Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dark Tower News

Thanks to Aidan from A Dribble of Ink for breaking the news!

From Stephen King's website:

Dear Constant Readers,
At some point, while worrying over the copyedited manuscript of the next book (11/22/63, out November 8th), I started thinking—and dreaming—about Mid-World again. The major story of Roland and his ka-tet was told, but I realized there was at least one hole in the narrative progression: what happened to Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Oy between the time they leave the Emerald City (the end of Wizard and Glass) and the time we pick them up again, on the outskirts of Calla Bryn Sturgis (the beginning of Wolves of the Calla)?
There was a storm, I decided. One of sudden and vicious intensity. The kind to which billy-bumblers like Oy are particularly susceptible. Little by little, a story began to take shape. I saw a line of riders, one of them Roland’s old mate, Jamie DeCurry, emerging from clouds of alkali dust thrown by a high wind. I saw a severed head on a fencepost. I saw a swamp full of dangers and terrors. I saw just enough to want to see the rest. Long story short, I went back to visit an-tet with my friends for awhile. The result is a novel called The Wind Through the Keyhole. It’s finished, and I expect it will be published next year.
It won’t tell you much that’s new about Roland and his friends, but there’s a lot none of us knew about Mid-World, both past and present. The novel is shorter than DT 2-7, but quite a bit longer than the first volume—call this one DT-4.5. It’s not going to change anybody’s life, but God, I had fun.
-- Steve King

Pretty awesome news, but I'm a little bit torn.  Part of me is super excited that in the fairly near future I'll be reading new material with Roland, Jake, Eddie, Susannah, and Oy... a prospect that I thought was rather unlikely up until a few hours ago.   The other part of me sort of feels like, what is the point?  The series ended so well, and I don't see the sense in revisiting the characters mid-stream.  I'm always a bit skeptical of a writer/creator/artist revisiting or adding to old material.  Look how it turned out for George Lucas, and Dave Mustaine on the Megadeth remasters.  Hopefully Jamie DeCurry wont be the next Jar-Jar Binks.  I think there is less risk of that here, as there is a clear spot to insert the new material, and it likely wont mess with continuity or fudge around with what long standing fans feel is the essence of the body of work.  Either way, I'll be reading it. 


mummazappa said...

This is very exciting! I'm looking forward to reading more in this series, especially as it won't be a continuation of the series but rather a small part as yet untold.

Ryan said...


Yeah, I'm looking forward to learning more about Jamie DeCurry, it'll be cool to see another gunslinger in action.

Ryan said...

I wondered if this is finally going to see the light of day due to the movie and TV series now in the offing. Either way I’m stoked! The Other Ryan

Ryan said...

Ryan- I'm looking forward to it too. Have you read much other King stuff? I've been debating on The Stand, but the size is daunting.

the Weasel said...

Regarding DT 4.5, I am just... damn, I can't even describe it... you know how you feel when you're watching a great movie and the good guys are pinned down, out of ammo, about to be slaughtered, yet still holding out by sheer will alone, and then right at the last second... reinforcements arrive. You know how you get all choked up, heart in your throat, tears flowing freely? Well, I feel like that almost every time I think of MidWorld, and the backstory is my, you could guess how I felt about this news. But to be very, very clear, I completely agree with Zappa and TOR: totally stoked, glad it's not a DT8 (though I'd surely read that too), "but rather a small part as yet untold."

Ryan, I understand from a previous review here that you were less than thrilled with DT4, which was pretty much all backstory, so I'm not surprised that you question the need for DT4.5, which promises even more backstory. I see also that you have not yet read The Stand.

I humbly request, my new friend, that I might make a suggestion? Ok, thanks! I believe you might be missing the ever-important Constant Reader context! I only just starting following you but it's clear that you are a voracious reader with varied interests and tastes. I really envy your diversity! Personally, various limitations (and neuroses, I suppose) have caused me to stick with what I know that I love. I like to joke that, "Oh yes, I'm VERY well read, as long as we're only talking Stephen King!" or to tell people that I graduated from "King's College" and as I take them into my library/study I say, "I've even saved all of my text books..."

The point is that I do understand that you might not have the time to follow my primary suggestion so I've offered two more as well that might better suit your needs:

1. Read EVERY King book (at least those that you don't need a research degree to find), preferably in order (the link in the next paragraph will help, but any book from DT7 back has an "other books by" page). My friends are usually very surprised by how diverse he is when I convince them to read something they didn't know he'd written. And you'll see how great this series is once you view it in comparison with his other works. I find it particularly fun to push through those that seem at first to be a chore to read because he always brings it back to a worthwhile read before the end.
2. Pick up DT7, turn to the "other books by" page in the front and note that the titles in bold are all DT-related (some frustratingly less than others, such as From a Buick 8). Make a list of all the bolded titles and take it to . Once you've chosen a category (novels), click Date at the top of the rightmost column and record the release dates for those titles and read them in that order. (I'm at that link now and for some reason it lists all the DT books as 2003 or 04; nevertheless, I believe the rest are accurate; well, duh, I guess they're in order on the page in the book too, other than any titles not in the main list.) In my opinion, the best DT-related books (in terms of actually being interestingly related and somewhat revealing) are 'Salem's Lot, The Stand, The Eyes of the Dragon, The Talisman and Black House, Hearts in Atlantis, and Insomnia.
3. At the very least read DT 1-7 all the way through at least a couple more times. I think you'll appreciate many "lesser" aspects a little bit more on your second and subsequent reads. So far, King is the only author (except Tolkien) that I have found that warrants this suggestion.

In any case, enjoy every word, for we are truly blessed!

Ryan said...

The Weasel- Wow! Thanks for the awesome and thoughtful comment! I always had the feeling I was missing out on a few (or more) references stemming from not having read a good chunk of King's non-DT material. Guess I'll have to remedy at some point.

In regards to DT4: Now that I have the whole series behind me, and can look back at the series as a whole, I think I have a greater appreciation for DT4 than I did at the time I wrote the review. Back then I felt the middle book should have dealt more with the actual quest, but I think I now have a greater appreciation for the nuances and quirks that make this series awesome. I think if I were to write a review for DT4 now, it would go a bit differently.

Thanks again for the mega-comment, I hope I keep giving you a reason to stop by!