The Stand :: King Stephen
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The Stand :: King Stephen
Аннотация: In 1978, science fiction writer Spider Robinson wrote a scathing review of The Stand in which he exhorted his readers to grab strangers in bookstores and beg them not to buy it. The Stand is like that. You either love it or hate it, but you can't ignore it. Stephen King's most popular book, according to polls of his fans, is an end-of-the-world scenario: a rapidly mutating flu virus is accidentally released from a U.S. military facility and wipes out 99 and 44/100 percent of the world's population, thus setting the stage for an apocalyptic confrontation between Good and Evil. "I love to burn things up," King says. "It's the werewolf in me, I guess.... The Stand was particularly fulfilling, because there I got a chance to scrub the whole human race, and man, it was fun! ... Much of the compulsive, driven feeling I had while I worked on The Stand came from the vicarious thrill of imagining an entire entrenched social order destroyed in one stroke." There is much to admire in The Stand: the vivid thumbnail sketches with which King populates a whole landscape with dozens of believable characters; the deep sense of nostalgia for things left behind; the way it subverts our sense of reality by showing us a world we find familiar, then flipping it over to reveal the darkness underneath. Anyone who wants to know, or claims to know, the heart of the American experience needs to read this book. –Fiona Webster
For Tabby: This dark chest of wonders.
The Stand is a work of fiction, as its subject matter makes perfectly clear. Many of the events occur in real places—such as Ogunquit, Maine; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Boulder, Colorado—and with these places I have taken the liberty of changing them to whatever degree best suited the course of my fiction. I hope that those readers who live in these and the other real places that are mentioned in this novel will not be too upset by my “monstrous impertinence,” to quote Dorothy Sayers, who indulged freely in the same sort of thing. Other places, such as Arnette, Texas, and Shoyo, Arkansas, are as fictional as the plot itself. Special thanks are due to Russell Dorr (P.A.) and Dr. Richard Herman, both of the Bridgton Family Medical Center, who answered my questions about the nature of the flu, and its peculiar way of mutating every two years or so, and to Susan Artz Manning of Castine, who proofed the original manuscript. Most thanks of all to Bill Thompson and Betty Prashker, who made this book happen in the best way. S.K.
A PREFACE IN TWO PARTS
Part 1: To Be Read Before Purchase
There are a couple of things you need to know about this version of The Stand right away, even before you leave the bookstore. For that reason I hope I’ve caught you early—hopefully standing there by the K section of new fiction, with your other purchases tucked under your arm and the book open in front of you. In other words, I hope I’ve caught you while your wallet is still safely in your pocket. Ready? Okay; thanks. I promise to be brief.
First, this is not a new novel. If you hold misapprehensions on that score, let them be dispelled right here and right now, while you are still a safe distance from the cash register which will take money out of your pocket and put it in mine. The Stand was originally published over ten years ago.
Second, this is not a brand-new, entirely different version of The Stand . You will not discover old characters behaving in new ways, nor will the course of the tale branch off at some point from the old narrative, taking you, Constant Reader, in an entirely different direction.
This version of The Stand is an expansion of the novel which has been in print since 1979 or so. As I’ve said, you won’t find old characters behaving in strange new ways, but you will discover that almost all of the characters were, in the book’s original form, doing more things, and if I didn’t think some of those things were interesting—perhaps even enlightening—I would never have agreed to this project.
If this is not what you want, don’t buy this book. If you have bought it already, I hope you saved your sales receipt. The bookshop where you made your purchase will want it before granting you credit or a cash refund.
If this expansion is something you want, I invite you to come along with me just a little farther. I have lots to tell you, and I think we can talk better around the corner.
In the dark.
Part 2: To Be Read After Purchase
This is not so much a Preface, actually, as it is an explanation of why this new version of The Stand exists at all. It was a long novel to begin with, and this expanded version will be regarded by some—perhaps many—as an act of indulgence by an author whose works have been successful enough to allow it. I hope not, but I’d have to be pretty stupid not to realize that such criticism is in the offing. After all, many critics of the novel regarded it bloated and overlong to begin with.
Whether the book was too long to begin with, or has become so in this edition, is a matter I leave to the individual reader. I only wanted to take this little space to say that I am republishing The Stand as it was originally written not to serve myself or any individual reader, but to serve a body of readers who have asked to have it. I would not offer it if I myself didn’t think those portions which were dropped from the original manuscript made the story a richer one, and I’d be a liar if I didn’t admit I am curious as to what its reception will be.
I’ll spare you the story of how The Stand came to be written—the chain of thought which produces a novel rarely interests anyone but aspiring novelists. They tend to believe there is a “secret formula” to writing a commercially successful novel, but there isn’t. You get an idea; at some point another idea kicks in; you make a connection or a series of them between ideas; a few characters (usually little more than shadows at first) suggest themselves; a possible ending occurs to the writer’s mind (although when the ending comes, it’s rarely much like the one the writer envisioned); and at some point, the novelist sits down with a paper and pen, a typewriter, or a word cruncher. When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “One word at a time,” and the answer is invariably dismissed. But that is all it is. It sounds too simple to be true, but consider the Great Wall of China, if you will: one stone at a time, man. That’s all. One stone at a time.
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