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‘The Stand’: Tracing the Stephen King Epic Through Its Many Mutations

‘The Stand’: Tracing the Stephen King Epic Through Its Many Mutations
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‘The Stand’: Tracing the Stephen King Epic Through Its Many Mutations

‘The Stand’: Tracing the Stephen King Epic Via Its Many Mutations

“The Stand,” as he has defined it, arose from two disappointments. The primary was an unfinished novel concerning the kidnapping and brainwashing of the heiress Patty Hearst by the Symbionese Liberation Military and its chief Donald DeFreeze. The second was a longstanding want to jot down an American reply to “The Lord of the Rings” — a want he had by no means discovered a technique to fulfill. “The Stand” is, partially, a synthesis of those divergent concepts.

Two information tales jump-started the e book for King, one a “60 Minutes” section on chemical and organic warfare and the opposite a report he recalled a couple of chemical spill in Utah that had killed a flock of sheep. Had the wind blown the opposite method, King has written, “the great folks of Salt Lake Metropolis might need gotten a really nasty shock.”

Interested by what the earth could be like after humanity, King, who was dwelling in Boulder, Colo. (the place a lot of the novel is about), pulled inspiration from George R. Stewart’s post-apocalyptic novel “Earth Abides” and from the fire-and-brimstone intonations of a preacher on a neighborhood radio station, who spoke ominously of plagues. King turned fascinated, in the meantime, with a ghostly F.B.I. photograph of DeFreeze taken in the midst of a financial institution theft, during which the ringleader’s face was blurred. He wrote down the strains that might function the muse of the novel: “A season of relaxation,” “A darkish man with no face” and, quoting the preacher, “As soon as in each technology a plague will fall amongst them.”

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“And that was that,” King recollects in “Danse Macabre.” “I spent the following two years writing an apparently infinite e book referred to as ‘The Stand.’”

The roots of “The Stand” run even deeper than the novel’s two-year writing time would recommend. His 1969 story “Night time Surf” (a revised model of which was revealed in early 1978 as a part of the quick story assortment “Night time Shift”) had launched the idea of the flulike virus nicknamed Captain Journeys, in doubtful homage to the Grateful Lifeless frontman Jerry Garcia. King’s 1969 poem “The Darkish Man” has been seen as an anticipatory exploration of the character traits that might be poured into Flagg, himself nicknamed “The Darkish Man,” within the novel.

Credit score…Doubleday

When “The Stand” lastly arrived in October 1978, it was 400 pages shy of the model King initially turned in to his writer. The edits have been a consequence of publishing logistics reasonably than of high quality management, King writes within the preface to the 1990 model of the novel: Based mostly on his gross sales historical past, his writer arrived at a worth for the e book that necessitated heavy edits to cut back the web page depend and make the e book financially possible. King made the cuts himself.

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