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  • Writer's pictureChris Russell

S2 E12 - The Stand

Outro S2 E12

Hello my survivor friends.

My name’s Johnny Cash.

Yes, yes, yes, that was Robert as the old man singing Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash. I recommend you go onto YouTube and listen to the recording of this, from the album that was actually made live in Folsom Prison by Johnny Cash.

It’s Iconic. I’ll tell you when I though of the end scene where with the old man in the stocks, I immediately thought of the new testament story of the crucifixion, but then, having more than a large portion of my brain still controlled by a 12-year,-old I thought of Monty Python’s the Life of Brian where they have that heavily comic and ironic musical number at the end of the movie with Brian on the cross singing “Always look on the Bright Side of Life”.

Then I asked what would the old man sing if he was looking to make an ironic statement? There are plenty of prison songs contemporary with his age that we could go with. Elvis’ Jailbreak, or maybe Momma Told Me by the Grateful Dead, or any of a hundred old blues standards.

But, I imagined this would be a song he knew. I song he could remember and sing with irony.

The story behind this Johnny Cash recording is that in 1968 he was just coming out of his own troubles with drug addiction and looking to get his career back on track. He did two performances in the jail and out of those performances an album was made that was a best seller.

Of course this is despite the producers telling him he’d lose his audience of Christians by singing to a bunch of killers and rapists – and subsequently not investing at all in the album. But, as is often the case, Johnny did the opposite and it was a hit.


Here we are having completed Episode 12 of season 2. Now we are on the downslope towards the end of the line!

Hope you are enjoying the ride.

Now I need to talk about the Stand by Stephen King.

I was given The Stand by my brother for my birthday in November. It is the re-released longer version, re-edited back to the full length of the original manuscript by King himself. It was a whopping 1296 pages long. I was not excited about taking on such a large book.

Overall, I understand that Stephen King and this book are some people’s favorite author and book. I get it. He’s a good writer and a good storyteller. And I understand that you can’t have a conversation about Apocalypse stories without talking about the Stand at some point.

I’m going to confess to you right now, and I hope you don’t hate me for it, Stephen King and that horror genre are not my favorite. I’m more of a hard SciFi fan.

So there, I said it. Sorry. Don’t’ hate me. I’m not a great fan of Stephen King. That doesn’t mean it’s not wonderful. It just means it’s outside my personal preference zone.

Anyhow, it took me 25 days to plow through the book. Let me tell you what I think, without too many spoilers.

It is broken up into 3 books, a beginning, middle and end if you will. I really liked the first book, especially the opening part because of the unfolding apocalypse. I struggled to stay engaged in the middle bit, but it picked up towards the end.

Here are a few things I noticed. First it’s a very 1970’s novel. When it was re-released in the 90’s, the version I have, they went back and made some changes to bring it up into the 90’s. It seems like they did a search and replace on all the dates and a handful of the cultural references, but it was a very thin whitewash.

Having lived through the 70’s and the 90’s it still screams 70’s. Like the reference to Boston’s Combat zone, as a for-instance. I think they could have just left it in the 70’s. The half-hearted time-washing really didn’t add to the novel and just distracted me

The female lead was a noticeable 70’s archetype too.

The second thing you really notice is how it draws from the Lord of the Rings. The travel to Mordor in book 3, the eye of Sauron, etc. I don’t think it distracts from the novel, I just found it noticeable.

Another thing that I didn’t enjoy was the gratuitous violence and sexual violence, I know it’s just the genre, and that has more to do with me not being a big fan of the horror genre.

Here’s the other thing that colored my experience – as I started reading it, I recognized the story. It turns out at some point in my life I had watched at least part of the 90’s television adaptation of the book. So, in my brain I’m seeing Gary Sinise, Molly Ringwald, Rob Lowe and all these other characters.

It was the 90’s so you couldn’t just binge watch something like that, so I must have surfed into it on weekend TV and watched it from about the middle of the story to the end. That series followed the timeline of the book linearly.

Then, one night I was curious, and watched the first episode of the new remake of The Stand on CBS – Paramount – Because they let you watch the first episode of everything even without a subscription.

In that remake they start in the middle of the second book, and they focus the story there heavily around the character of Harold Lauder. So, a lot of timeline back and forth in that first episode.

By the way you can also watch the first episode of Picard there, which is pretty good.

Don’t hate me, but I thought it was an OK book. I think King is a really good writer and an excellent painter of scenes. I though the story slowed way down in the middle and then seemed to wrap everything up rather quickly in the end. Like he’d been driving around in circles for 900 pages and then decided to find a parking space.

Which is what I’m going to do right now!

Thanks for listening. Join the Facebook group. Rate and review the podcast. Buy some stuff from the after the apocalypse merch store – take a picture and post it if you do.

Check out the Amazon Vella version of season one.

Links in the show notes.

And above all else, my survivor friends, keep surviving.

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