The Dark Tower Volume 1: The Gunslinger (1988)

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First Published: 1982 (in parts – 1978, 1980, 1981)

Edition Published: 1988

Cover Illustration: Michael Whelan

Illustrations: Michael Whelan 

Publisher: Sphere

Notes: A copy which seems to have travelled as long and hard as the gunslinger, himself. Inlaid with the full set of illustrations by Michael Whelan, none of which I’ve seen before (my original copy did not include them). Really pleased to find my old friend Roland on the first successful day of Collecting King.

I love the composition of Roland on his haunches, staring out across the water (although the ocean doesn’t really make an appearance until The Drawing of the Three, but let’s not niggle too much) and the hazy appearance of the Dark Tower itself. Is it a hallucination? Quite possibly. A dream, or maybe a nightmare. The point is, he’s alone and focused on his quest.

I actually really like the layout of the author and title which sets itself up to be maintained throughout the series, it’s just a shame it never got used beyond book 3.

Banks On The Beach

The first day of a week off and it’s time to get back into reading The Player Of Games.

There’s been such a lot going on and so many things to deal with over the last month or so that it’s nice to actually zone out, listen to the waves and simply enjoy getting lost in a universe of prissy drones, surly lifeforms, spaceships with such names as  The Little Rascal and planets whose reigning emperor is chosen by winning a (ludicrously) difficult and epic game. It’s the kind of book I wish I could dream up and write but it’s just so vast and strange and wonderfully sexy that it could only have come from Iain M Banks.

I’m halfway through now and enjoying every page. I can’t understand why it took me so long to explore The Culture series, but I’m glad I’m doing it now.

Value For Money

First Published: 1990

Edition Published: 1990

Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton

Notes: At 37.5 pence per minute you can hardly complain! It’s a heft book with the type of “typical” horror illustration I remember so vividly from childhood and which also provokes memories of Jim Henson’s Storyteller series, in particular the traumatising episode called The Solider and Death (I think). It scared me for days and led to my mother banning us from ever watching the program again…

I found this first edition in a charity shop  with the cheeky little demon poking out from beneath a pile of books.

It’s almost as if he was trying to tease me…

Destiny

Since (finally) upgrading my PS4 subscription I also got myself into Destiny, a game I was hugely unsure about when playing the initial Beta, and was very skeptical about after my love of the original Halo trilogy, but have actually since grown to love. Bungie do such a great job of creating exciting, edge-of-your-seat and enjoyable action sequences that I’ve got quite swept away in it all and while playing it I felt my mind wander to Iain M Banks’ Culture series.

There’s nothing specific to link the two – the characters are vastly different and while the technology and portrayal of society occasionally brush shoulders they are not particularly close, yet there is something which makes me connect the two.

It might be The Traveller. At this point (I’m very early in the game) it seems such a strange, abstract idea that it could almost sit alongside some of the Culture’s own technology and history but I think ultimately it’s the sense of scale, a sense of something truly epic which resonates with my memory of Consider Phlebas and which pushes me on to reading deeper into the Culture.

Maybe I’m Doing It Wrong

A rough day which I barely made it through. In these moments I turn to certain things for comfort – a song, a game, a book. Charles Addams may seem a morbid choice yet his perspective on the world has always made me laugh which is perhaps why I turn to him in my darkest hours – because he can turn my feelings on their head.

This is one of (if not my ultimate) favourite panel of his. It reminds me of my own clumsiness and throws a much needed (if warped) light on a subject which threatens to get out of control.