Brad’s Big Book Queue 2017 Book #7 of 25
The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger by Stephen King
I do like me a good ol’Stephen King novel once in a while.
When I was in grade four or five, about Claire’s age, my elementary school had occasional book fairs where they would sell kids books from a little annex room just off of the library. The first “grown up” novel I ever bought was a paperback copy of The Hobbit at one of these book fairs. But the second “grown up” novel, also at one of these book fairs, was a copy of Stephen King’s Night Shift.
Why an elementary school would proffer up a collection of horror short stories to their students seems really odd in retrospect, but for whatever reason… they did, and I came home with the paperback and promptly read a story that I thought looked like fun to my ten-year-old mind: Children of the Corn, which, if you can’t be bothered to read the summary on wikipedia, is a horror story about a small farm town where a bunch of possessed children ritually sacrifice the adults and hang them up in the cornfield… or something along those lines equally dark and a little too intense for a small town kid. I don’t think that even to this day I’ve read another page in that book… though it is kicking around somewhere in the house.
And so thus began my relationship with the novels of Stephen King.
And every three years or so I’ll pick one up and revisit that emotional intensity I met for the first time as a little dude in grade school.
The Gunslinger was dark in a different sort of way, though. Unlike the slightly askew realism, that something’s-gone-darkly-wrong in everyday life style of much of King’s work, this one was a lot more sciencefictiony. It’s only the first in a series so that may change, but the vibe of this story takes place in an alternate plane of reality where a shadowy figure with a complex backstory is on a mission that is never fully explained.
The novel was good, if definitely a cliffhanger, and though rich in some less-than-classic dark imagery the horror aspect seemed a fairly understated compared to the fantasy-vibe that ebbed through the story. I’m not ready to jump into book two right away, but I think I’ll be hunting down at least one more in this series before the year is out.
Switching gears once again, I’m going to jump back into my Vonne-crush: book eight of my great big book queue of 2017 is going to be another Kurt Vonnegut novel… Cat’s Cradle is Kurt Vonnegut’s satirical commentary on modern man and his madness. An apocalyptic tale of this planet’s ultimate fate, it features a midget as the protagonist, a complete, original theology created by a calypso singer, and a vision of the future that is at once blackly fatalistic and hilariously funny. So says Amazon.