Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hello, Roland, old friend

I'm a reader. One of my favorite episodes of The Twilight Zone is "Time Enough at Last". It always sticks with me that the main character is called a reader like it's a bad thing. I just love to read. I always have. My family says I take after my Aunt Glennis, and I think they're right! (Yes, Aunt Glenny, I take it as a compliment!)

Stephen King is one of my favorite writers. Some of his books I read once and go on. There's even one that I can't finish. Maybe one day, but this isn't it. My favorite single book by him is The Eyes of the Dragon. It started as a bedtime story for his daughter when she was small. My favorite series is The Dark Tower.

The Dark Tower is a series of 7 books. The first was published in 1982, a few years before I was old enough to read Stephen King. It took King 22 years to write the series from first word to last. I started reading the books in 1991 just after the 3rd book was published. The final book was released in 2004. During that time he did a lot of drugs, drank a lot of booze, sobered up, and was almost killed when hit by a van drove by someone on lots of drugs. He has also been diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease. He decided he had to finish the books before he died or lost his sight. The telling of the story has always followed his path in life, and can feel a bit disjointed. Overall, it does flow well together.

Since the final book came out I've said that I wanted to go back and read them, all 7, from start to finish. No 22 years in between. Absolutely no stopping. Put one down and pick up the next. Since 1991 I have re-read the books here and there. But never all at one time. It's something I did when I finished the last Harry Potter, and it's something I want to do with The Dark Tower.

If you aren't a Stephen King fan, I understand. Not too many people out there are like me and think he's good bedtime reading material. I will say that this is not his usual type of story. It's not The Shining, or Carrie, and definitely not Rose Madder. This is the story of a man who is the last of his kind. And he's out to save the world, all worlds, his and ours. See, worlds turn on pivot points that line up. They are stacked on top of each other and can flow into each other. One such pivot point, the last to hold, is the Dark Tower. To save one world is to save all. Roland, the gunslinger, is the man to do it, or die trying.

I hope the first words of the novels will grab you like they did me and pull you into this fabulous world.

"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed."


Caroline said...

Will have to check those out, although it's been a long time since I picked up anything by King. I spent one long summer immersed in The Stand and it took me a long time to digest it.

Oh, and my favorite Twilight Zone episode is the one where the wife bludgeons the husband to death with a frozen meat leg and then serves it to the cops who come to investigate. Buwahhahhahhaaa

Carol Beth said...

Jason is a King fan and loves the Dark Tower series. He read them over the period of a couple of years or so. He said I might like them too (since they aren't horror, which is NOT my genre). I started the first and the "tone" of it was too dark for me. I think I may have been post-partum with Ana at the time. I'm a reader too but in general like stuff that doesn't have a dark tone to it. So I'll read mysteries and thrillers but not the ones that are depressing, KWIM? Anyway, I wish it HAD "captured" me as it did you, since the story sounds awesome. I may even pick it up again some day when I'm at a less-hormonal stage of life. :)