Carrion Comfort: A New Novel - Dan Simmons Exhibit C in "Authors Who Doodle"...

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In case you're interested, here's exhibit A and exhibit B.


Carrion Comfort, Dan Simmons second novel, can be faulted for being overly long, needlessly complex and in dire need of a talented editor. Yet after I've said all that, it still remains one of the best horror novels of the second half of the 2oth century. The author has created a tense tale of mind control and the extremes of human corruption and power. While Simmons uses the term "Mind Vampires" for his monsters, they are nothing like vampires and, at least in my mind, a hundred times more horrifying. The author's other strength in this 800 page novel is the development of strong protagonists and villains. These are not comic book characters but fully fleshed personalities with strong believable motivations. Simmons' setting starts in Auschwitz during World War II yet mainly takes place in the early 80s. Simmons sets a stage of believability by referencing a number of horrific events such as the Kennedy and Lennon assassinations and weaves a network of conspiracies and chess moves, the latter being a tantalizing motif throughout, that pulls this story way beyond the normal horror novel. If you must keep the vampire analogy, think of this as a cross between a vampire novel and "24" and you will get a hint of its themes. Any one who calls themselves a horror aficionado needs to read this.