Forty years and over fifty books later, no one yet has toppled the King from his throne. You may know him by his full name, or as Richard Bachman, or (if you’re me and half-deluded yourself into thinking that the “Constant Reader” addressed in many of his forewords is code for K-A-I-T-L-Y-N) just Stephen.
For the true veterans, it all began with Scary Carrie, the telepathic outcast who just wanted to be loved, but instead went ape-shit over a few measly pints of spilt pig’s blood. For me, the obsession started with The Shinning, which still freaks me the freak out
every winter when I attempt to reread it without imagining Jack Nicholson bursting through my door. However, it really doesn’t matter where you start, because all roads lead to The Dark Tower.
The seven-book Tower series is King’s Lord of the Rings– a comparison; I promise, of which it truly is worthy. The first book starts with the nearly sacred phrase “The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” BAHZINGA! If you don’t NEED to keep reading after that, you’ve chewed on one too many blades of devil grass (resist googling it-read the books). The gunslinger is none other than Roland Deschain, your hero and idol for the next 4,000+ pages. The tortured cowboy/knight/savior is one badass mahfah. He (and the greatest supporting players since the Fellowship) is on a mission to fix the crumbling Dark Tower, also known as the linchpin between his world, my world, your world, all worlds.
The books really aren’t horror, but they also really aren’t westerns or sci-fi and really aren’t anything…except everything, dig? For example: the main villains in the fifth book are Doctor Doom-inspired lightsaber-wielders that throw exploding golden snitches. To this day I can’t wrap my head around that magical majesty.
Once I really started delving into the King-verse, I noticed the majority of his books are some how related to The Dark Tower series. So if you like The Stand, Salem’s Lot or IT, you like The Dark Tower. (I would even recommend reading these and other tie-in books before starting in on the BIG one) King even wrote himself into the later books as the author of the books- in other words he became puppet master of the Dark Tower Universe literally and fictionally. I JIMP when thinking of the sheer testicles that took. THE TESTICLES!
My fanatically obsession with Stephen King could never have evolved if his novels weren’t smashed together in one universe.Because, you know something? That’s what a great geek-dom offers: depth. In addition to books upon books, there are comics and an impending movie and television franchise (I’d be cringing at Javier Bardem’s casting as Roland if it wasn’t just announced that Universal may be axing the whole shebang because they’ve been turning out shit movies no one wants to see). Regardless of Hollywood noise, KING IS WRITING ANOTHER DARK TOWER BOOK. It never has to end, which makes the greatest of sense because ka is a wheel (read the books, my precious). The Wind Through the Keyhole will be Dark Tower four and a half, taking place between Wizard and Glass and Wolves of the Calla. Maybe King has returned to Roland’s tale (which took like 25 years to complete) because he has run out of ideas, or out of his millions, or out of his mind. Don’t know. Don’t care. Gimme.
Some things about King can’t be denied, even by me, his Constant Reader. Ok, so some of the movie adaptations did blow major chunks. And yes, he does write and publish a book every year or so. But, the truth is, there isn’t a plain-bellied sneetch in the bunch…Ok, maybe Rose Madder, but if you squint really hard and clench your nostrils you can almost believe it’s doesn’t reek. In any case if you don’t like Stephen King, you probably haven’t really read Stephen King.
-The wise words of Kaitlyn: Great Sage and Eminent Junkie (again, read the books)