The Stand

I just finished The Stand by Stephen King. I’d link to the amazon page but it’s just full of whinging people (I wish there was an option to turn off reviews). It was the largest book I’ve read in years – over 1400 pages with very fine print – and I enjoyed it very much, it’s certainly worth a look if you’re in the mood for an epic. Don’t be put off by the writer, he actually writes comparatively few horror stories and this isn’t one of them. Many thanks to Kate for recommending it to me 🙂

I’m quite glad to have finished it, my to-read pile has been growing steadily higher for a few months now and I’ve made very little impression on it! Next, I think, is the third in Stephen Baxter‘s ‘Manifold’ series, which I’ve been enjoying thus far.

UPDATE: As has been pointed out to me, I haven’t actually said what The Stand is about. Here’s the blurb:

First came the days of the plague…Then came the dreams…Dark dreams that warned of the coming of the dark man. The apostate of death, his worn-down boot heels tramping the night roads. The warlord of the charnel house and Prince of Evil. His time is at hand. His empire grows in the west and the Apocalypse looms.

That makes it sound much more dark and unpleasant than it actually is. You essentially follow a variety of characters from many different backgrounds as they struggle to cope in a now very different world. The above is part of that struggle. That’s all I can say without giving things away 🙂 The book was originally released in 1978, and was 400 pages shorter. This was due to the accounting department adding up the sales of his previous four books, comparing these to production costs, and deciding that £6.95 was “about what the market would bear”. So 400 pages had to be removed to reduce the price. Once SK had become the world’s bestselling author he could do whatever he wanted, so the book was re-relased in 1988 with most of the missing material.

If you haven’t read any SK before I’d recommend starting with something else, as his style isn’t to everyone’s taste. Bag of Bones and The Dead Zone are similar in tone and in my opinion superb. I can’t say much about the plots of either of these, as I’d give away surprises.

No doubt you’ve heard or read about the furore over top-up fees that’s currently making headlines. I finally found an article which explains what’s going on. You can read it without having to sift through vast amounts of you-suck-no-we-don’t rhetoric which is all the news seems to show.