Stephen King’s sweeping epic battle of good versus evil, The Stand, is so huge in its scope that King had to publish the complete and uncut version of the novel after he REALLY made it big, and that is the version I read and recommend. At around 1200 pages, it’s a doorstop of a book, which isn’t atypical of King, but I can honestly (and surprisingly) say that when I read the final pages I wasn’t finished with these characters. I wanted to know what happened next. I still do. For all the criticism Mr. King has endured over the years, and all the trees he has been responsible for killing, he has always possessed an uncanny ability to create interesting and unique characters that I could relate to. He even manages to make many of the despicable ones sympathetic in some way, shape, or form. It’s that ability to make me care and invest emotionally in fictional figments of his twisted imagination that has kept me one of his Constant Readers for years, and The Stand remains one of the best examples of this. The story itself is set amidst the upheaval of impending apocalypse, with populations decimated, survivors fighting amongst themselves, and all of the end-of-the-world scenarios and situations that seem to be deluging fiction and pop culture as of late. With The Stand, however, Stephen King tackled the topic before the rest, and better than most, in his distinct and indelibly nasty fashion.