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Muz
2009-07-13, 04:29 PM
I just got through reading the "complete and uncut" version of Stephen King's The Stand, and given the popularity of the book, I wanted to see if I was the only one out there who was disappointed with it. I couldn't help but wonder how it might've been different if King was the sort of writer to write with an outline instead of just writing and seeing where things might end up. I just finished up emailing a friend about it who wanted to know my reaction, so to save time, I'll just post that email in spoilers here, then put on my asbestos underwear. :smallwink:

I should mention that this is the first King book I've ever read. (And go ahead, look at me with that shocked face that everyone gets when I tell them I've never picked up one of his books before.) :smallsmile:


So was there really any point to the end with Stu, Larry, Ralph and Glen heading off to Vegas? Was there any point at all to the judge and Danya and Tom going off to spy on them? Did the people in Boulder, really, have any effect whatsoever at all on the end? Was there ever an actual Stand?

Or does Trash just show up with dues ex machina in a wheelbarrow and blow everyone up because King was too busy crafting detailed characters and descriptions of the minutia of the way the grass grows through gravel, of journeys and how scary Flagg is to figure out that, oh, yeah, maybe the things that happen should have a point? Nothing seems to have mattered. If no spies were sent, no group of four was sent to make a stand, Trash still shows up with his bomb and blows everyone up, no? I read about how, in writing, itís not good to have main characters who are reactive, not proactive, i.e. itís not good to have them standing around, watching things unfold without participating. Itís nearly just as bad, I think, to have characters who DO things, but those things are things that donít make a single difference in anything.

The first half of the book is fantastic, interesting, and compelling. The second, well, maybe if he DID outline things, he wouldíve figured out what to do with all those threads and not have just woven an unraveling rug. ďYeah, um, oh, I should end this book somehow at some point, huh? Well, give me some duct tape, weíll just wrap it all around everything and send it off to the publisher.Ē

I think Iím annoyed that the first part of the book was compelling, had me reading because I was enjoying it, because the characters and the story were pulling me along. Getting to the middle, it got slower, but I kept reading on faith because the beginning was so good, thinking okay, itís slowing down a bit, just keep reading until it gets compelling again. After I got to the last quarter, (or the start of Book 3, rather), I realized that I was only really reading on out of stubbornness. Reading because, well, Iíd already read the first 900 pages, how pointless would it be to put it down now? But by that point all of the compulsion to read was coming from within ME, to finish the book because Iíd gotten that far so I may as well finish. When none of the compulsion to keep reading comes from the writing itself...well, somethingís wrong.

So maybe Iím cranky today, I donít know. But...meh. With all Kingís success, imagine how incredible his books would be if he planned things. :)

I should mention that I just stopped caring about the time Harold went off the cliff (or, at least, about the time we were told, not shown, about Harold going off the cliff), and just skimmed ahead at the rest, then read up a bit on Wikipedia to try to confirm what I could tell of the rest of the plot and what happened to the characters. I got tired of waiting for something to happen, and just plain had lost patience with the second half of the bookís faltering pacing. (I once read a story by John Cheever in college. It was a story about the monotony of life, and he expressed that theme monotony by writing a very monotonous story. Okay, Iím sure the writing is well-done, but frankly who the hell enjoys reading something like that?) So if--as you were saying yesterday--King made things dull and slow in the second half to show how boring life was now that they were all in Boulder, well, okay, maybe he painted the picture well, but it murdered the story.

But like I said, I could be cranky today. :)

(And if I've missed something and any of the protagonists DID make a difference, let me know. I'd be happy to find out that those who died didn't do so didn't die for nothing.)

Fawkes
2009-07-13, 04:36 PM
Not sure what to tell you. I loved the book, but it's been about five years since I've read it. Sorry you didn't like it.

Muz
2009-07-13, 04:40 PM
Hey, it's not your fault. :smallsmile: I just had to express things and get it out of my system. I'm mostly frustrated because of how much I was enjoying it at first.

Zevox
2009-07-13, 04:53 PM
I should mention that this is the first King book I've ever read. (And go ahead, look at me with that shocked face that everyone gets when I tell them I've never picked up one of his books before.) :smallsmile:
Doesn't seem odd to me at all. I've only read one of his books myself, and that was for a school class.

That was Carrie, incidentally, and it was pretty good in my opinion. Certainly a lot better than many of the other books I had to read for that class. I couldn't even finish one, Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey...

Zevox

Starscream
2009-07-13, 05:02 PM
I thought Stand was okay, but not his best work.

I'd recommend The Shining, It or Pet Sematary. Those are the ones I really enjoy.

VeisuItaTyhjyys
2009-07-13, 05:31 PM
I'm generally not a fan of Steven King.

Generally, I wouldn't say any failings, at least of those that I found troublesome, in the book could be repaired by an outline. There is simply a sort of bluntness and intentionality in his writing that I find rather artless. I find a weakness akin to Hawthorne or the weaker bits of Heinlein in his themes and characters; the manner in which King deals with ideas is at once pedantic and shallow.

Drakyn
2009-07-13, 08:15 PM
The last time I read that was a long time ago. I mostly recalled being irritated by all the characters. Also, if I recall correctly, God blowing everyone up for kicks when presumably he could've performed a much more effective miracle earlier, before everything went to hell (like, say, turning all the superplague into manna just before it leaked), irked the crap out of me. Unless I'm completely re-hallucinating the story.

Crel
2009-07-13, 08:35 PM
I hold nothing against you for not having read Steven King before; The Stand was the first book of his that I had read also.

I agree that it isn't his best work, and relies heavily on reading it from a religious viewpoint (Offense is not intended by any further questions and/or comments about religion). Are you a Christian? This book was written with a heavy Christian-like god exists viewpoint, from my perspective. The Stand itself was when the three went to LA and faced down the "Devil" in a Christ-like (again, my Point of View) face-off. My interpretation was that because they had the bravery and faith to confront the Devil, God intervenes on the behalf of the rest of the group in Colorado by setting off Trash's nuclear bomb.

For other stories of his, I highly recommend... Pretty much everything. I've read the Shining, thought it was fine, but other books hit it with me better, for no particular reason. "It" is fantastic. Read it, love it, but don't love "IT" (the creature/monster/adversary).

If you enjoy reading high fantasy along the lines of Lord of the Rings or the Wheel of Time, you will eat up the Dark Tower series. Its a collection of seven books that end up being simply... brilliant. The first is somewhat strange, but keep reading through them, as everything keeps getting more and more explained as the series goes.

I think that's about it. I haven't come across anything that I didn't like of his yet, and I think that overall any book of his is a fairly safe bet.

Drakyn
2009-07-13, 08:40 PM
I hold nothing against you for not having read Steven King before; The Stand was the first book of his that I had read also.

I agree that it isn't his best work, and relies heavily on reading it from a religious viewpoint (Offense is not intended by any further questions and/or comments about religion). Are you a Christian? This book was written with a heavy Christian-like god exists viewpoint, from my perspective. The Stand itself was when the three went to LA and faced down the "Devil" in a Christ-like (again, my Point of View) face-off. My interpretation was that because they had the bravery and faith to confront the Devil, God intervenes on the behalf of the rest of the group in Colorado by setting off Trash's nuclear bomb.
Ah, so I wasn't completely nuts. What annoys me about this look at it is that this means that not only did God not really care about saving anyone who had the bad luck to not be naturally immune during the Captain Trips fiasco, but God only took the time to save the few people left over from a supernatural psychobat****fruitcake who takes long walks and levitates once some of their representatives (who were probably more useful to the struggling community alive than dead) walked over and met him personally. At which point he blew them and everybody nearby sky-high. It just seems unduly harsh.

Lamech
2009-07-13, 11:32 PM
I got the impression from the end scene that Flag basically got him self blown up (well his city) by tossing out a magic kill spell too close to a nuke, and the hand thing was just what a dying person saw... but it was three years ago I read it. Anyway I remember liking it. And hating the movie.

Fawkes
2009-07-13, 11:36 PM
And hating the movie.

The miniseries? Yeah, I'd say it was pretty mediocre.

I remember liking Gary Sinise.

Mewtarthio
2009-07-14, 01:14 AM
I got the impression from the end scene that Flag basically got him self blown up (well his city) by tossing out a magic kill spell too close to a nuke, and the hand thing was just what a dying person saw... but it was three years ago I read it. Anyway I remember liking it. And hating the movie.

My impression was that Flagg is basically exactly as dangerous as you're afraid he is. Hence, the Judge is immune to Flagg's hypnosis and nearly kills him because he's confident enough to face him, Dayna nearly gets her mind snapped open because she's lived among his followers long enough to hear all the horror stories, and Cullen's completely immune to all his powers because he's incapable of understanding the sort of threat that Flagg poses. Thus, when that one guy panics and calls Flagg "the devil," Flagg can shoot ball lighting. When the Trashcan Man showed up with his bomb, everyone became irrationally afraid of the bomb exploding. The combined panic of the entire crowd was enough to usurp Flagg's control over his powers and consummate that fear.

So, basically, the role that our three heroes played was to ensure that a sufficiently large crowd was gathered at that precise moment. The "Hand of God" was probably not literal, but rather a way to show the characters' understanding that they had fulfilled the roles that God intended them to fulfill.

Killer Angel
2009-07-14, 01:52 AM
Never read The Stand, sorry.
But try read "Night shift": it's a compilation of short stories, which contains also Night Surf (a sort of prequel to The Stand).
There's also a foreword written by king, very interesting.

Telonius
2009-07-14, 09:01 AM
"We need help, the poet reckoned." Can't say that he didn't warn us there was a deus ex on the way.

It's been years since I've read the books. But in the end, isn't there a Las Vegas character that finally stands up to Flagg?


My impression was that Flagg is basically exactly as dangerous as you're afraid he is. Hence, the Judge is immune to Flagg's hypnosis and nearly kills him because he's confident enough to face him, Dayna nearly gets her mind snapped open because she's lived among his followers long enough to hear all the horror stories, and Cullen's completely immune to all his powers because he's incapable of understanding the sort of threat that Flagg poses. Thus, when that one guy panics and calls Flagg "the devil," Flagg can shoot ball lighting. When the Trashcan Man showed up with his bomb, everyone became irrationally afraid of the bomb exploding. The combined panic of the entire crowd was enough to usurp Flagg's control over his powers and consummate that fear.

So, basically, the role that our three heroes played was to ensure that a sufficiently large crowd was gathered at that precise moment. The "Hand of God" was probably not literal, but rather a way to show the characters' understanding that they had fulfilled the roles that God intended them to fulfill.

Similar thing goes on in IT. IT is basically a super-powered Harry Potter-style boggart. IT can only harm you if you're afraid of IT. IT takes the form of the thing you fear most. You beat IT by conquering your own fear, and laughing - very much like the judge did.

Basically, I see the whole book as a comment that if you're ruled by your fears, Flagg's Vegas is what results. The trains might run on time, but there's no love - and even Tom Cullen knows that. But if you choose to stand up to those fears, though there might be a sacrifice involved, the source of all your fears just self-destructs.

Jan Mattys
2009-07-14, 10:32 AM
I'm sure I'll attract rocks and rotten tomatoes by saying this, but...

In my opinion the best of all of King's books is "The long walk", a novel he wrote n 1979 under the pseudonym of Richard Bachman.

Loved it, and I still happen to read it again from time to time. It's naive and probably not showing the author's full maturity, but the idea is just powerful, and the end is a touch of genius.

Muz
2009-07-14, 11:11 AM
I agree that it isn't his best work, and relies heavily on reading it from a religious viewpoint (Offense is not intended by any further questions and/or comments about religion). Are you a Christian? This book was written with a heavy Christian-like god exists viewpoint, from my perspective. The Stand itself was when the three went to LA and faced down the "Devil" in a Christ-like (again, my Point of View) face-off. My interpretation was that because they had the bravery and faith to confront the Devil, God intervenes on the behalf of the rest of the group in Colorado by setting off Trash's nuclear bomb.

I won't get into my spiritual beliefs here, but it's enough to say that I had no problem with the concept God being a force in the story. The problem was that knowing these omens/prophecies/etc. are coming FROM God, well, that sort of implies a payoff that needs to happen. If there were no dreams and we weren't sure if Mother Abigail was just making this stuff up, then expectations wouldn't be so high. As we, as readers, pretty much know it's coming from God, then one figures something's going to pan out.
The idea that He would use pretty much everyone to construct a simple faith test for four people... I just don't buy it. It just feels like sloppy writing after building up to something else. It rather makes the last half of the book something of an author's bait-and-switch.

Imagine if in Return of the King there was no Battle of Pellanor Fields and everyone was all just hanging out in Gondor. Then Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, and Legolas decide they should take a trip to the Black Gates to provide a distraction so Frodo and Sam can better get the One Ring to Mt. Doom. Gimli sprains an ankle and doesn't make it. Aragorn, Gandalf, and Legolas get captured and killed, but Frodo and Sam found a secret passage to Mt. Doom so the distraction at the Black Gates wasn't even needed, but when they do get there, Frodo realizes he lost the Ring at some point in the Marshes of the Dead, and Gollum kills them both. Then the Witch King's assistant pushes a button that blows up Mordor. Bit of a screw you to the reader, no?

Telonius
2009-07-14, 11:30 AM
I won't get into my spiritual beliefs here, but it's enough to say that I had no problem with the concept God being a force in the story. The problem was that knowing these omens/prophecies/etc. are coming FROM God, well, that sort of implies a payoff that needs to happen. If there were no dreams and we weren't sure if Mother Abigail was just making this stuff up, then expectations wouldn't be so high. As we, as readers, pretty much know it's coming from God, then one figures something's going to pan out.
The idea that He would use pretty much everyone to construct a simple faith test for four people... I just don't buy it. It just feels like sloppy writing after building up to something else. It rather makes the last half of the book something of an author's bait-and-switch.

Imagine if in Return of the King there was no Battle of Pellanor Fields and everyone was all just hanging out in Gondor. Then Aragorn, Gandalf, Gimli, and Legolas decide they should take a trip to the Black Gates to provide a distraction so Frodo and Sam can better get the One Ring to Mt. Doom. Gimli sprains an ankle and doesn't make it. Aragorn, Gandalf, and Legolas get captured and killed, but Frodo and Sam found a secret passage to Mt. Doom so the distraction at the Black Gates wasn't even needed, but when they do get there, Frodo realizes he lost the Ring at some point in the Marshes of the Dead, and Gollum kills them both. Then the Witch King's assistant pushes a button that blows up Mordor. Bit of a screw you to the reader, no?

Not exactly comparable, though. Frodo and Sam had their MacGuffin. They knew for sure that if they dump it into the volcano, Sauron dies. The people that left for Vegas had no idea at all what they were supposed to do when they got there. It would have been more like, if there had never been a Ring, but Gandalf had told Frodo and Sam they needed to walk up to Mount Doom in order for Sauron to be defeated. (Then, Gollum jumps into the volcano himself, which causes the whole thing to blow up).

I don't get the sense from the book that King means that God set the whole thing up as a faith test, either. Frannie makes it clear that she thinks God's behind it, but Mother Abigail basically brushes past her and says it is what it is, and if the people don't stand up to Flagg (don't face their fears), then Flagg wins. Flagg has almost no power on his own, other than what people believe he has. (Come to think of it, he's more like post-Orthanc Saruman than Sauron). It's the humans in the story that make him bigger than he is.

Querzis
2009-07-14, 11:31 AM
The idea that He would use pretty much everyone to construct a simple faith test for four people... I just don't buy it. It just feels like sloppy writing after building up to something else. It rather makes the last half of the book something of an author's bait-and-switch.

Have you read the book of Job? God doing elaborate test of faith for only a few people actually happen really often in the Bible. Once again, from a purely christian point of view, it make sense because God already did this. But anyway, I agree that its not his best book. Go read the Shining or watch the movie. Jack nicholson is awesome in the Shining.

Muz
2009-07-14, 11:47 AM
It's been a while, but isn't the Book of Job about bad things happening to Job that test his faith, not God letting 99.4% of the population die, then putting the rest of the survivors on the chopping block if Job loses faith?

Also, is any reference at all made to Job in the book (i.e. The Stand)? If this is what King was going for, he could have alluded to it a little more. (It occurs to me that he may have done so in the last 200 pages that I didn't read, so if this is true, I'd be curious to know.)

Was King's point that "Evil's horrid, God's a ****, have a nice day? Bwhahahaa!" ?

And unfortunately I saw The Simpsons' take on The Shining before I saw the movie or read the book. I still haven't read the book, but when I saw the movie I just couldn't take it seriously. :smallbiggrin: ("That's odd. The blood usually gets off at the second floor...") :smallwink:

Querzis
2009-07-14, 12:00 PM
It's been a while, but isn't the Book of Job about bad things happening to Job that test his faith, not God letting 99.4% of the population die, then putting the rest of the survivors on the chopping block if Job loses faith?

Nah but he did kill his family and resurected them after he passed the test. Anyway, look just read the Bible or dont, I dont really care. But God doing test of faith like this happen quite often. Anyway, I really didnt took the end of the Stand like that but I guess it just depends on your point of view.


Also, is any reference at all made to Job in the book (i.e. The Stand)? If this is what King was going for, he could have alluded to it a little more. (It occurs to me that he may have done so in the last 200 pages that I didn't read, so if this is true, I'd be curious to know.)

Was King's point that "Evil's horrid, God's a ****, have a nice day? Bwhahahaa!" ?

How should I know? Ask him not me. All books are open to many interpretation.


And unfortunately I saw The Simpsons' take on The Shining before I saw the movie or read the book. I still haven't read the book, but when I saw the movie I just couldn't take it seriously. :smallbiggrin: ("That's odd. The blood usually gets off at the second floor...") :smallwink:

I also saw the Simpsons take on the Shining first...But the Simpsons did everything so its not because the Simpsons did it that I coudnt take the movie seriously. Jack Nicholson almost made me crap my pants a few times even if I saw Homer do it first.

truemane
2009-07-14, 12:17 PM
This is actually among my favourite of King's works and I've read them all. So I'll step lightly to avoid my enjoyment of the man from getting in the way of discussing what, in effect, comes down to writing theory.

First off, King uses deus ex machina far too often. There. I said it. Sometimes it increases the ambient creepiness of things and the sense that there are unknown powers at work. And sometimes it just seems like copping out. And other times it just feels arbitrary. Or in the case of the Dark Tower books past #4, all three. So I get you there. All the way.

Now, that being said, I don't think that every action by every main character necessarily needs to be instrumental to the resolution of the plot. Sometimes an act can further character or setting or even theme and not really have anything to do with the plot.

Look at Star Wars. Luke is the main character. The struggle to turn him to the Dark Side, and his own struggle to deal with being a Jedi, is the central conflict in the series. But had the Emperor turned him to the Dark Side, Lando STILL would have blown up the Death Star and Darth Vader and the Emperor and Luke would have all died, Empire Falls, Rebellion wins, cue singing Ewoks, end of story.

Does that mean that Luke's actions were meaningless? And his struggle useless and unnecessary? Should that have been cut out of the series because of its lack of direct impact on the narrative?

Maybe you think so. I don't.

What's important, in general, I think, is that the choices make sense at the time they are made, within the context of the situation at hand, and that the choices move the story forward and develop some combination of plot, setting, theme, character.

And I would argue that they do. The spies develop character and setting (and theme) and the long walk does the same, as well as theme.

And, because it bears mentioning, I don't think outlines necessarily serve any purpose. I would disagree very strongly that outlined novels or writers that use outlines are any better in any sense than writers that don't. If you have any sort of evidence that points to the contrary, I'd be happy to hear it.

And just because King (or any writer) doesn't outline his first draft doesn't mean he doesn't re-write extensively afterwards. In fact, he does. Or has said that he does. And so you can be confident that what you're reading is his final vision, whether he planned it out ahead of time or not. You get to the end, and find out that what came out of our head doens't make any sense, and you change it and you fix it and you make the story stronger.

That's what writers do.

Solaris
2009-07-14, 12:44 PM
It's been a while, but isn't the Book of Job about bad things happening to Job that test his faith, not God letting 99.4% of the population die, then putting the rest of the survivors on the chopping block if Job loses faith?
Eh. He bumps off more in Genesis. Heheheh.
If the survivors' best weren't up to it, then what makes you think the American colony is worth saving?
After all, there're still groups of survivors just about everywhere else.


Also, is any reference at all made to Job in the book (i.e. The Stand)? If this is what King was going for, he could have alluded to it a little more. (It occurs to me that he may have done so in the last 200 pages that I didn't read, so if this is true, I'd be curious to know.)
Not that I recall.

I do recall one of the characters mentioning that the three dying was a blood sacrifice, a return to the Old Testament way of doing things. I think one of the points was that God (the deity presented in the Stand, just so we're clear that this isn't a discussion about real-world religion) simply sat back and let humanity wipe itself out - it could be argued that He'd gotten sick of the rampant evil ruling the world and thus let events play out as they would, then took action to ensure all of humanity wasn't wiped out.
As for it seeming pointless to have the four go out... Sure, Trash might have blown up Vegas with or without them there, but who's to say he woulda gotten Flagg (even if Old Scratch did pull him out beforehand) or the bulk of the town? I'm fair sure that an atomic warhead wouldn't spontaneously detonate itself. They just... don't work like that. Ergo, it's always been my understanding that the Hand was what set off the big kaboom.

Drakyn
2009-07-14, 12:49 PM
I do recall one of the characters mentioning that the three dying was a blood sacrifice, a return to the Old Testament way of doing things. I think one of the points was that God (the deity presented in the Stand, just so we're clear that this isn't a discussion about real-world religion) simply sat back and let humanity wipe itself out - it could be argued that He'd gotten sick of the rampant evil ruling the world and thus let events play out as they would, then took action to ensure all of humanity wasn't wiped out.


Or if He's real old-school old-testament, He's just a gigantic jerk and was mad that no one was paying enough attention to him anymore.
Actually, I just had a scary thought. If He's fine and dandy with humanity nearly wiping itself out and rededicating itself to him through blood sacrifice, what if He actually caused the disaster in the first place? Say, by making one of captain trip's lab technicians get a mite careless with containment procedure.

Muz
2009-07-14, 12:54 PM
Look at Star Wars. Luke is the main character. The struggle to turn him to the Dark Side, and his own struggle to deal with being a Jedi, is the central conflict in the series. But had the Emperor turned him to the Dark Side, Lando STILL would have blown up the Death Star and Darth Vader and the Emperor and Luke would have all died, Empire Falls, Rebellion wins, cue singing Ewoks, end of story.

Does that mean that Luke's actions were meaningless? And his struggle useless and unnecessary? Should that have been cut out of the series because of its lack of direct impact on the narrative?

That's not quite the same thing. Luke was part of a collection of efforts to bring down the Emperor. If, say, Luke succeeded but Lando failed, there would still be a victory. As a whole, their actions mattered. But within the context of dealing with the threat of Flagg and his followers, the 3 spies and the group of four making their journey had zero effect. What if Luke and the Rebel fleet both failed, then some stormie pushed the self-destruct button? A bit unsatisfying, no?

And you're right, character development is important. I won't argue that. But the way the story was constructed, we were led to believe that they needed to go to Vegas in order to affect some sort of change on Flagg and his people. "If you don't go, if you sit here in safety, Flagg will show up in the spring and kill everyone!" This is backed up by a bona fide prophet. So in that context, we're essentially being told that they NEED to do this to defeat Flagg, when in reality, they didn't.

And maybe that's the point. Maybe making the reader expect some sort of meaningful confrontation between good and evil was meant to illustrate the inscrutability of God's plan by having it all turn out that nope, it's not about that, it's about how God just wanted these four guys to build some character. If that's the case, then point taken, but it sure makes for an unsatisfying reading experience.

To me, at least. :smallsmile:

Edit: I'm only somewhat confident in this particular argument. I just know my gut tells me that the Stand/ROTJ situations feel different to me, but I can't quite put my finger on why, and figure what I wrote above here is at least somewhat close to it.


And, because it bears mentioning, I don't think outlines necessarily serve any purpose. I would disagree very strongly that outlined novels or writers that use outlines are any better in any sense than writers that don't. If you have any sort of evidence that points to the contrary, I'd be happy to hear it.

I didn't mean to say writing without an outline (and then rewriting a lot at the end) was better or worse than writing with an outline. (Though in hindsight I suppose I did probably come across that way. My apologies.) Different ways work better for different writers. The reason I mentioned that is because King himself has said that he got writer's block at the end. He didn't know what to do. One of the causes of writer's block, in my experience, is not knowing where you're going with something. I wondered how things had been different if King had sat down, thought of just where he wanted all these indications of destiny and such to go and envisioned what the confrontation at the end, which he'd been building to for the whole book, would look like, the book would have been better for it. :smallsmile:


Ergo, it's always been my understanding that the Hand was what set off the big kaboom.

That's the hand of God, though, yes? Isn't that pretty much the very definition of deus ex machina?

Solaris
2009-07-14, 03:16 PM
Or if he's real old-school old-testament, He's just a gigantic jerk and was mad that no one was paying enough attention to him anymore.
... Yeah, pretty much. "I gave you guys the good deal, and you turned it down, so we're back to playing old-school BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!"


That's the hand of God, though, yes? Isn't that pretty much the very definition of deus ex machina?
It's not the Pantheon handing down a bunch of handy doodads to some hero via crane, but yeah, pretty much. It does make sense in the context of the book, though. I saw throughout the book a pattern of regrowth of the spiritual/supernatural pretty much ever since the epidemic started - the dreams, for example.

Tharivol123
2009-07-14, 09:28 PM
I read The Stand in the context of a pseudo-Armageddon story where both sides (good and evil) purged the Earth of people who would be of no use in the coming war between Good and Evil. Both sides established that there would be no direct interference, but Flagg kinda ruined that one when he acted (which if you read more King, kinda fits his chaotic evil style). Good, being lawful stupid, decided to continue to honor the agreement until the four (well, two at that point) travelers gave them a convenient cover story to end Flagg's actions.
That's just my interpretation, but it does make more sense from that perspective.

thubby
2009-07-15, 12:46 AM
much like you, i loved the first ~1/2 of the stand. enough to have dis continuitied (i refuse link to tv tropes) the rest

Fawkes
2009-07-15, 10:15 AM
much like you, i loved the first ~1/2 of the stand. enough to have dis continuitied (i refuse link to tv tropes) the rest

The reason you're supposed to link to tv tropes when you reference tv tropes is so people will know what the heck you're talking about.

Roland St. Jude
2009-07-15, 10:19 AM
Have you read the book of Job? God doing elaborate test of faith for only a few people actually happen really often in the Bible. Once again, from a purely christian point of view, it make sense because God already did this. But anyway, I agree that its not his best book. Go read the Shining or watch the movie. Jack nicholson is awesome in the Shining.

Sheriff of Moddingham: Please don't discuss real world religion. It's dicey in the context of fiction because purely fictional deities don't count. But when you drag the real world religion the fiction is based on into it...well, then I have to close threads. This thread has become mostly about religion at this point. Thread locked.