King of the Dark Episode 17: Exit at the Dark Tower


It’s our final episode of King of the Dark, our special series on the B&N Podcast devoted to exploring the storytelling magic of Stephen King. Over the course of sixteen episodes, Liz Braswell and Louis Peitzman have joined B&N’s Bill Tipper as they dive into the wonderland of dream and nightmare that King has created via books, short stories, and films. We’ve tried to read as many of his significant works as we can along the way, from Carrie and The Shining to his most recent novel The Institute and sometimes that’s felt like been chasing a whale, and anyone who’s read Moby-Dick will know that’s a risky notion — but a compelling one nevertheless.

For the last stop on this journey, we’ve taken on a project that has been woven through most of Stephen King’s career, the multi-volume fantasy epic The Dark Tower. The Dark Tower began with King’s 1982 novel The Gunslinger, and unfolded over the course of seven numbered books and 22 years, a sprawling saga of wild west outlaws and powerful sorcery, of a quest through ages and a tower that spans universes. That would be a massive creation for any author, but King’s Dark Tower is unique in that it’s a world that keeps bleeding into and crossing over with his other stories in ways large and small, so that the Dark Tower’s Mid-World begins to look like a secret network of passageways that interlink King’s entire body of work.

Liz and Louis and I were joined for this conversation by B&N Science Fiction and Fantasy blog editor Joel Cunningham, who has spent more time in the Dark Tower world than any of the rest of us.

Editor’s Note: Liz Braswell provided the King of the Dark team with special “Gunslinger” hats for the occasion. Pictured, left to right: Liz, Joel, Louis. Not pictured: Bill & engineer Josh Perilo, but we’re definitely wearing ours.

Just joining us on King of the Dark? You can start at the beginning with our episode on Carrie, or check out last week’s episode on Stephen King’s short stories. And don’t forget to Subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher to hear fascinating author interviews from the B&N Podcast every week.


For the first time ever in a single boxed set, all of Stephen King’s eight Dark Tower novels—one of the most acclaimed and popular series of all time—soon to be a major motion film starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.

Set in a world of ominous landscape and macabre menace, The Dark Tower series features one of Stephen King’s most powerful creations—The Gunslinger—a haunting figure who embodies the qualities of the lone hero through the ages, from ancient myth to frontier Western legend. As Roland crosses a desert of damnation in a treacherous world that is a twisted image of our own, he moves ever closer to the Dark Tower of his dreams—and nightmares.

This stunning, must-have collection includes: The Dark Tower I: The Gunslinger; The Dark Tower II: The Drawing of the Three; The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands; The Dark Tower IV: Wizard and Glass; The Dark Tower: The Wind Through the Keyhole; The Dark Tower V: Wolves of the Calla; The Dark Tower VI: Song of Susannah; and The Dark Tower VII: The Dark Tower. The perfect keepsake for Stephen King fans, The Dark Tower 8-Book Boxed Set is the most extraordinary and imaginative cycle of tales in the English language from “the reigning King of American popular literature” (Los Angeles Daily News).
Explore all of Stephen King’s books at Barnes & Noble.

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