It's been a while since our last post. Sometimes life, or in this case a global pandemic gets in the way. Cristian and I have both been deemed essential so we've been working every day to keep society functioning, then fighting the rabid hoards at grocery stores for packs of toilet paper in the evenings. One thing that has kept both of us sane throughout the quarantine is being able to escape to the fantastical worlds of some of our favorite authors. I've been reading fantasy since I first picked up The Hobbit in 6th grade and left middle school in favor of Middle Earth.
It was a tough book for such a young age, but I powered through and by the time Bard had beaten Smaug I was hooked on fantasy. I was entranced by the world of magic and dragons and elves and dwarves, but most of my friends were glued to their Goosebumps and Animorphs books, so I was alone in my love for fantasy. Then the Harry Potter craze blew up.
I remember going with my mom to the midnight releases, waiting in line with people dressed as wizards, all excited to see what Harry, Ron and Hermione were up to next. It was finally cool to be into fantasy novels. The Harry Potter books were great and they got a generation of kids reading when the internet was already lowering the world's IQ. But the wait for the next Harry Potter book was long, and I needed new books to read. I needed an author with an extensive back-log so I could read to my heart's content. Enter: Stephen King.
Cristian has already discussed Stephen King enough of the show for even the biggest of fans, but I will say that King has a mind for fiction like no other. He can write the most gruesome, terrifying horror, or he can spin a detective tale with nothing supernatural at all. He can tell stories about a rabid dog terrorizing a mother and her child, an evil car that regenerates itself as it kills, or a bunch of friends who go for a nice weekend in the woods when they are attacked by psychic aliens that burst out of their butts(seriously, that's the plot of Dreamcatcher). Though most of the time when people think of Stephen King they mention books like The Shining, It, The Stand, or Misery, I feel like The Dark Tower series is his greatest achievement.
It's a series that mixes King's dark and macabre tone with sci-fi, fantasy and spaghetti westerns. As if the story of Roland Deschain, a gun-slinging cowboy/knight/prince of a fallen kingdom fighting against the evil Crimson King wasn't enough of a hook for this epic story, King also masterfully ties the story to almost all of his other novels through the use of inter-dimensional portals to other worlds. The Dark Tower has world building of the highest caliber and it was that series that reminded me that there was more to fantasy than the young adult content that Harry Potter provided.
But as King writes in The Gunslinger, "There are other worlds than these",next post we'll discuss the worlds of Brandon Sanderson.