I'm currently in possession of 2 different versions of Stephen King's The Gunslinger.

One of those is found here and here is a paragraph (found on page 6).

Perhaps the campfires were a message, spelled out one Great Letter at a time. Keep your distance, partner, it might say. Or, The end draweth nigh. Or maybe even, Come and get me. It didn’t matter what they said or didn’t say. He had no interest in messages, if messages they were. What mattered was that these remains were as cold as all the others. Yet he had gained. He knew he was closer, but did not know how he knew. A kind of smell, perhaps. That didn’t matter, either. He would keep going until something changed, and if nothing changed, he would keep going, anyway. There would be water if God willed it, the old-timers said. Water if God willed it, even in the desert. The gunslinger stood up, brushing his hands.

The other version, I don't know where it comes from. Here is the same paragraph.

Perhaps the campfires are a message, spelled out letter by letter. Take a powder. Or, the end draweth nigh. Or maybe even, Eat at Joe’s. It didn’t matter. He had no understanding of the ideograms, if they were ideograms. And the remains were as cold as all the others. He knew he was closer, but did not know how he knew. That didn’t matter either. He stood up, brushing his hands.

These differences seem too big to be a simple different edition of the book. What is the 2nd version, and how does it relate to the current official The Gunslinger, linked above?

Edit: by googling this exact paragraph, I have found the same version in some piracy ebook websites. Is it perhaps a commonly pirated version of Gunslinger?


1 Answer 1


The Gunslinger started out as an essentially stand-alone novel, taking place in what seems to be a post-apocalyptic Earth. Once King has fleshed out the multiverse of The Dark Tower, he went back and significantly rewrote parts of the first book.

  • Googling about, it seems that most fans of King prefer the original version.
    – Buzz
    May 23, 2017 at 23:15

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