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Essays on Issues, Ideas and Reflections on the Times. Published now and
then. Opinions pro or con are welcome.

Did You Ever Read King's Book, The Stand?

North Miami Beach, FL 10-06-2005
A.H. Schectman

In all of his prodigious output of highly readable literary successes, The Stand was notable in its lack of success as a motion picture.  This may be just me.  I thought the actors chosen to represent the characters in this book did not match my imagination of what they looked like while they developed on the written page.  This may often be the case.  But some books translate onto the screen better than others.  In some instances the movies are better than the books.  In The Stand, I found that it was too rich in plot, personalities and more than enough place and action to satisfy the most demanding reader.  But I read almost anything in order not to have nothing to read.

If you never read Steven King’s book, The Stand, you missed an important detail that fills me with dread today as I read that the “Killer 1918 virus (is) re-created in bid to avert next pandemic.” In the story, government experiments with biological warfare materials went wrong and a terrible disease, much worse than the influenza epidemic of 1918, was released and spread throughout the world killing most of the population.  This was skillfully recorded and the outcome of a small group of progressive and democratically oriented survivors out-waited and through the intervention of a bit of a God oriented hocus pocus saved civilization by killing off the “Other Side” forces of evil.  It is a good yarn.

But, I write this because of my connection with that 1918 virus.  I was named for an uncle who served in the Army during World War I and was killed by that Flu virus. He did not really see war but because of the massing of soldiers in camps preparatory to being sent over seas, he was in the wrong place when that virus was most virulent. There are pictures being reproduced of the bed filled wards with their occupants dying because there was no defense against this biological non-weapon.

What is disturbing is that researches are involved in “rebuilding” that virus in order to understand the current fears about the bird flu.  This is very much like the scientists and doctors who are restudying the smallpox disease that we all thought was over and done with.  With all our vaunted scientific genius we seem not to have killed smallpox but smallpox is still killing us and each year at this time we must get shots to prevent the ever shifting flue virus from doing the same.

This is very much like ‘the more things change, the more they remain the same’.  We poor human beings are still at the mercy of things we do not fully understand.  I suggest we study our Bibles harder and find the answers.





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