History Headscratchers / TheStand

4th Jun '17 2:48:39 PM nombretomado
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* I just finished reading the book a couple of days ago, and just now (upon reading the TVTropes article) found that the virus was supposed to wipe out 99.4% of humanity. Where are people getting that number from? It isn't mentioned anywhere in the book that I saw. Is that WordOfGod? Am I missing something?

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* I just finished reading the book a couple of days ago, and just now (upon reading the TVTropes Wiki/TVTropes article) found that the virus was supposed to wipe out 99.4% of humanity. Where are people getting that number from? It isn't mentioned anywhere in the book that I saw. Is that WordOfGod? Am I missing something?
21st Nov '16 8:18:17 PM LookielouE1705
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*** Not really - Manhattan is only twenty square miles, there would be hundreds of people per square mile, even accounting for factors like secondary mortality (which would be less with other people around to assist) and people would be forced out of their stinking, powerless highrises onto the streets (which are a tiny fraction of the total landmass). There would be plenty of people in every public space in Manhattan, and people tend to congregate together in crisis. King's depiction makes it seem like there's maybe a few people per square mile in Manhattan, which makes the plague several orders of magnitude more lethal than the common number. Furthermore, consider those towns where only one person survived - if those towns are a few thousand people, the mortality rate is off by an order of magnitude.
21st Nov '16 7:52:02 PM LookielouE1705
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*** So, life for most settlers was less isolated than we've come to think of it as being (outside the inevitable isolation that comes from being on any farm without phones and powered transportation). Most settlers set out and settled in community groups (think of those big wagon trains) and even the Ingalls had neighbors around them, including medical assistance. Then too the Ingalls were a bit unusual in that they were moving not just for economic opportunity (a crucial distinction because most 19th century settlers were taking on hardship for an economic opportunity which has no correlate for Stu and Frannie) but because they found their surroundings "too crowded". So maybe Stu and Frannie were also just trying to get away from other people, which would make them more like hermits than ordinary settlers.
9th Nov '16 11:13:40 PM TheGoodnight
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** The government/scientists/military didn't know that any immune people existed at all. They were baffled by Stu's immunity. The 99.4 percent communicability is the chance of passing on the disease when an infected person encounters someone else. If the other person lucks out on the 0.6% chance, that's not because they're immune. They just got lucky until the next time they encounter an infected person. Chances are a lot fewer than 0.6% were actually immune, with no chance at all of contracting it.

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** The government/scientists/military didn't know that any immune people existed at all. They were baffled by Stu's immunity. The 99.4 percent communicability is isn't the fraction of the population that's susceptible, it's the chance of passing on the disease when an infected person encounters someone else. If the other person lucks out on the 0.6% chance, that's not because they're immune. They just got lucky until the next time they encounter an infected person. Chances are a lot fewer than 0.6% were actually immune, with no chance at all of contracting it.
9th Nov '16 11:11:38 PM TheGoodnight
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** The government/scientists/military didn't know that any immune people existed at all. They were baffled by Stu's immunity. The 99.4 percent communicability is the chance of passing on the disease when an infected person encounters someone else. If the other person lucks out on the 0.6% chance, that's not because they're immune. They just got lucky until the next time they encounter an infected person. Chances are a lot fewer than 0.6% were actually immune, with no chance at all of contracting it.
9th Nov '16 10:59:23 PM TheGoodnight
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*** I always assumed the victims inside the base died from a "containment measure," i.e. something like a poison gas released to prevent anyone from leaving if the virus was released. There's no description of the dead scientists showing any Captain Trips symptoms.


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*** It would have been Satan giving any such help on Flagg's side.


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** Bateman is guessing that Flagg may just be a non-supernatural technocrat setting up a police state. He's trying to retain some vestige of his former atheist worldview. Mother Abigail later points out clearly that he's wrong, and that if he goes to Flagg still thinking like that, he'll fail completely.
20th Oct '16 7:58:31 AM Farnham
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** Perhaps the virus was also intended to be a kind of dead man's switch, that in the event of the enemy (i.e., the USSR) ever managing to conduct a catastrophic pre-emptive nuclear strike that effectively wiped out the US and its nuclear arsenal before the American nukes could get launched, the US would still be able to have its revenge from beyond the grave by having its agents spread the virus around the Soviet block. That the virus would also end up killing pretty much ''everyone else'' on the planet either didn't enter the politicians' and generals' calculations, or they preferred to take everyone down with them in such a scenario. Which, they ultimately did.

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** Perhaps the virus was also intended to be a kind of dead man's switch, that in the event of the enemy (i.e., the USSR) ever managing to conduct a catastrophic pre-emptive nuclear strike that effectively wiped out the US and its nuclear arsenal before the American nukes could get launched, the US would still be able to have its revenge from beyond the grave by having its agents spread the virus around the Soviet block.bloc. That the virus would also end up killing pretty much ''everyone else'' on the planet either didn't enter the politicians' and generals' calculations, or they preferred to take everyone down with them in such a scenario. Which, they ultimately did.
15th Oct '16 5:53:41 PM Farnham
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** Perhaps the virus was also intended to be a kind of dead man's switch, that in the event of the enemy (i.e., the USSR) ever managing to conduct a catastrophic pre-emptive nuclear strike that effectively wiped out the US and its nuclear arsenal before the American nukes could get launched, the US would still be able to have its revenge from beyond the grave by having its agents spread the virus around the Soviet block. That the virus would also end up killing pretty much ''everyone else'' on the planet either didn't enter the politicians' and generals' calculations, or they preferred to take everyone down with them in such a scenario. Which, they ultimately did.

to:

** Perhaps the virus was also intended to be a kind of dead man's switch, that in the event of the enemy (i.e., the USSR) ever managing to conduct a catastrophic pre-emptive nuclear strike that effectively wiped out the US and its nuclear arsenal before the American nukes could get launched, the US would still be able to have its revenge from beyond the grave by having its agents spread the virus around the Soviet block. That the virus would also end up killing pretty much ''everyone else'' on the planet either didn't enter the politicians' and generals' calculations, or they preferred to take everyone down with them in such a scenario. Which, they ultimately did.did.
** Ultimately, people fully in the know about the nature of the virus, such as General Starkey and Dr. Dietz, acknowledge how suicidally stupid developing such an uncontrollabe bio-weapon was in the first place. Starkey in particular is shown to be fatalistic about the situation once Campion has been located in Texas, realizing that with so many people exposed to the virus containment is all but impossible.
14th Oct '16 4:43:59 PM Farnham
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** The military probably created it for the same reason that militaries and governments in real life create all the bombs and weapons and machines and whatnot: to show that they're the Big Boys on the block. "You think you're bad? Go ahead and try something with me, and I will fuck you up big time." In-universe, the superflu was probably meant to be the ultimate threat deterrent. But, pride goeth before the fall...or, if you prefer, call this one HoistByHisOwnPetard on a lethal level.

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** The military probably created it for the same reason that militaries and governments in real life create all the bombs and weapons and machines and whatnot: to show that they're the Big Boys on the block. "You think you're bad? Go ahead and try something with me, and I will fuck you up big time." In-universe, the superflu was probably meant to be the ultimate threat deterrent. But, pride goeth before the fall...or, if you prefer, call this one HoistByHisOwnPetard on a lethal level.level.
** Perhaps the virus was also intended to be a kind of dead man's switch, that in the event of the enemy (i.e., the USSR) ever managing to conduct a catastrophic pre-emptive nuclear strike that effectively wiped out the US and its nuclear arsenal before the American nukes could get launched, the US would still be able to have its revenge from beyond the grave by having its agents spread the virus around the Soviet block. That the virus would also end up killing pretty much ''everyone else'' on the planet either didn't enter the politicians' and generals' calculations, or they preferred to take everyone down with them in such a scenario. Which, they ultimately did.
23rd Jul '16 10:06:26 PM LittleJon
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*** The lethality changed almost as soon as it was released. One guy died almost immediately, his face falling into the bowl of whatever he was eating, while two scientists had enough time to have sex and then commit suicide.
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