Oh look! A Dark Tower binge!
- The Gunslinger, Stephen King
- The Drawing of the Three, Stephen King
- The Waste Lands, Stephen King
- Wizard and Glass, Stephen King
- Wolves of the Calla, Stephen King
- Song of Susannah, Stephen King
- The Dark Tower, Stephen King
I love these books. I’ve reread them six or seven times now; at over three thousand pages for the whole series, that’s a lot of reading! I learn something new every time I read them, though. The first time, I couldn’t think about anything except what would happen next. The second time, I enjoyed the anticipation of knowing what would happen next. But at this point, I’m reading these books with an eye to craft.
I’m not a novelist myself, so certain things King does just aren’t relevant to me. I can appreciate how he writes, but it’s not exactly going to help me write a better dissertation! What I can learn from King, though, is how to create an internally consistent world with both great power and great economy. He imagines a mythic America that is neither silly nor derivative. More than that, he uses both legend (the Arthurian myth) and the real world (insular New England small towns) to further his vision.
As someone who studies narrative, and who builds narrative spaces for other people to play in, I find these books to be really inspiring. It’s giving me research ideas, like finding out what it takes for someone to be able to logically reason in an imaginary world, or looking at how fictionalizing reality changes the way people engage with it. Plus, I’m always looking for better ways to build paracosms of my own!