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Summer of Night Paperback – July 5, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 307 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in the Seasons of Horror Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Hugo Award-winning novelist Simmons pens an outstandingly eerie horror story about a group of Midwestern boys stalked by an ancient evil.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

A monstrous, timeless entity is devouring children. Adults either refuse to understand what is happening, or are themselves agents for the monster. A group of young boys, in uneasy partnership with an outcast girl, realize they must kill the creature before it devours them all. Simmons ( The Fall of Hyperion, LJ 3/15/90), winner of several prestigious awards for science fiction and horror (most recently a Hugo Award for Hyperion , Doubleday, 1989) ranks with the best the genre has to offer. In outline, this novel resembles Stephen King's It ( LJ 8/86). The children are well drawn and affecting in their bravery. This book should be in most horror fiction collections. BOMC alternate.
- Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (July 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312550677
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312550677
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (307 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,804 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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This story was written by an author that remembers all the scenarios that scare a young, imaginative kid! Old, spooky schools; noises in the woods; the space under your bed; and even the fear of having to walk INTO a dark room to turn on the light! There's no end to the anxiety-filled situations in Summer of Night.

Real horror/thriller stories require a certain degree of character identification in order to scare you. This book accomplishes that and then some! Dan Simmons makes you recall all the imaginative fun and scary experiences of your childhood and you begin to fathom your placement within a group of friends that have a heck of summer planned. As you read this you will find yourself reminiscing your younger days of summers spent in leisure and some of the creative ways you spent your time. Then...

Well, I won't spoil it for you. Just trust me. If you have a decent imagination, you will appreciate the ability of Dan Simmons to tell a yarn that encapsulates you in it and recreates all the fears you had when you were a youngster. Add in a supernatural premise for the excitement and you are off and running. You'll love every minute of it. I've read many of the 'Horror classics' and this one belongs in the top 10.
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A sprawling epic of old-fashioned Gothic horror, Don Simmons' "Summer of Night" is a well-written page-turner definitely worth the time. In an unusual twist to the familiar "coming of age" theme, a group of pre-teens in rural 1960 Illinois confront a millenniums-old evil force threatening their village. The writer is in no hurry to get the reader to the payoff, painstakingly weaving the mystery thread-by-thread, with a rich and convoluted cast of villains, both real and surreal. While on the longish side (600 pages), it is well-paced, building to a truly terrifying and suspenseful climax. Simmons' writing, while falling short of Steven King's vivid imagery, is far from pedestrian. He demonstrates a true talent for spinning a contrast of the innocence of growing up in an earlier era with the malevolence of the ancient horror that is making a mess of the cherished summer vacation. Despite the dark theme of the story, Simmons injects considerable tongue-in-cheek humor, seeing life through a young boy's eyes, where all teachers are old and mean, the principal is to be feared and avoided, and the school is the center of all things bad and boring. And while Simmons takes some license in the incredible level of maturity, ingenuity, and intelligence of this group of twelve-year olds, this is, after-all, fantasy. In the final analysis, "Summer of Night" is a well-crafted and unique mixture of nostalgia and familiar childhood fears. A highly recommended read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The problem I've had in the past with such "horror" writers as Dean Koontz and John Saul was the fact that their protagonists were just too one dimensional. There was no emotional attachment and, thus, no tension to the book. Stephen King, on the other hand, fleshes out his characters so well that the reader feels like they know them intimately. This, in turn, gives the reader an emotional stake in what happens to them. Dan Simmons, while not quite on King's level (then again, who is?), accomplishes this quite well. There were times in the book that I was moaning out loud in fear that something bad would happen to one of the six young boys that Simmons had gotten me to care about. What made the book more compelling is that no one was safe. It was painful to see the surviving boys attempting to deal with what happened. There was a definite emotional investment on my part. The one problem I had was that Simmons introduced all six protagonists in the first 3 or 4 pages. It was too quick for me to get a handle on any of them until a good 50 pages into the book.
Again like King, Simmons uses the setting and environment to great effect. One problem that I had, however, was the fact that, in attempting to describe the layout of the city and how all the streets and roads interconnected, I became pretty much confused. A map of the town in the front of the book would have been very useful. Other than that, Simmons makes very good use of the smallness of the town, it's isolated location in the midwest, and the summer weather as crucial components in the story.
Very enjoyable book and well worth the read. Pretty much as soon as I had finished it, I ordered the sequel, A WINTER HAUNTING. I am eager to find out what has happened to the characters in the intervening years. Simmons has done an excellent job here in making me care about his characters, which makes for a very involving read.
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Summer of Night was one of the most incredible books I have ever read and mind you it's not because I'd rather read a book on a Friday night than party, much to my boyfriends dismay as I so often do.

Dan Simmons wove a masterful tale of 1960's Illinois with its cozy little town and streets, Saturday outdoor movies and the kids who were the true heroes of the story. It reminded me of Goonies in places as we quickly grow to like Dale and his younger brother Lawrance, Mike, Duane and Kevin and Jim Harlan, friends, schoolmates and brave, lovable kids who have turned this book in a magical tale that swept in front of my eyes. I have never read a more real story that has horror, fantasy and people dying feeling as real as this tale. The characters all stand out in their own way, so clear, so precise so pristine that when bad things happened to some of them, I had a tissue dabbing my eyes. The book is long, counting 600 pages but I know I will read it over again in a few years and I'm sure it will taste even better, just like leftover dinner with the deepening flavors and spices.

The story itself is around a school called Old Central, where Tubby, a not so god kid disappears on the last day. It's a huge old building that is going to be closed down as all the kids are supposed to go to a new school. Dale, Lawrance, Mike, Duane, Kev and Jim all go to the same school but they are very young, around 11 yrs old, some younger, some tad older yet they are real kids; at times with bratty tough attitudes, yet Simmons doesn't pretend to sketch out a superhero in a child's body, he takes each characters and builds on it making them as real to me as my own family. I grew to love each one of them as they enriched my book with their plans to find the missing kid.
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