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.  

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