Revised Version vs Original Version of The Gunslinger

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Bev Vincent

Well-Known Member
Apr 11, 2006
4,269
11,022
Texas
www.bevvincent.com
#5
For me, the biggest change was

the way Jake's character is treated. When he wrote the book, King may not have realized how important Jake was going to be, or even that he'd return to the series, so in the original version, Jake is weak and compliant, diffident. In the revised version he suffers the same fate but he is more vocal--a much stronger character
 

Shoe

Ka 'n' stuff
Nov 7, 2011
503
775
Phobos
#6
There was no revised version when I first read The Gunslinger. I have read it in it's place on some of the many rereads I have done with the Tower quest. I like to view as
hints, although subtle and minor, that things can change slowly, bit by bit, for Roland with each different turn of the wheel.
 

taylor29

Well-Known Member
Mar 18, 2014
103
383
#8
I think King mentioned that between the first and last novels there was bound to be inconsistencies and the first one was essentially cleaned up a little based on later books. What's interesting to me is that once we've read the series all the way through, we're sort of sent back through the cycle that same as Roland because now we've got to go back and revisit the desert. Funny how ka works.
 

cat in a bag

Well-Known Member
Aug 28, 2010
10,611
55,566
wyoming
#10
I prefer the original version. I was surprised at the amount of foreshadowing in the revision, I felt that it gave away too much about some things. I just thought that if I was a reader going on the journey for the first time, some of the events in the later books wouldn't have held as much of a punch.
 
Nov 14, 2014
23
110
43
New Orleans
#11
I've re-read the original version more than any other King novel--or any other book, for that matter. I certainly understand why he revised it--continuity issues, narrative dead-ends, etc.--but something was lost in the polish. In the revised version, that fever dream quality is gone, as is much of the raw, pulsing language I associate only with young King--the original is similar in some ways to Rage and The Long Walk, particularly the first two sections of the novel.

So: as a coherent part of the entire series, yes--go for the revised. As a stand-alone work and a glimpse into the mind of a young writer on the cusp of so much--the original, all the way. It's magical.
 

kingricefan

All-being, keeper of Space, Time & Dimension.
Jul 11, 2006
28,906
119,411
Spokane, WA
#13
Nothing will ever match the feeling I had after I turned the last page of the original version. I bought it on the secondary market about a year after the second Grant printing was released (and quickly sold out!). This was after it was listed in the front of the Pet Semetary hardback with the other 'known' King books at that time. If you weren't part of the sci-fi crowd back then and didn't subscribe to any of the sci-fi magazines there was no way of knowing that King had even published this book, so it was a shock to us 'constant readers' that there was another novel out there. The book was (is) unlike anything King had written up to that point. It's words were sparse, dry, and hard- like the desert in which it takes place. King stripped it down to the bare bones, wasting not one word. I prefer the original version because it casts a spell on you. Main reason I don't like the revised version- the over use of the word 'Yar.'.
 
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FlakeNoir

Original Kiwi© SKMB®
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
41,706
162,822
New Zealand
#14
Nothing will ever match the feeling I had after I turned the last page of the original version. I bought it on the secondary market about a year after the second Grant printing was released (and quickly sold out!). This was after it was listed in the front of the Pet Semetary hardback with the other 'known' King books at that time. If you weren't part of the sci-fi crowd back then and didn't subscribe to any of the sci-fi magazines there was no way of knowing that King had even published this book, so it was a shock to us 'constant readers' that there was another novel out there. The book was (is) unlike anything King had written up to that point. It's words were sparse, dry, and hard- like the desert in which it takes place. King stripped it down to the bare bones, wasting not one word. I prefer the original version because it casts a spell on you. Main reason I don't like the revised version- the over use of the word 'Yar.'.
:a11:
I'll try harder not to...
 

muskrat

Dis-Member
Nov 8, 2010
4,486
19,260
Under your bed
#17
I read the original way back when, then didn't touch the series until it was done--by which time I'd lost the original, and had forgotten half its content. So when I went on the REAL journey, do ya, I started with the revised. Don't think it hurt the tale any, IMO.

I feel a re-read comin on--can feel that 'wind' every time I pass that line of books, calling to me. This'd make fifth or sixth time, but the first with Keyhole wedged in there.

As far as I'm concerned, ol boy can go back and revise, re-edit, add (please) all he wants. Let the other books follow the sure-fire formulas of today's stale fiction; this opus is King's baby--his world, his imagination, his ever-expanding canvas upon which he may toss whatever colors he wants.

And, for the record, I liked the ending.
 
Jun 20, 2015
20
81
40
#18
I read the original way back when, then didn't touch the series until it was done--by which time I'd lost the original, and had forgotten half its content. So when I went on the REAL journey, do ya, I started with the revised. Don't think it hurt the tale any, IMO.

I feel a re-read comin on--can feel that 'wind' every time I pass that line of books, calling to me. This'd make fifth or sixth time, but the first with Keyhole wedged in there.

As far as I'm concerned, ol boy can go back and revise, re-edit, add (please) all he wants. Let the other books follow the sure-fire formulas of today's stale fiction; this opus is King's baby--his world, his imagination, his ever-expanding canvas upon which he may toss whatever colors he wants.

And, for the record, I liked the ending.
For me, I didn't like the ending. Not so much, because of the plot twists, which were fine, but I felt the narrative felt forced. He had just been hit by a van, and he was worried that he might not live to finish the tale. If he were to return to the Dark Tower, and re-write the whole tale in an unhurried manner, I could easily imagine it being much better.
 

muskrat

Dis-Member
Nov 8, 2010
4,486
19,260
Under your bed
#19
For me, I didn't like the ending. Not so much, because of the plot twists, which were fine, but I felt the narrative felt forced. He had just been hit by a van, and he was worried that he might not live to finish the tale. If he were to return to the Dark Tower, and re-write the whole tale in an unhurried manner, I could easily imagine it being much better.
Perhaps. But then again, and I'm willing to bet, he could write a whole new ending and there'd be plenty of folks still think it sucks. Van or no van, Uncle Stevie's always had trouble with endings; or, rather, the readers do. Especially the epic bricks--people read one of those, 800-1000 + page tomes, they expect some kinda holy, life changing Oh Henry Shammalanna corker as a reward for all the time they've spent on it. Or something--tell ya, I think many folks are confused about endings and just what it is they're supposed to do. They need to read more literature, and turn off the glass teat.

The Journey, do ya. The only thing endings really do is just that--end.
 

FlakeNoir

Original Kiwi© SKMB®
Moderator
Apr 11, 2006
41,706
162,822
New Zealand
#20
Perhaps. But then again, and I'm willing to bet, he could write a whole new ending and there'd be plenty of folks still think it sucks. Van or no van, Uncle Stevie's always had trouble with endings; or, rather, the readers do. Especially the epic bricks--people read one of those, 800-1000 + page tomes, they expect some kinda holy, life changing Oh Henry Shammalanna corker as a reward for all the time they've spent on it. Or something--tell ya, I think many folks are confused about endings and just what it is they're supposed to do. They need to read more literature, and turn off the glass teat.

The Journey, do ya. The only thing endings really do is just that--end.
:yes_pig:
 
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