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Greg van Eekhout and Mike Jasper and I have been working on a collaboration for many months now, a very stop-and-go process. Mike finished it a while back, and over the past few days I finally roused myself and did a revision, and now Greg is bringing his story-polishing skills to bear, making it shiny and bright. And, you know -- it's actually a very good story. I believe we'll probably sell it. I like those guys. It's a privilege to work with them.


I finished The Dark Tower on Sunday. I've been reading this series for years -- since at least 6th grade, so call it 15 years -- and it's odd to be finished with it. I've had a lot of long conversations about it with friends, read the first three books at least three times each, and the fourth book twice... it's a bit like saying goodbye to an old friend, hokey as that sounds. And I can't remember the last time a book made me cry (probably not since I was thirteen, and read the bit in The Talisman where Wolf dies) as this one did, about halfway through. I mostly read books with an eye toward the structure, a dissecting eye, figuring out how authors manage to create effects, and as a result, I am generally less affected by their effects, but for at least part of this book I was able to set all that aside and just be an ardent reader again. Stephen King is hardly a perfect writer, but at his best, his stories have always opened up worlds for me to fall into.

I won't give anything away, of course. I will say that I worried about the ending, and have worried about it for years. Any time a quest story is built up over the course of several volumes, there's a real danger that the ending will be a crashing anticlimax. King's endings are often weak. But in this book he seems aware of that, aware of the possibility of anticlimax, and he addresses it directly, and, I think, effectively. Do I like the ending? No. But if I'm honest I have to admit that I can't think of any ending that could conceivably have satisfied me. I also think that, had I been the one writing in his place, I would have ended it the same way. The ending fits. So I am satisfied, in a way. I'm thankful to King for writing a series that has so absorbed me, and given me so many hours of pleasure.

On an only tangentially related and probably irrelevant note -- why doesn't anybody talk about the Dark Tower series as an example of "the new weird?" Robots, gunslingers, vampire bugs, multiple dimensions, sentient monorails, a sometimes unabashedly pulp sensibility -- seems to fit the criteria for me. Though in the last two books King does break the fourth wall, which I seem to recall China Miéville said was a no-no in his definition of the new weird...

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