The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
The opening sentence of Stephen King’s The Gunslinger is fantastic, practically daring the reader to put the novel down.
The Gunslinger is the first book in Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, and the opening salvo in his attempt to create a truly massive epic. According to King, in the foreword to this edition, the entire The Dark Tower is meant to be read as one novel with each installment a piece of the whole. Also according to the foreword, The Dark Tower was mainly inspired by The Lord of the Rings and Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, a sentiment echoed by the afore-quoted opening sentence.
The Gunslinger puts the reader in a post-apocalyptic world where gunslingers are the arbiters of justice, sort of a Spaghetti version of King Arthur’s knights of the Round Table. The world has passed on and things are falling apart, the gunslingers have perished all but one, and deserts are devouring the land.
As a novel–or chapter in a novel–The Gunslinger is a good read, setting the stage for the obsessive and all-consuming quest on which Roland the gunslinger finds himself.
It is also an interesting read in that it has glimpses of the machinery which fuels King’s creativity and writing, and anybody who’s read a lot of his body of work will see situations and themes resurfacing. (Of course, some would say that King has really only written one story fifty different ways…)
The marriage of the more traditional quest myth and a hyper-Western mythos certainly makes for a very interesting read and leaves you wanting more of the saga and also to find out more about Roland, his obsession, and his past.
As it is the beginning of a saga and not by any means a self-contained work, there is really no point in picking up The Gunslinger unless you intend to follow through with the rest of the series, but if you do, it’s a hypnotic descent into a ruptured world.
**Listening To: ** Stream from Groove Salad
Posted Friday, 27 August, 2004 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.