setting, it doesn’t reflect the cultural and religious diversity we have within the US.

Although I started off interested, getting through that first book became a struggle. It cycles through a large number of characters, many of whom are only mentioned once and/or won’t survive, with a smaller number of recurring characters who start to become more familiar as we revisit them. At this point the stage is being set, showing us how the epidemic spread, how the government handled it, and how it affected US citizens. I thought this part was drawn out longer than was necessary, and I found it repetitive and tedious. I might have appreciated it more if I’d read it before experiencing a real pandemic, but reading it today it just seemed a little too over the top to take seriously.

I started to get much more interested near the end of the first book and the beginning of the second, when it started to focus more on the aftermath and it settled down to focus primarily on the smaller group of recurring characters. From that point, my interest was held through to the end. There are some supernatural elements to the story, which I had mixed feelings about. I also was a little less than satisfied by the end, although it did wrap things up well enough. There isn’t a ton of humor in the book, but there were a few spots here and there that made me laugh pretty hard.

Some additional spoilery thoughts:
I liked the part about only people with some mild psychic abilities surviving the epidemic, and would have liked to see more about that. What I didn’t care for was the way it sort of became a religious battle, with one side representing God’s side and the other representing Satan’s. That part was open for other interpretations I guess, but I would have preferred it to be left more ambiguous.

From a plotting perspective, it frustrated me that the leaders from the “good” community had to do illogical things based on faith. It also took away a lot of the suspense about whether their community would win in the end, because after all, how could God lose? But I did like that not all of the “good guys” believed in God and not all of the “bad guys” had evil intentions. I would have been far more annoyed if it had been portrayed in a more black-and-white manner. I was a little disappointed that the entire Las Vegas community was wiped out by a nuclear weapon whether they were evil or not, and also annoyed by the implications that most of the IT people (of which I am one) would naturally go to the dark side. :p

I didn’t think Larry, Glen, and Ralph’s presence there at the end made that big of a difference considering all the buildup about them going there on faith. Trashcan Man was the one who brought death to their community. And since “R. F.” survived to start over elsewhere, the main source of the evil activities wasn’t destroyed anyway.

It repeatedly struck me as odd just how many traffic jams all the characters encountered on the highways. I don’t think I’m unusual in that, when I feel really sick, I just want to be at home in bed. I’m sure as heck not going to go out driving around. If anything, I might have tried to get myself to the hospital. I understand that in some communities people were trying to flee, not knowing that things were just as bad elsewhere, but I just can’t see that many people continuing to drive once they’re so ill they can’t control the car anymore. I think most people would pull of to the side of the road to “rest a little” or something. I would think most of the people who ended up on the roads had left when they were still feeling mostly ok. The disease seemed to progress gradually for the most part, over the course of a few days at least. It’s not like they would have left their homes feeling ok, then driven for a few hours and suddenly keeled over dead in the middle of the road. Even in the areas where there were road blocks, it seems like people would have been diverted around to go back where they had come from and not just been stuck waiting in their cars for days until they died.


I’m rating this at 3.5 stars because I did mostly enjoy reading it, but I’m rounding down to 3 on Goodreads due to my various complaints. ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Mar 5, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 69 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (11 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Christensen, HarroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Olofsson, LennartTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Outside the street's on fire In a real death waltz Between what's flesh and what's fantasy And the poets down here Don't write nothing at all They just stand back and let it all be And in the quick of the night They reach for their moment And try to make an honest stand... -- Bruce Springsteen
...And it was clear she couldn't go on, The door was opened and the wind appeared, The candles blew and then disappeared, The curtains flew and then he appeared, Said, "Don't be afraid, Come on, Mary," And she had no fear And she ran to him And they started to fly... She had taken his hand... Come on, Mary, Don't fear the reaper... -- Blue Oyster Cult
Well the deputy walks on hard nails And the preacher rides a mount But nothing really matters much, It's doom alone that counts And the one-eyed undertaker, he blows a futile horn "Come in," she said, "I'll give ya Shelter from the storm." -- Bob Dylan
Dedication
For my wife Tabitha:
This dark chest of wonders.
First words
Hapscomb's Texaco sat on US 93 just north of Arnette, a pissant four-street burg about 110 miles from Houston.
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Disambiguation notice
Please do not combine The Stand (1978) with The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition (1990). The latter edition contains over 300 pages of new material and includes subplots and characters not included in the 1978 edition.

ISBNs associated with the original version of The Stand include (0385121687, 0450045528, 0450054802, 0451090136, 0451098285, 0451121597, 0451127897, 0451139712, 0451150678, 451160959, 2277223263, 3785704267, 9020409611, and 9158215735)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

For use in schools and libraries only. A monumentally devastating plague leaves only a few survivors who, in a desert world, experience dreams of good and evil in confrontation and, through their choices, move toward an actual confrontation.

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