Monday, January 14, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 8

Chapter 17 in the 1990 edition is an all new chapter, which features Billy Starkey observing the carnage in the military compound that unleashed the superflu and deciding the government should cover up the flu's existence and origin by killing anyone who stumbles upon the truth.  The chapter cuts to another scene where a Houston reporter and photographer get murdered by undercover military personnel.  In addition to fleshing out Starkey a bit, the chapter makes the handwringing about government and authority in the later Boulder Free Zone scenes more thematically powerful.

Chapter 18 picks up the storyline from the earlier edition again and features Nick Andros becoming the new sheriff by default  in Shoyo, Arkansas.  Oddly enough, the expanded chapter seems to be missing a paragraph from the earlier edition where Nick lowers his head to avoid lip-reading insults from the prisoners.  Otherwise, it seems to have the usual fiddling and minor expansions until the end of the older chapter, to which King adds a few more pages in which the sheriff and most of the town dies, saddling Nick with taking care of the men who assaulted him.  The doctor who treats Nick also notes that the town appears to be blockaded by the army and all the phones are dead, which continues the storyline from the previous chapter about the government trying to cover up the superflu, or barring that, its victims.

Chapter 19 moves to Larry Underwood and New York, and I'll pick up there next.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 7

The new Chapter 13 gets expanded a bit where Stu Redman banters/duels with Dick Deitz, and, of course, also has the usual minor fiddling such as removing the italics from "The man with no face" when Stu dreams of Randall Flagg.  The big change is a major expansion in the middle of the old chapter.  King adds a chapter where Deitz tape records an account of the research on Stu and then takes the material from the end of the old chapter involving the nurse Patty Greer and makes it into a short chapter of its own.  Chapter 16 is essentially the same as the old chapter 12 with some minor fiddling (for example, Nehi becomes Jolt in the gas station shootout scene).

Chapter 17 is brand new though, and I'll pick up there next.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 6

In the 1990 edition of The Stand, Chapter 8 gets expanded at the end and the reader gets a few more paragraphs detailing how the flu spreads across the country.  Chapter 9 gets a few more details about Larry Underwood's one night stand with the oral hygienist, and Larry's mom buys him a Sara Lee cheesecake with strawberries in addition to all the things she bought him in the earlier edition.  That last addition is odd, but I haven't heard that Stephen King received any sort of product placement money for the novel, so it's probably just a minor detail meant to add to the realistic feel of the novel (well, as realistic as an apocalyptic novel gets anyway) that got cut when the original manuscript got edited.

More major changes happen in Chapters 11 and 12, which aren't the 11 and 12 in the earlier edition.  The 1990 edition has 78 chapters whereas the earlier version has only 68, so, in addition to the various other changes, King adds ten new chapters to the book.

Chapter 11, the first of those new chapters, involves Larry visiting his mother at her workplace, where she lectures him about how selfish he is and then gives him money to go see a movie until she's done working.  He goes and sees one of the Nightmare On Elm Street movies.  Chapter 12 involves Frannie Goldsmith fighting with her mother over Frannie's pregnancy.  Both chapters certainly aren't essential for the plot, but are nice ways for King to develop the characters a bit more, especially for Larry's guilt complex and Frannie's concerns about motherhood.  Interestingly enough, both chapters involve the protagonists having conflicts with their mothers.

Chapter 13 returns to one of the chapters in the earlier edition, where Stu Redman gets some answers about his quarantine.  I'll pick up there tomorrow. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 5

Many of the early chapters introducing the cast of characters aren't much changed beyond some fiddling, some expanded characterization, and some updated cultural references.  Some of the times, King leaves some things unchanged that are puzzling.  For instance, the twentysomething rock singer Larry Underwood daydreams of having sex with Raquel Welch.  No offense to Ms. Welch, but not many male heterosexuals who were infants in the mid-1960s probably were fantasizing about her in 1990.  A then-contemporary sex symbol such as Cindy Crawford would have been more likely.  Perhaps, King really had a thing for Welch so he left that reference unchanged, or Larry just likes MILFs (given the later Rita Blakemoor plotline, that's certainly possible).

But I'm discussing changes, not the things King didn't change.  And Chapter 7 has a major change.  In the 1980 paperback, it begins with the nurse telling Stu to roll up his sleeve, whereas in 1990 it begins with an entire scene featuring the character Vic Palfrey trying to figure out how he ended up in the hospital, before it cuts over to the scene with Stu.  The addition is a nice one, though not for Vic since he dies in it, but it fleshes out a minor character and adds a bit more suspense to the threat of the superflu.

Some readers have complained that the earlier version of The Stand is superior to the expanded one since the storyline is more streamlined and the writing more taut, but, in general, if you liked The Stand before, then there's a good chance that changes such as addition of the Vic scene will make you like it more.

They make the novel even Standier.  

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 4

In his preface, King describes the 1990 Stand as an "expansion of the original novel" and that indeed is what most of the new material is.  Scenes get extended and characters get characterized more.  For example, in the first chapter of the 1990 Stand, the reader learns a bit more about Stu Redmond's background, including that his youngest brother died of pneumonia, for which Stu felt guilty, a bit of foreshadowing on a couple of levels.

Of course, King fiddles as well as expands.  He even fiddles at such tiny levels, it's fairly mind-boggling.  For instant, Stu's description by his drinking buddies changes from "Old-time tough" to "Old Time Tough."  That's right; he deletes a hyphen, adds a space, and changes the ts to capitals.

When I went to Kent State, I worked for a year in The Institute For Bibliography And Editing (IBE), where at that point they were working on crafting critical editions of the novels of Joseph Conrad.  To create a critical edition, they would gather all the editions possible of the novels, including manuscripts, publishers proofs, and related material such as letters commenting on the novels.  Then they would work on figuring what Conrad's intent was for the work and go from there to craft the ideal version of the novel including noting variants in the footnotes.  It was a tough job, not so much mine individually (I mainly scanned in Conrad's letters where he mainly complained to his agent about money and gout), but putting together an ideal version of a text because so many little changes existed among editions (many of them typos and screwups; others, changes of the minds of writer, editor, or publisher).

Seeing something like the switch from "Old-time tough" to "Old Time Tough" would make the IBE staff weep with despair, especially since the 1990 Stand, in addition to the expansion by hundreds of pages, also seems to be filled with tiny little changes such as that.

King once called the writing of the novel his own personal Vietnam.  Editing a critical edition would be like fighting the whole damn Cold War.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 3

The date changes are what stand out most noticeably in the 1990 version of The Stand.  The novel is so steeped in 1970s paranoia that switching the setting to 1990 just makes things odd.  Even 1980 was pushing things a bit.  In truth, this novel seems set a few days after Jonestown, with Watergate, stagflation, the Kent State shootings, the Charles Manson trial, and the Vietnam War all fairly fresh memories as well.  Actually, the novel was published before the Jonestown tragedy, but it captures the 1970s horror zeitgeist so well it seems prophetic.  But 1990?

No, that doesn't work.  This novel doesn't feel set in Ronald Reagan's America and certainly not George Bush's.  Not that those weren't horrific times as well, but the horror was of a different type, more like that of a Yuppie vampire sucking the blood out of a lazy steelworker.  The Stand's horror is the shock of 1960s peace and love hippies giving up on flower power and going underground and robbing banks and setting bombs.  It's Patty Hearstville all the way, no matter how many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get sprinkled in.  Randall Flagg would have been working on Wall Street in the 1980s, not wandering the backroads of America.

I wish King had set the novel in the 1970s, but I can live with 1980.

Personally, I just consider all the date changes typos.  Tsk, tsk, such sloppy copyediting.  It mars an otherwise fine novel.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 2

One of the major changes to the 1990 edition of The Stand is that Stephen King added a preface explaining why a new edition of the novel has been released.  According to King (and he should know, eh?), four hundred pages of the manuscript were cut from the published version of the novel in 1978 mainly due to financial concerns.  The publisher was worried that the extra pages would have pushed the price too high for the book, as it was a long novel already, so King reluctantly made the cuts.  For the 1990 edition, he restored many but not all of those pages, and he also tinkered with some more things such as updating the cultural references and the dates.  He did something similar for the paperback edition in 1980, mainly with the dates, moving the date of the flu outbreak from 1980 to 1985.  For the 1990 edition, the date is moved to 1990.

In addition to the preface, King made minor updates to the dedication (from "For my wife Tabitha:  This dark chest of wonders." to "For Tabby/this dark chest of wonders.") and the author's note.  The excerpts from songs that serve as invocations and mood music to begin the book change from songs by Bruce Springsteen, Blue Oyster Cult, and Bob Dylan to songs by Bruce Springsteen, Blue Oyster Cult, and Country Joe And The Fish.  Why Dylan gets dropped is beyond me.  I haven't finished reading the 1990 edition yet, so my suspicion is that he gets used later since his song, "Shelter From The Storm", is still listed in the copyright acknowledgements at the beginning of the novel.  But, the song by Country Joe And The Fish isn't listed there, so perhaps someone slipped up and didn't replace Dylan with Country Joe there.  Then again, the Country Joe lyrics are just the "What's that spell?" portions of the "Fish" chants (or "Fuck" when they were feeling particularly rowdy), so maybe they didn't need the legalese.

After the song lyrics, we get a page that states "The circle opens" along with an Ed Dorn quote ("We need help, the Poet reckoned.").  As an aside, the one time I was in the same room as King was in Maine in 1996 at an Ed Dorn poetry reading during a "Poetry in the 1950s" conference.  Despite the brickbats snooty literati sometime toss his way (for example, when he got a medal from the National Book Foundation, some critics and publishing types had a hissyfit), King has been very supportive of literature in general, even stuff far more avant garde than his own work.  If I remember correctly, he even paid for Dorn's appearance at the conference.

Then we get the first actual bit of the novel, a brief scene with Charlie Campion, the plague carrier, waking up his wife so they can flee from California, where he has been working at a military base developing biological weapons, one of which, the superflu or Captain Trips, has now escaped the lab and started killing everyone at the base.

And after that we reach the point where the 1978/1980 Stand starts.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Changes In Stephen King's The Stand 1978-1990 Part 1

As a kid, I read a lot of Stephen King.  He's a good writer, and his imaginative horror novels definitely caught my adolescent attention.  I even interviewed him once through the mail for my high school newspaper, so he's a nice guy as well to have taken the time to do that.  My favorite King novel is The Stand, a very gripping apocalyptic novel.  In 1990, King came out with an unabridged edition of the already long novel which had been first published in 1978.  I always meant to read it, but never got around to it.  A few weeks ago, I picked up a copy, figuring 23 years was long enough of a wait.  I still like the book and still find King to be an excellent storyteller.  I prefer the horror of civilization collapse parts more than I do the neoTolkien/Christian Revelations quest parts, but the novel is still a good read overall.  What I found most interesting however were the many changes King made to the novel.  I looked around online for a good list of the changes but didn't find one; most people intending to do so seemed to get overwhelmed by the sheer sprawl of the novel and gave up.  In the 1990 edition, King restored and added a few hundred pages to the already long novel.  I won't track the minor changes; he even tinkers at the word and sentence level, but I'll focus on what I consider to be the major changes to the novel.  I only have the 1980 paperback to make comparisons with, which itself has some minor revisions from the first hardcover edition, but that's enough to deal with.

This might be a long series of posts.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Return Of Paseo . . . Tigers Beware!

If Fiora paper products look familiar, then you know about Paseo, the paper towel and toilet paper brand that got its paper from the forests inhabited by endangered tigers in Indonesia.  Basically, the company, Oasis Brands, just replaced the word "PASEO" with the word "fiora" (perhaps the new all lowercase word represents their chastisement for endangering animals) on the same packaging design.  Let's hope Oasis has really changed the source of its paper and are no longer endangering tigers as well!  That's what the company is claiming anyway.  They're even trying to do some good for people in need now.

If the World Wildlife Fund or another independent source such as the Forest Stewardship Council verifies Oasis's claims, I could see buying its products again.

I just don't want to buy paper towels soaked in tiger blood.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Does This Look Familiar?

I was perusing the coupons in the direct mail advertising bundle when I came across this ad for a new toilet paper and paper towel brand.  Alas, I don't think it's actually new, just an old brand with a new name.  Do you recognize it?  If so, please comment.  Hint:  I've written about it before.

More tomorrow.

Friday, January 4, 2013

O Christmas Tree! On The Treelawn You Go!

Today, while going to work, I noticed many a Christmas tree on many a treelawn.  What looks so wonderful in December apparently is only fit for the garbage collectors in January.  As I've noted before, Christmas trees are a strange tradition.  I still don't understand how killing a tree celebrates life.  Furthermore, the whole tradition seems like a lot of work for little gain.  People go out and buy a tree, drag it into the house, and then, a couple of weeks later, throw it out.  Why not spend time doing something else?

In any case, the tree I didn't kill continues to live happily outside (well, as happy as trees get anyway--it's bloody cold out at the moment).

Contrary to how we more typically personify Christmas trees in advertisements, stories, and so forth as being happy for the holidays, I bet they really hate Christmas.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

File Under Ironic

I fully expect to read about this in News Of The Weird soon. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Poem!

Once before, with "Ironic Occupations", I had a poem published in one of Mark Sonnenfeld's Marymark Press Giveout Sheet Series.  I make a return appearance in the last bit of the 2012 series with "Why Does God Let Bad Things Happen?"  It's paired with one of Mark's poems, "Bleecker Street".  The sheet is available directly from Mark.  If you want one, just send a self-addressed stamped envelope along with your request to 45-08 Old Millstone Drive, East Windsor, NJ 08520 USA.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

"Hokie Low" by The Artist Formerly Known As Crazycarl

let me preface what I’m about to say with 2 disclosures: 1) i have a good job now and don’t have the freedom to write the way I did back in 2002 and 2) on my worst day, I wouldn’t claim to be a republican or a democrat……more on the latter: I am against all forms of violence……I don’t respect you if you kill your baby (which makes me a republican), if you go to someone else’s country to kill them because you don’t have the skills to get a regular civilian job (which makes me a democrat) or if you need to prove your masculinity by shooting little animals (again, democrat)……and if these views make me seem more like a democrat to you, let me try to balance the scales by reflecting on my appalachian heritage…….why do poor hillbillies consistently vote republican?----npr would condescend that we’re ignorant, but the truth is that republicans want to steal our money whereas democrats want to pat themselves on the back for explaining it to us…..i don’t know about you, but I have more respect for the person who wants to steal my money than I do for the one who condescends……anyway, that’s 2-2 and my political leanings aren’t the subject of this piece anyway…….i want to talk about gun control and I don’t need to quote bill o’reilly or superimpose charlton heston’s face on a goat on my facebook page to make my point----it’s just common sense……I’m visiting my parents in virginia for the holidays and I’m fortunate enough to be able to walk a trail from their house down to the local river (the trail is part of my high school’s property)……..anyway, it’s hunting season and during my walk last tuesday, I had a creepy feeling that I was being watched…..a few minutes later, the faculty advisor for the school skeet club rolled up in his $4000 golf cart and “warned me” to stay off the hiking trail because hunting season was in full effect and I might get shot……my mom still works at my high school and even though I wanted to tell him that he “could fill his quota in 15 seconds at the local elementary school,” I was obliged to be polite/philosophical and say something along the lines of “you gotta be free”…….and as I walked back home that day, I started thinking about the shootings in connecticut----like what kind of person walks into an elementary school and shoots twenty first graders v. what kind of person’s life revolves around killing an animal for fun…….i promise you I hate the government as much as you do (they burned my great aunt’s house down in 1933 to give flatlanders jobs and a national park), but no one is free in 2012 anyway……we no longer need to defend ourselves against foreign invaders or our own government-----there’s a camera at every intersection and each and every one of us is already chained to the tracking number on our walmart charge card…’re not free and i’m not free and none of us will ever be free again…..with that being said, it’s time to stop the killing……I know y’all are “smart” and have read many magazine articles, but this isn’t about sitting on a porch in kentucky sipping mint julips and discussing politics/bragging about what you’ve read……it’s about common sense>political lines……it’s about 20 dead children> the obama/romney sign in your yard……you say that there are millions of guns in america?----I say: STOP PRODUCING THE BULLETS……you say the bad guys will import the bullets from overseas?----I say: DON’T LET THEM MAKE BULLETS EITHER (they’re on camera, plus our missiles are bigger)……you say you don’t trust the police?----TAKE THEIR BULLETS AWAY TOO----it’ll be just like “reno 911,” but without the bullets… may take awhile and there might be more short-term violence, but if you take away all the bullets, I think it might work….it’s fucking 2012, ya know? last thing: if you think there’s a potential school shooter in your class, you should facebook “like” every picture he posts of his cat sleeping and what he had for lunch
TAFKAC graduated from Virginia Tech and wishes you a Happy New Year.  If you want more, head on over to the local bookstore and pick up Bloodreal.