Warning: Spoilers Ahead!
This is not a review. It is more like a kind of journal of my thoughts as I read Stephen King's The Stand: The Complete and Uncut Edition.
I've finished the first part of the audiobook, which makes me about twenty-five chapters in to the expanded edition. So far the book has been mainly introducing the characters and giving a bit of background about the spread of the disease, some of which was apparently cut from the original version of the novel. It's making me very glad that I'm reading this in summer, not during the winter when all the people coughing and sneezing around me with normal winter colds would make me totally paranoid.
Is it just a cold, or is it Captain Tripps?! Photo from the CDC Public Health Image Library.
Various characters have started to have dreams about creepy eyes staring at them out of a cornfield and feel that there is somewhere they need to go to. I'm interested to see what will happen when they get there.
Of the characters introduced so far the one I find the most interesting is Nick Andros, the 22 year old deaf mute. The idea of walking around in a silent world not knowing the names of the objects you see around you because nobody has ever bothered to tell you is very evocative. The plotline that involves him so far is a little silly. There is just no way that a sheriff would hand over the keys to the police station, access to a gun and the responsibility of looking after prisoners to an unsupervised man he'd just met who had reason to have a grudge against the men in his care. I don't care if you're short-handed, there must be someone in town you can trust! It would have made more sense for the sheriff's wife to do it.
Randall Flagg's introduction was intriguing too. He reminds me a little of Judge Holden from Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian
, who also seemed to be some sort of personification of the evil that lurks in the hearts of men.
I like Larry Underwood's back story as well, but I have a feeling that something horrible will happen to him so it's probably better not to get too attached.
Speaking of horrible things, does Stephen King hate teeth? There seemed to be a few scenes of people's teeth getting punched out or shot out so far.
I am not convinced that adding 400 pages to the book was a good idea. King says in his introduction that he did it at the request of fans, and that's fair enough but I think that if you can cut out 150,000 without ruining the story then you probably should. Oh well. This is the version I bought and I'm sticking with it. I've still got a long way to go. See you in another twenty-five chapters!