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The Stand | [Stephen King]

The Stand

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 to be 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 and Uncut Edition includes more than 500 pages of material previously 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 hundreds of thousands of fans who read or listened to The Stand in its original version and wanted more, this new edition is Stephen King's gift. And those who are hearing 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.

©1978 Stephen King (P)2012 Random House

What the Critics Say

"A master storyteller." (Los Angeles Times)

"[The Stand] has everything. Adventure. Romance. Prophecy. Allegory. Satire. Fantasy. Realism. Apocalypse. Great!" (The New York Times Book Review)

"As brilliant a dark dream as has ever been dreamed in this century." (Palm Beach Post)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 05-24-12
    Grant NANTUCKET, MA, United States 05-24-12 Member Since 2008

    caffeinated

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    "A Post-Apocaltyptical Brain Vacation"

    Unlike many diehard King Fans, I never read The Stand as a teen. In fact, I only got into King after appreciating much of his later work, like Duma Key, Under the Dome and 11-22-63. This completely unabridged reworking of the original, with many previously cut passages re-added by he author, is a gem. A vacation for the brain. Normally, I view a book this long (48 full hours!) as a mountain to scale. But King turns long works into something more like a wave that is ridden. I listened to the whole thing at normal speed, with complete and utter enjoyment. The characters in this book are both lovable and despicable. There's no waste or self-indulgence here. Just damn good storytelling. More. Please.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 03-23-12
    Jefferson Jonan-ku, Fukuoka-shi, Japan 03-23-12 Member Since 2010

    I love reading and listening to books, especially fantasy, science fiction, children's, historical, and classics.

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    "A Biblical USA Post-Apocalypse Lord of the Rings"

    Stephen King???s The Stand (1978/90) was an epic (48 hour!) listen. It???s an ambitious novel, a hybrid of post-apocalypse sf like Alas Babylon, epic fantasy like The Lord of the Rings, horror movies like Nightmare on Elm St., and Biblical stories like The Book of Job, all set in a sea of American popular culture. People who like those genres (and don???t mind profanity, sex, violence, and many hours of listening) would like the novel.

    The first part depicts the devastating outbreak of a military plague, the second shows the shocked survivors forming groups around two figures seen in dreams, and the third shows the climactic last stand (for now). King writes a suspenseful plot about human and changing characters. At times Frannie is too teary and Glen too much of a Heinlein know-it-all, but I love the sweet, ???mentally retarded??? Tom, the deaf and dumb leader Nick, and the Gary Cooper-esque Texan Stu. The Trashcan Man, Harold, and Nadine are morbidly fascinating, while Randall Flagg (aka the dark man, Satan???s servant, etc.) is a charismatic supernatural antagonist.

    Listening to the novel etched many scenes on my imagination, among them Larry and Rita going through the Lincoln Tunnel, Nick and Tom hiding from a tornado, Joe playing the guitar by a fire, Mother Abigail presiding over a feast, the Kid and the Trashcan Man driving towards Vegas, Harold holding a walkie-talkie at dusk, Flagg interviewing Dana, and Larry, Ralph, and Glen doing a very difficult thing at a washout gully, and Tom, Stu, and Kojak sharing Christmas.

    Grover Gardner dexterously reads the voices of the many different characters (old and young, male and female, all from different educational, economic, and regional backgrounds) with skill, emotion, and wit. Hearing his Trashcan Man groan to the dark man, ???My life for you,??? or his Kid say, ???You believe that, happy crappy???? or his Tom say, ???M-O-O-N???that spells tired??? etc., or his Flagg croon, ???I love to love Nadine,??? made me walk around imitating them. I can hear them now.

    Sometimes King overuses certain phrases (as when ???like a one legged man in an ass-kicking contest??? pops up twice), or his characters??? expressions don???t ring true (as when Frannie writes that Harold is ???a real boogersnot???), or he tosses in one too many popular culture references (as when some tires are as bald as Telly Savalas). But I usually found his style vivid and page turning, and at times funny, scary, or moving.

    I dislike The Stand???s cheap association of wolves, weasels, and crows with evil and its moving some of the responsibility for evil away from human beings and towards the devil, but I like its questioning of whether we can escape our fatal tendency towards too much organization, rationality, and technology in favor of free, irrational, and green alternatives: as Stu asks Frannie, ???Do you think people ever learn anything???? and Frannie answers, ???I don???t know.???

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 02-29-12
    Charles Atkinson Greensboro, NC, United States 02-29-12 Member Since 2005

    A few must reads: Mr. Mercedes, Narrows Gate, Cop Town, Bomb Proof, Wayfaring Stranger, The Son (Nesbo), Dept Q series...

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    "Why should you listen to the Stand?"
    If you could sum up The Stand in three words, what would they be?

    Fascinating, smart, great characters.


    What other book might you compare The Stand to and why?

    Dumas Key.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    He is always a good reader. He does accents well and is as dramatic as the tale calls for.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Stand and why?

    Mother Abigail. Her faith, wisdom and courage make her the best heroine I've encountered in literature. I don't know whether King is a Christian, but the theology and humility he brought to Mother is remarkably accurate and, well... attractive, charismatic.


    Any additional comments?

    The Stand was one of the first books I remeber reading. Its plot and characters have never left me. Listening to this epic tale was both thrilling and engrossing. I have enjoyed most every book i've purchased on Audible, but few more so than The Stand.

    10 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cliff madison, MS, United States 02-13-14
    Cliff madison, MS, United States 02-13-14 Member Since 2009

    I write reviews to help readers, not to win votes. My reviews are my honest opinion whether popular or not. I hope they help you. ;)

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    "Steven King's Best"

    I am not a huge Steven King fan, but this is by far his best work in my opinion. The story is gripping and keeps you wanting more throughout. Those who are not King readers should note that he is big on detail and his stories move pretty slow. It is just that the world is so interesting and you learn to care about the characters that you are willing to overlook the spots where his writing becomes ponderous. This is a great story and the narrarator does a bang-up job for a book with so many characters. Defniteily worth the credit.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    G. Bledsoe Oregon 07-10-12
    G. Bledsoe Oregon 07-10-12 Member Since 2004
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    "Cardboard"

    I never read The Stand when it was initially published. I'd heard many people rave about it, but for whatever reason I never picked it up. I just finished listening to 11/22/63 (which I really REALLY enjoyed--perhaps the best book I've ever listened to) and expected a similar experience with The Stand. I was disappointed.

    The characters in 11/22/63 are people you deeply care about, suffer with. I mean I had tears in my eyes as I listened parts of it. By comparison the characters in The Stand are shallow, made of cardboard. I understand that when you're juggling as many characters as appear in this story you have to distinguish them in some way. King chooses to do this by using regional stereotypes (New England, Texas--easy to tell apart, right?) who all speak in exaggerated folksy cliches. Dialog introducing a change in scene often sounds like it was cribbed from Hee-Haw. Characters are one-dimensional (with a few exceptions). The New England professor (Glen) was particularly annoying. His role was like that of the scientist in a white lab coat in bad science fiction movies who "explains" everything.

    The length of the book didn't bother me, but In large sections of the story nothing much happens. Too many talking heads.

    (As an aside, I wonder if Stephen lived in Seattle, say, would he have divided America into Eastern US (good), Western US (evil)? The potential rock star in LA has to come back east to be saved. The seat of evil is Las Vegas. Even Oregon shelters evil-doers. Not to mention the nuclear flourish at the end of the story.)

    There are short moments of brilliance here, I won't deny, hints at good writing to come. I'm not recommending to not read The Stand, but do so realizing that this is an immature work by a writer who has better books in him.

    As far as performance goes Grover Gardner is not my favorite reader. I'm not sure what it is everyone finds so appealing about his voice. Craig Wasson (the reader of 11/22/63) makes you feel like he's telling you his story, where as Gardner sounds like he's reading to you in his professional voice-over voice, if you get what I mean.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Price PALATINE, ILLINOIS USA 02-28-12
    Julie Price PALATINE, ILLINOIS USA 02-28-12 Member Since 2009

    Jules

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    "Awesome and then some!!"
    Where does The Stand rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Frank Muller has been my favorite narrator to this point; hearing Grover Gardner narrate The Stand hasn't changed that, but I have added Mr. Gardner to the top of my 'favorite narrator list' right along with Frank Muller. I will definitely seek out other works by Mr. Gardner. He brings life to Stephen King's characters amazingly and makes an incredible novel even better. I will listen to it over and over. It is among the best, if not the best, audiobook in my collection.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Stand?

    Too many to name really, for the entire unfolding of the plot is memorable, but I love Tom and Stu's journey together near the end. It is so touching. I can't put it into words, except to say the feelings I have come from somewhere deep inside, where words can't do them justice.


    What does Grover Gardner bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    He uses great voices for the characters, to make them seem even more


    Who was the most memorable character of The Stand and why?

    Again, too many to name, really, but I guess Mother Abigail. I admire her for her quite literal connection to God, taking on what He's given her, bringing the people together. I admire that she truly tried to live her life by His guidance and His will, and she showed others how to do that in the midst of a world-altering crisis.


    Any additional comments?

    The only reason I gave the story four out of five stars is because there are a couple of characters I couldn't identify with very well and I wanted to get beyond those areas and on with the novel. I won't say which characters didn't do too much for me because I don't want to spoil anything for anyone. Besides, my displeasure in a couple of portions is extremely minor and should not detract from the novel as a whole, nor prevent anyone from listening to this marvelous work. If I could've, I would've given the story four and a half out of five stars.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Luc79LPN 02-14-12
    Luc79LPN 02-14-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Finally!!!"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Stand to be better than the print version?

    A classic is a classic, no matter in what form.


    What other book might you compare The Stand to and why?

    This is THE book that gave birth to so many in this genre...


    Any additional comments?

    Finnally, after waiting for years to get this book on audio, it's here!!! And if you have been living under a rock and have not read this masterpiece already, get to it now!!!

    34 of 40 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christopher Brooklyn, NY, United States 09-03-12
    Christopher Brooklyn, NY, United States 09-03-12 Member Since 2011

    I will never again knowingly purchase another title voiced by Scott Brick.

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    "Excellent characters. Just too many."
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    If someone was interested in Stephen King, I'd send them to the Gunslinger first. I feel it's his best work. If someone was already familiar with the Gunslinger books, I'd send them to "It" first and then, maybe "The Stand."As far as giant, epic stories go, it has all of the elements. But, it ends in a less satisfying way than I hoped.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Stephen King? Why or why not?

    Absolutely! He's extremely entertaining!


    Which character – as performed by Grover Gardner – was your favorite?

    Tom Cullen.


    Did The Stand inspire you to do anything?

    Not exactly. No.


    Any additional comments?

    Overall, it's a fun ride. The overall story is so big and tries to wrap itself around so many characters, that it could have easily been turned into multiple books, each examining the events of the Stand from a different perspective.Instead, the cast grows and grows and grows. King himself felt that this was the biggest flaw of "The Stand" and, he was right. With a cast so big, I found it difficult to care for many of the protagonists, just because I could only develop a casual acquaintance with them, rather than a deep understanding.Also, at certain points, I felt the story went a little flat because the main antagonist was examined a little too closely, destroying my sense of mystery and dread about the guy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jedidiah4u canyon lake, TX, United States 04-27-12
    jedidiah4u canyon lake, TX, United States 04-27-12 Member Since 2012
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    "It gave me nightmares."

    I've never read a S. King book until now. I only enjoy a few movies by him (It, The Shinning) everything else just seems toooo long. The length is what sold me though. I love pushing play while bathing, driving, or surfing the net.
    The Stand is a book about life, that could have been, could be, and that just can't happen. It gave me nightmares. It describes evil, in the most awful way. Chilling. The characters make you laugh, smile, scream, cry, and most definitely CRINGE. The book is full of swear words, describes terrible scenes in a way that make you want to turn off the imaginary TV in your head.
    It was made into a TV special. I haven't seen it but I am searching the net. And. I've bought a new book from S. King.

    The reader is amazing. He gives voices to these characters even your mind would fall short of. I love how crazy his voice is for the Dark Man. Creepy.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Donald VALDOSTA, GEORGIA, United States 04-16-12
    Donald VALDOSTA, GEORGIA, United States 04-16-12 Member Since 2011
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    "A "Stand" Out..."

    I was introduced to this book many, many years ago and immediately became a fan. Some 25 plus years later, this book is one that I make it a point of reading every year...just like watching "It's A Wonderful Life" at Christmas time. I was so excited to see that it had been released on Audible...I bought it, right then and there. In my opinion, this book is one of Stephen King's best and it is indeed a classic. A must have for your listening pleasure and now perhaps I will not have to replace another copy quite so soon! 

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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