So I finally read The Stand. It had a firm place on my TBR list for at least ten years, possibly since I saw the TV miniseries several years ago. Okay, so I’ve seen said miniseries more than once. Probably at least five times. Don’t judge.
Until fairly recently, most of my exposure to Stephen King was made-for-TV movies like The Stand, IT, and The Langoliers, all of which I love. I’d only read The Shining and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, one of which is good and one of which is in my top five Worst Books Ever. I’ll let you guess which one is which. Then, of course, the Dark Tower series happened, and all hell broke loose.
I can’t get enough of Stephen King.
I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t either read The Stand or seen the miniseries, so I’ll only give the vaguest of synopses: A horrible plague decimates society, leaving two camps of immune people: one drawn to a nice old lady in Nebraska and another drawn to an evil Walkin Dude in Las Vegas. They divide into their various camps and Things Happen.
See what I did there? Two sentences to explain a 1200-page book. Easy.
I think I would have liked it more if I hadn’t seen the miniseries so many times. I couldn’t help but compare them. You aren’t missing anything super-important if you haven’t read the book. The main differences involve horror and sex that couldn’t be put on TV. Maybe it’s worth it for the real story on the dog named Kojak, but otherwise, you aren’t missing too much. (One amusing bit, though, involves Harold Lauder: he’s nothing like the actor. Imagine a young George R.R. Martin. Yep. That’s Harold.)
What I did find interesting were the numerous references to The Dark Tower. First of all, there’s Randall Flagg, who is a character in the Dark Tower series. There are also mentions of ka, the unfound door, and gunslingers. Fascinating stuff! Otherwise, The Stand is okay. I don’t regret reading it, though I probably won’t do it again. That said, I still can’t stop reading Stephen King. I think IT is next, though I’m going to stick with smaller books in the short term, as The Stand took quite a while and I have a quota to hit.
Featured photo credit: Kevin Schraer