I actually didn’t like that addition to the story. I had always assumed that the conflict in the US defined events for the rest of the world going forward, not because of some sense of US superiority but because it made it feel more epic and biblical.
I don’t recall, but does that addition give any context of time? I remember thinking that it was another time and place.
So the outbreak started in East Texas where Campion crashed his car after driving all the way from California.
But wouldn’t Campion have had to stop somewhere along the way to gas up and buy meals? Why didn’t he infect those people? And why didn’t the government guys even consider that scenario?
No there’s no indication. Not even indication that it was a Polynesian island for sure.
He wakes up on a beach next to a jungle. He’s wearing jeans and boots and nothing else. They are “brown, smooth skinned folk.” They possess spears. They don’t sepak English, Spanish, German, or French.
A macaw and a mongoose are seen. Assuming (for the sake of argument) that it wasn’t simply a mistake by King, macaws and mongoose do not overlap in their indigenous habitats. So if nothing else this would indicate that Flagg has returned to a place and time after humans introduced one of them into the environment of the other.
So it is open to almost whatever you want it to be but I have always assumed a post-plague remote island or very remote part of Africa that had not been reached by the flu.
As far as North America goes, I always imagined that Mexicans and Canadians eventually made it to Boulder (or Las Vegas), if they wanted to go there. King does mention that Boulder’s population grows–it’s been years since I read the book, but I do recall that by the end of the book, it is implied that people are still arriving in Boulder and tens of thousands are living there. No reason why some of them couldn’t be unimportant-to-the-plot Canadians or Mexicans.
Ah, probably Madagascar then.
(That’s a joke.)
Yeah, I think it was just understood that the call to bad or good went out to anyone who could physically get there, not just continental US Americans. Part of my post-apocalyptic plans is to head south - I love Canada and all, but it’s going to be friggin’ COLD here when the power goes out!
I’ve always assumed that the virus was so strong, that whatever disinfectants they used to clean off the hazmat suits, after the staff interacted with the infected patients, wasn’t able to kill it. At least that’s the way I’ve always personally fanwanked it.
Since the plague took hold in the summer, I always assumed that weather was a reason why we never saw people outside of the US in the book. By the time that people were starting to draw together in Vegas and Boulder, I always figured it was too hazardous to risk coming from Canada. Mexico’s another story.
Given how contagious Captain Trips was, and given the mathematics of the exponential growth cited above, and given the 99.4 mortality rate, I can’t imagine that infected people didn’t climb onto planes destined for foreign destinations and introduce the virus worldwide. I think it is definite that Superflu was global.
The US is so populated today, that 99.4% mortality rate would only take us down to 1.8 million people. Sure that’s a ridiculous amount of death, but it’s not like that’s so few you could recognize everyone. Assuming people would congregate over the course of the next few years, perhaps in different locales around the country of anywhere from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands in population, it’s not even enough to label it a population bottleneck. I’ve no point other than marveling at how many of us there are right now. Though with a 99.4% chance of death, the odds are very slim that you’d personally know or be related to any other survivor, and I hate making new friends.
It’s been a long time since I read the book but wasn’t there a scene where some shadowy government figure decided that since a bioweapon was already loose in the United States by accident, it was strategically necessary to “equalize” the situation by launching American bioweapons in other countries?
Don’t forget there were more casualties from the lack of “society” - kids died from their parents’ neglect due to being sick, people had accidents, people OD’d from free drugs, rampant suicide.
I always assumed that the Flu was world-wide. It’s been a while since I’ve read it, so I have no cites.
I can’t imagine any way that an infectious disease like that wouldn’t spread worldwide, even without the active intervention of the US government.
I disagree. Canadians are pretty hardy–we’re used to winter, and moving around in it. There would have been plenty of startable cars, and buildings in which to shelter if the weather got too bad. Besides, if the flu spread as fast as King made it, geography and cross-border traffic means that it would have devastated Canada on the same schedule as the US; and given that deep winter doesn’t hit the most populated parts of Canada until December usually, those Canadians who survived would have had plenty of opportunity to start heading for Boulder or Las Vegas before the weather stopped them.
ETA: Remember, southern Ontario, and its large population, is well south of Maine (where Fran and Harold came from), for example; and approximately at the same latitude as Vermont (where the facility at which Stu was kept was).
It might have only been in the expanded version, but they did consider it, and concluded that there was nothing they could do, since they had no way of knowing where he’d stopped.
Yes, the book explains that a little bit better, in fact the reason it was so deadly is that it was a mutating antigen (if I’m remember the word correctly). which meant that the whenever the body conjured up the right antibodies to kill the disease, the disease just mutated until the body was basically too worn out.
My trouble with the math was that the disease lasted longer than one or two days before it killed people. I don’t remember the book coming right out and saying how many days people lasted, but in at least some of the cases based on the sequence of events, it was taking as long as a week and a half for the disease to kill off its victim.
As to the border issue, there wasn’t any “magic” America only thought process in the book. The only thing they did was that they (the military), knew that other countries might blame the US as having infected people on purpose so they…infected other countries on purpose… to speed up the process I guess. They knew it would spread and that almost everyone from those other countries would die, they just wanted to try and CYA first.
So yeah, if the disease killed in one or two days, I could see it wiping out the country in a few weeks…
Yeah, the book actually makes mention of Randall Flagg thinking that very thing (paraphrased) “maybe there are others like him in Russia or Asia…but that’s a matter for years from now”.
Flagg speculates at one point that there might be others like him in other parts of the world, but he has no way of really knowing.
They did. I can’t remember where it was referenced in the book, but the movie said something to the effect of “our chance at containing this went by the wayside when Campion bought his first take-out burger”.
Exactly. It takes 18 hours to drive from here to Boulder. Hey, pick you up on our way south (assuming we all make it)?