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Fires of Eden Hardcover – October 27, 1994


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 399 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (October 27, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399139222
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399139222
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,384,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A talking hog with a bad attitude and a hungry humanoid with a shark's mouth in his hunchback are but two of the many loopy touches that Simmons (Lovedeath) puts into this fractured horror novel. There's also an unusual dual narration: a third-person account of the occult revenge wreaked on a ritzy but politically incorrect Hawaiian resort, and a first-person chronicle, drawn from a 19th-century diary, of similar troubles witnessed by the diarist, Lorena Stewart, and her traveling companion, the young Mark Twain. For all its eccentricities, though, the book is unlikely to add to Simmons's clutch of awards (Hugo, Bram Stoker, World Fantasy, etc.), because at heart it's powered by an utterly conventional horror premise-that nature will bite back when bitten-and because its dominant, present-time plot is peopled by cartoonish types. Chief among these is Byron Trumbo, the Trump-like tycoon who has so offended Hawaiian islanders with his sprawling resort carved into wilderness terrain that some have called upon ancient Hawaiian gods (hog and co.) and the giant volcanoes they control to destroy the resort. Simmons generates moderate suspense as Stewart's descendant and others race to save lives and souls from erupting volcanoes and malevolent gods, but not enough to avoid the reader's feeling that he should have shoehorned the entire story into the Twain segments, whose deft period charms more aptly suit the antiquated themes, characters and pyrotechnics on display. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Billionaire Byron Trumbo wants to sell his posh Hawaiian resort to a Japanese investor but must make it appear prosperous while the deal is being struck. Due to the high prices, guests have been scarce. Unfortunately, they are becoming even scarcer as someone or something is kidnapping and murdering them. Drawn by the sketchy news accounts, Eleanor Perry has come to Mauna Pele on a sort of pilgrimage, using her aunt Kidder's 1866 travel diary as a guidebook. The events Kidder chronicled-tales of demons conjured up to rid the island of missionaries-seem to parallel the current events. As volcanoes erupt and vengeful gods and demons become more violent, Eleanor and her fellow guest, the indomitable Cordie Stumpf, attempt to get to the bottom of things. Simmons (Children of the Night, LJ 7/92) is well known for his science fiction and horror writing, and this new work is as rich in Hawaiian mythology as it is in suspense. For most popular collections.
A.M.B. Amantia, Population Action International, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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

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And yet Simmons pulls it all together and manages to make something good of it.
Michael Battaglia
Not being a real feminist one of the main underlying themes didn't really catch me up in it's swirl but I still thought it was a great book.
smcclintic@adv-polymer.com
If crazy setups like this make you roll your eyes, then maybe you'd best avoid this book.
Timothy Masters

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on June 11, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Knowing what I know of the writing of Dan Simmons, I expected this to be a science-fiction novel when I picked it up a couple of years ago. I never even read the synopsis, and promptly forgot I owned it. Turns out I was about as far off as i could be. I wouldn't exactly call it fantasy, and I wouldn't exactly call it horror, and I wouldn't exactly call it an environmental novel (though that's probably closest to the truth, with shades of such ecodisaster scenarios Prophecy, the Godzilla movies, and suchlike running through it). It has aspects of all of them, but never turns into a full-blown anything, preferring to defy categorization like many of Simmons' best books do.
Byron Trumbo is a billionaire with an attitude, a pending divorce, two young lovers who don't know about each other, and a money-pit Hawaiian resort he's trying to palm off on a group of Japanese investors who want to make it into a golf club. The problem is, people keep disappearing at Mauna Pele, and pieces of them turn up at the worst possible times. Add to this two intrepid adventurers who have come to Mauna Pele for different reasons (spoilers, again...) and who band together to try and solve the murders, an overly curious treehugger art curator who was hired after threatening to sue Trumbo for bulldozing over duck ponds, a crazed, murderous Hawaiian separatist, and a dimwitted pair of security guards, and the scene is set for a rollicking good time. All of the major characters are well-done and believable, if a little over the top sometimes (while I'm not usually one to balk at such things, the seemingly constant use of profanity in the book threw me for a loop; I could have done with less of it).
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on April 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
If Simmons wasn't such a darn good writer this probably could have been an absurdly silly book, all the warning signs are there. Giant talking god animals, people dropping like flies, nature rebelling against man's injustice to it, stuff like that. And yet Simmons pulls it all together and manages to make something good of it. The setting here is appropriately Hawaii at a hotel that billionaire Bryan Tumbo is trying to desperately sell to the Japanese, unfortunately for him, his few guests keep dying off, killed by some utterly sadistic and vaguely supernatural forces. Into this mess come our heroes and as things escalate (as you know they will) the puny humans trying to stay alive around the erupting volcanoes becomes a backdrop for the conflict of god versus god. And really it all works. Simmons has a knack for making even the patently silly (giant talking pigs with eight eyes) sincerely frightening and while the book probably isn't horror so much as old time adventure (it's pretty scary toward the beginning but once you know what's going on the fright factor goes away) with a bit of a feminist slant you're having too much of a grand old time to really care. Even better he intersperses the narrative with another narrative taken from someone's diary about similar events in 1866, featuring none other than Samuel Clemens (psst . . . Mark Twain) who Simmons writes so well that if he didn't talk like that, he should have. The diary also gives Simmons the opportunity to create twice the suspense by flashing back and forth between the two (though less so in the diary, she's obviously writing it after it's all over so you know she has to live to write it).Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Howard Paul Burgess on January 12, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Fires of Eden gain points for sheer nerve. There's a story about awful things happening at a tropical resort, and it seems awfully familiar- although I was pleased that a goodly number of characters survive the carnage, instead of the one or two who usually live to see the dawn in stories like this. But at the heart of the novel is a journal which recounts a rousing adventure in which one of the main characters is Mr. Samuel Clemens. Ever since "Ragtime" came out in the 70's writers have felt free to have characters from history come into their novels and do their bidding. Mr. Clemens is a very believable character, and the adventures he has a century before the comtemporary action of "Fires of Eden" are, as a reviewer of his day might have said, a ripping yarn.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 11, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having read most of Dan Simmons work (his SF being the best), I felt he was going the way of Stephen King and getting lazy in his writing, his last few books being less than stellar. So, I picked up Fires of Eden with a little trepidition. I was more than thrilled to find the book extremely engaging and actually educational! The characters are well developed and interesting, the story well structured and thought out (and engaging), and the atmosphere moody and interesting.

Its a lot like Jurassic Park in that its about a large resort overcome with Hellish monsters, except that here they weren't meant to be the main attraction.

Overall, I recommend this book to anyone interested in the horror genre who wants something more than simplistic monsters and a plot that will keep you reading well into the night.
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