~post by Joe T.
Dan Simmons is a man who has made a strong name for himself in both the worlds of horror and speculative fiction. His Hyperion Cantos series has won numerous Locus awards, a Hugo, and has been nominated multiple times for the Nebula awards.
His horror fiction career has spanned from his first novel Song of Kali to his Summer of Night series up to his current focus on historical fiction tinged with terror. I’m quite the fan of Mr. Simmons. I am always excited when a new book of his comes out, even if they don’t quite come together, like 2009’s Drood,
So pick up one of these books, or even his award winning variation on the vampire tale Carrion Comfort, and start your travels into hell….
Song of Kali is Dan Simmons’ first novel and it’s a doozy. The story of a family’s descent into hell during a trip to Calcutta is not for the faint of heart. Eschewing super-naturalism, Simmons manages to evoke the idea of ancient evil personified in the slums of 70’s/80’s India. Here Calcutta is possessed of a “genius loci” that saturates everything it touches. The whole city is a modern day gothic city.
Winner of the 1986 World Fantasy Award, Song of Kali borders on controversial but is never less than amazing.
Those of you who crave pages upon pages of realistic detail spiced up with a soupcon of “what the hell?,” should take a look at The Terror. Ships trapped in arctic ice for a year, incompetent leaders, rotting food, the onset of scurvy, and all the usual accidents involved in such choas are juxtaposed with this… thing: a beast or phantom capable of serious violence. And, then, there’s the Eskimo mythology throw in. Strange and strangely compelling. (review by Raul)
The thematic cousin to 2007’s The Terror, The Abominable sees Simmons return to the cold, the frost, the fear, and the monstrous. Detailing an attempt to be the first people to scale Mt. Everest, the story is also about murder and betrayal, lost friends, new enemies, and a world on the cusp of war. Haunting the margins of the book, a supernatural creature whom the Tibetans honor and fear. I’m barely a quarter of the way through the book; but, as with The Terror, I’m caught hook, line, and sinker. Coming out at the end of the month (October 22nd), it is a book to be purchased for Halloween. But, you should wait to savor the suspense and horror for the dark, cold months of winter.