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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) by…

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1) (original 1982; edition 2003)

by Stephen King

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15,188335124 (3.86)1 / 293
Title:The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, Book 1)
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Plume (2003), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 264 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Gunslinger by Stephen King (1982)

  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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Showing 1-5 of 317 (next | show all)
Ok, this was a much better reading experience compared to my first go in the late nineties. But (if I am correct) I probably read the unedited version which I don't remember much of except that it seemed meandering & pointless (I was much less forgiving in my reading choices in those days) - not sure if the unedited-ness of the previous version had much to do with it though (unless I can find an old copy to compare).

I have to admit that my initial reaction to the book all those years ago probably had to do with my love of the Robert Browning poem "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" - I had a particular set of romanticised vibes associated with the poem which Gunslinger just did not engender. So probably good to go into it with zero/minimal expectations this time.

I have read that this is mostly a setup for the upcoming books so I will be getting Book 2 & 3 soon and we'll see how that goes. I found the flashbacks to Gilead to be the most interesting but the "remains of civilization" scattered about here and there also piqued my interest. (Multiple dimensions? Time travel? Bermuda triangles?)

I am also toying with the idea of reading the Stand while going through the Dark Tower series. Hmmm...

Rating is between 3 to 4 for this start up (upgraded from my rating of 2 all those years ago)... Settled into a 3 - because after some thought... I *liked* it but I didn't *really* like it... there were some parts I *really* liked though (mostly to do with Gilead) - I don't know what that says about me or what that will mean for the subsequent volumes in this series... We shall see... Hmmm...

First read: Late 90's
Second read: 13.1.17 - 15.1.17
Source: Borrowed from the library ( )
  kephradyx | Jun 20, 2017 |
I didn't like the narrative style of this book. Stephen has laid out breadcrumbs of plot with not enough other things going on to keep my interest. I was waiting for something to happen, but nothing really did. I've heard this referred to as King's magnum opus, which I think is reaching far too high. ( )
  TysonAdams | Jun 20, 2017 |
A wonderfully written and engaging book that becomes all the more interesting on a second read through after having become aware of the end of the Dark Tower series. A precursor for Roland Deschain's adventure in travelling ever onwards to the Dark Tower. ( )
  MerkabaZA | Jun 12, 2017 |
I read the original version back in the 90s. I didn't much take to it. Reading the revised version now I enjoyed it much more, though whether this is due to the changes in the book or in me I wouldn't hazard to guess.

It's an atmospheric novel with a real sense of mystery. It raises a lot of questions about itself, questions like “What metaphysical system governs this world?” and “Is the gunslinger dead?”

The mystery does lead to some problems though. Not knowing exactly what's going on means the characters appear to lack motivation and it's unclear if certain events are important or not. This results in a lack of narrative drive. I have a feeling King didn't know either, when he set out.

That said, this is the first 200 pages of what is essentially a novel several thousand pages long and I am curious enough to read the next volume. ( )
  Lukerik | May 31, 2017 |
This review and others posted over at my blog.

My favorite part of the whole book was how atmospheric it is. The desert Roland is trudging across, the small pockets of society he encounters, his flashbacks to his childhood – I felt like I was at every location. However, I was thoroughly confused when trying to build the rules of Roland’s childhood world (not the desert) in my head, because I felt the need to figure out whether it was its own point in time or perhaps some sort of dystopian future or even an alternate version of our own world. Once I told myself to let go of this habit and take things page for page, I was less lost, though still pretty puzzled.

The characters were less endearing. Roland is a weird mix of emotionally detached and fond of reminiscing about his childhood. He’s also apparently the only sexy guy left in the desert because the few females he encounters totally want to bone him. He also has a quirky language that only makes itself apparent occasionally. He mentions High Speech and Low Speech and sometimes sounds ye-olde-y and then also uses words like ‘ka’ which I haven’t quite figured out the meaning of (fate perhaps?). also he says ‘yar’ sometimes instead of ‘yes’ and all I could think of was Michael from Hot Fuzz (anyone?!) The man in black was intriguing but we don’t get a lot of information about him, so I’m hoping future books shed more light on the subject.

I’m in the middle of the road when it comes to my overall feelings on the book. I thought I would be more impressed or whatever and less confused.

If you’re interested in a high fantasy style quest, set in a semi-medieval desert (where people wear jeans and corduroys and sing Beatles songs) with a gun-slinging protagonist who is incredibly single-minded and near magically gifted at shooting the shit out of everything, then you may enjoy at least the first book in this series. I’m partway through the second book as I write this and I’m not sure what my overall opinion will be, but if you’re interested in the Dark Tower series, it’s probably worth checking out. ( )
  MillieHennessy | May 22, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 317 (next | show all)
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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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...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
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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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)

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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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