In this episode of Novel Ideas, everybody dies. This week we discuss The Stand by Stephen King, a book about the apocalypse, or at least an apocalypse. And surprisingly, not many people survive the end of the world. In the course of our conversation we get around to most of the characters, many of the events, and some of the significance. Fans of the book will recognize that many details don’t get covered because this book was loooooooooooong. But we hit the highlights, including the demographics of the apocalypse (though Ben’s math is not exactly, you know, correct), the likely pathways of social breakdown, the static nature of characters, and whether the final act is necessary.
The music bump this week is “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. It is referenced in the book and happens to be a celebration of the fact that everybody dies.
5 thoughts on “The Stand”
June 6, 2012 at 8:02 am
Really dug this weeks podcast. Only criticism I have is during your opening, talking over songs that have lyrics makes me feel like you’re shouting at me in a crowd and I loose some of the fun book jokes 🙂
Now onto the story! I haven’t read The Stand yet but I’m defiantly interested in this book now. Sounds like you didn’t get to cover nearly the entire book and the spoiler of Good triumphs over Evil isn’t really a shocker so I’ll still have to pick this book up!
Three things that stuck out to me that I wanted to Comment on.
First is Ben made the observation that the racism in the book simply went away, I’m wondering if King is trying to make the argument that Racism is a product of civilized society and that when the shit hits and humanity is literally fighting for it’s survival things like the color of skin wouldn’t be important anymore.
Next your comment about island nations being able to hold out. This is something I’ve never seen in a post apocalyptic setting that I really wish would be explored. For example Australia would in all likely hood be fine. However take a country like Japan that needs to import food to sustain it’s population would probably struggle. How would the destruction of the rest of the civilized world affect people in this scenario, even if they managed to avoid infection I’m sure they would have to do something about the food shortages. Right, So who want’s to get on a boat and go find food in the plague and feral human infested wasteland? What no takers?
Finally onto Gabs Feminism argument about a lack of female characters. I agree with the statement “men write about men” I know in my writing I always have a male cast that largely outnumbers the female one. I know I don’t set out to do this intentionally its simply that I write about what I know and to an audience that i know. I know I’ve written in female characters before simply because I hadn’t had any, and even so they seem to be weaker than the male ones. Something I should work on. That being said I think in this setting female characters would be a lot of fun to write and explore because the role of women would change significantly in a setting like The Stand.
Scientist predict that you would need at minimum 32 breeding couples to sustain a population with sufficient genetic diversity to avoid the ill effects of inbreeding. This is assuming nothing bad ever happens, and every birth goes off flawlessly, I’d say this is unlikely also this society would almost have to have arranged marriages out of genetic necessity (I’m sorry Susan you can’t marry Bill because he’s only your cousin not your third). In my humble opinion this would eventually lead to more matriarchal societies because (and I say this at risk of sounding like a total jerk) women would probably be tasked with managing the “homestead” because it is safer than forging / hunting the wild mutant filled wastelands. Look at tribal Native American Societies for this example. Also I imagine it’s hard to hunt being 7 months pregnant. I’m not saying women are incapable of these things I’m simply saying I feel humans would revert back to these more primitive society structures.
Wow… Sorry I wrote a small story of my own on your wordpress wall. Looking forward to next week!
June 6, 2012 at 8:06 am
Oh I also just finished Hitch Hiker Guide to The Galaxy so I’m ready for next week, that’s a book that’s been on my list for a long time that I simply haven’t gotten around to reading.
April 21, 2016 at 4:32 pm
Did you read the 1978 version or the 1990 version (The Complete & Uncut Edition)?
April 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm
It’s been a while and I’m not home to look at my bookcase right this minute, but I’m 90% sure that we read the 1990 version.
April 21, 2016 at 4:47 pm