The Stand is a post-apocalyptic horror/fantasy novel by American author Stephen King. It demonstrates the scenario in his earlier short story, Night Surf. The novel was originally published in 1978 and was later re-released in 1990 as The Stand: The Complete & Uncut Edition; King restored some text originally cut for brevity, added and revised sections, changed the setting of the story from 1980 (which in turn was changed to 1985 for the original paperback release in 1980) to 1990, and updated a few pop culture references accordingly. The Stand was nominated for the World Fantasy Award for Best Novel in 1979, and was adapted into both a television miniseries for ABC and a graphic novel published by Marvel Comics.
The novel is divided into three parts, or books. The first is titled "Captain Trips" and takes place over nineteen days, with the escape and spread of a human-made superflu (influenza) virus known formally as "Project Blue", but most commonly as "Captain Trips". The virus is developed at a U.S. Army base, where it is accidentally released. While the base tries to shut down before any infected person can escape, a security malfunction allows a guard and his family to sneak out. Unfortunately, they are already infected, and set off a pandemic that kills an estimated 99.4% of the world's human population, as well as that of domesticated animals, such as horses and dogs.
King outlines the total breakdown and destruction of society through widespread violence, the failure of martial law to contain the outbreak, and eventually the death of virtually the entire population. The human toll is also dealt with, as the few survivors must care for their families and friends, dealing with confusion and grief as their loved ones succumb to the flu.