The Stand, playing out on Twitter

I’m a big fan of Stephen King’s The Stand – part sci-fi, part horror, mostly a wonderfully engaging view of what happens to a few survivors of a man-made apocalypse. I’ve read the book at least four or five times – never for the story itself, but to be immersed in a world of characters you want to spend time around. King’s gift has always been his ability to draw out his characters – particularly through inner monologues – and The Stand remains his best stand-alone book.

As I mentioned last month, I’m in the midst of re-reading the Dark Tower series. I finished book 3 this morning (The Waste Lands), and mentioned on Twitter how magnificent the series is, even a second time through. Shortly after that tweet, I was followed by @LeadDealer, a brand new (started yesterday) Twitter account of the Dark Tower’s protagonist, Roland Deschain. Intrigued, I checked out some of @LeadDealer’s recent tweets… and saw references to a slew of characters from The Stand: @VegasWalkinDude (Randall Flagg), @MotherAbigail, @MOONtomcullen. Another tweet replied to @KingdomSearch, personal account to researcher Dirk Rensmann who runs The Stephen King Research Project, a remarkable full-text archive of all of King’s works, along with lots of other links and materials.

Checking out @KingdomSearch, it turns out that a whole bunch of fans of The Stand are re-enacting The Stand on Twitter. Why would they do that? Well, the event that triggers the apocalypse in The Stand is a virulent strain of the flu known as “Captain Trips” – and the emergence of swine flu as this week’s news story du jour gave the fans all they needed to get started. Other characters on Twitter – one-hit wonder Larry Underwood (@digyourman), professor Glen Bateman (@glenbateman), Nadine Cross (@nadine_cross)and poet-gone-wrong Harold Lauder (@haroldlauder). Wow.

This is going to be fun.

Update: Roland points out that The Stand isn’t the only story playing out. Ka is a wheel, indeed.