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Which books to read prior to DT series?

 
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:37 pm    Post subject: Which books to read prior to DT series? Reply with quote

I read the first three Dark Tower books years ago. The only other King novels I've read are 'Salem's Lot, Gerald's Game, and Dreamcatcher. I realize that there are references to his other works in the DT series, so I'd like to read all those before finishing it.

Any advice where to start? Is there a list of DT-referenced books?
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a LOT. King has said there's "room" for every one of his books to share the Dark Tower universe, and quite a few have material that crosses over. That said, several of them are easter-egg type appearances. I'll list here the ones I recall have major crossovers, ie major characters, settings or plot events.

The Stand
Salem's Lot
Insomnia
Eyes of the Dragon
Hearts in Atlantis
Black House
Everything's Eventual (short story collection, title story is the crossover one)
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:20 am    Post subject: Re: Which books to read prior to DT series? Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
I read the first three Dark Tower books years ago. The only other King novels I've read are 'Salem's Lot, Gerald's Game, and Dreamcatcher. I realize that there are references to his other works in the DT series, so I'd like to read all those before finishing it.

Any advice where to start? Is there a list of DT-referenced books?


Well, I think their is a "connection list" in new books of the DT...something like, every book on the "other SK" works list is in bold face if it connects to DT. [it's been a while...] There are like 30 of the fuckers.
I'm sure the main SK site has such a thing.

But it is not in any way necessary to read a single one of those connected works to understand anything important about DT.

The salem's lot, stand, and black house [which kinda needs Talisman for set-up] are the most interesting/pertinent at a couple points---but still basically irrelevant. 'salems lot crossover is the most interesting character-wise, black house "structure of the universe"-wise.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was one of the fun things as it slowly dawned on me over the years how many of King's novels existed in a shared universe. I must ahve been 15 or 20 books in before the penny (ha!) began to drop!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Av posted a list back in 2005. There may have been others published since then which also tie in, but as he says in the post, those are the most solid connections.

If you want even more, here is a graphic chart which is more complete.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There you go. ^ Very Happy

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks everyone. Sounds like fun. (Wait ... that's what Jessie said when Gerald asked her if she wanted to go in the cuffs .... Shocked )
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2014 11:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zarathustra wrote:
Thanks everyone. Sounds like fun. (Wait ... that's what Jessie said when Gerald asked her if she wanted to go in the cuffs .... Shocked )


Perhaps, as Misery Chastain was a metaphor for the toxic side of King's fandom, King is playing his own Gerald's Game with us poor Constant Readers. Laughing Laughing
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started Bag of Bones recently, remembering that it was on the chart above, but I forgot that it was "number 1" on the chart. Good place to start!

Anyway, as soon as I started, I realized I've already seen the Pierce Brosnan version. (It was pretty good, if I remember correctly.) I've been enjoying the relaxed pace of the novel for the first 100 pages, really getting into the character and enjoying how comfortable King is in letting it unfold without hurrying. But now it has started going heavily into child custody stuff, and I'm bored. <sigh> Oh well, I'll push through. But now I realize why BoB hasn't been mentioned much in this forum.

I also noticed that the arrow goes from Gunslinger to BoB, rather than the other way around. So there's a Gunslinger reference in Bob, rather than a BoB reference in Gunslinger? D'oh! I just realized the publication dates necessitate this. Stupid question. Disregard. Laughing
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 5:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

LOL I don't like Bag of Bones.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 12:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bag of Bones was....ok. The actual haunting stuff was cool. But too much geriatric rock throwing that was supposed to be threatening.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 08, 2014 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cambo wrote:
... too much geriatric rock throwing ...
Laughing

I thought this was a clever metaphor until I read that scene. I'd forgotten it from the movie. I actually thought it was pretty good, because it was so unexpected.... which, sadly, can't be said for the haunting stuff after the millionth time.

For me, I like reasonable limits on stories. If those limits can be pushed, all the better. But when there are no limits--such as ghosts being able to communicate through endless means and manipulate endless objects--then I start losing the suspension of disbelief, especially when artificial and inexplicable limits are introduced for basically limitless concept.

For instance, why are the ghosts only able to spell cryptic things on the fridge? Are they retarded? He purchased extra letters, and he could purchase even more. Hell, the ghosts could type on the damn typewriter! Or, since they speak to him all the time, they could just speak to him, and circumvent the letters altogether. Why do their messages have to be cryptic when the plot needs a little boost, but at other times Jo's mental speech is perfectly clear? The only reason is for the audience. It's another example of Ignorance as Plot Driver and Character Motivation. It's manufactured ignorance for the sake of stringing us along.

Personally, I'd rather have geriatric rock throwers who are thwarted by simple, physical--though arduous--actions like swimming out of range after being hit in the head. Once ghosts start blathering every time the plot needs a boost, they no longer seem mysterious or spooky ... just convenient. Too convenient.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 09, 2014 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That book made such a bad impression on me I've almost completely wiped it from my memories. Very Happy

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 12, 2014 9:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I ended up liking Bag of Bones quite a bit. I had my complaints, but by the end they sorted themselves out. For instance, the arbitrary limit on which messages could be passed from the ghosts might possibly be limited by the Outsider that was using Sara Tidwell's pain and revenge to enter this world. Jo had to keep her messages cryptic to not arouse its suspicions, I suppose.

I think the Outersider idea is when I really started liking this book. I assume King uses them in other books, but I've never encountered it before now. Up until that point in BoB, I was having trouble with the "ghosts everywhere" idea. I'm not in the least bit a believer in the supernatural (in case you guys couldn't tell LOL), so once ghosts started being introduced, my suspension of disbelief is broken fairly easily. But King started building reasons to care about the ghosts in ways aside from their narrative gimmicks, by delving deep into the lives of those people while they were living. Framing the entire story in terms of the crime that happened to Sara makes a powerful scene once it's revealed. By that time, near the end, I don't care if all this stuff is impossible, I'm caught up in the pain, loss, and tragedy.

But still, lots of people suffer tragedy and don't end up haunting an entire community for a century. Right when my sympathy for this crazy shit is at its maximum, King kicks everything up a notch by introducing the concept of the Outsiders to explain why Sara has all this ability to haunt and seek revenge. It's using her to break into this world. I know that's even more crazy, but it's a kind of crazy that justifies all the previous craziness, so it works. It provides an "explanation" for how pain and loss can morph into something that transcends time/space, by way of another force beyond time/space. Even if I don't believe, now I want to.

Anyway, I can tell King is building an entire universe out of this northeastern corner of the country. I can't wait to read more.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 22, 2015 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought it would be fun to rank the books I've read so far on my way toward the Tower. In order of best to worst:

Insomnia
It
DT5: The Wolves of the Calla
DT2: The Drawing of Three
DT4: Wizard and Glass
DT3: The Wastelands
Bag of Bones
Salem's Lot
DT6: Song of Susannah
Gerald's Game
Desperation
Dreamcatcher
Needful Things
The Stand
Hearts in Atlantis
DT1: The Gunslinger

Those I really enjoyed, or in the case of HiA, at least the first part. [Edit: The good parts of HiA were much better than the vast majority of The Stand, but I tried to balance the vision, length and scope of TS as a whole against the looser, haphazard structure of HiA, which was its flaw. So I put TS above HiA, even though the writing was worse in TS, because it worked better as a whole.]

These I did not enjoy:

Eyes of the Dragon
From a Buick 8
The Talisman (abandoned after 200 pages ... just awful)

So, eight down and five to go (minus Talisman and BH, which I'm skipping). I'm looking forward to reading The Stand and It, saving those classics for last.

[Edit: I'm adding more as I go, including some that aren't related to DT ... ]
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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