- Megan Bingham
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The Gunslinger by Stephen King (Book #1 of The Dark Tower series)
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 follows 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. (Wikipedia)
In 1978, Stephen King introduced the world to the last Gunslinger, Roland of Gilead. Nothing has been the same since. Over twenty years later, the quest for the Dark Tower continues to take readers on a wildly epic ride. Through parallel worlds and across time, Roland must brave desolate wastelands and endless deserts, drifting into the unimaginable and the familiar as the road to the Dark Tower extends beyond its own pages. A classic tale of colossal scope—crossing over terrain from The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, Insomnia, The Talisman, Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, 'Salem's Lot and other familiar King haunts—the adventure takes hold with the turn of each page.
The Dark Tower is an upcoming American science fantasy western action horror film directed and co-written by Nikolaj Arcel. A continuation of Stephen King's novel series of the same name, the film stars Idris Elba as Roland Deschain, a gunslinger on a quest to protect the Dark Tower—a mythical structure which supports all realities—and Matthew McConaughey as his nemesis, Walter Padick, the "Man in Black".
Intended to launch a film and television franchise, the first installment combines elements from several novels in the eight-volume series, taking place partly in modern-day New York City and partly in Mid-World, Roland's Old West-style parallel universe. The film is set to be released on August 4, 2017 in 3D and 2D by Columbia Pictures.¹ See the movie trailer below.
If you like The Gunslinger, read the rest of the books in the epic series:
Read the prequel to The Dark Tower and other companions:
If you like The Dark Tower series, these other books with alternate realities and spooky elements might grab your attention:
Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub
When a series of gruesome murders occur in western Wisconsin that is reminiscent of those committed several decades earlier by a real-life madman named Albert Fish, the killer is dubbed "The Fisherman," and Jack's buddy, the local chief of police, begs Jack to help his inexperienced force find him. But is this merely the work of a disturbed individual, or has a mysterious and malignant force been unleashed in this quiet town? What causes Jack's inexplicable waking dreams, if that is what they are, of robins' eggs and red feathers? It's almost as if someone is trying to tell him something. As that message becomes increasingly impossible to ignore, Jack is drawn back to the Territories and to his own hidden past, where he may find the soul-strength to enter a terrifying house at the end of a deserted track of forest, there to encounter the obscene and ferocious evils sheltered within it. (catalog summary)
**Black House is widely associated with The Dark Tower series. Many references in Black House are the same as TDT.
Dark Matter: A Novel by Blake Crouch
One night after an evening out, Jason Dessen, forty-year-old physics professor living with his wife and son in Chicago, is kidnapped at gunpoint by a masked man, driven to an abandoned industrial site and injected with a powerful drug. As he wakes, a man Jason's never met smiles down at him and says, "Welcome back, my friend." But this life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife, his son was never born, and he's not an ordinary college professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something impossible. Is it this world or the other that's the dream? How can he possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could have imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe. (catalog summary)
Dead Man's Hand: An Anthology of the Weird West
The weird, wild west—an American frontier populated by gunslingers, rattlesnakes, outlaws, zombies, aliens, time travelers, and steampunk! Twenty-three of science fiction and fantasy's hottest and most popular authors create all-new tales, written exclusively for this anthology. Aliens and monsters, magic and science are introduced to the old West, with explosive results. (catalog summary)
The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King
A kingdom is in turmoil as the old King Roland dies, and his worthy successor, Prince Peter, must do battle to claim what is rightfully his. Plotting against him is the evil Flagg and his pawn, young Prince Thomas. Yet with every plan, there are holes—like Thomas' terrible secret. And the determined Prince Peter, who is planning a daring escape from his imprisonment . . . (catalog summary)
**The Stand features Randall Flagg, a.k.a. The Man in Black from The Dark Tower series.
Insomnia by Stephen King
Ralph Roberts has a problem: he isn't sleeping so well these days. In fact, he's hardly sleeping at all. Each morning, the news conveyed by the bedside clock is a little worse: 3:15...3:02...2:45...2:15. The books call it "premature waking"; Ralph, who is still learning to be a widower, calls it a season in hell. He's begun to notice a strangeness in his familiar surroundings, to experience visual phenomena that he can't quite believe are hallucinations. Soon, Ralph thinks, he won't be sleeping at all, and what then? A problem, yes—though perhaps not so uncommon, you might say. But Ralph has lived his entire life in Derry, Maine, and Derry isn't like other places, as millions of Stephen King readers will gladly testify. They remember It, also set in Derry, and know there's a mean streak running through this small New England city; underneath its ordinary surface, awesome and terrifying forces are at work. The dying, natural and otherwise, has been going on in Derry for a long, long time. Now Ralph is part of it. So are his friends. And so are the strangers they encounter. (catalog summary)
**Insomnia features The Crimson King, the main antagonist in The Dark Tower series.
The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin
A groundbreaking work of science fiction, The Left Hand of Darkness tells the story of a lone human emissary's mission to Winter, an unknown alien world whose inhabitants can choose—and change—their gender. His goal is to facilitate Winter's inclusion in a growing intergalactic civilization. But to do so he must bridge the gulf between his own views and those of the completely dissimilar culture that he encounters. Exploring questions of psychology, society, and human emotion in an alien world, The Left Hand of Darkness stands as a landmark achievement in the annals of science fiction. (catalog summary)
Lynch: A Gothik Western by Nancy A. Collins
With his killer's cool and his famous pearl-handled pistols, Johnny Pearl has made a name for himself as a gunslinger. But fame proves itself hollow, and his demons finally catch up to him after one gunfight too many. When at last he finds redemption, it's in the smile of Katie Small Dove. Katie helps heal his broken soul, giving him the strength to turn his back on his old life of death and destruction. Soon they are married with a baby on the way, and for the first time in his life, Johnny knows true peace. But their happiness is suddenly and irrevocably shattered by the arrival of Captain Antioch Drake, a rogue cavalry officer determined to avenge the massacre at Little Big Horn. Within minutes of Drake's arrival, the Pearl homestead is set ablaze, Katie and her unborn child are cruelly slain, and Johnny is left to swing from a cottonwood tree. Normally, this would be the end of the story—if not for the unexpected appearance of a medicine show wagon driven by a strange old man called Doc Mirablis, who claims to have once been a friend and colleague of a certain Viktor von Frankenstein. The life and times of outlaw Johnny Pearl are over, but the adventures of the undead gunslinger called Lynch have just begun . . . (catalog summary)
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Neverwhere is the story of Richard Mayhew, a young London businessman with a good heart and an ordinary life, which is changed forever when he is plunged through the cracks of reality into a world of shadows and darkness—the Neverwhere. If he is ever to return to the London Above, Richard must join the battle to save this strange underworld kingdom from the malevolence that means to destroy it. (catalog summary)
The Regulators by Richard Bachman (a.k.a Stephen King)
The story takes place in the fictional town of Wentworth, Ohio, a typical suburban community. On Poplar Street, an autistic boy named Seth has gained the power to control reality through the help of a being known as Tak. Soon, Poplar Street begins to change shape, transforming from a quiet suburb into a wild west caricature based on what Seth has seen on his television. Meanwhile, the other residents of the street are being attacked by the many beings that Seth's imagination is creating, due to Tak's control over them. These residents are forced to work together to stop Seth and Tak from completely transforming the world around them and stop Tak before he kills anyone else. (catalog summary)
**The Regulators is a mirror off of King's Desperation. The demon Tak is featured in both novels.
The Stand by Stephen King
At a remote U.S. Army base, a weaponized strain of influenza, officially known as Project Blue and nicknamed "Captain Trips," is accidentally released, which eventually kills off 99.4% of the world's human population. As the pandemic intensifies, a multi-faceted narrative—told partly from the perspective of primary characters—outlines the total breakdown and destruction of society through widespread violence; the failure of martial law to contain the outbreak; the military's increasingly violent efforts to censor information; and, finally, the near-extinction of mankind. The emotional toll is also dealt with, as the few survivors must care for their families and friends, dealing with confusion and grief as virtually everyone they know succumbs to the flu. (Wikipedia)
**The Stand features Randall Flagg, a.k.a. The Man in Black from The Dark Tower series.