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Carrion Comfort Paperback – November 24, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The second novel by World Fantasy Award-winner Simmons ( The Song of Kali ) is a 636-page epic that draws on a variety of genres--horror, science fiction, political thriller, Hollywood roman a clef. It centers around a small number of "mind vampires" who can subjugate other people to their wills, read their minds, experience through their senses. The immensely powerful vampires use others, often bloodily, and often in frivolous "games" (hunting human prey, chess games with human pieces, and so on). Opposing them are Saul Laski, a psychologist and concentration-camp survivor, who is devoted to tracking down the Nazi vampire von Borchert; Natalie Preston, whose father inadvertently and fatally crossed the path of a pawn of the ancient, dotty vampire Melanie Fuller; Sheriff Bobby Joe Gentry, dragged in while investigating the multiple murders that marked the departure of Melanie Fuller from Charleston; and a host of other normals and vampires whose lives impinge on those of the principals. While he could profitably have trimmed the novel by a third, Simmons has produced, overall, a compelling thriller.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“...a compelling thriller.” ―Publishers Weekly

“...very good fun. A satisfying story that delivers everything it promises.” ―Kirkus Reviews


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; 1 Reprint edition (November 24, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312567073
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312567071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (215 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.
Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years -- 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York -- one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher -- and 14 years in Colorado.

His last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating, and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students. During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year in high school writing ability according to annual standardized and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.
Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."
Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Colorado -- in the same town where he taught for 14 years -- with his wife, Karen. He sometimes writes at Windwalker -- their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike -- a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion novels -- was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson, and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.
Dan is one of the few novelists whose work spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, suspense, historical fiction, noir crime fiction, and mainstream literary fiction . His books are published in 27 foreign counties as well as the U.S. and Canada.
Many of Dan's books and stories have been optioned for film, including SONG OF KALI, DROOD, THE CROOK FACTORY, and others. Some, such as the four HYPERION novels and single Hyperion-universe novella "Orphans of the Helix", and CARRION COMFORT have been purchased (the Hyperion books by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films, CARRION COMFORT by European filmmaker Casta Gavras's company) and are in pre-production. Director Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Stood Still") has been announced as the director for the Hyperion movie and Casta Gavras's son has been put at the helm of the French production of Carrion Comfort. Current discussions for other possible options include THE TERROR. Dan's hardboiled Joe Kurtz novels are currently being looked as the basis for a possible cable TV series.
In 1995, Dan's alma mater, Wabash College, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions in education and writing.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

61 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on April 24, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Normally when people see a book this size, they think to themselves, "Wow what a great paperweight" but that shouldn't be the case here. Dan Simmons continues to prove that horror fiction is just as much his plaything as science fiction, crafting a big, ambitious novel that succeeds in just about every aspect. It's scary, it's intimidating, it's complex, it's funny, it's full of characters that you're going to either or love but will be unable to ignore. Simmons takes the basic concept of vampires and goes in a slightly different direction here, instead of the typical bloodsucking stuff, here we've got psychic vampires who can infilrate the mind and do many unpleasant things. For the most part the vampires are utterly amoral, using and abusing people with no other impulse other than instant gratification. Until some people try to get revenge. Here we've got Saul, a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust who makes it a near obsession to find the monster that invaded his mind in a concentration camp during World War II. Or Natalie, who is motivated by a tragedy touches her personal life by way of vampires who see people as only pawns in a game. And then there's Sheriff Rob Gentry, trying to solve a mystery involving a bunch of dead people who apparently went crazy for no apparent reason, murders that seem to be part of a subtle, but disturbing pattern. These are the building blocks that make up the foundation of the rest of the epic . . . needless to say there are more than enough other characters, and subplots and surprises and intrigue and even horror to keep the reader occupied for many an hour.Read more ›
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful By David Brazil on January 5, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I am amazed to find that there is such a schism regarding CARRION COMFORT. It seems to be a real love/hate book. Which surprises me because it's one of the most compulsively readable novels I've ever read. I would prefer not to give away anything to the first time reader (other reviewers have not been so considerate) but I will say that Simmons takes a fabulous premise and works it until your eyes pop. I really can't see how anyone decided that this story was boring -- unless they simply didn't have the patience for a long novel. But if you're waffling on reading it as a result of these mixed reviews I strongly encourage you to pick it up.
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74 of 89 people found the following review helpful By B. Merritt VINE VOICE on November 1, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
What if you could control the minds of others. And not just simply control their minds, but make them physically do anything you wanted them to. What type of person would you be? Well Mr. Simmons tells us in breathtaking detail.
The story revolves around Sal Laski, a Jew who survived the Nazi death camps of WWII. He came into contact with one of these Mind Vampires (as we come to know them) that he nick-names 'The Oberst.' Having his mind touched and his body controlled is worse than being 'raped.' And Mr. Simmons shows us exactly how that would feel. Chillingly! Mr. Laski becomes fanatical about finding his Oberst and giving him back what Sal had felt all those many years ago during the War.
Mrs. Melanie Fuller is a Mind Vampire also, and she and a few of the others with the Ability meet every year to discuss their scores (i.e. how many people they controlled and killed and how much publicity it got). They are so nonchalant about their controls and killings that it is almost maddening to the reader. They have absolutely no empathy for anyone or anything which makes them all the more horrific. Amazingly, the reader eventually becomes comfortable with these characters and wants to know if they will survive their own failings in humanity. Terrific stuff!
Mr. Harod is a slime-bag producer of B-movies Hollywood who also has the Ability. He uses it to control women specifically and solely (because he feels that touching a man's mind would be to homophobic for him).
Mr. C. Barent is a billionaire with the Ability who owns a mythical Island off the coast of Florida. Once a year 'The Island Club' meets and plays a game: they bring lost souls to the island and Use them to kill one another. The last Mind Vampire with a player still alive at the end of the week wins.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin K. Potter on November 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The only reason you should ever read a book that is more than 800 pages long is to exercise your brain. This book is a grand endeavor that I gladly indulged in for weeks.
It's hard to wrap your mind around this book, but Simmons paints wonderful settings, complex characters and a great plot that weaves in supernatural theories on violence and control.
Another reason the book stands out among other hulking, 800+ page novels is Simmons' narrative style, which switches between the first-person observations of Melanie Fuller, a key player in the book, to a dozen third-person perspectives from equally interesting characters.
The book is exceptional because Melanie Fuller is a classic naiive narrator. That is, she is so self-deluded that her perspective cannot be taken at face value. Rather, they must be interpreted by the reader with analysis and reading on to see how the third-person accounts decode those same events.
In short, this book is wonderfully imaginative. In dusting off this book, you'll also be dusting some cobwebs out of your head and getting those rusty cogs turning again.
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