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the Dark Tower ref. :
Nineteen (19)
The Dark Tower Series
The Waste Lands
Wizard and Glass

Connects to :
Hearts in Atlantis
Night Shift
The Green Mile
The Shining

First line :
"Hapscomb's Texaco sat on Number 93 just north of Arnette, a pissant four-street burg about 110 miles from Houston."...

Notes :
_coming soon_

Places :
Chamberlain, Maine
previous title: night shift | the long walk :next title
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  • Written : February 1975 - 1978.
  • You either love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. Stephen King's most popular book, according to polls of his fans...
  • Synopsis :
    One man escapes from a biological weapon facility after an accident, carrying with him the deadly virus known as Captain Tripps, a rapidly mutating flu that - in the ensuing weeks - wipes out most of the world's population. In the aftermath, survivors choose between following an elderly black woman to Boulder or the dark man, Randall Flagg, who has set up his command post in Las Vegas. The two factions prepare for a confrontation between the forces of good and evil.

    For a long time-ten years, at least-I had wanted to write a fantasy epic like The Lord of the Rings, only with an American setting. I just couldn't figure out how to do it. Then, slowly after my wife and kids and I moved to Boulder, Colorado, I saw a 60 Minutes segment on CBW (chemical-biological warfare). I never forgot the gruesome footage of the test mice shuddering, convulsing, and dying, all in twenty seconds or less. That got me remembering a chemical spill in Utah that killed a bunch of sheep (these were canisters on their way to some burial ground; they fell off the truck and ruptured). I remembered a news reporter saying, "If the winds had been blowing the other way, there was Salt Lake City." This incident later served as the basis of a movie called Rage, starring George C. Scott, but before it was released, I was deep into The Stand, finally writing my American fantasy epic, set in a plague-decimated USA. Only instead of a hobbit, my hero was a Texan named Stu Redman, and instead of a Dark Lord, my villain was a roothless drifter and supernatural madman named Randall Flagg. The land of Mordor ("where the shadows lie, according to Tolkien) was played by Las Vegas.

    In 1978, before the "complete and uncut" edition, before the miniseries, before the author became known as the "King of Horror!!!", Stephen King's The Stand hit bookstores. It was a monster of a book, weighing in at 823 pages (the general public had no way of knowing that almost a quarter of the book had been cut prior to publication), in Doubleday's traditional squat, bricklike format. The Stand would go on to become King's best-loved book, but at the time, the novel shocked many. Previously, King had only released three other novels, the relatively short Carrie, 'Salem's Lot, and The Shining, and a short story collection, Night Shift. The biggest question was this: was the book's length justified? It was.
    The Stand begins its narrative in a quiet Texas town known as Arnette. There, we are introduced to one of our main characters, Stuart Redman, a quiet, downtrodden man whose greatest pleasure is hanging out at the local Texaco station with his buddies. The placidity of Arnette is disrupted by a shocking, unforeseen event - a man named Charles Campion driving recklessly into the pumps of the Texaco, knocking several of them over. When Stu and his friends go outside to investigate, they discover to their horror that Campion's wife and child have died of some strange disease inside the car, and that Campion himself doesn't have far to go.
    What Stu doesn't know is that what Campion has is exceedingly communicable, and that Campion has just delivered the death warrant on most of America.
    The Stand begins its life a humanist drama, shifts rapidly into bio-science fiction along the lines of The Andromeda Strain then opens up to become a large-scale American fantasy epic. The beauty of The Stand is that King doesn't disregard previous genres when he enters into new ones; the dramatic points of several love triangles are played out against the backdrop of post-plague psychic phenomena; real-world problems such as getting the power back on, disposing with plague-ridden corpses, and rebuilding a democratic society take place while a battle of truly Biblical proportions wages. King doesn't play his people merely as pawns. These characters becoming living human beings (or otherwise) and their fears, worries, and achievements grow out of their essential humanity.
    To delve any further into the interworkings of The Stand would be to betray its magic. This novel works as it does because the characters are given room to come to life, and to face the brave new world left to them. Unlike too-long later works such as The Tommyknockers, the scope of The Stand works for it rather than against it, and the multifaceted narrative remains complex but inviting. Taken as a parable or read as a story: The Stand is one of the King works guaranteed to be read, discussed, and enjoyed hundreds of years from now. It will stand the test of time.


    Doubleday 1978.

    "First Edition" On copyright page.
    Date code "T39" on page 823.

    70,000 first print.
    Dust Jacket price: $12.95


    New English Library 1980.
    1423 pages.
    ISBN 0 450 53737 4.

    Copyright © Stephen King, 1978.

    Fiction: Horror
    Illustration: Larry Rostant


    For my wife Tabitha:
    This dark chest of wonders.

    1. A Preface in Two Parts
    Part 1: To Be Read Before Purchase
    Part 2: To Be Read After Purchase

    The Circle Opens

    Book I
    Captain Trips

    Book II
    On the Border

    Book III
    The Stand

    The Circle Closes

    The Woman in the Room


    First came the days of the plague...
    Then came the dreams...
    Dark dreams that warned of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil. His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms...

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