Stephen King’s The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition narrated by Grover Gardner is finally available for download on Audible.com. Weighing in at nearly two days of recorded audio, finishing The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition will require a significant commitment in time, but if you’re anything like me or the literal millions of Stephen King fans, you’ll wish the two days were three.
Grover Gardner narrates with a balanced clarity that is at times both eloquent and novel. With over 650 titles recorded and numerous awards, including over twenty AudioFile Earphones Awards, Gardner makes a worthy match for King. I’m also glad to say that Gardner is not one of those narrators who reads dialogue without changing voice. He embraces each character, showing real dramatic poise and training. You can almost smell the piney woods in Stu Redman’s East Texas drawl. Gardner’s voice rings clear never missing a beat and will almost certainly make you smile. See Grover Gardner’s Blog on his reading of The Stand.
First published in print in 1990 The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition includes more than 150,000 words or about 500 pages cut from the original. The revised edition isn’t a major plot overhaul. Think of it as a redux or director’s cut. While there are no new characters, some have been expanded. The Kid, originally intended as a major character, is one of several to be significantly beefed up.
King always believed the additional content belonged in the novel. He first edited the five hundred pages only at his publisher’s request and would have released the book in its 1300 page entirety. Ultimately, whether The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition is better work of art than it’s predecessor is moot. For King fanatics the extra pages are lost prophesy from a holy prophet. This edition is for those of us whose imaginations need more of The Stand to play with.
If you’re like me you may find myself entertaining fantasy plots as you go about the day. What makes The Stand so entertaining is its ability to simultaneously remove us from and remind us of the everyday world. I wander the Amerocalypse in my imagination while I’m waiting for the bus and in the elevator, picturing dead bodies in the park and wondering what a nuclear explosion looks like. When an author builds a universe this fun, more is always better.
And there are other changes. Readers of the 1978 publication may notice some other small changes. The setting is changed from 1980 to 1990, and pop culture references are altered accordingly. Illustrations by Bernie Wrightson and a prologue by King are also included.