The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger

The Dark Tower:
The Gunslinger
The Gunslinger.jpg
First edition cover
Author Stephen King
Cover artist Michael Whelan
Country United States
Language English
Series The Dark Tower
Genre Fantasy, western
Publisher Grant
Publication date
June 10, 1982
Media type Print ( Hardcover)
Pages 300
ISBN 978-0-937986-50-9
Followed by The Drawing of the Three

The Gunslinger is a novel by American author Stephen King, the first volume in the Dark Tower series he describes as his magnum opus. [1]

The Gunslinger was first published in 1982 as a fix-up novel, joining five short stories that had been published between 1978 and 1981. King substantially revised the novel in 2003, which is the version in print today.

The story centers upon Roland Deschain, the last gunslinger, who has been chasing after his adversary, "the man in black", for many years. The novel fuses Western fiction with fantasy, science fiction and horror, following Roland's trek through a vast desert and beyond in search of the man in black. Roland meets several people along his journey, including a boy named Jake Chambers who travels with him part of the way.

Background and publication

The novel was inspired by Robert Browning's poem " Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came" (1855), which King read as a sophomore at the University of Maine. King explains that he "played with the idea of trying a long romantic novel embodying the feel, if not the exact sense, of the Browning poem." King started writing this novel in 1970 on a ream of bright green paper that he found at the library. [2]

The five stories that constitute the novel were originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction:

It took King twelve and a half years to finish the novel. The finished product was first published by Donald M. Grant, Publisher, Inc. as a limited edition in 1982. The following year, as the Pet Sematary cover noted The Gunslinger among King's previous works, many fans called the offices of King, Grant, and Doubleday wanting more information on the already out of print book. This led to another run of ten thousand copies. [3] In 1988, Plume released it in trade paperback form. Since then, the book has been re-issued in various formats and included in boxed sets with other volumes of the series.[ citation needed]

In 2003 the novel was reissued in a revised and expanded version with modified language and added and changed scenes intended to resolve inconsistencies with the later books in the series. It is dedicated to Ed Ferman, long-time editor of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. [4]

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