The Stand - Stephen King - complete and uncut - Used
From the Blurb: This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides-or are chosen. A world in which good rides on the frail shoulders of the 108-year-old Mother Abagail-and the worst nightmares of evil are embodied in a man with a lethal smile and unspeakable powers: Randall Flagg, the dark man. In 1978 Stephen King published The Stand, the novel that is now considered one of his finest works. But as it was first published, The Stand was incomplete, since more than 150,000 words had been cut from the original manuscript. Now Stephen King's apocalyptic vision of a world blasted by plague and embroiled in an elemental struggle between good and evil has been restored to its entirety. The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition includes more than 500 pages of material deleted, along with new material that King added as he reworked the manuscript for a new generation. It gives us new characters and endows familiar ones with new depths. It has a new beginning and a new ending. What emerges is a gripping work with the scope and moral complexity of a true epic. For the hundreds of thousands of fans who read The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King's gift.. And those who are reading The Stand for the first time will discover a triumphant and eerily plausible work of the imagination that takes on the issues that will determine our survival.
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 ruthless drifter and supernatural madman named Randall Flagg. The land of Mordor ("where the shadows lie, according to Tolkien) was played by Las Vegas.
In Danse Macabre, King wrote about the origins of the novel at some length. One source was Patty Hearst's case. The original idea was to create a novel about the episode because "it seemed that only a novel might really succeed in explaining all the contradictions".
The author mentioned Earth Abides of George R. Stewart as one of the main inspirations as well. Earth Abides solved his writer's block when trying to write the Patty Hearst novel by providing him with the idea behind the superflu of The Stand. In Earth Abides, humanity is destroyed by a plague and the novel is about the odyssey of one of the last survivors of the human race.
With my Patty Hearst book, I never found the right way in . . . and during that entire six-week period, something else was nagging very quietly at the back of my mind. It was a news story I had read about an accidental CBW spill in Utah. All the bad nasty bugs got out of their canister and killed a bunch of sheep. But, the news article stated, if the wind had been blowing the other way, the good people of Salt Lake City might have gotten a very nasty surprise. This article called up memories of a novel called Earth Abides, by George R. Stewart.
In Stewart's book, a plague wipes out most of mankind, and the protagonist, who has been made immune by virtue of a well-timed snakebite, witnesses the ecological changes which the passing of man causes.
This phrase and the story about the CBW spill in Utah and my memories of Stewart's fine book all became entwined in my thoughts about Patty Hearst and the SLA, and one day while sitting at my typewriter, my eyes traveling back and forth between that creepy homily on the wall to the maddeningly blank sheet of paper in the machine, I wrote—just to write something: The world comes to an end but everybody in the SLA is somehow immune. Snake bit them. I looked at that for a while and then typed: No more gas shortages. That was sort of cheerful, in a horrible sort of way.
No more people, no more gas lines. Below No more gas shortages I wrote in rapid order: No more cold war. No more pollution. No more alligator handbags. No more crime. A season of rest. I liked that last; it sounded like something that should be written down.I underlined it. I sat there for another fifteen minutes or so, listening to the Eagles on my little cassette player, and then I wrote: Donald DeFreeze is a dark man. I did not mean that DeFreeze was black; it had suddenly occurred to me that, in the photos taken during the bank robbery in which Patty Hearst participated, you could barely see DeFreeze's face.
He was wearing a big badass hat, and what he looked like was mostly guesswork. I wrote A dark man with no face and then glanced up and saw that grisly little motto again: Once in every generation the plague will fall among them. And that was that. I spent the next two years writing an apparently endless book called The Stand.
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