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The Dark Tower The Gunslinger by Stephen…

The Dark Tower The Gunslinger (original 1982; edition 1982)

by Stephen King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
15,245338123 (3.86)1 / 294
Title:The Dark Tower The Gunslinger
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet (1982), Edition: 15th THUS, Paperback
Tags:fantasy, postapocalyptic, quest, AD, 12 in 12

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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English (320)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Italian (2)  French (2)  German (1)  All (1)  Swedish (1)  All (337)
Showing 1-5 of 320 (next | show all)
This is my second time reading The Gunslinger, and I believe I enjoyed it more than I did the first time.

The Dark Tower series was recommended to me when there were only three books written, and I picked up a box set of those three just before the fourth was released. I read them all in short order because I was quickly pulled into the world and the story and just couldn't stop. Then I finished Wizard and Glass only to learn that there were more coming, but with no idea when. Then, as happens, other books got in the way. I remember excitedly getting book five, Wolves of the Calla, when it was released, but it had been a while and I wanted to refresh my memory on Roland's quest for the Tower before I jumped back in.

It's taken a long time and a lot of other books in between, but I'm finally back at the start, with Roland the gunslinger chasing across the desert after the Man in Black. Roland's tale is quite a journey, both for him and the reader, as the world he resides is fleshed out in the telling, things are just off kilter enough for anyone to keep reading just in the hope of answering the questions that are sure to crop up in the reader's mind.

Roland's world has "moved on," but it seems that at one time it was very much just like ours. It even had the Beatles, if the piano player's rendition of "Hey Jude" is any indication. But we quickly learn that this world is not our world, or it's not anymore. Then the boy comes and complicates things further.

The Gunslinger is a slow burn, taking its time building up to the inevitable confrontation between Roland and the Man in Black after a merry chase across the remains of this world, both strange and familiar at the same time. King's afterword explaining his plans for the rest of the series is just as fascinating as the book itself, and I can't wait to revisit the next three books in the series before jumping into uncharted territory yet again in book 5. This was the first step into a much, much larger world.

"Go then. There are other worlds than these." ( )
1 vote regularguy5mb | Jul 6, 2017 |
The Gunslinger, Roland Deschain is the last of his kind. He is chasing the Man in Black across desolate land filled with lost souls and maniac man-creatures. This is the beginning of the Dark Tower series, an epic that follows Roland. This book has been on my to-read list for years, and I must say that it was a bit of a disappointment. I loved IT, The Stand, and Dragon Eye; unfortunately King's unstructured (lackadaisical?) writing and story line has distracted me from his usual enjoyable dark, gritty prose. This series will be on the back-burner for me for now until a later date. ( )
  Nanerz | Jul 5, 2017 |
The Gunslinger is a necessary world building exercise for the sprawling Dark Tower series. Like the beginning of a smart movie, you are left wondering what is going on for most of the book. This only motives the reader to want to read the next in the series. ( )
  JaredOrlando | Jul 3, 2017 |
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 |
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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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