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Talisman/Black Tower SPOILERS including Dark Tower series
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2008 10:33 pm    Post subject: Talisman/Black Tower SPOILERS including Dark Tower series Reply with quote

Back around 1980 or so, a friend of mine kept trying to get me to read the Talisman. They knew I was a big scifi/fantasy fan and kept telling me this story would be perfect for me. For some reason just from hearing the idea of it, I couldn't bring myself to read it. Just didn't grab me.

About three years ago I tried to read The Talisman. Got up to the part where Jack first goes to the Territories and gave up. It just didn't seem very fantastical or scifi-ish to me. Like those stories where someone travels back in time and that's the end of the scifi/fantasy. They it's just a period piece.

So this year I decided to give it one more try and got Talisman as an audiobook. I got to about the same point in the story and thought I was gonna give up again, but didn't. Soon after the story began to get that Dark Tower feel to it and I enjoyed it. The middle was the best part to me. The parts with Wolf. The beginning was horrible. The ending was weaker than the middle. Gave it *** out of five stars.

Then I just finished listening to Black House as an audiobook. I found the first half of the book losing me, but pressed on and once again when Jack Sawyer finally got involved in the story it picked up. Also give it *** out of five stars. Ending was a little better to me than Talisman ending.

I've read all 7 of the Dark Tower books, but can't remember clearly everything that happened in the last couple of books and have some questions.

1. It seems that BH takes place after Wastelands since Blaine is destroyed but before Dark Tower since Crimson King is still around. Anyone able to closer pinpoint exactly where it takes place?

2. Did Jack Sawyer show up in books 6 or 7? I don't remember him, but hadn't read Talisman/BH yet so might not have caught it.

3. Did Ty Martin show up in books 6 or 7? Seems familar, but couldn't remember for sure.

4. I read that Albert Fish was a real person. Did SK ever include him in an earlier novel/story? Or was he just referring to the real cases?

5. Did destroying the Combination mortally wound the Crimson King? Is that why he was so weak and mentally unsound in book 7?

That's all I can think of for now. thanks,
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Erm.....

It's been too long since I read all the books, but....Sawyer doesn't appear in the DT books.

I really liked The Talisman and Black House, though I thought Black House was a bit superfluous.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2008 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In Black House it was hinted he might show up in the final DT books and since I hadn't read Talisman yet, wouldn't have known the name Jack Sawyer. Thanks for the answer.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha, yeah, what Cail said. I liked 'em both, (the first more than the second), but I dunno if I can answer your questions. Very Happy

King never mentioned Fish before, (and yes, he was real), and as far as I can remember, there was no Ty Martin in any DT books. (Or, as Cail said, Sawyer.)

FWIW, IIRC, nothing in Talisman hints that it's Roland's world...that only happened in Black House. (But it's been a long while...)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 1:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I think that the two worlds are totally different (or at least that's what I initially thought, now I don't know).
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 3:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I think they were meant to be different at first, then as he got the idea for building everything into a vast DT universe, he probably decided to merge them in because he could. (Pure speculation though.)

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 5:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you're right. As I remember, it was pretty clear that Jack's world in Black House was the DT world.

But that was not made clear in The Talisman or any of the other pre-Black House books.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail wrote:
I think you're right. As I remember, it was pretty clear that Jack's world in Black House was the DT world.

But that was not made clear in The Talisman or any of the other pre-Black House books.


I concur. But even before I listened to Black House, and maybe because I read Talisman after finishing the Dark Tower series, at the end of Talisman I was beginning to think of Jack as fitting the gunslinger model.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, when I read Talisman, only the 1st 2 DT books had been published, and I'd only read the The Gunslinger. So his world was much less defined.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jack was certainly a (sort of) Gunslinger.

Dammit, now I've gotta re-read all of them.

Maybe they're on iTunes......
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cail wrote
Quote:
Jack was certainly a (sort of) Gunslinger.


As was the old black guy who helped him out. (I forget the character's name. I want to call him Halloran, but that's the guy from "The Shining". Maybe it was Parker.....?)

From what I recall, it was fairly explicit that "Parker" was a gunsliner in Black House, though not so much in Talismen.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mortice Root wrote:
Cail wrote
Quote:
Jack was certainly a (sort of) Gunslinger.


As was the old black guy who helped him out. (I forget the character's name. I want to call him Halloran, but that's the guy from "The Shining". Maybe it was Parker.....?)

From what I recall, it was fairly explicit that "Parker" was a gunsliner in Black House, though not so much in Talismen.


Speedy Parker/Parkus. Yes it left no doubt that he was a gunslinger in BH.
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But no hint that I recall in Talisman either.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So another question I have, don't know if anyone knows the answer or can point to where it might have been discussed in detail previously...

any clue as to what King and what Straub contributed?

The first 1/3rd of Talisman reminded me a lot of a Straub that I attempted to get through but could not, called "The Night Room". The last 2/3rds reminded me a lot of DT series.

Most of BH reminded me of King's style.

So did Straub have the idea and start it but was unable to finish and asked for SK's help?
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2008 11:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm, interesting question. I've never read any Straub, but Black House felt like pretty much straight King to me. Talismen definetly felt different though. Even different than King's other "fairy tale" type story - Eyes Of The Dragon. So I kind of assumed that difference was Straub's influence. Just my 2c, though.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So after a quick save by Cail on Black House, I've started this series at the right place. I'm 70 or so pages in the book, where Jack first visits the Territories, and I'm liking this one a lot more than the beginning of Black House. The sentences still seem very "unKing" to me--long, clunky, awkward--but I do like the set up. I can see how it might turn some people off, being depressing and gloomy, but something about it speaks to me. It reminds me a little of my own story: dead father, kid who has some bad/mystical memories he'd rather forget, and a sense of deeper meaning around every corner. The similarities end there, but it still feels familiar so far.

One thing that really stands out to me is the weird juxtaposition of morbid death musings with childlike naivete, his dying mother's standoffishness and the friendly companionship and help of Speedy. The deserted, end of season amusement park is another instance of this juxtaposition. These create a complex tone that balances things out nicely. I also like the repetition of the "this is the end of the world" theme, where land meets water and mothers go to die.

So far, so good!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, I always liked this one, more than the "sequel." Of course, back then we didn't even know it was Roland's world, or the world from EotD.

Only one clue that I can think of off hand, which is the mention of Garlan.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

EoTD?

After praising the beginning, I can't go on without discussing one glaring problem. It's the "get him out the door" problem, as I've called it in my own story. How to get the main character from where he is at in the beginning to the point where he goes on the journey. The set up. So many fantasy stories have this issue, this cliché-ridden step, and each author deals with it differently. The classic version--perhaps the best version--is Lord of the Rings. Tolkien took his time, set up Frodo's homeland and life with chapters full of characterization, but also weaving in Shadows of the Past where Gandalf makes his journey gradually clear and necessary. There's no jolly black man saying things like, "Sho' nuff, Travelin' Frodo, yous gots to do it for yo uncle Bilbo! Ha! Can't tell you no mo'! You's gots to go!" [ Laughing ]

It's a little too easy in Talisman. I understand Jack's motivation--he wants to save his mother, and perhaps he wants to escape his mundane existence and enter the fantastical land of the Territories. But Speedy, well, speeds him on his way without much explanation. More 'Ignorance as Plot Device.' And his mother basically 'shoos' him on his way without even saying goodbye. Even Jack says he thought that particular conversation would have taken longer, as if the writers are painfully aware of this flaw, but don't want to linger on it. Adults do not act like this. It's a flaw that only a much better writer can correct [see below, Hearts in Atlantis reference.]

So we have an "only this boy can save the world" kind of story, without any explanation of why. Again, I'm familiar with the ridiculousness of this idea, and I've taken great pains to make my own version not only plausible, but vital. Necessary. Character-driven. With Talisman it's all plot device.

Donaldson does an excellent job in all three Chronicles getting his characters to the Land. He also does an excellent job justifying why only these characters can save the Land: it's their own souls that they're really saving. It doesn't feel forced or phony, but absolutely necessary. Sure, a mysterious beggar shows up and offers little explanation (more like Speedy than Gandalf), but the enigma is a true puzzle, and not a forced plot device. It adds to the mystery, rather than undermining it with transparent artifice.

King has definitely progressed as a writer, especially how he handles children. The kid in Hearts in Atlantis--and his interaction with his own elderly mentor--was much more realistic and touching. His mother's reactions were more believable. (Actually, the parallels here between these two character 'triangles' are quite close: fatherless kid, neglectful mom, mysterious stranger.) Ted enlists Bobby's help even though he knows it's not appropriate, but you know he feels guilty about it. He certainly doesn't laugh it off in a racially stereotypical way. And his mother, though standoffish to her son, reacts exactly how you'd expect a mom to act about an elderly stranger who is inexplicably and inappropriately involved with her son. That's how you do this. I wish King had taken Bobby on a journey. [Hmm ... now that I think about it, I seem to remember a kid in the DT story. I hope ...]

Okay, now that I've got that off my chest, I think I can move on and enjoy the tale.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
EoTD?

Eye of the Dragon, I think.
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 26, 2015 4:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Have you read The Tommyknockers?
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