Yesterday, Stephen King announced via his website that, in the midst of preparing his thousand-page time-travel opus 11/22/63 (due in November), he began crafting up a whole new novel—The Wind Through The Keyhole, the latest installment in the Dark Tower fantasy series. For those of you wondering how this is possible, since the series officially ended with The Dark Tower in 2004, King explains: Instead of picking up where the last novel left off (which, considering how Tower ends, would be pretty tricky, to say the least), Keyhole looks to fill “one hole in the narrative progression,” following the adventures of Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake, and Oy as they make their way from the end of the fourth book, Wizard & Glass, to the start of book five, Wolves Of The Calla. (“Call this one DT-4.5,” King helpfully explains.)

In light of Ron Howard’s forthcoming film-and-TV adaptation, revisiting the series now could probably be seen as a calculated attempted to renew interest. But as always with King, artistic concerns trump commercial ones: In his brief letter explaining the project, he describes how he found himself "thinking—and dreaming—about Mid-World again," and while he offers few details (“a severed head on a fencepost”; “a swamp full of dangers and terrors”), King’s enthusiasm is encouraging. Also encouraging: His promise that Keyhole will be shorter than books two through seven (though “quite a bit longer than the first volume”). We all know that prequels—especially ones that take place in the middle of stories, and are thus incapable of rendering any significant change on an already-completed narrative—are tricky to pull off. But given that some of us here still do a little dreaming of The Gunslinger and his dreadful, dying world ourselves, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic.