If Stephen King is a house, The Stand is the front door


Walking to work sometimesโ€”my office is in Times Squareโ€”I think idly to myself about the benefits of a post-apocalyptic world. Fewer people. More space. The environment would probably get better. With any luck, Texas would be wiped off the map entirely. “A plague hits, and half of us survive,” I think to myself as I push past Elmos and Darth Vaders lined up like Wal-Mart greeters on 40th Street. “Maybe that wouldn’t be so bad.”

For secret misanthropes like myself, Stephen King’s The Stand is as fascinating as it is horrifying. Felled by a government-created (and accidentally released) superflu known as Captain Trips, the U.S. (and theoretically global) population is evisceratedโ€”only about 1 in 10 people prove immune. Those that survive find themselves cast adrift in a world absent their loved ones, and are scared by the arrival of vivid mass dreams, dreams of a faceless man and a kindly old woman, the former evil, the latter virtuous, the former Satanic, the latter Godly. Propelled by their visions, the country’s remaining residents gather together in two separate locationsโ€”Boulder, Colorado for the good’uns, and Las Vegas, natch, for the badโ€”where they begin to negotiate the formation of new societies, and to prepare for a final showdown between good and evil.

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Tower of terror

I’ve been putting off writing this post because I’m not exactly sure how to go about itโ€”reviewing the fifth book in an eight-volume Stephen King series is like trying to explain the intricacies of the third Harry Potter novel to an alien from a planet with no concept of wizards.

If you haven’t heard of, let alone read, the Dark Tower books, then…I’ll admit, I’m not sure what to tell you. What’s your general feeling on 6,000 pages of mutant lobsters, decaying robots, time travel and gunfights? In fact, let me ask you a few questions. Do you like Westerns? Do you like fantasy Westerns? Did you enjoy the movie Cowboys & Aliens? No but really, did you kind of? Like a little bit? Okay well do you like Stephen King? What’s your favorite Stephen King novel? Did you really read that or just see the movie? No it’s okay, it’s a great movie. How would you feel about seeing a Stephen King movie about a Stephen King movie? I know, it’s a little meta. Do you need to sit down?

They should paste that list of questions up in bookstores. 

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