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The Gunslinger by Stephen King
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The Gunslinger (1982)

by Stephen King

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Dark Tower (book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,975374168 (3.83)1 / 353
  1. 71
    The Dark Tower, Books 1-3: The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, and The Waste Lands by Stephen King (Valjeanne)
    Valjeanne: While The Gunslinger Book 1 is not one of my favorite books by Stephen King, one should read it to provide the backdrop to the sequels. The Drawing of the Three (especially) and The Waste Lands are much more engaging and two of King's most brilliant novels.… (more)
  2. 41
    Insomnia by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: Insomnia introduces the Crimson King, the big baddie from The Dark Tower series.
  3. 20
    Wizard And Glass by Stephen King (Morteana)
  4. 10
    The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree by S. A. Hunt (emren)
    emren: Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree is a love letter to the Dark Tower series. Now read the original!
  5. 10
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (Anonymous user)
  6. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)
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English (356)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Italian (2)  French (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (373)
Showing 1-5 of 356 (next | show all)
Let's be honest, there's a lot about the Dark Tower that's wonky: a meandering canon that's often unclear despite revisions and retcons, a heavily mystical backdrop that suddenly appears midway through the series, author insertion all up in your face, and plot points straight out of an A-ha video. But in spite of all that, sweet bippity do I love this series.

As a lead character, yes, Roland is austere and odd and still somehow a compelling figure, and he ticks off some reluctant hero boxes if that's your jam. And yes, it's a nice change to read about primary characters with disabilities, just in case saving the world wasn't hard enough already. And sure, this has all the action and adventure and acid trips you can expect from King during a mix of the cocaine and accident recovery years.

But really, I'm here for Cuthbert and the thread of his presence that runs throughout the series. Part of what makes Roland palatable is the way he mirrors in other characters what he's lacking in himself, and that's what made Cuthbert such a wonderful character despite a relatively brief appearance in the series. And Cuthbert's role in that ending? Hoo boy, spot on.

In another part of the Tower, there's a version of this series that exists where Cuthbert journeys along with Roland and Greek choruses his way through all of the, "...really? Really?" moments and still goes laughing to his death. I'm pretty sure the version of me that exists in that universe reads that series every year because Cuthbert, I love everything about you. ( )
  mediumofballpoint | Mar 4, 2019 |
This was the first Stephan King book I have read. I can see why he has such worldwide success! what an amazing story teller! There was not a single moment in this book where I thought he compromised for his readers. This is the story he wanted to tell, and he told it the way he wanted to tell it, and what a story it is! I listened to an audiobook of it, and started a while ago actually, only just picking it up again in the last few days. It reminds me of when I was rolling ice-cream when I worked at the movies. That is when I listened to it last. I would just prop it down and roll away; getting lost in the original world. ( )
  Zaccer | Jan 2, 2019 |
This was the first Stephan King book I have read. I can see why he has such worldwide success! what an amazing story teller! There was not a single moment in this book where I thought he compromised for his readers. This is the story he wanted to tell, and he told it the way he wanted to tell it, and what a story it is! I listened to an audiobook of it, and started a while ago actually, only just picking it up again in the last few days. It reminds me of when I was rolling ice-cream when I worked at the movies. That is when I listened to it last. I would just prop it down and roll away; getting lost in the original world. ( )
  Zaccer | Jan 2, 2019 |
This was the first Stephan King book I have read. I can see why he has such worldwide success! what an amazing story teller! There was not a single moment in this book where I thought he compromised for his readers. This is the story he wanted to tell, and he told it the way he wanted to tell it, and what a story it is! I listened to an audiobook of it, and started a while ago actually, only just picking it up again in the last few days. It reminds me of when I was rolling ice-cream when I worked at the movies. That is when I listened to it last. I would just prop it down and roll away; getting lost in the original world. ( )
  Zaccer | Jan 2, 2019 |
This book, and the series it starts, have been a part of the public consciousness for a while now. I've never read any of them before, though, so with this being my first time through, I'm aware of how highly it's regarded by some whose opinions matter to me. All of which has led to a certain degree of expectation...and I'm not sure if this book met it.

To be clear: There's a strong sense from this book that there's SO MUCH MORE to come, and you don't (or I didn't) come away feeling ambivalent about the journey. I'm excited, I'm in. I'm just...nervous, maybe? No, more likely cautious. ( )
  Ubiquitine | Nov 24, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 356 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionscalculated
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stone, SteveCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whelan, MichaelIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
...a stone, a leaf, an unfound door; of a leaf, a stone, a door. And of all the forgotten faces.
Naked and alone we came into exile. In her dark womb, we did not know our mother's face; from the prison of her flesh have we come into the unspeakable and incommunicable prison of this earth.
Which of us has known his brother? Which of us has looked into his father's heart? Which of us has not remained forever prison-pent? Which of us is not forever a stranger and alone?

...O lost, and by the wind grieved, ghost, come back again.
--Thomas Wolfe Look Homeward, Angel
Dedication
To Ed Ferman, who took a chance on these stories, one by one.
First words
The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed.
Quotations
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (2)

Book description
The story centers upon Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black", for many years. The novel follows Roland's trek through a vast desert and beyond in search of the man in black. Roland meets several people along his journey, including a boy named Jake Chambers who travels with him part of the way.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0452284694, Paperback)

Thirty-three years, a horrific and life-altering accident, and thousands of desperately rabid fans in the making, Stephen King's quest to complete his magnum opus rivals the quest of Roland and his band of gunslingers who inhabit the Dark Tower series. Loyal DT fans and new readers alike will appreciate this revised edition of The Gunslinger, which breathes new life into Roland of Gilead, and offers readers a "clearer start and slightly easier entry into Roland's world."

King writes both a new introduction and foreword to this revised edition, and the ever-patient, ever-loyal "constant reader" is rewarded with secrets to the series's inception. That a "magic" ream of green paper and a Robert Browning poem, came together to reveal to King his "ka" is no real surprise (this is King after all), but who would have thought that the squinty-eyed trio of Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Eli Wallach would set the author on his true path to the Tower? While King credits Tolkien for inspiring the "quest and magic" that pervades the series, it was Sergio Leone's The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly that helped create the epic proportions and "almost absurdly majestic western backdrop" of Roland's world.

To King, The Gunslinger demanded revision because once the series was complete it became obvious that "the beginning was out of sync with the ending." While the revision adds only 35 pages, Dark Tower purists will notice the changes to Allie's fate and Roland's interaction with Cort, Jake, and the Man in Black--all stellar scenes that will reignite the hunger for the rest of the series. Newcomers will appreciate the details and insight into Roland's life. The revised Roland of Gilead (nee Deschain) is embodied with more humanity--he loves, he pities, he regrets. What DT fans might miss is the same ambiguity and mystery of the original that gave the original its pulpy underground feel (back when King himself awaited word from Roland's world). --Daphne Durham

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:42 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

This heroic fantasy is set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace that is a dark mirror of our own. A spellbinding tale of good versus evil, it features one of Stephen King's most powerful creations--The Gunslinger, a haunting figure who embodies the qualities of the lone hero through the ages from ancient myth to frontier western legend. His pursuit of The Man in Black, his liaison with the sexually ravenous Alice, his friendship with the kid from Earth called Jake, are part of the drama that is both grippingly realistic and eerily dreamlike, an alchemy of storytelling sorcery.… (more)

» see all 21 descriptions

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