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    Default Dan Simmons

    Right now I'm reading Summer of Night by Dan Simmons, it is n my way to becoming my 2nd favorite book. It is a lot like It (Which is my favorite book), so yeah . . . discuss.

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    I just read this one a couple of months ago, and loved it. It was kinda creepy. I then went and read the sequel A Winter Haunting right after it, but I really wish I hadn't. I couldn't stand where he went with the story in that one. I'd advise staying away from it.
    Those are the only 2 books I've read by him, but I want to pick up his newest one The Terror soon. Have you read that one by any chance?
    "Fra-gee-lay" Öit must be Italian!

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    The Terror has been mentioned as being very very slow-perhaps even boring.
    Simmon's seminal work Song of Kali would be a great book to read.
    Carrion Comfort, Lovedeath, The Hollow Man, and as a laugher-Fires of Eden would also be my recommendations.

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    I enjoyed The Terror. Yes, it's a bit slow-going at times, but I certainly would NOT recommend reading it on a cold, snowy day!

    Song of Kali remains one of my most favorite books. I was lucky enough to get a copy of the signed limited anniversary edition that came out a little while ago.

    John

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    Thanks guys, I might check out some of those. What's Song of Kali about?
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    How evil the city of Calcutta is. Of course, it's a lot more than that, but that's the basic idea. It's a great read!!

    John

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heather19 View Post
    Thanks guys, I might check out some of those. What's Song of Kali about?
    "Bobby Luczac accepts an assignment from Harper's magazine to go to India to retrieve a poetry manuscript allegedly written by a man that has been presumed dead for the last eight years. He takes his wife and seven month old baby with him, never dreaming that he is about to expose them, as well as himself, to one of the most filthy and evil cities in the world. Calcutta is a noisy, dirty, crowded city and as Bobby soon discovers, it is an extremely dangerous city, too. He and his family are drawn into the machinations of a religious cult that worships the goddess Kali, a cruel and demanding deity whose doctrine is based on violence as a means to gaining power. An exciting, nerve-wracking and ultimately heart-breaking story which is downright terrorizing at times, "Song of Kali" has been awarded The World Fantasy Award and is well deserving of the honor. "
    Bill Brumlow, Resident Scholar
    At the beginning of Dan Simmons' World Fantasy Award-winning debut novel, his protagonist Robert Luczak is something of an innocent idealist. A poet and journalist, he is commissioned to write an article on M. Das, a famous Indian poet who disappeared some years ago and is now rumoured to have resurfaced (or perhaps have been resurrected) in Calcutta. More than this, Das has apparently written a new epic work and Luczak is to negotiate for the rights to publish this in America. It all sounds fairly straightforward -- go to India, meet the man, offer the money and reap the kudos, but by the end of Song of Kali, Luczak has journeyed to the very centre of Hell itself and the man who returns with nothing, is a man who has lost everything in the process.

    Simmons' really hits the ground running with this hugely accomplished and beautifully plotted first novel. From the outset there is a grim sense of foreboding, exemplified by Luczak's old friend and mentor asking him not to go -- the request is made very simply, without drama or histrionics -- indeed it forms the opening sentence of the first chapter and from that moment on, the reader knows that Luczak should have heeded this advice. But of course, he doesn't, instead choosing to make the trip and to exacerbate his vulnerability in the reader's mind, Simmons has him take along his beautiful wife and baby daughter. And so the tension is wound tight early in this novel, but it is when Luczak arrives in Calcutta that Song of Kali begins to turn the thumbscrews on the reader and the result is as harrowing a story as I've ever read.
    In Song of Kali, Calcutta equates to chaos -- the city as evoked by Simmons is a savage, uncontrollable place, aggressive and filthy, unfathomable and alien. Immediately upon arrival, Luczak is plunged into the foul, sweating heart of the place and we soon learn that his search for M. Das will be far from simple. Instead he is lured further and further into the dark underbelly of the city where he uncovers a chilling story of ancient cults and human sacrifice.
    Song of Kali is an extraordinary novel, particularly so given that it was Simmons' first to be published. Any more plot summary and I'd be ruining it for you. What strikes me most about it is its freshness and immediacy. If you watch a movie from 1985, you generally have to do so whilst overlooking the things that have dated it -- not so with novels and certainly not with this one. Instead Song of Kali is one of those rare pieces that makes the reader feel a little soiled by the end of it. It is a grim, relentless, unforgiving and ultimately compulsive read and it is not hard to see why its author has grown into one of genre's most important figures.
    Copyright © 2004 John Berlyne

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    Thanks, sounds pretty interesting. I'll try to pick it up soon.
    "Fra-gee-lay" Öit must be Italian!

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    Bears have just finished Summer of Night and thought we might need a Simmons thread; so they've unearthed and renamed the old archived Summer of Night thread.

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    Now, talking about Summer of Night: who was your favorite character?

    Mine is definitely Cordie Cooke.

    Which part did you find the most scary/disturbing?

    I think that bit when Mike

    Spoiler:
    hears a baby crying - and then feeding - inside the Rendering truck


    is one of the most disturbing places in the world's literature

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    Mike was mine. He's one of the main characters in Children of the Night. That book was alright, if maybe a little too straight forward for Simmons.

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    Of Simmons' novels I have only read Song Of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Drood. So far after a couple tries I haven't been able to finish The Terror. His short stories are also good.
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    I find his stuff pretty hit or miss. He's a fan of "writting well" and I respect him for not wanting to be confined to a single genre but, sometimes "writting well" gets in the way of a good story. He does ridicilous ammount of research but it somehow comes across like he's trying to teach/preach. I just read something by Graham Masterton in the CD magazine that says you should do your reasearch and let your work show it, not lecture someone. I'm paraphrasing but it's something like that. I bring this up because of Black Hills. The book is extremely well-researched, extremely well-written and the subject would normally interest me, but he manages to somehow make it BORING. He infuses Native language and immidiately translates it into English. It soon gets over-bearing and it starts to feel like a history lesson. That's the only book of his I actually disliked. It would've been much better if he trimmed 200-300 pages.

    Phases of Gravity was a good human story but not much actually happened. I liked it but it left no lasting impression. It's sorta bullshitty. You know, trying to be deep but there's nothing really there. Again, I liked it but will probably never re-read it.

    Song of Kali was a good first book but not his best. For first effort though, it's miles ahead of Carrie for example. It's a pretty straight forward story, no bells and whistles.

    Children of the Night is a vampire book. The most horrifying scene isn't even supernatural. I felt very uneasy during it. It's set in an orphange in Romania. I liked it more than SoK.

    Summer of Night I really, really liked. I see a re-read in future. He's really starting to show his strenght here. Writting is flawless, the story moves along fast enough.

    My favourite (many on TDT don't share my view) is the Hyperion Cantos: Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. These are very demanding books. You can't read them on the bus or in the park. Make a coffee, unplug the phone and commit a few hours to it each day. Yes, it's science fiction and no, it's not like any other science fiction you've ever read. The books transcend the S.F. genre. Hyperion is basically a 500+ page set up for The Fall of Hyperion. Its structure is actually similar to IT. Each pilgrim tells his story as to why he was chosen to join the others on the pilgrimage to the Shrike temples. The Shrike is one of the most brutal villains in all literature. The Fall.. is my favourite though. It's ridicilously layered. I don't think I even got all of it to be honest. I LOVE S.F., Niven and Clarke are my bread and butter but their works aren't of this scope. It's space opera, it's politics, it's love and fucking, it's betrayal, savage battles, suffering, commraderie and it's absolutely HUGE. I recommend these two more than any other ones I mentioned.

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    I couldn't even get 50 pages into Hyperion. I tried a few times. I ended up giving the book away.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    Iíll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



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    Hyperion signed limited $175 pm me if interested. also have Carrion comfort signed limited for reasonable offer. just sayin

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice View Post
    ... His short stories are also good.
    I haven't read much Simmons beyond his novel, DROOD, but a couple years ago, I read his short story, MUSE OF FIRE. I quite enjoyed it.

    "...that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little." ~ Ray Bradbury

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice View Post
    Of Simmons' novels I have only read Song Of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Drood. So far after a couple tries I haven't been able to finish The Terror. His short stories are also good.
    The Terror is one of my favorite books. And you haven't read Summer of Night? Maybe I just assumed you had. But you must add that to the top of your list.
    "Fra-gee-lay" Öit must be Italian!

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    Ah! I want to, but I may be out of bookbuying for a while. I've spent way too much lately and my funds are tapped for months to come. It is one I've always wanted to read though. The Terror, I'm sure I will try again, but the nautical themes really do nothing for me. For the same reason I can't really get into most Joseph Conrad stories as much as I should. For some reason those themes turn me off in a book. The horror may win out though in the long run. I do love me some horror.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    Iíll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



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    Yeah I'm not into that stuff either, but just the premise of them being trapped up there really got to me. And I thought he did a wonderful job with executing that idea.
    "Fra-gee-lay" Öit must be Italian!

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    As much as I read I did too. I just thought it could have been better shorter.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    Iíll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice View Post
    I just thought it could have been better shorter.
    same with Summer of Night

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    Yeah, but I think The Terror could have stood to lose a few hundred pages...kinda like I found the novella of Carrion Comfort superior to the novel in some ways.
    The Awesomest fled across the desert and The Awesomer followed.

    If you rescue me
    Iíll be your friend forever


    I wish that I could write fiction, but that seems almost an impossibility. -howard phillips lovecraft (1915)



  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brice View Post
    As much as I read I did too. I just thought it could have been better shorter.
    The only thing I think he should have omitted was the ending. Didn't flow well with the rest of the story for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jean View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Brice View Post
    I just thought it could have been better shorter.
    same with Summer of Night
    Really? I thought it was perfect. It's already on the shorter side.
    "Fra-gee-lay" Öit must be Italian!

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    well - yes and no. I wish there was more of some things, and more of some other things, but less of yet other, like descriptions of nature

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    I listened to The Black Hills audiobook on a trip the last two days. I was not very impressed. It went on and on and on. There was a lot of background that wasn't necessary to the story. I don't know if I should give him another try. It seems as though Summer of Night is well received here, but if it drones on like The Black Hills, I don't know.

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