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  1. #1

    Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    I've had Books 1-4 of this in my possession for years, but never got around to reading them. I've always thought of King's non-horror work (The Green Mile, The Stand, Eyes of the Dragon, etc) as vastly superior to his (still quite good) horror stuff. And yet I never actually cracked open my copies of the Dark Tower books, despite hearing they were among his best.

    Until not that long ago, my wife--who previously dismissed King as a horror writer who happened to luck into masterpieces like Shawshank Redemption and a few others--was at home for the day, with the cable not yet turned on and with none of our books unpacked that she'd not read. Except for The Gunslinger.

    Within two weeks, she'd zipped through all four, the story from the Legends anthology, and even The Wolves of Calla (Book 5, which she convinced me to buy in hardback). So I had to see what was so intriguing.

    I'm currently about halfway through Book 4 (Wizards & Glass) and am completely hooked! I've only got 1.5 books to read (not counting Salem's Lot, which I understand is a prerequisite to reading The Wolves of Calla) before Book 6 comes out in a couple of weeks. (Book 7 is coming out this autumn.)

    This series has completely demolished all my expectations and really elevated my opinion of King. These are captivating, unique works full of enough allegory and symbolism to provide a small army of English majors with graduate theses. I'd say they're at least on par with Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, or the Chronicles of Narnia as far as epic series go. (Of course, being by King, they're a bit less family-friendly.)

    Without spoiling too much. . . well, I have no idea how to sum up even the basic concept without spoiling anything. It's a mesh of post-apocalyptic sci-fi, fantasy, western, and about everything else.

    If you've read the series, post your thoughts here. (But be nice. I've still got a few hundred pages to go. )

    If not, run, don't walk--or, better yet, drive--to the nearest bookstore and pick up the five available books, along with the four tie-ins:

    1: The Gunslinger
    2: The Drawing of the Three
    3: The Waste Lands
    4: Wizards and Glass
    5: The Wolves of Calla
    The Stand
    The Eyes of the Dragon
    Salem's Lot
    Legends

    "Go then, gunslinger. There are other worlds than these."
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  2. #2

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter
    These are captivating, unique works full of enough allegory and symbolism to provide a small army of English majors with graduate theses. I'd say they're at least on par with Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Star Wars, or the Chronicles of Narnia as far as epic series go. (Of course, being by King, they're a bit less family-friendly.)

    If not, run, don't walk--or, better yet, drive--to the nearest bookstore and pick up the five available books, along with the four tie-ins:

    1: The Gunslinger
    2: The Drawing of the Three
    3: The Waste Lands
    4: Wizards and Glass
    5: The Wolves of Calla
    The Stand
    The Eyes of the Dragon
    Salem's Lot
    Legends

    "Go then, gunslinger. There are other worlds than these."
    Well, I've read Eyes of the Dragon and The Running Man, so I must be a King expert, right? Uh, no. On par with the LOTR? Wow. I love allegory and symbolism! When I get SEVENTY-FOUR FREE WEEKS I'll start on them! (Stupid life getting in the way of fun stuff...)
    'It is always nice to see you, says the Besalisk at the counter... And instead I pour blue milk...' From "Dex's Diner" by Su-San Vega

  3. #3

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    I'm in the process of getting through Wizard and Glass right now myself. I really enjoyed the first 3 books, but this fourth one is dragging in comparison. I don't know why, but I really couldn't care less about Roland's past. I just want more of the ka-tet's progression to the Dark Tower!

    I've also read The Stand and Salem's Lot, but not the other two tie ins. I wonder what I'm missing by not having read the other two.
    "Smeeeeee....Heeeeeee...." -- Kryten 4000

  4. #4

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    Im actually on "Wizard and Glass" now. I agree, this book has draged in comparison with the other 3. Its just that im not that interested in Rolands past, i wish it was just with Eddie and Jake and that setting that has become familiar. I do bet that the book gets better though. "The Gunslinger" was incredible. It is my favorite book. Who ever has not read "the gunslinger" do it! you wont be dissapionted. i read that book in 3 days, and ive never been a reader. and i read the other 2 during last summer. this seris is on par with LOTR and SW. ANd please...its better the Harry Potter by far. go out there and read this seris!!

  5. #5

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    Hmm. I was wondering if it was just me who had a slightly tougher time getting through part of W&G, though once the flashback really got going, it's going faster.

    BCJ[3], this is indeed a massive series (and I think books 6 & 7 are supposed to be bigger than the other five combined), but I'd recommend tackling it sometime.

    I'm not sure how Eyes of the Dragon ties in yet, but here's a guess. They're currently (in W&G) in the world of The Stand. The villain in The Stand is Randall Flagg, and the villain in Eyes of the Dragon is a wizard named Flagg. I think they're the same, and somehow nastier than Walter dreamed of being.

    The short story "The Lost Sisters of Eleuria" (or something like that) is apparently another flashback that takes place before The Gunslinger. It's in an anthology called Legends, which also contains the worst, most inaccurate summary of the Dark Tower series imaginable.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  6. #6

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    Although not a big fan of fantasy, I was going to start in on this series this week, but the library was out of The Gunslinger.

    I've read most of King's horror novels in the last year or two. He makes a lot of references to the Dark Tower series in many of them, including The Talisman, Black House, and even Insomnia, so that's piqued my interest.

    To hear that he has tied the Dark Tower series into The Stand and 'Salem's Lot is interesting. Another favorite of mine is The Shining. The Overlook Hotel in that novel would make a haunting locale for Dark Tower action too.

    I thought Song of Susannah was the last book of the series, but I guess another is due this Fall.

  7. #7

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter
    The short story "The Lost Sisters of Eleuria" (or something like that) is apparently another flashback that takes place before The Gunslinger. It's in an anthology called Legends...
    It's the "Little Sisters of Eleuria," El Chuxter

    And that work is also in a book called Everything Eventual: 14 Dark Tales. It's a collection of short stories all written by King. I think Legends has other authors, doesn't it? So, if anyone wanted to read just King stuff, Everthing's Eventual might be the one to get.

    I was really enjoying this series (The Dark Tower series, I mean). I loved how all those other stories King has written have somehow tied in with it (all those previously mentioned, and then there's Hearts in Atlantis, apparently the Regulators - which I haven't read yet - and for some reason, I really believe From a Buick Eight). That's what made it epic for me.
    But something in Wolves of the Calla - and I won't say what, for those that are still reading it - has taken a little of that away. I still like the series, and Wolves was a great story, but I'm sorry to say that (for me at least), it lost something.
    Now... that might just be until I read Song of Susannah. King has surprised me before, so I really can't wait until the 8th (which is apparently the date of release). I really want to see where he's taking it.

    I'm glad someone started this thread. Thanks, El Chuxter.

    End...
    They call them fingers, and yet they don't fing. Noodle that one for a while.
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  8. #8

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    For those who have read the series, or most of it, is there a required or suggested order to reading the tie-in books? Or does it matter? If I am to "run, don't walk--or, better yet, drive--to the nearest bookstore and pick up the five available books, along with the four tie-ins:" then I must know. I must, I must, I must increase my... literary experience.
    'It is always nice to see you, says the Besalisk at the counter... And instead I pour blue milk...' From "Dex's Diner" by Su-San Vega

  9. #9

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    I have a friend that is an avid fan of Stephen King. She swears that she saw an interview where King has stated that after he finished the Dark Tower series he plans to retire from writing altogther. Yeah I know - a lot of celebs say that (Cher's final tour has yet to complete - and Oh joy Barabara Streisand gives "special invitation" shows) so it could be bunk. I quit reading this series after book 3 mainly cause the time between books has been very annoying. I have enjoyed them though. But having said that, if King is tying in all these other books into his tower series it seems to reinforce that he really is wrapping things up. I seem to recall the tower was mentioned in Insomnia as well.

  10. #10

    Re: Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series

    I've read the first 3 books (and for some reason feel like I might have read the fourth one - I'll have to look at it and see) along with most of King's other books. Stupid internet has really diminished the time I spend reading "real" books, though I still find time to paw through the month in comics. Intellectual, that's me alright.

    I really enjoyed the Gunslinger, and would go so far as saying it contains maybe the most intriguing "mano y mano" showdown I've ever read. The problem for me (as someone else posted above) is that I read the Gunslinger when it came out. I can't recall the details of yesterday well enough half the time - how the heck am I supposed to recall what's happened in 2000 pages of story for 2 years so that I can pick it up again? I think what I'll likely do is just wait for the whole thing to be in my possession, heave a huge sigh, and read it all again from the beginning.
    GOLDEN DEUCE AWARD WINNER & MABUCON ATTENDEE 2008

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