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Carrion Comfort

Carrion Comfort


Carrion Comfort

valutazioni:
4/5 (73 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
39 ore
Pubblicato:
Oct 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781455810383
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

The Past...
Caught behind the lines of Hitler's Final Solution, Saul Laski is one of the multitudes destined to die in the notorious Chelmno extermination camp. Until he rises to meet his fate and finds himself face-to-face with an evil far older, and far greater, than the Nazis themselves....

The Present...
Compelled by the encounter to survive at all costs, so begins a journey that for Saul will span decades and cross continents, plunging into the darkest corners of twentieth-century history to reveal a secret society of beings who throughout the ages may exist behind the world's most horrible and violent events. Killing from a distance, they are people with the psychic ability to "use" humans: read their minds, subjugate them to their wills, experience through their senses, and force them to acts of unspeakable aggression. Each year, three of the most powerful of this hidden order meet to discuss their triumphs of bloodshed and destruction. But at this reunion, something will go terribly wrong. Saul's quest is about to reach its elusive object, drawing hunter and hunted alike into a struggle that will plumb the depths of mankind's attraction to violence, and determine the future of the world itself.

"[Carrion Comfort is] one of the few major reinventions of the vampire concept, on a par with Jack Finney's Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Richard Matheson's I Am Legend, and Stephen King's Salem's Lot." - DAVID MORRELL

Pubblicato:
Oct 1, 2011
ISBN:
9781455810383
Formato:
Audiolibro

Informazioni sull'autore

Dan Simmons is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, and their sequels, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. He has written the critically acclaimed suspense novels Darwin's Blade and The Crook Factory, as well as other highly respected works, including Summer of Night and its sequel A Winter Haunting, Song of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Worlds Enough & Time. Simmons makes his home in Colorado.


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4.2
73 valutazioni / 29 Recensioni
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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    Dan Simmons is one creepy man! This book was very creepy, very interesting, and very long! Although I loved this books and all the creepiness that went with it, I found it was too long. The 800 pages probably could have been edited down to around 600 and it wouldn't have lost anything. This seems to be a trend with Simmons though as The Terror was super creepy and way too long as well.
  • (5/5)
    Hyperion gets a lot of love but I seldom see any mention of this amazing book. It is very different from Hyperion but that is not unusual for Simmons as he is a very versatile writer. Carrion Comfort is sf/horror of the highest calibre, something Stephen King may write when he is on top form (but with better prose). This book is about people with mind control abilities of different strengths. A lot of riveting plot is generated from this simple premise. I won't go onto any details, I'll just recommend that you do not miss this book even if you don't normally read horror.
  • (4/5)
    Simmons can write. The book could have been cut back some but it's not something to prevent anyone from reading this story. It's got a clever concept at heart and has plenty of creepy moments. if you can get the latest edition where he provides the history to how he broke into writing and his trials with this particular book, I highly recommend it. It's always interesting to get the author's thinking behind his/her work. Writing horror is no easy feat, but Simmons did well with this book. I also credit him for not falling into Hollywood trappings at times. Some characters perish in the book that a Hollywood producer would likely have spared.
  • (4/5)
    I enjoyed the book as a sort of supernatural thriller; although I didn't really find it scary. Having come to the 20th anniversary edition; I don't know how much of this is to do with time & gore-thrillers having moved on; or how many familiar plot lines seemed to crop up. The human chess playing; the mad island owner...
    But it was well written enough to keep me going to the end (nearly 800 pages in my edition) even though it was a little predictable
  • (4/5)
    This book though lengthy was a great story. Not the run of the mill vampire story but was creepy on another level. Reaffirms that not all monsters are big,and scary but the little old lady and her old friends can be evil and just as scary as the. Bogey man.
  • (1/5)
    Im definitely not prudish, but the constant sexual content seemed juvenile and amateurish. very disappointed in Dan Simmons lately.
    After Flashback I decided to leave him behind, but decided to try this one.
    I'm so glad that I did not have to pay for this garbage. If you are looking for something good... keep looking.
  • (4/5)
    Once everything got going I really became attached to the characters. It was a very well written book.

    I liked how he mixed the fantasy of the book with real events that happened.

    Would like to see a sequel to this.
  • (3/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    An extensively edited-down version of this book would be worthwhile. Really worthwhile.

    As it stands - the good ideas, and good character moments, are buried in superfluous rambling descriptions of how to land planes, locations on chess boards (with diagrams that don't matter - try not to facepalm), irrelevant historical asides, and unsatisfactory resolutions to interestingly built side-plots.

    When you get 85% of the way in, and it all starts coming to a head - beware of the fact that there will be no surprises, and you know exactly where everything is going about 300 pages earlier.

    I'm disappointed because of having believed the praise of other reviewers - - can't help but think that there is a phenomenon wherein people who finish a long book feel it is necessary to hype it, in order to get others to tread the same long path.

    Also - when a character is Black, Asian, Jewish, or Hispanic... it's off-putting to refer to them as their race in every single instance. This happens on almost every one of the 800 pages. It's creepy, and has a racist feel to a reader with modern sensibilities. Granted, the characters doing the referring are often themselves power-hungry racist bastards - - however the book's voice reinforces their POV far more often than it offers sympathy to a rational sensibility.

    It seems to have been ahead of it's time. Today, it reads as dated and sloppy, I'm afraid. A looong string of "and then this happened" reckless choices.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (4/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    After first reading THE TERROR, then SUMMER OF NIGHT, and now CARRION COMFORT, I can honestly say that I am a huge Dan Simmons fan. The man writes horror like no one else, and that is because he is able to take the genre and expertly mash it up with others, giving us something truly special. THE TERROR has elements of historical fiction and the best of Jack London in it, while SUMMER OF NIGHT taps into Baby Boomer nostalgia as good as anything Stephen King has written, along with being a great coming of age in a small town story. But CARRION COMFORT is nothing like those first two, making it plain that Simmons is a truly versatile writer, and a master of many subjects.CARRION COMFORT is Simmons’ epic take on vampires, and I do mean epic, as my paperback copy clocks in at 767 pages. There are no fanged bloodsuckers to be found anywhere on those pages, instead, Simmons gives us his own take on them, his creatures of the night have no problem walking in the day, and instead of blood, these are vampires who feed on the minds of others, stealing their thoughts, emotions, and personalities, ultimately hollowing them out completely and taking control of their bodies. This is often portrayed in horrifying detail, although there is little real gore. And like true vampires, they are very long lived, becoming cold and cruel, utterly incapable of empathy on any level. They are among the most truly evil villains I have ever encountered in any piece of fiction, and as all of us horror fans know, if the author gets the bad guys right, half his work is done.As I noted, CARRION COMFORT is a long book and sprawling book, with a large cast of characters, with the action jumping to multiple locations. Though some reviewers have complained about the length, I am one of those readers who crave the deep dive into character and plot, and as there is a lot of action, and many POV’s from interesting characters, for me, the story never seemed to drag. Simmons begins his novel in a Nazi concentration camp in the waning days of World War II, where a protagonist and antagonist is introduced, and then jumping the story ahead to the year 1980, where the main action takes place as a meeting of a secret society of these mind vampires, or Users, takes a bad turn, resulting in some major carnage, and putting an unlikely trio of heroes on a mission of revenge against an enemy a million times more powerful than themselves. Though the good guys get a lot of space, this is one book where we really get to know the villains well. One of the Users, Melanie Fuller, is given the singular honor of having a first person POV, and the result is that the reader is treated like one of the Users themselves, as Melanie calmly explains herself, and the atrocities she inflicts upon the truly innocent, as though she is confiding in her own kind. It is a great technique to draw us into the story. On the other side, no book could have a better hero than Saul Laski, a Jewish survivor of the Nazi horrors who has never given up on finding the User who tormented him in the camps. We also meet a young black woman determined to avenge her father; a good old boy Southern sheriff who is anything but a caricature; a sleazy Hollywood producer who literally uses women; a deputy director of the FBI who is anything but a public servant; a Washington power broker whose real power is a horrific secret, and then there is the Oberst, a sadist with delusions of grandeur, capable of putting his former Nazi cohorts to shame. There is a rich cast of supporting characters, some good, some bad, some just victims in the wrong place at the wrong time, as this book does have a high body count by the end. CARRION COMFORT was written in the 80’s, and published in 1989, and one can see some of that decades cultural touchstones in the novel, as it as more shoot outs and action scenes, involving semi and automatic weapons, helicopters, fancy sports cars, and explosions than a Schwarzenegger movie. One character is clearly modeled on some of that decade’s more prominent, and shameless, TV televangelists. Simmons does manage to avoid getting bogged down in info dumps or unnecessarily long scenes where back story is inserted; his writing is cramped with detail – he paints a picture well – but for the most part, you always feel like the story is going somewhere.Of particular interest to aspiring, or even successful writers, is the introduction Simmons included in my edition, where he relates his early struggles as a writer to get CARRION COMFORT completed while still holding down a job as a school teacher, along with the subsequent battle with an editor at a major publishing house, one that ended with him buying back his own book rather than put up with this person’s abuse anymore. It is no doubt some score settling, but it is also an interesting look at the creative process and the machinations of the publishing business.CARRION COMFORT is a book that should be read by every lover of good horror fiction, yet I think far too few have ever heard of it, which is a shame. It takes an original approach to an old horror trope, and the best thing I can say about is that you never are sure which way the story is going on any given page. We are always wondering what will happen next, and for me, that is the highest praise I can give a book. It is what makes it such a page turner despite its length. And what a movie it would make in the right hands, I would love to see what David Cronenberg could do with it, or even Steven Spielberg. I’m sure it would turn out better than READY PLAYER ONE. May I suggest Richard Dreyfuss as Saul and Jessica Lange as Melanie.

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (5/5)

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

    I do about 74% of my book 'consumption' via recorded books that I listen to, while in the car. I had serious doubts about Carrion Comfort... 32 CDs???? 39 hours??? That was going to take something like 3 weeks.

    But it was worth every moment, and has been a thoroughly enjoyable 3 weeks. Terrific story, with several plot lines that weave in an out of each other. And just when you get so engrossed in one plot line that you forget the the others... Simmons draws you back to a different plot line. And yes, in the end, everything wraps up nice and neat.. although perhaps not how the reader expected or wanted!

    1 persona l'ha trovata utile

  • (3/5)
    My reaction to reading this novel in 2002.This is, perhaps, an answer to Frank Robinson’s The Power (a novel I have not read but have seen a movie adaptation of) which is also about a group of psychics squaring off against each other for dominance. (For that matter, Frederik Pohl’s Demon in the Skull is also about psychic possession, but I don’t think it influenced this novel.) In tone, this is a horror novel, but its literary technique is that of sf. The psychic vampires (the word “vampires” is actually used) are described as very rare mutants who are able to alter the theta brainwaves of others to override their will and use their body and receive their sensations. Simmons' rationalization carefully ends there. He doesn’t describe how this synchronization of theta waves takes place nor how Using others to commit violent actions against the Used or others seems to extend the Users life and provide good health. Though it serves as a novel plot twist and potent symbolism, Dr. Saul Laski’s hypnotically planted personalities of Jews who, in some way, resisted the Nazis were rationalized with the flimsiest of technical terms. There’s a lot to like in this very long novel. Simmons essentially wrote a long thriller which bounces around from Charleston and Germany and Hollywood and the Mexican border and Washington D.C. and Philadelphia and Wyoming and Israel and Dolmann Island off the South Carolina coast. The Melanie sections, she's the most powerful of the Users, are narrated in the first person. The rest of the book is narrated in omniscient third person. Most of those sections concentrate on what character. Simmons puts in a lot of foreshadowing by bouncing back and forth in time between the various chapters. The Parts are labeled according to chess terminology: “Openings”, “Middle Game”, and “End Game”. This is a reference to the chess obsessed User and Nazi, Wilhelm Borchert. He and other users literally play a game of human chess at the novel’s beginning and end. The pieces are people being Used (including, in the showdown on Dolmann Island which goes on for 144 pages, less powerful Users controlled by C. Aaron Barent and Borchert). When a capture takes place, the person representing the captured piece is killed. (At the beginning, Borchert plays such a game using Jews.) Simmons maintains the level of suspense, and the scenes of combat between various Users and others were exciting and gruesome (especially in the level of damage a Used person can endure). The death of Sheriff Gentry was unexpected since he seemed destined, as per the usual formula, to survive further into the novel than page 478. His death also cut short the usual cliche of a man and woman thrown together during the course of suspense plot becoming lovers and surviving until the end of the movie. Here Natalie Preston, whose father was casually killed by Melanie during combat with Nina Drayton, and old friend and fellow User, does have sex with Gentry once and his death (as well as her father’s) is strong motivation for the rest of her actions in the novel (which she survives). Natalie Preston and Laski are heroic characters, each conquering their fear and memories of being Used, to put an end to most of the Users. However, it is the Users that Simmons does a nice job with. Most of the monsters have their own personalities though all are linked by their casual disregard for the life of the innocents they Use. Borchert is a game playing Nazi and film producer who dreams of bringing on Ragnarok with nukes and doesn’t see a reason why the world should survive his death. His arch opponent Barent, friend to Presidents, is risk averse and just as brutal with the ability to psychically induce loyalty. Yet, his final agreement to play Borchert’s chess game to determine the future policy of the Island Group (the status quo or converting the world to a chess board with nations and nukes as the pieces) rather than just gun down Borchert is not entirely explained. (Simmons throws in actual chess game diagrams for the Dolmann Island sequence.) Barent’s underling Kepler wants nothing to do with Borchert’s apocalytic notions. Also unexplained are the motivations of Reverend Sutter who sincerely believes in the Christianity he preaches, who wants to make the United States the Christian nation it never was. He and Borchert are homosexual lovers, but it’s not clear if he backs Borchert because of a personal loyalty, because he secretly longs for Borchert’s apocalypse as a way to bring on the millennium, or if he thinks, for sexual reasons, he’s linked himself to the Antichrist (Borchert) because he’s fated to or wants to. Another unexplained relationship is that of Tony Harod, a Hollywood film producer, whose only use of his psychic abilities is to Use women for sexual gratification. He unexpectedly falls in love with his secretary Maria Chen, a Neutral (a rare type of individual supposedly immune to being Used though Barent, when he shows the true extent of his power towards novel’s end, illustrates that’s not always true). Part of this may relate to a remark by Laski when he says that maybe the Jews’ problem during the Holocaust was they tried to hard to understand the Nazis’ motivations and the motives of others who hate them. Perhaps, Simmons wants us to just see the nature of evil is ultimately not explainable. It must simply be fought. For that matter, human natures are shown as mysterious. Chen tells Harod that, after they truly seem to love each other, not to try to understand their new relationship, just accept it, that they love each other “because we have to”. Likewise, Gentry, Laski, and Natali instinctively know they can trust each other, and they prove correct. Laski, as a psychiatrist, is the only one who tries to really offer explanations of motivations. He mentions the moral theories of Leonard Kohlberg (who postulated that people move through stages of moral development and sometimes become stalled at a particular stage -- or never start their development at all) and speculates that Melanie Fuller is motivated by jealousy and repressed homosexual feelings toward Nina. The sections with Melanie are good and blackly humorous, especially her remark, after killing several people, that people just don’t respect the spirit of Christmas anymore. She comes off as an insular, prejudiced (against blacks and Jews and Northerners) Southern belle with horrible powers -- powers that only grow stronger after she has a stroke. And I liked her belief that Nina survived the gunshot to the head Melanie administered because another User, Borchert, faked a telephone call from Nina to Melanie after Nina had been shot. However, there were several cliches I didn’t like, and they all stem, I suspect, from a sort of secular humanism of Simmons. Sutter’s homosexuality is a repeat of the frequent cliche that devoutly religious people are guilty of the sins they condemn. His alliance with Borchert is a repeat of the cliche that religious fundamentalists necessarily yearn for apocalypse (though I believe some do as do some secularists). His remarks on the Founders being secular humanists seems a misreading of the importance of Christian ideals in America’s founding. More important and egregious is the semi-glorification of the Philadelphia street gang Soul Brickyard that aids Laski, Natalie, and Gentry against Fuller. Granted they are Melanie’s victims, but Simmons glosses over their criminal nature. In the character of Marvin and Jackson, he seems to endorse the idea that blacks in 1980, the year the scene takes place, could mostly find advancement only in gangs. Further marring of the novel is Jackson’s remarks, towards the novel’s end, “Listen, babe, only three types of people in this world: mean motherfuckers, mean black motherfuckers, and mean white motherfuckers. Mean white motherfuckers are the worst because they’ve been at it the longest”. Simmons seems in sympathy with this. Further evidence is depicting, briefly, Reagan as a lackey of Barent (to be fair, most Presidents are). Sprinkled throughout the thriller plot are brief discussions on the morality of violence, and, to be fair, Simmons seems to endorse a rational view of violence. Laski rejects Borchert’s notions that Israeli violence is like Nazi violence. Laski draws a distinction between the violence of defense against victimization and violence for profit and fun. Laski and Natalie argue about what to do against the innocent, but deadly, Used. They both come to see the need to, on occasion, harm innocents. (Laski worries they are becoming like the Palestinian terrorists he despises.) The Users, therefore, serve a symbolic function as to the motives of human violence or, at least, certain habitually violent types. (I liked that Harod, who seemed to be reforming after surviving the horrors of Dolmann Island and betraying his lover Chen, is shot to death by a starlet he Used earlier in the novel. Justice is served.) However, in the final chapter, Simmons loads a little too much symbolic freight on the vampires. Melanie survives the novel’s events (I’m not sure how many novels used the monster-that-will-not-die end.) and, inspired by her old friend Wili Borchert, thinks about setting off the grand Feeding of a nuclear apocalypse. Maintaining nuclear weapons is not done for the same reasons that the Users killed people but in the same spirit of the Warsaw dead Laski resurrects in his body and mind -- those who will not become victims. I’m not sure Simmons thinks different. He may just be noting nuclear weapons are available to the moral imbeciles represented by Melanie.
  • (4/5)
    My first book by Simmons, in the past I have been a fan of Stephen King and this was recommended on that basis. The idea behind the novel is certainly an original one. Walking among us are people with the ability to control others with their mind. By doing this they also sort of feed off our mental energy. The exact number of these is unknown but as the story develops we find that they have had a hand in some of histories greatest events (such as Kennedys assassination). The book starts with Saul Laski a concentration camp prisoner, he is 'mind raped' by a camp commander and forced to act against his will. Over the coming years he continues to attempt to trace the commander to kill him for the intrusion. Fast forward 30 years of so and we encounter 3 of the 'vampires' in the form of Willi, Melanie and Nina. They meet once a year to discuss the result of a 'completion' they have regarding number of victims and the way in which they were made to act. Meanwhile their fates and that of Laski (together with his new found companions Sheriff Gentry & Natalie) become intertwined as each fights for survival not only from each other but from that of the 'Island Club'. Politics and personal ambitions span the entire novel, accompanied with an extreme lust for power that makes men ruthless.I won't go into the plot any further than this as there are a great many twists and turns throughout the novel that would be spoiled. Simmons has a knack for pulling the rug from under the reader at just the right time. I don't think that anyone could second guess the next chapterI was toying with the rating to give this book. For me it was sold as a horror story and one of the creepiest books I was ever likely to read. On that basis I found it a let down. the horror and suspense when it arrived was not really all that horrific and to be honest for the size of the book these were few and far between. However, the characterisation was really well written and I found it easy to empathise with all the main characters, but at nearly 1000 pages I just found the main story dragged on a little too much. If Simmons could have shaved off 2-300 pages I am sure the book would have flown by, as it was I often found myself reading it at 50 page intervals without a real desire to turn the page. At times it seemed a struggle to continue. The other reason I failed to give 5 stars is that being a non chess player I found the drawn out descriptions of the moves in the game a little too much. I agree the game is instrumental for the story to fully work but pages and pages covering the game (even with a few helpful diagrams) proved too much. All in all not a bad read but unfortunately as an introduction to the author it hasn't filled me with the desire to seek out more of his works. I have given the book 4 stars as I can see why it would appeal to some readers and it certainly does have it's merits. It just wasn't for me.
  • (5/5)
    One of my all time favorite books. I've read it about 3 times in Dutch and now finally have an English copy. Must guess when I read this.
    This book is about vampires but not about the normal vampires but these are mental vampires. They can take control of your mind and body and I love it!
    (Oops just discovered I have written in the book the day i received it. On 1991 Sinterklaas day in my country.
  • (3/5)
    A fascinating concept of "vampires" that feed on violent acts and are able to bend the will of most of the rest of the human population through a sort of parasitical mind control if they choose. Now, blend in that there's a sort of war going on among the vampires, and that they can't always identify each other and that they truly believe that they are a superior being compared to the people they use, and you've got the making of a very good thriller-horror-fantasy story. Simmons' uses his creatures to explain some real historical events that have evoked the "how could that happen?" question, such as Hitler's rise to power and how some Hollywood movies get made.

    However, this book is a case of too much of a good thing. It really should have been two books. In fact, it reads like two books with a huge final act battle scene right in the very middle, then going back to suspense building narrative. It takes a LOT of characters to support a book this long, and although Simmons' does an a good job of labeling chapters so that you know who's POV you're switching to, a story shouldn't need a road map to keep you from getting lost.
  • (4/5)
    Very good, near great. Exciting, suspense, horrific, nasty, brutal, beatuiful. Has a climax that is one of the most intimately satisfying I've ever read. Suffers only from a few poorly and unimaginatively drawn characters (albiet, minor ones)and a constant switch from first to third peron narratives that, while understandable from an artistic point of view, didn't sit well with me. Still, A bravura perfomance!
  • (3/5)
    Stephen King called this one of the greatest horror novels of the 20th century. Like many other Dan Simmons novels, it's long (950 pages), and it took me a while to get into but I ended up really enjoying it. The novel centers around a group of "psychic vampires" that use mind control techniques to take over the bodies of others and play their own twisted little game. Some really creepy stuff here.
  • (5/5)
    The cover of Carrion Comfort is unsettling to the point that my wife made me keep the book face down when I wasn't reading it. It should be pointed out, however, that I read the 20th anniversary edition of the book. Without a doubt, Carrion Comfort solidifies Dan Simmons as one of my favorite authors, and certainly as the best horror-genre author currently living (sorry, Stephen King, et al).The story involves a group of people who are able to enter into the minds of others, and to control those people. The un-nice thing about people with this "Ability" is that they like to use their puppets to kill and be killed, just for the vicarious pleasure it gives them. The book is intense, and a deep read. At 761 pages of small type, the book is one that will definitely take more than one or two sittings. What makes the book such a pleasure (and so effective) is the fact that Simmons is an excellent writer who has masterful command of the English language, and knows how to wring every bit of intensity out of each and every scene. I cannot do justice to the book in terms of summarizing the plot any more than I have, above. Suffice to say this book is a must read for horror/suspense/thriller aficionados, and is certainly an exemplar of its genre.
  • (2/5)
    Too long by half, and it really fell apart when Melanie fell apart. I got sick and tired of one character's internal monologue, and the non-stop racism of the bad guys. It lost all shock value in very short order. I finally finished it just to be done with it and I was quite annoyed that I had paid for it. The only thing that kept me going all the way through it was wondering if the two main characters lived, but that wasn't worth almost 1,000 pages. The epilogue seemed more of a threat of a sequel than anything chilling. Like another reviewer, why Stephen King raved about this book is completely beyond me.
  • (3/5)
    At 992 pages this fantasy/horror novel is far, far too long. A small group of individuals have the power to enter the mind and control most other human beings. A determined bunch of individuals whose nearest and dearest have been killed by these mind vampires risk everything to track them down.This is real horror schlock territory and reads at times like a film script for a mindless summer blockbuster. Dan Simmons writes well and can deliver action/thriller sequences with the best of them, however the underlying plot of this novel is weak and the links between the action set pieces lack real tension. At times it feels like there are two or three novels fighting to get out as viewpoints change and time sequences overlap.
  • (3/5)
    Stephen King labeled this work one of the three greatest horror stories of the 20th century. Really? Written by Dan Simmons, the reader knows to expect a veritable doorstop of a book and is not disappointed in this case. As in most of Simmons’s work, several hundred pages could likely have been eliminated with little or no loss to the underlying story. However, Simmons is so contemptuous of editors, that he writes a forward to this edition, in which he takes special pains to abuse and personally humiliate one of his first editors, a young woman with the gall to suggest that he shorten the length of this magnum opus.The premise for the work is intriguing. There exists among us a special type of human being, with the ability to use and control other humans, invariably to advance their own nefarious and morally bankrupt plans. Many of the mass murders and senseless killings which plague society are the work of these people (think Holocaust, JFK assassination and John Lennon killing). Simmons labels these beings mind vampires (and includes the aforementioned editor in their number).Much of this novel is spellbinding, intriguing and thought provoking. Sections are boring and interminably drawn out. Some of the characters are extremely annoying, most especially Charleston Sheriff Bobby Joe Gentry. A more stereotypical, southern redneck peckerwood you could not create. But wait, Sheriff Bobby Joe is not what he appears. He is actually a highly intelligent, supremely educated, open minded, metrosexual (he cooks, he cleans, he dates black women in 1980 Charleston, South Carolina). It is just insultingly stupid. If he were so smart, he might realize that a southern Sheriff has no jurisdiction over a crime committed in Charleston. That would be the bailiwick of the Chief of Police. Sheriff Bobby Joe has one deputy. That’s pretty thin staffing for a county the size he is supposedly looking after.This novel has potential, and at times the potential is realized. Such times are hidden however within this vast bulk of a book that is filled with silliness (interminable chase and fight scenes where the good guys dodge hundreds of thousands of bullets, bombs and grenades which all seem to miss them “by less than an inch”) that a good writer, in conjunction with a stern editor would ultimately weed out. That Simmons is so violently opposed to editing of his work does both him and his readers a disservice. I was ready for the book to end and still had over 200 pages left.
  • (2/5)
    (Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography [cclapcenter.com]. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted illegally.)Genre novelist Dan Simmons is one of but many veteran writers out there with stellar reputations but whose work I'm not familiar with at all; so when my neighborhood library recently acquired a 20th-anniversary edition of his groundbreaking 1989 horror novel Carrion Comfort, I snatched it right up, especially after learning that Stephen King had once called it one of the three best horror novels of the entire 20th century. But alas, this instead turned out to be a perfect example of why I'm not much of a horror fan, with the ridiculously long manuscript featuring a veritable litany of problems endemic to this particular genre; for example, like I just mentioned (and much like King himself), Simmons has apparently never met an overly long expository scene he didn't like, and what could've been a fascinating 300-page actioner is instead an exasperating 800-page historical epic, which also in good King fashion is not helped by it featuring dozens of completely superfluous sub-minor characters, who apparently exist only to fill another fifteen pointless pages of the text before being randomly killed off again.And then there's the book's actual subject matter, which manages to be both too grand and too petty at the same time -- it's basically a saga about a race of telekinetic "uber-humans" who have secretly been living among us for centuries, who for some unexplained reason die if they don't regularly manipulate the mouth-breathers around them into committing random acts of terror and violence, which according to Simmons has been the actual cause of everything from World War Two to Lee Harvey Oswald to the death of John Lennon; but it's really the immaturity of Simmons' prose style while relating this story that drives me the most crazy, as it does with horror in general, with me finding it almost impossible to listen to the baddies' lustful glee over their "Feedings" without immediately thinking of some pimply little goth kid over in the corner of a danceclub, doing their dreadful "death shimmy" to the blaring of Peter Murphy while describing the "delicious taste" of "eating my mortal soul" as they "prance to the howl of the wolf at midnight," or some such sh-t like that. It's passionately loved by a whole group of hardcore horror fans, that's for sure, but should be avoided like the plague if like me you are unable to hear the phrase "mind-raping psychic vampire Nazi" without bursting into unintended laughter.Out of 10: 5.8
  • (5/5)
    I'm reading it now and can't put it down. I loved "The Terror" but couldn't get into "Drood".
  • (4/5)
    One of my favorite horror tomes. And it is a tome. This was written back when Simmons was into horror...and didn't take himself so utterly seriously. Written before he got pretentious (see "Drood" for example)
  • (2/5)
    Good take on the Vampire Theme...
  • (4/5)
    Excellent international thriller with a supernatural/horror twist. Mind Vampires!!!Dan Simmons is an excellent storyteller and after reading the Hyperion series and the Olympos books, I was curious to read one if his non Sci-Fi efforts. I wasn't disappointed.
  • (4/5)
    Holy cow, was this a long book. On the advice of the Thingamabrarians that go bump in th night, I dove into this one head first. I was not disappointed. The chilling tale of a small grioup of humans with the ability to seize and control the minds of those around them, this one left me awestruck more than once. While it took me several sittings to get through, the story flowed easily and completely. The characters were likelable and hateable all at the same time and I found myself saddened when they were lost to the whims of others. My first attempt at one of Dan Si mmons stories, but there will definelty be more.
  • (5/5)
    I have to begin by saying this has always been one of my favorite books. I like the short story that it was based on even more. I first read the paperback edition shortly after it was published. I bought this copy next, but it was still shrink wrapped when I decided to reread it.The story starts off with a group of three people, Melanie, Willie, and Nina, who have known each other for decades. They are all mind vampires, Users, who can control others to do whatever they want. They all have "servants" who have no minds of their own left at all. They have gathered to share newspaper clippings of people they have influenced to commit horrific crimes. But the group is shattered when Melanie, a faded southern belle with antebellum attitudes, is attacked by zombies controlled by someone else. While defending herself and killing Nina, Melanie kills a local photographer. His daughter, Natalie, teams up with a local sheriff, Rob, and a survivor of the Nazi death camps who was once "used" by Willie, Saul, to track down and destroy these mind vampires. While doing so they all discover that there are more Users in major positions of power with varying degrees of influence.Dan Simmons is a major writer of horror, starting with his first book, Song of Kali. He can describe a bloodbath or scare you just as much with the sound of a tap on a window. If you love excellent writing and don't mind some gore, this is a wonderful book.
  • (5/5)
    An amazing new look at vampires presented in an epic scope that I'm beginning to expect of Simmons. This has got to be one of the best books I've read in the last few years, good enough to inspire me to get everything else the author has touched and buy this one again in hardcover.
  • (4/5)
    It was a little too long. It was a very fast read and a great story. My favorite was the middle section involving the Philly street gangs and the Vampires.