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5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of Stephen King's Epic Series
To say that The Gunslinger is a grand western tale would be wrong. To say that it is a grant fantasy would be wrong. The same goes for science fiction.
Well, what is this strange thing?
The Gunslinger is truly a unique reading experience, successfully managing to roll off as one genre and then promptly switching to another. This story, the tale of Roland...
Published on July 9 2004 by Tetsuya Akira

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not as good as the original version
The original Gunslinger had a gritty, anti hero in Roland and was set in a world slightly mirroring our own, enshrouded in mystery. This new version turns Roland into a wuss, and takes away a good deal of the mystery. Roland, prior to book 1, has been on his quest for over 1000 years; why does nothing he sees or does remind him of anything but the time he spent in Mejis...
Published on June 19 2004


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars not as good as the original version, June 19 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
The original Gunslinger had a gritty, anti hero in Roland and was set in a world slightly mirroring our own, enshrouded in mystery. This new version turns Roland into a wuss, and takes away a good deal of the mystery. Roland, prior to book 1, has been on his quest for over 1000 years; why does nothing he sees or does remind him of anything but the time he spent in Mejis (book 4)? Staying with Book 4, there was a pianoplayer there that he also sees in book 1. I liked the fact that there was no communication between the two in "the original" book 1, it heightened the mystery of how real Roland's quest is and was a great example of how things aren't what they seem in Roland's world. In this new version however, not only does Roland kill this theme by approaching this character, "hey have I seen you before" but then proceeds to beat the corpse with a stick by engaging in a full blown conversation, summarizing how the piano player got from Mejis to Tull - not as interesting. I didn't like the changes, he threw 19 in all over the place as expected, but there is also a problem with that as well; 19 is nonexistant in books 2-4; is he going to rewrite and revise those as well? I do not also accept the fact that Walter, Marten, Randall Flagg and John Farson (who I preferred as a human messed up in the head and under the influence of the evil forces at work) are all one and the same, even though some of these characters have appeared and had conversations with eachother. Basically this book was just written so that book 7 will match up with book 1, but I, as a follower of this series since the 80's, would have preferred the original storyline he had created, rather than this new rehashed one, and I don't think I'm alone in this opinion.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good But What's The Plot/Point?, July 14 2004
By 
Leprechaun (Bedford, New Hampshire United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
This is a really nice and well written novel but I had much trouble understanding what was supposed to happen. I am guessing that this book was to set up for the rest of the series but it didn't exactly set up anything. For 300 pages, this nice character, who occasionally (for unknown reasons) goes postal and slaughters everyone in sight, seeks a man in black. He finally finds him and I don't know if it's just me but I had absolutely no idea what the man in black said to him. The writing isn't too complicated, the ideas are just extremely far-fetched and different; this isn't necessarily a bad thing but to enjoy the read, you have to have an open mind. So, overall, very well written; very confusing at parts, and no true feat to be accomplished.
This may seem like a high rating for a not so great review, but this is because 1. I'm not going to trash a book just because I couldn't completely understand it and 2. Every series has to have a first book to explain everything.
Definitely read because even if you don't like this, it's worth it so you can continue the rest of the great series.
Hope this helps! :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genesis of Stephen King's Epic Series, July 9 2004
By 
Tetsuya Akira (Fayetteville, NC USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
To say that The Gunslinger is a grand western tale would be wrong. To say that it is a grant fantasy would be wrong. The same goes for science fiction.
Well, what is this strange thing?
The Gunslinger is truly a unique reading experience, successfully managing to roll off as one genre and then promptly switching to another. This story, the tale of Roland the Gunslinger and his search through a dizzying wasteland for the elusive Man in Black, is enigmatic in itself, simply a small appetizer for the real complexity of the series. All to often it has been singled out for its utter weirdness, its individuality from King's other works and also of the rest of the series. It is a very distanced and forshadowing tale, best read alone, perhaps with a popkin (sandwich) on one side of you and light from a devil-grass fire. This, being Stephen King's grant epic and all, could only be compared to the works of Tolkien or Peake of the Gormenghast series as being a tale of magic and quest, but as for everything else... The Gunslinger, just as its cold hero, stands out in the crowd. The breath-taking realism of the characters in this strange world is almost scary: the border-dweller Brown, the sexual bar-keeper Alice, the mad preacher Sylvia Pittson, and of course, the boy from New York Jake. Roland himself, in his stubornly narrow view of anything in the world besides the Man in Black and his Tower, is a study in the western loner (think Eastwood's "Man With No Name") so openly simple and yet mind-numbingly complex in nature. An instant classic, this revised version of the 1981 book is a true joy for all fans of the quest, the magic, the horror, and the western. Become a Tower-Junkie with the rest of us.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Gunslinger followed, July 2 2004
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
"The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed." So starts Stephen King's Dark Tower series, which has become a modern fantasy classic. This raw dark fantasy seriesstarts off in "The Gunslinger," a fragmented but compelling story of the last gunslinger, Roland.
As the story opens, the last gunslinger Roland is travelling across a world that has "moved on." He's hunting a mysterious man in black, who holds the key to a secret Roland has been hunting for his entire life. He stops in a town full of druggies and religious fanatics, only to leave it partly ruined -- and still in pursuit of the man in black.
But a part of our own world enters: Jake, a young boy who was killed in a horrible traffic accident. The gunslinger takes Jake under his wing, and along on his quest. Together they cross horrors and dangers -- until they find the Man in Black, and the doom that waits for Jake a second time. All for the sake of finding one thing: The Dark Tower, the linchpin of the universe.
"Gunslinger" is only a small sliver of the vast story that the Dark Tower series has become, and it's also the most fragmented. For a long time the story-line meanders from one ominous thing to another, speckled with Roland's reminiscences about his not-so-pleasant childhood. Things only become earth-shaking in the last part of the book, where Roland catches up to the Man in Black.
The world King creates is a nasty, desert-like place, part medieval, part postapocalyptic horror, and part old west. Sex, drugs, rock'n'roll ("Hey Jude"), religion and long-ago politics are mixed in with the basic quest. King's writing is detailed, raw and vivid, with plenty of shoot-'em-up action, succubi and mutated monsters to keep readers on their toes.
The Gunslinger is like a dark fantasy version of those gritty P.I.s that Humphrey Bogart sometimes played. He's rough, tough, dark, he doesn't reveal much of his feelings, but he has the occasional soft spot, and his hidden feelings seep out rather than being obvious. Jake is a good sidekick, kind of naive, and completely clueless about this strange world he's been hurled into.
"The Gunslinger" is perhaps the weakest of King's Dark Tower books, but the ending hints at the future outstanding developments. Dark, fragmented, and genuinely creepy.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Man in Black fled across the desert...., June 10 2004
This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
And the Gunslinger followed. Thus begins the greatest collection of books ever written. (At least in my humble opinion) Mr. King weaves a tale of knights, adventure, and romance stretching across the centuries, as Roland of Gilead begins his pursuit of the evasive Man in Black. The first book in the Dark Tower saga, The Gunslinger, is a modest opening stanza in a tale where the following books were much better.
It is the tale of Roland, the last Gunslinger, a kind of Knight/Cowboy who is chasing the Man in Black. This however is just a means to an end, as his ultimate chase is for The Dark Tower. Along his trek through the desert, he comes across a boy names Jake Chambers, who died in another reality. Eventually, Roland catches the Man in Black, sans Jake, whom he has sacrificed to reach said Man in Black. The Man in Black tells of Rolands future with a deck of tarot cards. Three cards are drawn to Roland attention: The Prisoner, The Lady of Shadows, and Death. ("but not for you Gunslinger.") Roland is left sitting on the edge of the Western Sea, pondering the future.
Be careful if reading the original version of this book however, as the dialogue is dated and does not really match that of the later novels. I recommend the revised version, although I really enjoyed the original.
The above is a general overview of the first book, and really should be read by any fan of either Stephen King, or any fan of the fantasy genre.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Start of the series and writing seminars, April 27 2004
By 
Neil Goldsmith (Orlando, FL United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
I've read a number of reviews of the series and have been told by friends how great it is, so I decided to check it out. Reading and understanding the intro/forward King has written in this revised edition helped a great deal. King wrote this book early in his career with the intention of writing a grand epic. He explains the author of this book at the time had not really found his groove so to speak and had spent a little too much time in writing seminars. One particularly revealing comment King makes about himself was that the seminars taught him to favor ambiguity over clarity and simplicity. He also goes on to mention when he revised the book he found many areas for improvement, but was able to leave the writing alone in places where he was seduced into forgetting the writing seminars by a particulary entrancing piece of story.
I find this captures the book well. Reading it, the book shifts from a very interesting tangible plot to the Gunslinger slipping into ambiguous dreaming and past thoughts within the same page. You can almost tell where King has gone back and done revisions as you can see his 30+ years of experience fixing his amateur mistakes.
Taken by itself, I didn't find the book that intriguing. Just average. Taken as a series I will definitely trek on to the future volumes as a number of people have told me the first one is sort of one you just have to get through. It's good it is a quick read and sets up alot of what will be revealed later.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good book to suck you in to the series, April 10 2004
By 
Troy Wallis (Albuquerque, NM United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
The thing that caught my eye in the bookstore was the cover. I love Stephen King stories that aren't horror so I was tempted to pick it up. Then I saw that it was an epic, and the length of the other three books that were out at that time, and I decided not to try it out. But one day I finally gave in after some research to see if the time to read all of the books was worth it and I'm glad I did. If you have never read any of King's books get ready because his imagination is awesome. The way he writes often leaves you longing for more which is exactly the way he wrote this first book in the series. He starts off with the gunslinger chasing the man in black. You have no idea who these people are or why he is chasing him until almost the end of the book. At first the book is a little slow but give it time and it will grow on you. The reason I gave it four stars was that the story gets much better in the second and third books and in this book King is trying to suck you in by giving you little bits of information that drive you crazy because he doesn't give you answers to your questions so you have to read more. I am currently reading the fourth book and some of my questions from this book aren't answered. A pretty good read but still just an introduction to the series. If you get bored with it push through because the second and third books are great reads.
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3.0 out of 5 stars An entrance to an epic, March 19 2004
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This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
The Gunslinger is a very important book, it is the entrance to the grand epic of a long classic-to-be.
In terms of writing style, the flow of the story, etc, Gunslinger is quite inconsistent with its sequels. Partly because they are several stories published in various magazines, partly because they were written before Mr. King was a more veteran author (that doesn't mean the stories are bad, they are just 'different' in style from the rest). To me, the rest of the volumes (i.e. from the Drawing of Three onwards) are much better in terms of creativity, imagination, surprise, intense moment, etc.... which makes this volume one a little bit like a prelude.
However, one cannot simply miss this entry, or without reading it before reading other volumes. First, it gives some important events and history of Roland, the Gunslinger. Also as a 'constant reader' of Mr. King, you can compare his writing skills and styles during these years. Finally, as Mr. King himself ambitiously says he wants to write a longest epic story in American history. Whether it can be as popular as Lord of the Ring, we need time to prove it. But definitely, he is successful in producing an interesting and absorbing story, and obviously the longest one in our history.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Get through it. You'll be happy you did., Feb. 20 2004
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This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
This is the first in a wonderous series about Roland the Gunslinger. Roland hails from Gilead, an ancient or possibly future civilization where the blood-line of King Arthur Eld is highly regarded as protectors of the world. Unfortunately, by the time we meet up with Roland, the world has moved on.
Roland is following the man in black. We don't know who this mysterious figure is until the end of the book, but we do know that he holds the first clues for Roland on the quest for the Dark Tower.
What is the Dark Tower? Amazingly enough, a lot of it is explained in this book, though it's hard to grasp the concept until one has read further into the series. The series opens us up to the concept of multiple worlds in multiple universes, all held together with beams, which are breaking and thus, the Tower is being destroyed.
The Dark Tower series is also held together by beams. These beams are other King works. Any King fan should read this series because it opens up so many treats for the "constant reader." There are tie-ins everywhere. The Gunslinger is linked to the rest of the books in the series, which are linked to other King books such as Salem's Lot, The Stand, Insomnia, From a Buick 8, and Rose Madder (which is linked to Desperation and Regulators).
Wow! All this depth and a great story to boot! As we follow Roland, his quest becomes our quest.
Every journey starts with one step. The first step is "The Gunslinger."
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5.0 out of 5 stars A classic first entry in the dark tower series, Feb. 16 2004
By 
Matthew King (Toronto, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition (Hardcover)
´¿The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.´¿ Never has a single phrase been as good at describing the crux of an entire novel. Stephen King´¿s first dark tower installment takes place in a desolate landscape of a world that mirrors our own. Roland, the last Gunslinger, chases after the man in black who holds the answers to get to the dark tower, a mission Roland has been on his entire adult life. As he travels around the vast desert hot on the tail of the man in black, Roland stumbles upon few sights along the way including the town of Tull, where he meets the sexually ravenous Alice and the god-worshipping Sylvia Pittston. It is after leaving Tull that Roland will meet the one person who will most help him fulfill his quest; the little boy Jake. Jake becomes the Gunslinger´¿s travel companion as they chase the man in black through this desolate world of sand, mountains and a whole lot of nothing.
The Gunslinger is a terrific start to the series, a surreal adventure of boundaryless imagination. I get the impression much of the series is fantasy instead of King´¿s trademark horror but this first installment reads more like a western than anything else. The chapters where Roland rests in the town of Tull are the best part of the book, as King injects the town with truly bizarre and fascinating characters and a final showdon between Roland and the residents of Tull that results in a blaze of gunsmoke and firepower. This book is packed with action from start to finish but as a reader the utmost concentration must be kept at all times since The Gunslinger does not read in linear fashion; it is a book of many flashbacks, dreams and hallucinations. Amazingly, although the first installment of a series that contains several entries, The Gunslinger stands very well on its own as a singular tale. The ending is satisfying but of course many things are left unresolved such as two very fundamental questions; What is it that really lies within the dark tower? Who is Roland really and why is he doing this? After this excellent start, I´¿m looking very much forward to reading the other entries in the series. If the subsequent novels are anything like The Gunslinger, than I´¿m in for an amazing journey.
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The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition
The Dark Tower 1: The Gunslinger, Expanded and Revised Edition by Stephen King (Hardcover - June 24 2003)
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