The Stand had a great description of the end of civilization and of how people deal with it, but I didn't like all that old lady-vs-Randall Flagg stuff that came later. And the ending (Las-Vegas scenes) sucked.
It does seem to shift storytelling modes mid-way (or perhaps earlier), doesn't it? From a very secular apocalypse to a standoff between Manichean camps of good and evil. But I think The Stand
engages throughout with the idea of cruelty--the undiscriminate cruelty of Captain Tripps, the cruelty of circumstances, and what people work against other people--and after the plague has passed and people start organizing again, he moves up to the next level, the cruelty of the deity who presides, uncaring, over all that suffering. It's the horror of a perfectly deterministic universe: whether you die of Captain Tripps or because it was god's will, you have no control over your own fate. In the long term, I can see why that can make for unsatisfying storytelling--in was annoyed at the role of ka
by the end the Dark Tower series, for taking on such size that it endangered the idea that these characters were acting of their own volition (sort of like what the BSG finale retroactively did to the rest of the show), but I thought it worked well in the contained context of The Stand
However, I've always had the sneaking suspicion that his wife not him wrote "Gerald's Game & Deloris Clairbourne". Those two stories don't contain the same themes and elements his other books do.
I've not heard those rumours, and I don't think it's accurate to say they don't touch on themes found in his other books. Cujo
and Rose Madder
, and characters like Beverly in It
, for instance, speak to similar issues of entrapment, sexual abuse, battered women, etc.
Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman