The brilliant folks over at Tor.com are planning a big Dystopia Week later this month, and being a lover of all-things-dystopian, I volunteered to do something on one of my favorite novels of all time, Stephen King’s The Stand. Which gave me an excuse to re-read it, just to see if I still love it as much as the last time I read it.
So, here’s the deal with The Stand. There’s a little accident at an Army biological weapons lab, and one freaked-out dude manages to escape before the whole thing goes on lockdown. He grabs his wife and kid (infecting them), then drives across the U.S., infecting folks all along the way. Eventually 99.9 percent of the population dies. The Stand is the story of what happens to the .1 percent who had a natural immunity to the virus. Some of the survivors are heroic; some are evil; some are wackadoodles. The Stand is one part dystopia, one part morality tale, and one part soap opera.
I first read The Stand in high school (you know, back during the Stone Age), and I credit it with proving to me that a book didn’t have to be Great Literature to be Important, because I think this is an important book and it talks about important things. I credit it with showing me how, if an author can develop a good character, a reader will follow that character anywhere. I credit it with reinforcing my suspicion that the world could very well go to hell in the blink of an eye (a belief reinforced during Hurricane Katrina). I credit it with a fear of tunnels and an annoying habit of saying “M-O-O-N. That spells (fill in the blank).”
I wonder if today’s teens will read The Hunger Games trilogy in much the same way?
Have you read The Stand? Tell me what you think of it in a comment–maybe the most memorable scene for you (without spoilers). Mine is “the tunnel scene,” followed closely by the “shoebox in the closet” scene.
I’ll pick one commenter for a copy of The Stand for their very own (because even if you have it, you need a new copy, right?). As always, +1 for comment, +1 for blog follow, +1 for Twitter follow @Suzanne_Johnson, and +1 for a Tweet or Retweet. M-O-O-N. That spells talk to me!
(And for the writers among you, head over to the Castles & Guns blog today, where I’m talking about a new publishing venture that’s looking for submissions.)