As I mentioned in a previous post, I have recently started rereading The Stand, Stephen King’s post-apocalyptic novel of the “superflu” or “Captain Trips”.
I also mentioned that I read the book for the first time back in the mid-1980s, when I was a high school student. (I believe I read it in the fall of my junior year, which would have been October~November 1984, more or less.)
This time I’m reading the the “complete and uncut” version, which appears to have been published in 1990. (View it on Amazon.) That version has of course gone through many reprintings in the past 30 years.
I’m about a third of the way in now. Here are a few observations:
1.) The complete and uncut version is longer, but it is also a richer story.
This version contains scenes that were summarily axed from the only version of the book that was available in the 1980s. (And even that version was like, 800 or 900 pages long.)
The Stand features some of King’s best characters. When you read the complete and uncut version, you’ll get new insights into them. The complete version of the book also contains some background information on the outbreak that weren’t included in previous versions of The Stand.
2.) It appears that King also updated the book in 1990.
Or sometime after that. The Stand was originally published in 1978. It is one of King’s early novels. The complete and uncut version, though, contains at least two cultural/historical references that didn’t exist in 1978.
There is a reference to the AC/DC song “Who Made Who”. AC/DC released this song in 1986. It didn’t exist in 1978.
The complete and uncut version of The Stand also mentions the AIDS epidemic. AIDS wasn’t identified until the early-mid 1980s. So once again, this couldn’t have been in the original manuscript.
I’m enjoying the book.
Yes, I was already somewhat familiar with the story going in. I had not only read the book 35 years ago, I also watched the miniseries adaptation in May 1994, which starred Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, and Rob Lowe, among others. (BTW: This is a great television adaptation, and one that you should watch if you can find it.)
Nevertheless, I haven’t immersed myself in any form of The Stand for 26 years. And this is a version of the book that I haven’t read before. I’m therefore finding plenty of new insights and interesting surprises.