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The Gunslinger by Stephen King

Gunslinger cover

 

I haven’t read a lot of Stephen King. I own a lot of his books, as my husband’s mom buys them for us all the time, but both of us have only read a few. I’ve read On Writing and The Shining, and now The Gunslinger.

The Gunslinger is the first book in King’s Darktower Series. I think this is the closest King ever really gets to sci-fi. King intended Darktower to be an epic, his magnum opus, and it certainly is impressive in scope.

This first book does not explain a lot about the world it takes place in, but it does give the reader enough information so that they’re not confused. It’s a great beginning, and it really does just set the stage for the rest of the books. I’ve heard that the first 4 books are the best, so I will definitely be reading all of those, but I don’t know yet whether I’ll finish the series, which I’ve heard drags on a bit in the later books.

They’re making a Gunslinger movie, and I really wish they were making a miniseries instead. The sections of the book are really each their own scene, each of which would make a great episode of its own in a series.

King sets the scene really well visually, and characterizes Roland really well while still keeping a lot of details in the dark. I read the original version, but I would probably recommend reading King’s edited version, where he fixed a few inconsistencies. The world the book takes place in has some references to our own, especially in the form of Beatles songs, but technology is very different and for the most part lacking. There is also a bit of magic and some references to gods/supernatural beings. For the most part, this book shows us this world, but none of the “why things are the way they are”. I imagine much of that will come later.

If you like fantasy and you haven’t read The Darktower series, I would definitely recommend checking it out, as it’s really engaging and interesting.

On Writing

I read Stephen King’s memoir, On Writing, years ago. It is the only thing I have ever read of King’s, as his books just don’t really sound like my style. Truthfully, even though I loved this book and thought it offered a lot of great advice to writers, I never actually finished it. I remember reading the majority of it on a plane. I marveled at the great advice and felt really inspired, and then never picked it up again. Eventually I returned it to the friend who had lent it to me.

This didn’t keep me from loving the concept of this book and recommending it to every writer I know. A professor of mine even added it to one of her class reading lists because of the suggestions of a few of us in the class.

Today, while scouring the web for resources for a work article, I stumbled upon this infographic. It sums up the most important parts of the book in a quick, easy-to-read format. All the motivation, none of the slog. I still recommend reading the book, as it gives you a lot of insight into King’s journey as a writer, and the sacrifices it takes to (possibly) make it big in the writing industry. If your “to-read” list is already quite long and daunting though, the infographic is enough for now. Read the rest of this entry