Stephen King's novel The Stand is about a pandemic that wipes out humanity except for a few beleaguered survivors who quickly divide into camps of good and evil. It's become one of his most popular novels, especially for the early, chilling scenes of the plague getting out and infecting the population. It starts with people denying it and ignoring the warning, which allows the virus (nicknamed "Captain Trips") to rapidly spread. With a fatality rate somewhere in the 98th percentile, the virus takes over the world, scours it clean, and paves the way for a new society.
Sounds kind of like a worst-case scenario for the coronavirus, huh? Well, Stephen King was interviewed by NPR in an article called "Stephen King Is Sorry You Feel Like You're Stuck In A Stephen King Novel."
"I keep having people say, 'Gee, it's like we're living in a Stephen King story,' " he says. "And my only response to that is, 'I'm sorry.'
"For me, as a guy who is in his 70s now, I can remember my mother talking about the Great Depression. It made a scar. It left trauma behind. And I think that ... my granddaughter — who can't see her friends, can only Skype them once in a while. She's stuck in the house ... when [she's grown and] her children say, "Oh my God, I'm so bored, I can't go out!" ... [my granddaughter] is going to say, "You should have been around in 2020, because we were stuck in the house for months at a time! We couldn't go out. We were scared of germs!"
A pandemic like COVID-19 was "bound to happen," King says. "There was never any question that in our society, where travel is a staple of daily life, that sooner or later, there was going to be a virus that was going to communicate to the public at large."
You can listen to the entire episode of Fresh Air below