Monday, March 5, 2012

Constant Reading Project: The Gunslinger

The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger
Released: June 10, 1982
Pages: 224
Screen adaptations: Don't hold your breath.
Connections to other works: The Gunslinger is the first of a seven eight book series. Connections to other works are rampant throughout the series.

OK, folks. This is where Stephen King fans tend to split. It's not a love it or hate dichotomy, either. It's more like excessive devotion and indifference. Yes, there are some who won't fall into one of those categories, but not very many.

I know many King fans who won't touch a Dark Tower novel unless they have nothing else to read. I also know people who have read nothing of King's work except the DT books.

While the DT cult started with The Gunslinger, it took another 15 years for it to get really serious. Which makes it easier to talk about this one book as an entity all its own. After all, when we first meet our hero Roland the gunslinger, he is alone.

The Gunslinger is true to King's vision of a Tolkien fantasy mixed with a spaghetti Western. It's a world far removed from our own, but eerily similar. They know Jesus and sing Beatles songs. But there are no cars, TVs, radios, or anything else we consider "modern technology." (Some of these things will creep in throughout the series, showing just how close t our world Roland's really is.)

We learn some of Roland's past and why he is on this journey, but it's really just a beginning. Speaking of beginnings, The Gunslinger has probably the most quotable opening line in King's entire body of work.

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."

Antagonist, protagonist, plot in twelve words.

So let's not dawdle. Let's get reading. I shall be reading a 315-page paperback that came out with the release of The Drawing of the Three, the second book in the series.

I know some of you are passionate about the Dark Tower books. Don't be afraid to express yourself here.

1 comment:

  1. Well, I've got a fucking Ka tattoo on my wrist...so obviously I hate them all.
    Seriously, this is the best of the bunch. Once we introduce the other characters it gets progressively worse as the series goes on. Yet, it's still really entertaining, even when it's terrible.
    My favorite book is The Talisman, the one he wrote with Peter Straub. It is basically a dark tower book, but with Straub there to rope in King when he gets too silly.

    ReplyDelete