Title: The Gunslinger

Author: Stephen King

Hardback: 231 pages

Publisher: Plume (1988)

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Appraising Eyeballs:

 

About the Book (From Wikipedia):

The novel was inspired by the poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" by Robert Browning, which King read as a sophomore at the University of Maine. King explains that he "played with the idea of trying a long romantic novel embodying the feel, if not the exact sense, of the Browning poem." In March 1970, while a senior at the university, King began writing the novel on bright green sheets of paper. The five parts that constitute the novel were originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction:

  • "The Gunslinger" (October 1978)
  • "The Way Station" (April 1980)
  • "The Oracle and the Mountains" (February 1981)
  • "The Slow Mutants" (July 1981)
  • "The Gunslinger and the Dark Man" (November 1981)

 

In all, it took King twelve years to complete the novel. The finished product was first published by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. as a limited edition in 1982. In 1988, Plume released it in trade paperback form. Since then, the book has been re-issued in various formats and included in boxed sets with other volumes of the series.

In 2003 the novel was reissued in a revised and expanded version with modified language and added scenes intended to resolve inconsistencies with the later books in the series.

 

 

 

Bruceís Appraisal:

††††††††††† And so, in May 2007 I began to read the legendary Dark Tower series by Stephen King.Soon there will be no more shocked expressions when it is revealed that IóKingís fervent devotee through so many years of my lifeóhave never cracked these spines.This is also the only series by Stephen King that my father has ever read and enjoyed.He pushed himself through some other books when I was younger, mainly in attempts to see what kept bringing his son back to them, but he came away from nearly all of them with the same disregard.

††††††††††† What is it that captivates readers of this series so completely?What stole readersí imaginations and held them for decades while Stephen King doled out one small serving after another.One Christmas, the only present that I knew Dad wanted was The Wastelands.Years later, it was Wizard and Glass.Two years, two Stephen King books.Feats never to be repeated.

††††††††††† Well, the writings of a young Stephen King are stylistically different from the King that Iíve grown accustomed to reading over the years.The juxtaposition of a pessimistic world and a hero who revels in his complexity, mixed with an Old West mentality merged with the Arthurian legends.God, why did I wait so long?

††††††††††† The first volume of the Dark Tower series left me with mixed emotions.First, its brevity made it seem like little more than an introduction.Similar to 2000ís X-Men, it accomplishes little more than introducing the titular gunslinger and the world through which he treks.Doubtless, future volumes will retread the characters and events of this book, but the book does surprisingly little to progress what seems to be the overarching plot.

††††††††††† Nonetheless, I couldnít turn away from any of the events within it.From the doomed town of Tull to the farmer and his friend on the edge of the sandy desert.From the sidekick that comes along mid-way through the book to the incredible foreshadowing of what is to come that makes Stephen King stand alone among novelists.No punches are pulled, and yet the frankness of Kingís later work is not so prevalent.Iím curious to see whether his uncharacteristic avoidance of the f-bomb continues through the Dark Tower series, or if that was a product of a young genius still finding his voice.

††††††††††† A solid introduction to the world of the Dark Tower, The Gunslinger paints a vivid portrait of the character of Roland and sets him up against an opponent that resonates throughout the universe Stephen King has created over the last four decades.I canít wait to crack the second volume and get into what must be the meat of the story, treading the steps of the friends and family who have gone before me.Quite good.

 

 

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