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The Gunslinger by Stephen King
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The Gunslinger (edition 1989)

by Stephen King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
13,263272166 (3.89)1 / 251
Member:Lman
Title:The Gunslinger
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet (1989), Paperback, 315 pages
Collections:eBook, Read and given away
Rating:****
Tags:King Stephen 01, SF - Dark fantasy / Horror, Dark Tower series

Work details

The Gunslinger by Stephen King

  1. 61
    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. 31
    Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King (sturlington)
    sturlington: There are thematic connections between the first story of Hearts in Atlantis and The Dark Tower series.
  4. 20
    Wolf in Shadow by David Gemmell (qofd)
  5. 10
    The Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree (The Outlaw King) by S. A. Hunt (emren)
    emren: Whirlwind in the Thorn Tree is a love letter to the Dark Tower series. Now read the original!
  6. 10
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (Anonymous user)
  7. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)
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Showing 1-5 of 254 (next | show all)
This is an early work for King, and you can tell. This book doesn't showcase all that I love about King, but it shows how he began. I love his writing style and all the stories he puts together. This is a beginning, and fans should remember that. Not only for a series, but for an amazing author. With that, the book leaves a reader with many questions, questions that may or may not be answered in the very next book.

This isn't a trilogy or a five book series. It's the building of a world and a life that spans decades. So, don't go into it expecting fanciful love stories and loose ends that tie up at the end like a tv drama. ( )
  jessica_reads | Mar 24, 2015 |
"The ran in Spain falls on the plain.
there is joy, and also pain
but the rain in Spain falls on the plain.

Time's a sheet, life's a stain,
All the things we know will change
and all those things remain the same
be ye mad or only sane,
the rain in Spain falls on the plain.

We walk in love but fly in chains
and the planes in Spain fall in the rain."


Some books have a texture of feeling behind the words. This one was filled with longing, the sad horror of a destroyed world, a mellow dark melancholy, and that far away oldness that calls for one to come and see what wonders once were.

The story follows a gunslinger in a future post-apocalyptic world chasing someone through the desert and his adventures on the way.

( )
  Chris_El | Mar 19, 2015 |
THE GUNSLINGER Review The Man Called Noon meets The Fellowship of the Ring, by a nineteen-year-old horror author.
 
This is the third time I've read THE GUNSLINGER. The first time, I was young, younger than I like to remember, and a great deal of this book was lost on me. The second time I read it was in 2004, after King finished the series by releasing the final three books in a marathon sprint. My views of the second read and this read-through are about the same. I have a clear favorite in this series, and one book in particular that I loathe, but those two books will remain a secret until I reread and review them.
 
You've either read this book, or you haven't. You're either going to read it, or you're not. There's nothing I can say about book one to change your mind. King curb-stomps George R. R. Martin in the writing department, and honors Tolkien where world building is concerned. Sorry, but those are the only two fantasy authors I have read, so I don't have much to go on. One stone-cold fact remains: This is the ONLY fantasy series I've been able to reread. I have read THE HOBBIT several times, but I have no need to delve back into LORD OF THE RINGS again in this lifetime. 
 
THE GUNSLINGER has always been a four-star read for me. It's a wild trip which bounces all over the place between young Roland and middle-aged Roland. The ending is about as anti-climactic as erectile dysfunction, but that's King for you. He knew, even back in 1970, that he had six more volumes to write, and THE GUNSLINGER wears that fact on its sleeve. Still, although I have issues with some of the storytelling elements herein, THE GUNSLINGER has one of the most intense, action packed scenes I've ever read. The battle of Tull is exquisite in its brutality, and I never fail to weep for Allie, or perhaps I'm crying for Roland and what he must do to "save" the bartender/whore.
 
19... 
 
Knowing what I know about the rest of the series, I find that what happens to Jake never really struck a chord with me. Even before I read THE DRAWING OF THE THREE and later books in the series, I figured Jake's story was not finished. 
 
God damn, it's hard to write a review of this book without giving away spoilers...
 
Anyway, what makes this book good is the world building. The reader feels as if they've lived in In-World and Mid-World all their lives. You know Roland. He's your long-time friend, and you root for him. Even when he disappoints you, you still care for him. Even while he's massacring an entire town to save his own hide, or betraying the trust of his companion, you can sympathize with him. 
 
In summation, you should only read THE GUNSLINGER if you plan on reading the next six books (seven if you count THE WIND THROUGH THE KEYHOLE) in The Dark Tower series. It's nothing more than a 300 page prologue to a grand adventure filled with dark secrets, thrilling adventure, and a massive world populated by flesh and blood characters. The ending is gorgeous, but lacks finality, as one would expect from a first in a series. 
 
  ( )
  Edward.Lorn | Feb 13, 2015 |
READ IN ENGLISH

Read all my reviews on http://urlphantomhive.booklikes.com

I think my expectations were very high for The Gunslinger, probably far too high. But I've been told for years I should read this series and that I would simply LOVE this series. So it's hard not to get your expectations sky-high.

It was a weird experience for me. I've finished this book last week, and still don't really know how to feel about it. The style was different and quite nice, but it took me a very long time before I felt any connection with the story. (I'm not sure there is any actually). I haven't read enough books by Stephen King to get a lot of the references (and I love references to other books), but I know the Dark Towers series is crowded with them. I don't have the nostalgic feeling either, as this is my first read. I'll definitely continue the series, as I've been told that the first book is the worst in the series, and hope I'll like the other books better! ( )
  Floratina | Jan 4, 2015 |
I first read this book back in 1988 when I received it as a gift from my brother. I was so take in by the description and detail that King puts throughout the story. You see what Roland sees and feel what he feels. I would anxiously await each book in this series and after many years have stated from the beginning. The Man in Black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed...
  MelissaSanchez1969 | Dec 12, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (33 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Stephen Kingprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:03 -0400)

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First portion of an epic story of a fantastic world of good versus evil in which the hero, The Gunslinger, pursues The Man in Black.

(summary from another edition)

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