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.


  1. Fantastic! I read a lot of Stephen King when I was younger and in the last few years, have caught up on many of the gaps in his library. I've read both versions multiple times. I read the original at least two times in the 80s as a kid. I read the unabridged version when it came out in 1990 and then at least one more time during the 90s. I agree that the collapse of civilization is what intrigues me (and still does as I read a lot of end-of-the-world books; I just finished On the Beach). Late last year I finished the Marvel Comics adaptation. Looking forward to your comparison of the books.

  2. I should have you write these things! It sounds like you know the book better than I do. Please let me know if you want to write something about the comics adaptation. I've never read it.


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