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King's THE STAND (expanded version) : Book Discussion • Writing Forum | WritersDigest.com

King's THE STAND (expanded version)

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wdarcy
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King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby wdarcy » Mon Jan 27, 2014 12:42 pm

I read The Stand when it first came out in paperback, already a long novel at 817 pages. I always meant to read the expanded version, but never got around to it until recently. In revising it, King restored practically 150,000 words his publishers had forced him to cut when they first released the novel; he also updated the story from 1985 to 1990.

Everyone who reads King knows the post-apocalyptic story of The Stand, so I won't go into that. I will say that the expanded 1153-page version is quite a slog. Every once in a while I compared what I was reading to the original version, so I could see what King had cut and then restored. At times I thought: "Wow, how could he have left that out? It makes the story so much better." At other times I thought: "This really could have been left on the cutting-room floor."

Although The Stand has never been my favorite King novel, it is a terrific read and a classic. It's been called King's Lord of the Rings, and I believe the comparison is apt. Except that King writes so much better than Tolkien.

I am not a big fan of post-apocalyptic fiction, but I love the first third of the novel, where King details how a manufactured superflu virus wipes out over 99% of the earth's population. The spread of this manmade plague is convincingly and chillingly described.

The last third of the novel, which takes place mostly in Las Vegas and narrates the evil doings of the villain Randall Flagg and his henchmen, is also terrific. Fans of fictional violence and gore will find much to please them here.

My problem with the book lies in its interminable middle section. The first part is a road trip tale, as various characters converge on Boulder, Colorado and take forever to get there. The second part details the setting up of a new community, and buries the reader in committee meetings, minutes, diary entries, and all sorts of daily trivia.

That said, King is still at the top of his game here. The characterizations and the writing are both top notch.

I am wondering how others on this forum feel about this version of The Stand. As for myself, I am not going to wait decades before reading it again. In fact, I may re-read it once a year. Dull spots and all, The Stand is a great American novel.

--Warren
"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby maureenlb » Mon Jan 27, 2014 4:36 pm

I agree that THE STAND is the great American novel and do believe that King will be forever one of the greatest authors ever. I like both versions of THE STAND.

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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby Dostxbook » Wed Jan 29, 2014 6:58 pm

This is the only version of The Stand that I have read, so I can't compare experiences with you. I can't recommend this version over the originally published version, either. I will note that I enjoyed it, even though it was long. The characters were great, and I truly enjoyed King's utilization of religious themes in the book.

Like you, I don't list this as my favorite King novel; The Dark Half and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon both hold a special place in my heart that no other King novel has captured.
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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby James A. Ritchie » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:31 pm

I had the opposite reaction. I loved The Stand, but I like the expanded version even more. I get caught up in that world, and don't want to leave it. I don't find any section interminable. All the detail in setting up the community just made it all the realer, for me. He could have added a million words, and I think I still would have read it and loved it.

It isn't my favorite King novel, but it's so good that I have to lump it right up there with my group of favorites. I think it's safe to say I don't really have a favorite King novel. I have about a dozen favorite King novels, about fifty favorite King short stories, and I've yet to read one of his novelettes or novellas that wasn't superb.

And yet there are a couple of King novels, maybe as many as four, that I think are nowhere near his usual quality.

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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby wdarcy » Fri Jan 31, 2014 12:27 pm

"Wagner's 'Das Rheingold'" (Oxford 1993). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 1995.

"Elements of Sonata Theory" co-authored with James Hepokoski(Oxford 2006). Winner of the Society for Music Theory's Wallace Berry Award, 2008.

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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby James A. Ritchie » Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:16 pm

Insomnia was poorly named. It was definitely a cure for insomnia. I still can't decide about Cell, but it's certainly far from a favorite. Not one of his best. I thought Lisey's Story was a ramble, a book where King didn't know what to write, so just threw everything in, whether it fit the story or not. I don't think Rose Madder was horrible. I enjoyed reading it, but it certainly isn't King at his best.

The other novel of his that gave me a lot of trouble was Dreamcatcher. I tried several times to read it, and failed. I just couldn't get into the thing. Then I finally pushed up to page one hundred or so, and it took off. I really enjoyed it after that, but those first hundred pages were murder.

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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby mfarraday » Wed Feb 26, 2014 10:36 am

Out of King's books, I've read:
The Eyes of the Dragon
The Stand
Dead Zone
Firestarter
The Shining
Carrie
Thinner
It
The Tommyknockers
The Dark Half

It, Thinner, Carrie, The Dark Half and Tommyknockers were my five least favorites. I loved all the others and have read them over and over.

Back to the subject, I liked the edited version of The Stand, which is my favorite King novel. I hated the addition of the parts about The Kid, because I never enjoyed reading about the Trashcan Man in the first place, and I didn't see how showing his abuse of Trashcan Man and his subsequent death in the desert added to the story. I liked reading the backstory about Frannie and her mother, however.

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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby James A. Ritchie » Wed Feb 26, 2014 11:14 am


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Re: King's THE STAND (expanded version)

Postby LilliesCarol » Thu Feb 27, 2014 12:19 pm

I went to our small library and looked for some King books, and found that the ones they had were written with someone else's name on the cover along with his. How and why would a famous writer have someone else help write his books. For that reason, I did not pick up one of his books to read. I would like to read one that just he has written. Do you have any suggestions? Our library can order it through the system of associated libraries in our area.
Long, long afterward in an oak I found the arrow still unbroke
And the song from beginning to end, I found again in the heart of a friend
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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