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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, 1) by…
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The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, 1) (original 1982; edition 1982)

by Stephen King

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,362305141 (3.87)1 / 268
Member:Kassilem
Title:The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower, 1)
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Plume (2003), Edition: Revised, Paperback, 264 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Rating:**
Tags:Gothic Fantasy

Work details

The Gunslinger by Stephen King (1982)

  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. 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. 21
    Wolf in Shadow by David Gemmell (qofd)
  6. 11
    A Book of Tongues by Gemma Files (Anonymous user)
  7. 12
    Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Scottneumann)
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Showing 1-5 of 286 (next | show all)
There was pressure to read this one, or I should say instead the gentle urges from one of my best friends, John Gugie (RIP, love you always.) I hadn’t gotten around to grabbing them and giving them a go until one night in a friend’s apartment, where Ronnie proudly displayed the whole collection on his shelf, raved enthusiastically on the series merits, and then sent me on my merry way with the entire series on loan. I cannot remember or think about this series without remembering John’s discussions over the years about them and the enthusiasm from Ronnie.

At this stage in my life I still consider myself a stranger to intricately woven, high fantasy style pieces. The journey was a new experience for my mind to grasp for this genre, but thankfully the writing style and shorter first book led to a gentler transition. The writing style is rather dry and detached to introduce the story, but it’s not really a character orientated adventure yet. It is not even a story about a journey yet. It is a story of a character obsession with going on a journey. He has become so obsessed with it that everything about him seems to have melted away to where there is nothing left about him except for his drive, his motivation, to complete his goal.

The book begins with one of those epic lines that’s unforgettable, a line King will be quoted for long after his death.

“The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed.”

Simple, but powerfully effective.

Through towns and inner musings, chases and dreamy revelations at the end, The Gunslinger stays just out of reach. Enough to remain elusive and a little confusing. The pacing is in no hurry and the slower build-up and movement reflect that Roland’s journey will indeed be long.

Roland Deschain is a memorable figure of fantasy literature. Determined, vicious yet honorable in bizarre ways, he is a gunslinger, the last of his kind. Jake makes it easy to fall head over heels with. Instantly I sense Roland’s an impressive figure, but I don’t get much emotion toward him until the second book. With Jake and little boy charm, it was of course easier to like him. The elusive enemy is particularly intriguing as he leaves only hints of intent.

Fantastical, apocalyptic, western – what a roll-up of genre. Powerful imagery follows Roland’s hunt and vexing scenes are hard to forget in the tragedy of Tull. Due to dryness and not having as much invested in the story or characters yet, my rating for this one isn’t as impressive. This seems to be common among many reviewers for similar reasons.

Read it and believe it, it starts an epic quest.
( )
  Paperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
I didn't get the appeal of this book. I understand it's one of his earlier books but I have never really felt the draw of his books. ( )
  Krild13 | Jun 10, 2016 |
I have been meaning to read this book for quite a while. I bought my current copy six years ago and it has been sitting on my shelf since then. It has been recommended to me often by friends I hold dear, but I was reluctant to start it. This is probably because I know I will want to finish the series and that is a huge time commitment. Well, The Gunslinger was selected last month by our book club and I knew I could avoid it no longer. It took no time at all to finish and it went very quickly. I liked the story very much but I had to work through a lot misconceptions going in. It's Stephen King and Stephen King could mean a lot of things. Horror this was not though. Once I accepted that, the story became more digestable. It's hard for me to describe why I liked this style of writing so much. The story is not straight forward, time and its passing is elusive, and the land the gunslinger inhabits is partially void of reason and logic. King throws around clues here and there but he doesn't come out and just say "sometime in the distant future". It reminds me a great deal of Gene Wolfe's "Claw of the Conciliator" stories in that way. Odd that those came out around the same time. I can also see where perhaps Phillip Pullman got the inspiration for his "Dark Materials" trilogy. Lot's of parallels there.
I look forward to picking up the next title in the series, The Drawing of the Three. ( )
  BenjaminHahn | Jun 7, 2016 |
This is the first novel in Stephen King’s epic Dark Tower series and introduces the main character of the tale, known simply as “the gunslinger”. He's a mysterious cowboy-type character who is pursuing an unknown “man in black” across a barren desert. Through his encounters with the inhabitants of the desert and with Jake, the strange boy he meets later in the journey, he tells stories of the events of his past.

The Gunslinger is based loosely off of the Robert Browning poem “Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came”, whose inspiration came from a line in Shakespeare's King Lear. The story is a blend of several genres: mystery, fantasy, western, post-apocalyptic, and even mythology. I found it somewhat confusing but realize it's just the first book in an epic saga. King has an amazing way of telling a story that really draws a reader in. The setting is very atmospheric and the characters are bleak. I can't say I was riveted, but I am curious enough to read the next book of the series when I get a chance. I also understand the movie starring Idris Elba as the Gunslinger and Matthew McConaughey as The Man in Black is scheduled for early 2017. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jun 3, 2016 |
Review: The Gunslinger by Stephen King

I decided to re-read this book because it was so long ago when I read it the first time. The book I read was the first edition and it gave me insight on how Stephen King’s writing style and imagination was impressive and how far he has come throughout the years. He is a mastermind in creativity, spellbound in creepiness, mystifying in the dark crevices of our mind and brilliantly motivated to the reading world.

This book is the start of his, “Dark Tower Series” which I enjoyed reading once again. The main character Roland, “The Gunslinger”, offers the reader intriguing views of his dying world. Roland is a man who is capable of great violence but still comes across as human and quite possibly kind in some ways. Roland is on a quest to find, “The Dark Towers” in order to make the world a better place. He sets himself on a long journey across a desert in search of the mysterious “Man in Black” who could somehow help him fulfill his quest.

Death permeates throughout this book and the reader is not sure who is dead or alive because of the strange chaos that has happened with the time and the strange fragments of the “real” world appears through the fog of Roland’s journey as when he enters a western bar a song, “Hey Jude” is playing. Time itself is an illusion to confuse the Gunslinger and also a permanent feeling that the Man in Black is not very far ahead of him. As the story unfolds Roland follows the Man in Black through a small town, where he is forced to make a final, violent decision to save his own life. The town is now persevered for better days….

As Roland continues on his journey he meets a young boy from another time. Jake, who died in our world, is now alive in Roland’s world. They traveled for a while together but Roland knows he may have to lose the boy, even though he has taken a liking to him, his quest has to be fulfilled…..Roland finally meets the Man in Black.

The story has many adventurous events and mysteries throughout but Stephen King holds back some of the suspense and information the reader wants to know and follows through with more books to the series…so, you must read on…..I felt this book held up on it’s own but many curious readers might read on to the next book, and who knows maybe some day I’ll re-read the next one…..
( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
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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 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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