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Beginning with a short story appearing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1978 the publication of Stephen King's epic work of fantasy what he considers to be a single long novel and his magnum opus has spanned a quarter of a centurySet in a world of extraordinary circumstances filled with stunning visual imagery and unforgettable characters The Dark Tower series is King's most visionary feat of storytelling a magical mix of science fiction fantasy and horror that may well be his crowning achievementBook IIn The Gunslinger originally published in 1982 King introduces his most enigmatic hero Roland Deschain of Gilead the Last Gunslinger He is a haunting solitary figure at first on a mysterious quest through a desolate world that eerily mirrors our own Pursuing the man in black an evil being who can bring the dead back to life Roland is a good man who seems to leave nothing but death in his wakeThis new edition of The Gunslinger has been revised and expanded throughout by King with new story material in addition to a new introduction and foreword


10 thoughts on “The Gunslinger

  1. says:

    B 68% | Satisfactory Notes A discordant blend of flowery terse and vulgar prose difficult to follow and insufficient in explaining new concepts


  2. says:

    INTRODUCTION A few things you should know before deciding how helpful this review will be for you I think the Dark Tower series as a whole is a staggering achievement and belongs in any discussion without qualification of the “Greatest Fantasy Series of All Time” There are no spoilers in this review but I have read the series twice all the way through and am doing a third reading as part of a group read this month Therefore my review is colored by my knowledge of how the rest of the series is Hence I only give this book 4 stars because in comparison to the rest of the series I thought this book was by far the weakest In a vacuum I would have probably given this 5 stars due to the “Chilly PalmerJosey Wales” awesomeness of the character of Roland Roland Deschain is THE MAN and belongs among the truly ICONIC figures in 20th century literature and is certainly among my top ten favorite characters of all time I think this is even astounding given the Roland himself was initially patterned on the classic iconic western gunfighter Yet through the series I thought he grew beyond his original programming and became a truly unique figure I have read a number of Stephen King books beyond the Dark Tower series and have really liked some The Stand The Green Mile The Night Shift and really disliked some Dreamcatcher Cujo and The Dark Half I just wanted to be clear that I like Stephen King but am not a “everything he writes is gold” fanboybeyond the Dark Tower series that is I LOVED LOVED LOVED the ending of the series don’t worry no spoilers I can not think of a better way to have ended this epic series and believe that it created a much powerful memory of the journey through all 7 books I think Stephen King should be applauded for allowing the story to take on such “MYTHIC” importance as I think he achieved with the way he ended this series I know that MANY and I mean MANY disagree with me on this one and I can understand where they are coming from psssst however just between usthey are all wrong and I’m right but shhhhhh I have listened to all 7 books are audio the first 4 read by the late Frank Muller and the last 3 read by George Guidall I believe that anyone who has read the books and not listened to these stories on audio is REALLY MISSING SOMETHING WONDERFUL Those who have listened to the “Dune” series on audio can understand the incredible quality and enhancement that a superb reading of a great story can bring As mentioned in the above introduction this book only gets 4 stars from me In large part this is due to both the quality of the later books and also the fact that it is plagued by some inconsistencies that arose due to changes that King made in the later books I applaud King for going back and re writing this story to resolve these conflicts but I still think this book suffers from the fact that King did not know how LARGE the story would become when he wrote this That said this book is an absolute essential read as it introduced the world to Roland Deschain of Gilead Son of Steven Gunslinger Champion of the White Descendant of the line of Arthur Eld Bane of the Man in Black and Seeker of the Dark Tower How best to describe Roland? Physically he was inspired by Clint Eastwood’s “The Man with No Name” and so a younger Clint Eastwood is an excellent way to visualize him From there you need to mix in a little MYSTICAL TEACHERWARRIORMASTER SLOGAN DISPENSERAdd a helping of NOBLE KNIGHT LEADER And then top it off with a large triple shot of BAD ASS MOFO with the end result being one of the most intriguing layered though it takes some time to peel those layers back and complex figures in all of literaturein my opinion In this first installment which is quite short compared to subsequent volumes we are introduced to Roland and the world he lives in as he is chasing the Man in Black Roland’s world appears like a deranged version of the Old West but with occasional references to an older world that was much technologically advanced We are left with the impression of a very ancient world that is fading and running down As Roland describes it his world “has moved on”We also come to find that Roland’s world is not “our world” but that there are strange similarities between the two eg Arthur Eld the great hero of Roland’s world would seem to be their version of King Arthur; both world’s have a version of the song “Hey Jude” etc In addition we learn that it is possible though difficult to travel between the worlds which is a fundamental aspect of the rest of the series It is in this story that Roland first meets Jake Chambers who arrives in Roland’s world from a version of “our” New York City I will leave you to learn for yourself the circumstances surrounding Jake’s appearance and the results Through a lengthy flashback in the city of JethroTull we learn of both the mad skills of Roland as a Gunslinger and the otherworldly powers of the Man in Black My takeaway Roland can shoot the eyes out of hummingbird and 50 paces From there the book moves ahead briskly until the inevitable final showdown between Roland and the Man in Black The details the interesting nuggets and the time spent with Jake are best experienced fresh so I will avoid spoilers Overall a good introduction to Roland and his world but merely an appetizer to the warm buttery goodness that is to follow and the epic tale of the Gunslinger really gets going in the next book “The man in black fled across the desert and the gunslinger followed” And you should follow to all the way to the end of the story and discover the wonders of this most original journey HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION


  3. says:

    Please don't hate me I know it seems sacrilegious to give a Stephen King anything less than 4 stars but this one was SLOOOOWWWW for the first 75% That's not to say I didn't enjoy it but I did find this was an easy book to put down and not feel an urgency to jump back into for days at a time I've heard many folks describe this as a nice prologue to the series and that in a sense the action and story doesn't become investment worthy until book 2 That coupled with the fact that I did become very involved in the final 25% or so of this book has me itching to continue on with Roland because DEAR GOD THAT ENDING I was just coasting coasting coasting and then then I had to reread the final couple of pages a few times to make sure I was following along properly All in all I got the sense that this is a really special series and worthy of the high praise it has received for decades and I expect my future reviews will hold gushing and fangirling than this one did PS my prim and proper mother we lovingly refer to her as Nonni is the one who initially convinced me to read this series and also invest in The Stand because she read both way back in her day Who knew Nonni was so cool and hip and in the know?


  4. says:

    ENGLISH The Gunslinger ITALIANOWhen I read this novel than twenty years ago I did not appreciate it Clearly Roland's story did not charmed enough my distracted and teenage mind Therefore I decided to prematurely stop the The Black Tower series A few days ago in a bookstore I stumbled on a copy of the new edition of The Gunslinger and reading the preface I understood a couple of things FIRST not just myself but also Stephen King was young when he wrote the same edition of The Gunslinger that I read eons ago SECOND to overcome the incomplete literary maturity possessed at that time Stephen King thought to revise and enrich the original novel publishing a new edition that for simplicity I will define mature In fact in that preface King confesses that when he starts writing a novel he has no idea where he's going with this let alone when he stars to write a multi volume saga In this light the rearrangement of The Gunslinger done only after completing the last episode of The Black Tower was necessaryThe plot is simple Roland is a gunslinger and chases the man in black The deadly desert dominates on them Some meetings take place along the way new characters come into play while flashbacks clarify the gunslinger's past In my opinion the most beautiful parts of the novel are precisely Roland's memories which begin to roughly make us understand the meaning of The Black Tower King give us the only hint about the time of the facts practically at the end«Gunslinger our fathers conquered the disease which rots which we call cancer almost conquered aging went to the moon» indicating that we are in a vague future far from our day The air we breathe is suggestive and desolate Making an example that only the fans of Garth Ennis will catch the atmosphere resembles the one created by the British comic artist when describing the events of the Saint of Killers one of the key characters of his famous graphic novel PreacherAlthough some details escape me at the moment I expect a lot from this saga I think this novel is a kind of introduction that I will fully understand after the next volumes and probably I will return to these reflections once again in the future to update my personal judgment of The Gunslinger For now I trust the positive reviews of the next volumes Overall I trust the positive reviews of The Black Tower series But above all I trust the author who than anyone else always stimulated my imagination And that's not a small thingMy journey just startedVote 7Quando lessi questo romanzo più di vent'anni fa non ne fui entusiasta Evidentemente la vicenda di Roland non aveva colpito abbastanza la mia mente distratta e adolescente Decisi pertanto di non continuare la serie de La Torre Nera Qualche giorno fa mi sono imbattuto in libreria in una copia della nuova edizione de L'Ultimo Cavaliere e leggendone la prefazione vengo a conoscenza di un paio di cose UNO non solo il sottoscritto ma anche il buon Stephen era giovane molto giovane quando scrisse l'edizione dell'ultimo cavaliere che lessi eoni fa DUE per ovviare alla non piena maturità letteraria posseduta all'epoca il buon Stephen ha pensato bene di rivedere ed arricchire il romanzo originale mandando alle stampe una nuova edizione che per semplicità definisco più matura Difatti nella suddetta prefazione King confessa che quando inizia a scrivere un romanzo non sa con precisione dove vuole andare a parare Figuriamoci quando inizia a scrivere una saga di più volumi In quest'ottica il rimaneggiamento de L'ultimo cavaliere fatto solo dopo aver completato l'ultimo episodio de La Torre Nera è stato necessarioLa trama è semplice Roland è un pistolero ed insegue l'uomo in nero Su di loro domina il deserto torrido e letale Lungo il cammino avvengono degli incontri entrano in gioco nuovi personaggi mentre flashback di ricordi chiariscono il passato del pistolero Sono proprio i ricordi di Roland le parti più belle secondo me sono brani che cominciano grossolanamente a farci capire il senso della Torre Nera L'unico indizio sull'epoca in cui avvengono i fatti lo si ottiene praticamente alla fine«Pistolero i nostri plurisnonni debellarono il morbo che fa marcire quello che chiamavano cancro Quasi debellarono la vecchiaia camminarono sulla luna»ad indicare che ci troviamo in un futuro vago lontano dai giorni nostri L'aria che si respira è suggestionante e desolata Per fare un esempio che coglieranno solamente i fan di Garth Ennis l'atmosfera somiglia molto a quella creata dal fumettista britannico quando descrive le vicende del Santo degli Assassini uno dei personaggi chiave della sua graphic novel PreacherNonostante ci sono alcuni dettagli che mi sfuggono mi aspetto molto da questa saga Credo che questo romanzo sia una sorta di introduzione che comprenderò appieno dopo i volumi successivi ed immagino che tornerò in futuro su queste riflessioni per aggiornare il mio personale giudizio de L'Ultimo Cavaliere Per ora mi fido delle recensioni positive dei prossimi volumi Mi fido delle recensioni positive della serie La Torre Nera nella sua interezza Ma soprattutto mi fido dell'autore che più di tutti ha sempre stimolato la mia immaginazione E scusate se è pocoIl mio viaggio è appena iniziatoVoto 7


  5. says:

    Nothing beats the real Wild West except a dark fantasy infested badass Kingian character exposition starting one of the best fantasy horror hybrid series of all times It reminds me of the style of some of his short stories in fact it are 5 short stories put together to a short novel and young Kings´ writing was darker direct and epic different than during his drug years and again different than in the period after when he kind of calmed down not got old because he is the King One could call it the 3 main periods of his work as it´s done with painters but I´ll keep that one for later in the review of the last part I remember when I first read this novel after something between 10 to 15 King novels from different decades and was awed by the completely different style brutality and epic badassity of this one there is no useless ballast no he didn´t become too wordy every word has its legitimation It´s the ultimate Hold my beer Chuck Norris mixed with horror elements to get the septology the one between doesn´t really count it´s great what else but not a part of the series for me startedAnalyzing how King evolved while writing this project is a bonus to the unique and amazing entertainment it provides a masterpiece of one of the greatest literary geniuses of all time if not even the human writing the best literature ever Next to Pratchett When King was young he wrote harsher invested time and space in detailed descriptions worldbuilding and less focus but still than many other authors on characterization and focused on one plotline One may find it hard to say if it´s the same author when reading one of his first and one of his newer works as he changed to focusing on characterization and complexity and didn´t care so much about the epicality of the world and outer plots any Or he just got too lazy to do all the extra work this brings with it However why are you still wasting your time reading this drivel immediately start reading one of the best fictional series of all timeTropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique


  6. says:

    The man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed Roland Deschain the last of the Gunslingers is on a quest for the Dark Tower a mysterious edifice that is the axle of worlds and holds all existence together In this the first volume Roland pursues his nemesis across the Mohaine Desert He follows the man in black's trail to a little town called Tull then through desert encountering a boy named Jake from our world and then into the mountains Will Roland finally catch his arch nemesis after years of pursuing him? And what means will he go to to achieve his goal?When I first picked up this book I had no idea it would shoot to the top of my favorites list I wolfed down the first four books in three weeks then entered an agonizing period of waiting for the last three to be published I think I've read the first four books five or six times each The whole Dark Tower series while on the surface a fantasy western is really the story of one man's obsession In this volume we get a hint of what Roland will do to get to the Dark TowerThe writing is great and it warmed me up to Stephen King Roland's world is unique Part fantasy part western part post apocalypse While it's the first book in a series it's quite satisfying to read on its ownIf your looking with fantasy with a different flavor look no furtherAdditional Thoughts from the April 2011 re readSome of the additions in the revised edition of this book were much needed and brought the first book into synch with the later ones Others seemed a little ham fisted and took away a bit of Roland's mystique view spoilerI like the idea a certain curmudgeonly Kansan reviewer proposed that the first edition of The Gunslinger and this one are from different cycles in Roland's quest I think it's a testament to Stephen King's skill as a writer that even on my sixth or seventh go round I was still hoping Roland wouldn't let Jake fall hide spoiler


  7. says:

    All I could think throughout this book was what the hell am I reading?This western fantasy has to be the most confusing book I’ve read in a long time Some parts were interesting than others but overall I was very disappointed After hearing everyone rave about this series I have a hard time understanding why I don’t believe it would be this popular if it wasn’t for Stephen King’s name on it There I said itI didn’t like the story very much nor the writingI had been warned that the first book wasn’t as great as the others but I’m currently not in a rush to continue


  8. says:

    An intriguing book it draws the reader in little by little It is fantastic imaginative but inconsistent Amid moments of brilliance there are also islands of abstraction so murky almost Kafkaesque in absurdity that I could not follow But it is interesting enough that I will probably read the sequels Of course that is another detraction this book does not stand alone but leaves the reader with many questions unanswered Fun questions that lead the reader to seek further but a work of literature should be able to be read alone with obvious but genius exceptions The ideas of alternate realities and worlds within worlds are very interesting and King may be uniquely qualified as a literary descendant of Lovecraft Matheson and Blackwood to pull it off2015 amendmentThe man in black fled across the desert and the Gunslinger followed The iconic opening lines have stayed with me for a couple of years and I find myself thinking about this series and specifically what have I missed? Hundreds of thousands of people love this series and I am left on the outside looking in I think when I first read this I was put off by the purely fantastic setting but now maybe three years after I read the first I am ready to return and give this another try 2018 This series brings out so many mixed emotions from me When I first read this I thought I'd missed the boat and was going to be on the outside looking in Years later I started the rest of the series but I take these books slow I like love dislike his writing here but keep coming back I just started Wizard and Glass the fourth in the series almost nine years after reading this one So I'm reading on the pace of how he published these


  9. says:

    “I don’t like people They fuck me up”Roland Deschain the last of the Gunslingers is after the Man in Black Along the way he meets a young boy named Jake who appears to be from a world that is different to Roland’sAh Roland I had forgotten how difficult it was to like you in The Gunslinger Some of your decisions are questionable but that is the price of obsessionThe Gunslinger is so unlike King’s usual style of writing; the prose is beautifully poetic as we are introduced to a world that is starkly different to ours yet some similarities remain The differences in language and terms used as well as the general workings of this world are a bit jarring on the first read but a reread is really so satisfying and rewardingThe Gunslinger works perfectly as a prologue to the series itself It’s an introduction to this other world and Roland himself we get glimpses into his past his present and even a few subtle hints into what his future may hold Roland is initially portrayed as the strong silent Clint Eastwood type thinking of Tony Soprano here LOL but over the course of the series he becomes so much than this and evolves into one of the most complex characters I’ve ever encountered in literature Thank you King for such a fantastic characterI will never cease to be amazed and intrigued by the world that the Dark Tower series is set in And although I feel like The Gunslinger works as a pretty great prologue and sets the scene for the series there are still a huge number of parts that are iconic to the story itself We have Roland's past in Gilead with his mother and friends we also have an epic demonstration of his gunslinging abilities in Tull and of course our introduction to Jake Chambers and his journey with Roland through the mountains which is eventful in itself And then the book culminates with the Man in Black having a palaver with Roland where he is told his future This part in particular is so enjoyable on a reread picking up on the different predictions mades and ALLLL the foreshadowing It's fantasticOn my first journey to the Dark Tower and also on this one I read the revised edition of The Gunslinger as King went back to the original and made some some amendments to make it both an easier read and to fix some consistencies I really want to get my hands on a copy of the original version so that I can compareSuch incredible world building and I feel like King intrigues you enough to make you want to pick up the next book right away But I won’t be as I am waiting until February like the good readalong host that I am Yes I deserve some creditI’m giving this rating only because I know what is yet to come can't wait to carry on with my reread of my most favourite book series 4 stars


  10. says:

    Great world building and atmosphere Definitely different from anything I've read before It felt very scattered like King didn't really have any idea what the next paragraph would hold I'm sure that probably made it a blast to write but it could've been better if it wasn't quite so disjointed The dialogue between characters is Star Wars Episode II level bad unfortunately I really enjoyed the world building though which makes me think that the series may be worth continuing