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Demons Hardcover – February 26, 2002

3.6 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Nightmarish demons terrorize the world in this sharp-edged tale of horror and humanity from award-winner John Shirley. A young artist from San Francisco witnesses the demons' arrival and the world's response--panic, denial, and even cooperation in the slaughter. He joins a group of people who believe that human action brought the demons into the world and that the power of human consciousness--awareness of one's true self--is the only defense against them. Then nine years later, in the face of a new threat, the group must overcome conspiracy and the world's disbelief to battle demons once again.

Themes of wakefulness and sleep--the struggle for self-awareness against the deliberate denial of what's happening around us--form the counterpoint for the terrifying and often brutal events of the story. This is a fast-paced, finely told horror tale combined with a pointed examination of the ways in which people so often conspire in their own destruction. --Roz Genessee

From Publishers Weekly

To a novella of the same title, Shirley (...And the Angel with Television Eyes) adds a lengthy aftermath that, though it couples clunkily, offers a crafty elaboration of the dark metaphysics in the original parable about corporate greed. Nine years after the benevolent Conscious Circle group exorcised the ravenous demons who arose in response to toxic disaster, it's business as usual in America. Stephen Isquerat, a na‹f climbing the corporate ladder at the West Wind company, is convinced like most everyone else that the past demonic convergence was a hallucinogen-induced exercise in mass hysteria. Little does he know that his company's interest in "psychonomics," the manipulation of the spiritual power of business, is laying the foundation for a demon resurrection, or that his work marketing Dirvane 17, a potent neurotoxic pesticide, is making him the perfect vessel for their second coming. The first part of the novel is a fascinating if talky take on clinical demonology that greases the wheels for escalating events in the second part. Though the author conceived the two halves of his story as variations on the same theme, their differing approaches seem out of synch, a problem most notable in the perfunctory relationship of Conscious Circle members to Stephen's experiences. For all the narrative gear grinding, Shirley succeeds in fashioning an over-the-top occult thriller solidly anchored in a bedrock of social consciousness. (Mar.)July 24, 2000).
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Del Rey; 1st edition (February 26, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 034544647X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345446473
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,303,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When it comes to John Shirley, you have to take your chances. In my humble opinion, I find him a writer of widely varying quality (though one who steadily improves, there is little backsliding in his work). If one goes as far back as CELLARS, there is really not much to recommend; however, Mr. Shirley has produced such excellent work as: IN DARKNESS WAITING; WETBONES; and, most recently, DEMONS. This is a terrific short novel--well-paced, gripping, and solid. Mr. Shirley's mastery of this short form is impressive. A sense of dread is pervasive thoughout, though his prose is lean and to the point.
In this most imaginative premise (though I sense some inspiration from John Ostrander's DEMON WARS arc in the GRIMJACK comics), unstoppable, murderous demons have suddenly appeared on Earth. They can make their presence known anywhere and anytime. With no defenses, humans must make their way through this hell on earth as best they can (this is Shirley's most interesting facet in the book--how John and Mary Sixpack continue about their daily business in this new dystopia).
It was a pleasure to read DEMONS, and I look forward to Mr. Shirley's next work.
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Format: Paperback
"I like my apocalypse tales to have giant insects" Clive Barker told Fangoria in a late 80's interview so it's no wonder that Clive has blurb on the back of this book. Indeed the blurb respect of not only Clive barker but the equally discerning taste of Poppy Z.Brite and William Gibson were enough to hook my interest in John Shirley. What I did not know about the man is that he was a former punk rock front man who was writing about cyperpunk in the 80's so yeah even Gibson knows Shirley did it first. Beyond that reading interviews and bouncing around his site I discovered he actually went toe to with Harlan Ellison, to take on sci-fi's crown prince of grumpiness with wit well it takes chutzpah.

Demons is a novel that has chutzpah, if you were not lucky enough to be exposed to the Jewish phrase lets put it this way Demons packs a punch after punch. While my first introduction John Shirley was in his most recent novel Crawlers which was great, followed by one of his recent short story collections Black Butterflies. So far everything I have read by Shirley has been first rate.

Demons however I consider to be the best of all three. The first sentence of the prologue is `It is amazing what you get used to' from there you are instantly launched into an apocalypse populated by monsters. I am not going to name all the variety of demons but Shirley has put handy guide to them in the front of the book, which includes important facts about there physical make-up, intelligence levels and there social structure.

This guide is handy because these beasts are launched out of hell and into the novel so quick and powerfully you will be right beside the characters in astonishment. The book is two interdependent short novels about the same characters but written in different tones.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There are some great ideas in this and the demonic entities are truly nightmarish, but the real monsters are the corporate behemoths that seemingly exist only to bring evil and torment upon the world...which isn't much of a stretch.
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Format: Paperback
While "Demons" may lack the intense machine-gun narrative of John Shirley's "A Song Called Youth" cyberpunk trilogy, it nonetheless is a splendid example of his fine literary style which has garnered praise from distinguished writers ranging from William Gibson to Clive Barker. I found "Demons" to be a riveting read, especially Book 1, which is a phantasmagorical trek through San Francisco in the midst of a demonic occupation. Book 2 adds some intriguing touches with regards to cyperpunk and environmental disaster fiction thrown into a plot which shows what happens when big business runs afoul of demons. Melissa, the daughter of an obscure college professor, is the main character - and emotional heart - of both books. Shirley's prose has rarely been better. This is yet another fine book from one of my favorite authors of fiction.
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Format: Hardcover
The book Demons is a story of the seven clans of demons and the people who fought against them, or at least tried.... John Shirley describes everything in his book vividly, and at times he does it too well and he does it magnificently at times when you wish he hadn't painted a picture of that particular scene. Each demons has its own often hilrious name, from a bugsy to a tailpipe, but although the names sound cute and all, in 'reality' the demons are far from that description. Overall the book is magnificently written, but I should warn everyone, this book is not for anyone, there should be a level of maturity and readiness in the reader before they should ever read this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Great short novel and anything by John Shirley is good. I would give a synopsis by you can read about anywhere. Suffice to say find a copy and read it. Good luck finding the whole series this comes from. Online it starts at 1,3000 and up for all 24 books in this collection.
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By A Customer on September 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A fascinating study of a certain type of occult phenomenon - how, to use Goya's words, _el sueño de la razon produce muenstros_ - the sleep of reason produces monsters.
Shirley's book tells about a demonic invasion that threatens to engulf planet Earth. The demons come in various types; my own personal favorites are the Bugsys - sleazy characters who somehow manage to get human beings to be their pets. And as Shirley fans will know, he has a great capacity for melding the hyperreal elements of fantasy with the gritty reality of the urban.
Would discuss the implications of this powerful book further, but I don't want to give away too much of the plot. Highly recommended.
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