The Stand by Stephen King

The StandThe Stand by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the 1st Stephen King novel I’ve read. I tend to avoid hyper-popular authors for a variety reasons. I was quite surprised I enjoyed this novel so much. I have seen the miniseries which is good. The book is better.

King is an excellent writer. The prose flows, can be read quite fast and does not require a lot of pauses to think about what is going on or research into difficult concepts. He’s an easy read. He writes compelling characters and even with so many, it was easy to know them all. The plot was interesting to me, a fan of dystopian fiction. His descriptions are sparse, but enough for me to build up pictures in my mind. I felt no need to look up the geography of the parts. My general knowledge of the US was enough, even though I had never been to any of the places physically.

I thought King wrote horror, but I don’t see this novel as horror. It is mainly dystopian Sci-Fi with an occult/supernatural thread which can be taken as religious or metaphorical. I took it as the latter, as good vs evil, though not quite so black and white. I think the main theme of the novel is how to set an appropriate balance between individual freedom and government or ‘civilization’, laws, rules and regulations. It seems most timely today as congress struggles to find that same balance. The science of the plague is believable and possible.

The book did not seem too long. I would have liked it to be longer. This climax seemed to quick and there were a lot of unresolved threads. It almost seems set up for a sequel. Does King do sequels?

When this book was new there had not been much fiction written about bioterrorism and the eco-fiction genre was in it’s infancy. The Stand is a seminal work in these genres. Today numerous such novels have been published. The Stand remains relevant today, perhaps more relevant than when written.

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