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View Full Version : Stephen King's "The Stand": Vegas or Boulder?


nearwildheaven
01-25-2014, 12:47 PM
That thread on "The Day After" reminded me of this. Yes, I have read it (both versions) and I've been asked more than once which place I would rather go to if anything like this ever happened.

My reply is "Neither. I would want to be one of the first people to die, to the point where my name was mentioned in the book."

Anyone else?

Odesio
01-25-2014, 12:57 PM
Even after losing just about everybody I know I don't think I'd want to die. So I'll go with Boulder as Colorado is lovely and Vegas is in the middle of a goddamn desert.

Fear Itself
01-25-2014, 01:02 PM
Have you read the end of the book? Makes the choice pretty easy.

Athena
01-25-2014, 02:13 PM
Having lived in and around Boulder for 10+ years, I'll go with Vegas, even though it's the seat of the Devil and ends up
getting blown up.
I couldn't manage Boulder again, ever.

(Spoiler in case the one person in the world who hasn't read the book shows up.)

IvoryTowerDenizen
01-25-2014, 03:10 PM
Boulder, no question.

MsWhatsit
01-25-2014, 03:20 PM
While generally I think I would get along better with the techie types in Vegas than the hippie communists in Boulder, I think I'd have to go with Boulder anyway, because a) not evil, and b) spoiler mentioned above.

pravnik
01-25-2014, 03:27 PM
Even without the ending, one has all of the prosocial people who are going to work to build a community for the benefit of all, the other one has all of the antisocials, criminals, psychopaths and assholes. No contest.

Justin_Bailey
01-25-2014, 07:56 PM
Neither.

I'd fall in with any of the living folks from my town (even with a 99.4% mortality rate, that's still several hundred people) and I'd split for the south. Deep enough to stay warm in the winter, but north enough to avoid hurricanes.

aruvqan
01-25-2014, 08:23 PM
As nice as Boulder is, with electricity and everything I would be one of the early deaths as an insulin dependent diabetic, and with seriously malignant hypertension and a heartbeat irregularity that takes medication to keep under control. I would probably wait until all my meds from all of the drugstores I could scavenge were gone and then eat a gun.

Fair Rarity
01-25-2014, 08:40 PM
That guy with the large family who jogged himself to death? That'd be a male version of what I'd probably do. I'd just break on the inside. However, if I had some common sense and a survival instinct intact, I'd go to Boulder.

Cat Whisperer
01-25-2014, 09:37 PM
Boulder. You'd have more freedom there - they'd always be up your ass about something in Vegas, and what good is the apocalypse if you can't have any freedom?

Lamar Mundane
01-25-2014, 09:42 PM
While generally I think I would get along better with the techie types in Vegas than the hippie communists in Boulder, I think I'd have to go with Boulder anyway, because a) not evil, and b) spoiler mentioned above.

There aren't any hippies or communists in Boulder anymore. Too expensive. They're all in Nederland, about 20 miles west and 2000 feet up.

Boulder is full of techies these days.

Colibri
01-25-2014, 11:08 PM
I was living in Boulder at the time I read the book. I thought it was hilarious that all of the good people ended up in Boulder.:D

elfkin477
01-25-2014, 11:42 PM
Being as I'm a reasonably good person, I'd of course go to Boulder.

Green Bean
01-26-2014, 12:10 AM
Boulder. Vegas just sounds too stressful.

Besides, would you rather hang with Stu and Nick and Frannie or Lloyd Henreid and the Trashcan Man?

MsWhatsit
01-26-2014, 12:44 AM
There aren't any hippies or communists in Boulder anymore. Too expensive. They're all in Nederland, about 20 miles west and 2000 feet up.

Boulder is full of techies these days.

I was talking about the book.

DMark
01-26-2014, 01:40 AM
OK, so I have not read the book and thus thought this was a trick question.

I live in Las Vegas and Boulder City, NEVADA is just a short drive away. I see now you meant Boulder, Colorado.

The problem people have when thinking about Las Vegas is they almost always think ONLY of The Strip.

Las Vegas has great neighborhoods with normal shops and restaurants and businesses, and the vast majority of locals rarely, if ever, go to The Strip. That is for tourists - or a place you take visitors who simply insist on going there.

dogbutler
01-26-2014, 01:50 AM
Boulder. You'd have more freedom there - they'd always be up your ass about something in Vegas, and what good is the apocalypse if you can't have any freedom?

This.

GreenElf
01-26-2014, 01:59 AM
Tolkien.

FriarTed
01-26-2014, 05:11 AM
Even without the ending, one has all of the prosocial people who are going to work to build a community for the benefit of all, the other one has all of the antisocials, criminals, psychopaths and assholes. No contest.

Actually, while Vegas did have its antisocial, criminal, psychopath, asshole element, and that includes the authority structure, they were also kept on a tight leash by Flagg. Step out of line, become a liability, disturb the order, and you're up on a cross before the sun is down. And at the end, at 'The Stand', there were even Vegas residents who were protesting Flagg's excesses.

Oh yeah, Boulder.

Atomic Alex
01-26-2014, 06:40 AM
I was living in Boulder at the time I read the book. I thought it was hilarious that all of the good people ended up in Boulder.:D

I think I recall reading in an earlier thread on this subject that King didn't have a good/bad divide in mind but rather one between freedom/authority or something like that.

So you could be a good person who happens to believe in rules and authority and end up in Vegas.

PeacePlease
01-26-2014, 06:52 AM
All by myself, thanks. If I had to choose, Boulder, of course but I'd just as soon live alone. And very happily, as long as I had food, drugs, alcohol and books (most importantly)! Barring any unforeseen injuries or accidents, that is! (That's what I loved about the 'extended' version of the novel was the little stories about the people that just got screwed)!

Athena
01-26-2014, 07:36 AM
I was living in Boulder at the time I read the book. I thought it was hilarious that all of the good people ended up in Boulder.:D

Yeah, me too. I know exactly what you mean!

Jophiel
01-26-2014, 08:15 AM
I'd fall in with any of the living folks from my town (even with a 99.4% mortality rate, that's still several hundred people)
Yeah, I remember having the usual "What would I do?" daydreams and then realizing that 0.6% of 20,000 is still 120 people. Even if half of them fall down open manholes or die from eating expired Hot Pockets, that's still quite a line at the ammo counter. And that's just a town in the suburbs so you have everyone from the adjoining suburbs around as well.

Anyway, Boulder seems the only logical choice. Even if the "fun" people went to Vegas, Flagg has them all on work details and with strict rules. Skip work to smoke weed and Boulder will just frown disapprovingly at you while Vegas puts you on a cross outside of town.

StGermain
01-26-2014, 10:13 AM
I think I'd probably stay here on my little farm. I'd have to learn to hunt or go vegetarian. My horses would get a lot more use.

But if it came down to Vegas vs Boulder, not knowing the end of the story, I'd probably be one of the people who chooses Vegas, then slips away as it gets more and more restrictive. I like rules and I think I'd be more comfortable where people were expected to conform. The Vegas people seemed hard-working and cheerful, for the most part, except Flagg's little cadre. I'm not cruel, and the eventual crucifixions would drive me out.

Stg

BrotherCadfael
01-26-2014, 10:44 AM
As a number of people in this thread have pointed out, the number of survivors was much larger than the number of people in either Vegas or Boulder. I seem to recall that King posited that most of the survivors didn't go to either one - they stayed pretty much where they were.

G0sp3l
01-26-2014, 01:54 PM
I'm a tech and I would have chosen Boulder. Mother Abigail would have kept me in a rage mostly but...

Vegas has Flagg and the Happy Crappy guy with the car and the high heel boots wanted to go there. Big red flagg right there.

Dale Sams
01-26-2014, 03:41 PM
As a number of people in this thread have pointed out, the number of survivors was much larger than the number of people in either Vegas or Boulder. I seem to recall that King posited that most of the survivors didn't go to either one - they stayed pretty much where they were.

Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. First of all. 99.4% is too low. That leaves 60,000 people walking around NYC. Also, I was under the impression that people were being driven by their dreams to choose one side or another. If you remained in place, I would think the nightmares would drive you crazy.

drastic_quench
01-26-2014, 03:51 PM
Neither.

I'm not big on joining up or mystic visions reaching out to me in dreams. That said, 99.6% of people wiped out would likely leave me alone, mourning, and single. So if some post apocalyptic babe wanted to, she could lure me into traveling with her to any damn place.

monstro
01-26-2014, 03:59 PM
I'd live in Boulder metro. Close enough so that I could hop on a moped and get the latest Randall Flag news. But far enough away so that Fran and her conveniently immune children wouldn't get on my nerves.

dracoi
01-26-2014, 04:01 PM
Boulder. This is a community of people who are fundamentally law-abiding, pro-society types. I might be annoyed by the way they do things, but we'd ultimately have the same goals. I'd happily slot myself into the bureaucracy and put my accounting skills to good use in helping things to get up and running.

Vegas is just a ghost ship full of diseased cannibal rats, to borrow from another thread here. They can perhaps be forced into a functional bunch through application of sufficient force, but they're not really a coherent group of nice people. While I might see more rewards more quickly if I went to Vegas, I'm pretty sure I'd wind up getting shivved by some scumbag eventually, even if we permit some alternate ending where I'm not vaporized.

Disgruntled Penguin
01-26-2014, 04:34 PM
Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. First of all. 99.4% is too low. That leaves 60,000 people walking around NYC. Also, I was under the impression that people were being driven by their dreams to choose one side or another. If you remained in place, I would think the nightmares would drive you crazy.

60,000 people if the mortality rate was evenly distributed. I don't think the immuned people would be necessarily evenly distributed and there would be some non immuned people who hadn't run into anyone with the plague yet. I'd think NYC would be sunk since there's no way you could avoid the plague there really. I'd bet the survival rate would be higher in isolated rural areas that can be self sufficient. If you never meet anyone with the plague, you could survive.

Cat Whisperer
01-26-2014, 05:12 PM
I think I recall reading in an earlier thread on this subject that King didn't have a good/bad divide in mind but rather one between freedom/authority or something like that. <snip>
I hadn't heard that, but it makes sense. Boulder was about working together and doing things by consensus; Vegas was all about The Man ruling with an iron fist, working towards The Man's goals, rather than the Community's goals.

Jophiel
01-26-2014, 06:45 PM
60,000 people if the mortality rate was evenly distributed.
I'm pretty sure that a 99.4% mortality rate means that 99.4% of people who contract the disease die from it. Remote groups who had no outside contact and never contracted the illness would only add to the total surviving people on Earth.

The book made the US seem a lot more depopulated than it should have been, especially in New York when Larry was roaming around with Rita. I suspect the real answer is that "99.4%" sounded sufficiently high in King's mind and he never bothered to pick up a calculator.

Gyrate
01-26-2014, 06:55 PM
Given the state of my respiratory system odds are high that I'd go fairly early in the plague, but since God is picking and choosing: if I were spared and had to choose it'd definitely be Boulder. I don't even want to go to Vegas now.

MsWhatsit
01-26-2014, 08:00 PM
Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. First of all. 99.4% is too low. That leaves 60,000 people walking around NYC. Also, I was under the impression that people were being driven by their dreams to choose one side or another. If you remained in place, I would think the nightmares would drive you crazy.

Just to nitpick, more like 42,000 (again assuming that the mortality is evenly distributed). The population of NYC in 1980 was about 7 million, not the 8 million of today. The book was written in 1978.

You'd still think that Larry and Rita would run into a lot more of these 42k souls in their travels around the metropolitan area.

Fair Rarity
01-26-2014, 08:17 PM
The mortality rate of Captain Trips bugged me too because there should have been more survivors, but I think he did a good job of explaining that the survivors had a high mortality rate after the fact. So I accept that maybe 99.94% of the survivors kicked it too, leaving us with numbers more in line with the books. Didn't Glen also wax philosophical about less modern societies having a less post-flu mortality rate?

Spoons
01-27-2014, 01:31 AM
I hadn't heard that, but it makes sense. Boulder was about working together and doing things by consensus; Vegas was all about The Man ruling with an iron fist, working towards The Man's goals, rather than the Community's goals.This fits with what I feel: Boulder is about consensus among the people as to how to govern themselves; Vegas is about obeying rules handed down from above. As such, I'd go to Boulder.

Justin_Bailey
01-27-2014, 05:23 AM
Which doesn't make a whole lot of sense. First of all. 99.4% is too low. That leaves 60,000 people walking around NYC. Also, I was under the impression that people were being driven by their dreams to choose one side or another. If you remained in place, I would think the nightmares would drive you crazy.

Not everyone had the dreams. IIRC, King specifically mentions that and that a lot of people go elsewhere or stay in place.

Elendil's Heir
01-27-2014, 10:51 AM
Boulder, definitely, although I'm not too keen on the whole Mother Abigail benign theocracy; I'm more of a democrat (big and small "D"). But I'd probably be killed or enslaved or stave to death if I wasn't in some kind of a community after Captain Trips does his thang, and I do NOT want to be in Vegas with all of the killers and bikers and crazies.

Frazzled
01-27-2014, 11:32 AM
As written in the book I'd pick Boulder.

But to get to the root of your question, let's take out the supernatural element and say that we find ourselves in a similar predicament. I think my ideal lifestyle would be akin to Boulder if I could have a patch of land, farm it, have some technology to make the job a little less back breaking and have some free time to spend with the community at large.

However, I have no idea how to farm and my skill set is fairly specialized. I suspect I would be drawn to a more autocratic ruler who was trying to redevelop the world we lost. I think this type of leader would be more likely to get technology up and working, get clean water flowing, and allow people to specialize enough that we'd likely have protection. I suspect any crimes would be heavily punished which I would not like, but in a post apocalyptic world I'd probably be ok with that.

So while I'd dream of Boulder, I'd drudge away in Vegas.

obfusciatrist
01-27-2014, 03:13 PM
Also, I was under the impression that people were being driven by their dreams to choose one side or another. If you remained in place, I would think the nightmares would drive you crazy.

As mentioned, this assumes that everybody who survived was having dreams, which is not stated to be the case.

And would really suck for people on other continents with no way to get to either Boulder or Vegas. Can't remember how/if the book handled such (for some reason I never really remember much detail beyond leaving the farm and then a really stupid and sudden ending) but I always liked to envision that every isolated landmass had its own version going down and maybe in Australia Flagg won.

Oh, and as written Boulder. Assuming I wasn't able go all My Favorite Martian and stay where I was painting nature scenes. And that my dreams weren't directing me to Vegas.

Though watching gasoline storage tanks go off with Trashcan Man would be fun for a while.

Jophiel
01-27-2014, 04:51 PM
I always liked to envision that every isolated landmass had its own version going down and maybe in Australia Flagg won.
I thought it was heavily implied, if not outright said, in the book (I only read the extended version) that the same "battle" was going on in other places on the globe.

Cat Whisperer
01-27-2014, 08:32 PM
This fits with what I feel: Boulder is about consensus among the people as to how to govern themselves; Vegas is about obeying rules handed down from above. As such, I'd go to Boulder.And as such, you wouldn't be forced to work for the community, but you would directly benefit from all of your efforts, so most people (me included) would work hard to make it a good community.

I thought it was heavily implied, if not outright said, in the book (I only read the extended version) that the same "battle" was going on in other places on the globe.I hadn't realized that (or I forgot it). What would be the point of that, though? Best two out of three?

Jophiel
01-27-2014, 08:43 PM
I hadn't realized that (or I forgot it). What would be the point of that, though? Best two out of three?
Like I said, I don't remember if it was expressly stated or just implied. It might have been the musings of one of the characters ("But what if this is happening in Asia or Europe?")

I don't think the end can be seen as a complete victory one way or the other anyway. The book shows that evil could still exist in Boulder and even if you exclude Harold & Co, they noted a growing law & order problem as the population swelled. And, of course, Flagg is still around in the end. I think it was more giving the people in the US/N. America a chance to do it the Boulder way rather than "good" necessarily winning.

That said, the ending doesn't really hold up well to examination in my opinion.

Cat Whisperer
01-27-2014, 08:47 PM
Well, Stephen King has always had problem with endings. :)

obfusciatrist
01-27-2014, 11:35 PM
I thought it was heavily implied, if not outright said, in the book (I only read the extended version) that the same "battle" was going on in other places on the globe.

Well, maybe that's why I always think that. Thought I'd made it up, but certainly possible it was in there and I forgot it was in there.

LawMonkey
01-28-2014, 08:48 AM
I have almost replied to this like five times now. Basically, I'm in a pickle, because there's no doubt that the supernatural is real in the world of The Stand, and Mother Abigail is both literally and figuratively on the side of the angels, and Randall Flagg is, without a doubt, making a stand for mustache-twirling, pitchfork-wielding, cloven-hooved and pointy-tailed EEEEEVIL. There's not much room for an atheist who ain't so big on praisin' Jesus, but who is also a fan of freedom, civilization, kindness, love and all that good stuff.

So, I'll fight the hypothetical and do my best to be in just the right spot when Roland steps onto the highway filled with deserted Takuro Spirits. I'll offer him a Nozz-a-la and see if there's not room in the ka-tet of 19 and 99 for one more. :D

Gyrate
01-28-2014, 09:14 AM
So, I'll fight the hypothetical and do my best to be in just the right spot when Roland steps onto the highway filled with deserted Takuro Spirits. I'll offer him a Nozz-a-la and see if there's not room in the ka-tet of 19 and 99 for one more. :DConsidering how most of them ended up, I'm not convinced that's a wise choice.

LawMonkey
01-28-2014, 10:52 AM
Considering how most of them ended up, I'm not convinced that's a wise choice.

Worth it for the journey alone, for me, and to walk a few wheels with Roland Deschain. Sure beats singin' hymns with Mother Abigail (or licking RF's boots).

Jophiel
01-28-2014, 11:04 AM
There's not much room for an atheist who ain't so big on praisin' Jesus, but who is also a fan of freedom, civilization, kindness, love and all that good stuff.
Nick tells Mother Abigail that he's an atheist to which she just gives the pat "But He believes in you" answer. So apparently a lack of faith isn't a barrier to kicking it in Colorado. Glen Batemen struck me as more of a secular humanist than a religious type as well, talking about how if you stick a couple people together alone, they're going to reinvent society, religion, etc.

Dale Sams
01-28-2014, 12:02 PM
Worth it for the journey alone, for me, and to walk a few wheels with Roland Deschain. Sure beats singin' hymns with Mother Abigail (or licking RF's boots).

Do you have any skills to offer the Ka-Tet? I mean...except for the kid, they are all survivalists in their own way.

And at least the kid..was a kid! And did kid things. My greatest skill might be wasting time on the internet.

I guess I could spell people dragging Susannah around.

LawMonkey
01-28-2014, 12:35 PM
Nick tells Mother Abigail that he's an atheist to which she just gives the pat "But He believes in you" answer. So apparently a lack of faith isn't a barrier to kicking it in Colorado. Glen Batemen struck me as more of a secular humanist than a religious type as well, talking about how if you stick a couple people together alone, they're going to reinvent society, religion, etc.

Yeah, that type of shit is what made me give up on the book the most recent time I tried to re-read it. If I moved to Boulder, it'd have to be way out in the suburbs so that I wouldn't accidentally bump into Mother Abigail. Having to listen to her Jesus pablum would send me running to Vegas.

Do you have any skills to offer the Ka-Tet? I mean...except for the kid, they are all survivalists in their own way.

And at least the kid..was a kid! And did kid things. My greatest skill might be wasting time on the internet.

I guess I could spell people dragging Susannah around.

Hmmm. Yeah, I'm guessing they don't have a lot of need for a law-talking guy, do they?

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