Welcome back to King of the Dark, our special summer series on the B&N Podcast devoted to the imagined worlds of Stephen King. Every week this summer Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman join Bill Tipper on this odyssey through an American master's bookshelf. We're taking on some of his biggest books — more or less in the order they were published, and we've arrived at week eight of our journey, and what may be the most monumental of our destinations so far. In 1978, Stephen King published a post-plague-thriller-adventure-epic titled The Stand; it drew on his longstanding ambition to write his own, American-set fantasy epic in the vein of The Lord of the Rings, and the sprawling plus work took in a huge cast of characters, a story that combined science fiction and fantasy to stage a battle between the forces of light and darkness, playing out in a decimated American west. It was a hit — But King's original manuscript was hundreds of pages longer — and in 1990, the "Complete and Uncut" edition was published, followed by a star-studded 1994 miniseries adaptation. We sat down with the thousand-plus page edition for a confrontation with the super flu, the villain Randall Flagg, and King's riff on America's dreams of apocalypse.