This post was originally going to be a commentary on the movie version of The Dark Tower, but after the reviews for said movie rolled in, and I realized just how different it was from the books, I decided to opt out of seeing it. Maybe I'll watch it in the future when I can nab it on Netflix or at the library, but right now I decided it was best I not ruin my fond memories of this series.
I first read books one through three when I was in high school. And I awaited the fourth in the series eagerly (it was released my Freshman year of college -- yup, this dates me, haha). As a matter of fact, I worked in a mall across from a B. Dalton (I know, those don't exist anymore), and for months before they had a display out front advertising the release of Wizard and Glass. Needless to say, I spent many a work hour longingly staring at that poster.
Since I read these novels during such formative years, they clearly had an impact on me. Not only in life, but in my writing as well.
I instantly latched onto Jake when I first read The Gunslinger, and mourned his death not long after I met him. And of course I rejoiced when he rejoined Roland in the third novel.
The biggest draw of these novels for me, though, was this glimpse into a world that could very well be the future of our own. There are so many connections to our own world that you wonder if it is more of a futuristic dystopia. Or it could simply be that doors between our world and Roland's allowed some things to leak through, attributing to the similarities. I loved that multi-layered sense, the possibilities of Roland's world being linked with ours.
And of course I've taken the love of such a feel and used it in my own writing. My Fortunes of Fate series have both our world and the world of Fate linked, not quite to the point where you find things from our world in Fate, but people have definitely traveled back and forth between the two worlds. Though I don't even know at this point how much each world will influence the other (because I don't have all the stories plotted out).
Then there's Chains of Nect. I started Obsidian's Obsession a couple years ago, posting chapters to Wattpad and my blog. Nect is a world with many portals, and it borrows things from the other worlds (though that's not completely clear yet up to where I've written to). Some of those worlds are more advanced like our own.
I even started Mind Behind the Mind with wanting this feel of a Western at the beginning in the town of Sierka. The Gunslinger very much has that feel as Roland crosses the desert, his guns on his hips.
A certain town in Dead As Dreams (a novel I hope to release later next year) could have even had its beginnings in my subconscious as a memory of Tull and what Roland did there.
As I re-read The Gunslinger I had some small ah-ha moments where I realized just how much The Dark Tower series has influenced me, and how it still follows me around to this day.
Now, I'm not going to say the whole series is perfect. I much prefer the first three novels, The Gunslinger, The Drawing of the Three, and The Wastelands. Wizard and Glass was also decent, but it's mostly backstory (probably should have been a prequel). And I absolutely detested when Stephen King wrote himself into the series. If that's taught me anything, though, it's that I shouldn't get so caught up in myself and my personal issues that I go that deep into author intrusion in my own writing. Ever. And I wholly admit I have yet to read The Wind Through the Keyhole, the most recent in the series, but it's chronologically between two of the earlier releases (I do own it, though).
Can you see now why I had a hard time bringing myself to go see The Dark Tower movie? This series has impacted my life in such a huge way, and I hate to have that tainted by a bad movie. I'll watch it when I've prepared myself enough to not care what's on the screen and disconnect my brain enough to convince it that it's not the story I loved from the start.
No matter if I see the movie or not, I'm sure The Dark Tower series will continue to influence some things in my writing, even if I don't realize it!
Do you have a series that has impacted your life greatly? Either your writing or something else in your life? I'd love to hear about it!