the gunslinger by stephen king

Posted on May 26, 2009


I really liked this book: evil winning over good, but with good fighting on, in the archetype of the gunslinger. I didn’t mind that the setting was vague and foggy; with details left out, our imagination worked overtime to create a scarier world than what maybe king had intended!

gunslinherBut I read it some four years ago for me to remember details. What I have are impressions. And when someone asked me about the book, I was surprised at how deep they run.

ispywithmy Great artwork. Did you read the “original release” version or the one he revised in light of the later books? I’ve been somewhat curious about this.

artseblis i think i must have read the original version. my copy was old, bought at booksale. but i read this a long time ago, some 4 years maybe. i used a shelfari reply post as my text for the book review (just so i can post something).

if i did read the original. i don’t think i’d want to read the revised version. the original is a classic, nevermind the continuity issue.

freifallen I have this on my TBR but am hesitant to read it because I know it goes on for 6 more books that get thicker and thicker. Now maybe I’ll put it on the upper portion of Mt TBR. Thanks!

ispywithmy Same here. The other issue I have is that if I get hooked on The Gunslinger (and I might, since I really enjoyed the Dark Tower short story “The Little Sisters of Eluria”), I not only have to read the six other novels but also a huge chunk of King’s work because of all the other connections he makes here and there.

ispywithmy Thanks. I’ll have to check my copy: I’m pretty sure it’s the old version, though I might also have the revised one somewhere. Did you ever read the succeeding novels?

artseblis @ispywithmy — oh, yes: THE DRAWING OF THE THREE and THE WASTELANDS.

@cecile — the books may be thick, but the pace is fast. i was too engrossed to realize i was reading such thick tomes. the haunted house sequence involving the boy from our world was maybe the scariest i have ever read.

@ everyone — the Gunslinger can actually stand on its own. it reads like a myth or a legend, an archetype or symbolism of the battle between good and evil. as such, the world is dreamlike, like something you had a bad dream of, or a mesh of otherwordly fragments pulled from your subconscious reassembled by your mind into something comprehensible.

the sequels are different animals altogether. they remade the gunslinger into a person, with more flaws than you can imagine, driven by duty but needing the help of companions so he can complete his mission, which is to reach the Dark Tower, the source of the reality-bending forces devouring all the universes.

but in bringing down (or up, depends on your point of view) the struggle of the gunslinger and the three companions into very human terms (read an aging soldier, a junkie, a legless woman with split personalities, a little boy), the sequels become less mystical and more accessible; just replace the goons with zombies and the evil rancher with a dark tower.

even if you loved the first book, you won’t necessarily like the following ones. there is a jarring discontinuity of mood, tone, pace, and writing between Gunslinger and the continuation of the saga.

for me though, adjusting was not problematic. the story, and action!, was too gripping to care that the gunslinger is now, still extraordinary, but not so mysterious anymore. i get my mystery fix, in high enough doses, from this search for the dark tower thing.

ispywithmy Fantastic! Now that’s more than enough information to help me finally get off my bum and start reading the first novel at least. Thanks!

*the artwork is from Google search.

Posted in: scary