In anticipation of the film coming out, here – week by week – are my reviews of THE DARK TOWER novels.
Fantasy and science fiction authors of course have a limitless canvass on which to paint on. If the author establishes that this is a far away world, or some distant future time, then only the boundaries of imagination will limit the wonder of the places and worlds visited.
There are no problems of geography or historical inaccuracy or deviation from the norms of real life.
This is a new ‘real’ world and the author can do anything he or she damn well likes with it.
And that’s why I’m always slightly disappointed when fantasy and science fiction takes a turn into our world. Whether it’s the Starship Enterprise, hundreds of years in the future, repeatedly popping back to the Twentieth century; or a lone gunslinger in the bleak desert of an alternate world, deciding that – rather than explore this wondrous new place – it’ll just be easier to go to New York City.
Having set up the aesthetic of a decaying, but still magical, spaghetti western world in the first novel; King here takes a serious detour and plunges Roland into our world. Ill and wounded, he stumbles across doorways in the desert, and these doorways take him – with increasingly diminishing returns on the surprise front – to New York City.
(It’s one of the things that irritated me most about this book – why through each of the doors is it always New York? Why not New York the one trip, Crouch End the next, then a planet on the outer edges of Alpha Centauri after that?)
Ostensibly it’s a tale about how Roland comes together with his fellow questers for The Dark Tower, but the fact that it takes so long and deviates greatly from what went before (and seemingly from what’s set up to follow) does makes it feel something of shaggy dog story.
However, I nearly always find King a compulsive read, and tore through my copy of this. Some commentators to my original review of THE GUNSLINGER review did warn me that the next book was tricky, and wondered if I’d make it through it. Well, I did get to the other side, but with some reservations
Maybe every Constant Reader feels like this somewhere in the middle of THE DRAWING OF THE THREE. but this seemed like the moment THE DARK TOWER series turned into my own personal quest.