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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 (1), The Dark Tower (book 1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
16,546369171 (3.84)1 / 337
  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 (350)  Dutch (5)  Spanish (3)  Danish (2)  Italian (2)  French (2)  German (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (367)
Showing 1-5 of 350 (next | show all)
I'm not sure what to make of this one. It was almost as if I read it in a fog, or during a dream ... it lacked so many of the signs and signifiers of a novel that I'm used to.

If you read Gene Wolfe, then you'll be used to a writer not explaining everything to you, at least not at first. It can be disorienting, but it's a marvellous challenge when done adroitly. I'm not sure this was done adroitly enough for me ... whereas Wolfe would present you with words and terms that you didn't understand (but later would), King gives me very little. I don't know where these people are, why they're there, why they're doing what they're doing, or what's going on, in a general way--he gives you the immediate details (they're in the woods, they're eating a sandwich) but not, say, where the woods are, how they got to the woods, and when you finish the entire book and never find out, it's frustrating. There are hints (and major flashbacks) that the characters (or maybe just some of them) are from other worlds entirely, but I'm not sure and it's not spelled out, and it's especially tiresome because at least one of the characters ought to know and isn't telling us!

That said, this is the first volume in the series, it was relatively short, and I'm trusting that I will have some of my concerns assuaged as we move forward. But if I'm not feeling the second book, that's it for me and the series! (Let me know if book three is the one that finally makes it all come together!) ( )
  ashleytylerjohn | Sep 19, 2018 |
I'm not quite sure what to think of this book. There were times when I was completely lost. Not sure if it was the way the book was written or if I just wasn't paying attention. I would say it was the latter. The story itself is pretry good, but I found myself not being able to stay focused. I'll move on the book 2 and see if things get better, as I suspect they will. ( )
  kkranig | Sep 4, 2018 |
...interesting at times, but it just never quite grabbed me ( )
  ireneattolia | Sep 3, 2018 |
Wow. I read King's revised version from when he had finished the series, and it's stunning. I need to read the rest. It's … kinda what Firefly is to sci-fi: the fantasy edition, and so much fun, and with wonderful characters, and … wow. ( )
  _rixx_ | Aug 30, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 350 (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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