The Stand is considered one of King’s best books for a reason – it’s just that good. While there are moments of horror and the grotesque, it’s neither particularly scary, nor overly bloody. It’s lengthy, but well written. Oddly enough, it was originally published is a heavily (by King standards) version coming in at 823 pages. It was later released in an uncut version, weighing in at a tome-like 1168 pages. I own and love both versions. There were once rumors that Ben Affleck was going to direct the film adaptation of the novel (remaking he ghastly ’90s version) and while that would’ve been amazing, it’s not going to happen.
The Stand tells the story of survivors of the superflu that killed of most of the world’s population. Survivors generally fall into one of two camps – good or evil. Mother Abigail (good) leads half the survivors to Boulder, Colorado while Flagg (evil) leads the other group to Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s a story of survival, betrayal, love, sacrifice, good, and evil. It’s a must read for anyone interested in post-apocalyptic fiction, fantasy, or Stephen King.
For those lucky readers who already love the novel, here are some recommendations on what to read next.
10. The Hot Zone // Richard Preston. Scary, but true.
09. The Passage // Justin Cronin. The story of survival in a virus-ravaged world.
08. The Road // Cormac McCarthy. This might be the most depressing novel ever, but it’s fantastic.
07. Wool // Hugh Howey. A thoughtful post-apocalyptic novel destined to be a science fiction classic.
06. I Am Legend // Richard Matheson. Already a classic, this is the tale of an incurable plague that has mutated nearly all of the population into something else entirely.
05. Things We Didn’t See Coming // Steven Amsterdam. A linked set of short stories featuring a multitude of disaster spanning over thirty years.
04. The Leftovers // Tom Perrotta. This novel focuses on those left behind, after numerous people mysteriously and very suddenly disappear.
03. The Dog Stars // Peter Heller. The story of friendship, between two men and a man and his dog, and their survival after a flu pandemic kills off most of the world’s population.
02. Zone One // Colson Whitehead. As The Passage’s author Justin Cronin says, “It’s a zombie novel with brains.”
01. Station Eleven // Emily St. John Mandel. A devastating pandemic forces the breakdown of civilization. This tells the story of the survivors traveling from settlement to settlement.
For more recommendations, go here. Have you read The Stand? What book comparison will make you pick up a title immediately (i.e. This year’s Gone Girl, which, incidentally, would cause me not to pick up the book)?