Thursday, May 16, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 12

Chapter 26 gets majorly expanded.  In the 1978 paperback, it's 4 pages.  In the 1990 hardback, it's 20.  So far, no other chapter has gotten this much expansion, and I want to say that no other one coming up does either, but we'll deal with that question as we progress further in the novel.  Chapter 26 is mainly atmospheric and has that 1970s paranoia about the country falling apart in such full effect that one wonders if Mr. King was getting high by smoking a potent mixture of the Pentagon Papers and the Watergate Tapes.  This aspect of King surfing the zeitgeist is one of my favorite aspects of the novel anyhow, so I quite enjoyed this expanded chapter.  Let's see.  We have campus radicals; newscasters having a shootout with the army and taking over the airwaves; samizdat editions of newspapers; a talk radio host getting executed on air; a massacre at Kent State University that makes the one on May 4, 1970 look like a minor incident; black nationalists taking revenge on white supremacy one white person at a time live on tv; some last lies from a dying president of the USA; and much much more.  Basically, this chapter shows the lengths the government goes to in an attempt to cover up the superflu, and the utter evil and futility of those efforts as the truth comes out and most of the population dies.

One notable change is the shift of the talk radio show's telephone numbers from 656-8600 and 656-8601 to 555-8600 and 555-8601 (too many King fans annoyed people with the original numbers perhaps?).

Chapter 27 isn't quite as exciting, but it starts a new phase in the novel.  After Chapter 26, civilization as the characters knew it is over; it's postapocalypse time now!  We'll pick up there next.

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