I’ve been devouring books lately. I’ll go through these periods where I read very slowly and take a long time to digest a book. Then, without warning, I’ll hit a reading binge and plow through books like a gin through cotton. It can be a very expensive bad habit, especially now that I’ve got the Kindle.
In an effort to tame myself and also to stem the flood of monies flying from my bank account into Amazon’s, I decided to re-read The Stand. This is probably the seventeenth or eighteenth time through for me, but it is the first time in about six years.
More than anything I’m struck by how much the world did change in reality. King wrote the book in the mid-70s and set the book in 1990. The 1990 of his book looks much the same as the 1978 in which the book was written.
And that, weirdly, is giving me a strange sort of hope. Because when I think about Stephen King writing about the end of the world I realise that he got a lot of things right. The way people behave, interact and see the world. But he got a lot of things wrong. He didn’t foresee the proliferation of home computers. The fall of the Soviet Union. In short, he couldn’t see the way time would wrinkle and produce good results that brought hope and peace.
I think that may be very typical. Now that we are mired in another recession, much like the one during which King wrote The Stand, I read a lot of doom and gloom about the future. A lot of panic and woe. Things are changing, and we are coming to the end of the renaissance of nationalism.
We’re moving into a global age that nobody has a paradigm for. It’s scary in a lot of ways. But I can’t help but believe there will be those excellent wrinkles in time that produce good.