Thread: Stephen King
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Old June 3 2009, 03:31 AM   #24
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Re: Stephen King

Trent Roman wrote: View Post
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.
From what I've read, King had writers block at about the halfway mark of the book. He worked on and finished another novel before the idea of killing half of the characters came to him. That cleared his block and he was able to finish the book.
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