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         Early Reviews of THE TERROR
         THE TERROR to publish Jan 07
         THE TERROR US and UK Covers
            THE TERROR Blog Review
         OLYMPOS Out in Paperback
         Curtis on the Future of Publishing
         Darwin's Blade in the Comics
         Gollancz Orion brings out OLYMPOS



First reviews for The Terror, which will be published by Little, Brown in early January, are appearing in journals such as Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and Library Journal. These reviews are primarily for those who purchase for bookstores, chains, and for individual book buyers who want to keep abreast of what's being published in coming months.

A starred review at Kirkus or Publishers Weekly alerts readers and buyers to a book of special significance.

Publishers Weekly Galley Talk

(Note: “Galley Talk” is a column in Publishers Weekly in which booksellers get to talk about upcoming titles that they’ve read in proof form – galleys – and which they’re very excited about. Only one book appears in Galley Talk per issue. The following appeared in Publishers Weekly in October.)

Frazer Dobson, Park Road Books in Charlotte, NC
I've always enjoyed Dan Simmons's work, but nothing he's done has blown me away like his new novel, THE TERROR. This gripping story of seamen trapped in the Arctic ice while something big and nasty devours them one by one held me rapt for the nearly 800 pages. The characters leap off the page, and despite it's length, there's not an ounce of fat or filler. I'm going to be pushing this one hard to anyone who enjoys great adventure stories--it is technically a horror tale, but Simmons's skill in putting you right in the middle of the frozen action lifts it above genre fiction. It's going to be a good Father's Day handsell, too. Anyone who enjoys Patrick O'Brian or tales or Arctic expeditions is going to love it. I sure wish it were going to be out in time for Christmas, but, hey, people have to spend their Book Sense gift cards on something, right? The first great read of 2007.

Publishers Weekly Starred Review

The Terror
DAN SIMMONS. Little, Brown, $25.99
(784p) ISBN 978-0-316-01744-2
Hugo-winner Simmons
(Olympos) brings the horrific trials and tribulations of arctic exploration vividly to life in this beautifully written historical, which injects a note of supernatural horror into the 1840s Franklin expedition and its doomed search for the Northwest Passage. Sir John Franklin, the leader of the expedition and captain of the Erebus, is an aging fool. Francis Crozier,his second in command and captain of the Terror, is a competent sailor, but embittered after years of seeing lesser men with better connections given preferment over him. With their two ships quickly trapped in pack ice, their voyage is a disaster from start to finish. Some men perish from disease, others from the cold, still others from botulism traced to tinned food purchased from the lowest bidder. Madness, mutiny and cannibalism follow. And then there’s the monstrous creature from the ice, the thing like a polar bear but many times larger, possessed of a dark and vicious intelligence. This complex tale should find many devoted readers and add significantly to Simmons’s already considerable reputation.

Kirkus Starred Review

Horror novel based on an ill-fated 19th-century polar expedition.

Simmons (Olympos, 2005, etc.) tells the story through the eyes of several characters, including the expedition’s leader, Sir John Franklin, co-commander Captain Francis Crozier and the ship’s surgeon Harry Goodsir. The author jumbles the chronological sequence, beginning in October 1847 with Terror (one of the expedition’s two ships; the other was Erebus) trapped in the ice north of Canada, where they have come in search of the Northwest Passage. The initial scene immediately introduces the novel’s main supernatural element: a giant bear-like entity (the crew call it the thing) that preys on the explorers and appears invulnerable to their weapons. The expedition is in enough trouble without this hostile being’s attention. Food is short, thanks in part to improperly prepared canned goods; the ships have been frozen in thick sea ice for two consecutive winters; many of the crew show signs of scurvy; and temperatures have been consistently 50 or more degrees below zero. Overconfident Franklin has disobeyed orders to leave behind messages detailing his movements, so rescue expeditions have no idea where to search for him. Crozier, for his part, is a chronic drunk, although it doesn’t seem to affect his command of his ship and men. Simmons convincingly renders both period details and the nuts and bolts of polar exploration as his narrative moves back and forth in time to show the expedition’s launch in 1845 and its early days in the Arctic. Tension builds as the men struggle to survive: The thing is a constant menace, and deaths continue to mount as a result of brutal Arctic conditions. The supernatural element helps resolve the plot in a surprising yet highly effective manner.

One of Simmons’ best. (Agent: Richard Curtis/Richard Curtis Associates Inc.)
. . .
Simmons, Dan
Little, Brown (784 pp.)
paper $18.00
Jan. 8, 2007
ISBN: 0-316-01744-2
paper: 0-316-11328-X

Library Journal Review for Nov. 15

(November 15, 2006; 0-316-01744-3; 978-0-316-01744-2)

Though Simmons is best known for his convoluted sf novels Hyperion, Ilium, and Olympos, his new work shows that he’s also capable of writing a direct and compelling narrative. For the moste part, it’s a straightforward sea story following the difficulties of the dwindling remains of Sir John Franklin’s failed 1840’s mission to find the Northwest Passage. However, in addition to scurvy, frostbite, botulism, snow-blindness, and threats of mutiny, the crews of HMS Terror and HMS Erebus are harried by some enormous Thing out on the ice. The story is told from the viewpoints of several members of the ships’ crews, with emphasis on Terror captain Francis Crozier and Erebus surgeon Harry Goodsir. The effects of malnutrition and climate on the men are related in grisly detail, while the predations of the Thing are often left vague. As several characters remark, the real monsters in this tale are their own shipmates and the North itself. It’s clear that Simmons devoted a lot of t ime to researching the history of the Franklin Expedition. Highly recommended for all fiction collections.


THE TERROR On Schedule for January, 2007 Publication from Little, Brown

Dan reports that preparation for the January publication of The Terror is on schedule.

“Editorial and marketing work for a 100,000-copy initial hardcover release of The Terror is proceeding according to plan,” said Dan in late August. “I’m scheduled to receive and review the page proofs for the book starting September 11 with a return date on those of Sept. 29. It’s a big job for a book of this scope and complexity and we’re taking great care with it.”

Advance Readers’ Copies (ARCs) of The Terror, bound copies of an earlier version of the manuscript, will be sent out to buyers and reviewers and clever informational and promotion packets – folded packets looking like interlocking icebergs with looseleaf sheets, summaries, and drawings inside – have also been distributed.

“Artist Jeffrey L. Ward has completed the endpaper maps based on my drawings,” said Dan. “I think they’ll give the reader a better sense of the actual wanderings of the ships and men of the 1845 Sir John Franklin Expedition without giving away the fates of the men or ships.”

Movie interest in The Terror has already been expressed by several directors and studios and the manuscript has been shared with some well-known names.

In December, 2005, the following news item appeared in the closely followed “Publisher’s Lunch” bulletin –

The Terror
A Novel

Dan Simmons

A riveting thriller blending the rich historical detail of a Patrick O'Brian novel with the suspense and terror of the best of Stephen King, about two 19th century ice ships preyed upon by a beast of supernatural strength.

Hope of rescue is dwindling for sailors aboard two ships trapped in the Arctic on the ill-fated 1845 Sir John Franklin Expedition to find the North-West Passage. They’ve been locked in frozen waters for months—the climate is unbearably frigid, their food supply is spoiling, their fuel is diminishing, and the ice is slowly crushing both vessels and pulling them into the sea. But the men of ships Erebus and Terror are fighting to survive more than just treacherous conditions—some ungodly monster of unimaginable size, strength, and intelligence is attacking them at random, leaving some bodies unrecognizable and taking others away into the icy night.
The only one among them who seems invulnerable to the beast is an alluring Eskimo woman they’ve rescued from the ice, but her eerie calm and late night flights from the ship make the sailors—particularly hardheaded Captain Crozier—suspicious. With the aid of a young surgeon, Crozier overcomes illness and mutiny to preserve his ship and his charges, but as months pass the merciless Arctic and the insatiable predator turn good men into savages during what becomes a losing battle to survive.

  • Based on the true story of two ice ships that disappeared in the Arctic circle during the 1845 Sir John Franklin Expedition, THE TERROR is a meticulously researched and fascinating account of 19th century seafaring life with all the suspense and terror of any of the literary thrillers that have dominated the bestseller lists recently.
  • Dan Simmons’s work has been lauded by critics and writers and has earned him a devoted fan base no matter what genre he tackles. With THE TERROR, Simmons is poised to break out even wider.

Praise for Dan Simmons:

“I am in awe of Dan Simmons.” –Stephen King
“Dan Simmons is brilliant.” –Dean Koontz
“Dan Simmons is one of those writers who does everything well.” –Orlando Sentinel

Dan Simmons is a recipient of a Hugo Award and the author of critically acclaimed suspense novels and science fiction novels. He makes his home in Colorado.
First serial, audio: Little, Brown and Company



Below we have a final cover proof for the Little, Brown US cover for The Terror and an earlier proof (which will be modified) for the Transworld – UK Bantam version of The Terror.


Dan asks – “Which one of these do you readers prefer? The UK or the US version? Feel free to give me your opinions on the Dan Simmons Forum.”

Some of Dan’s early suggestions to his publisher for cover art for The Terror included such classics as this 19th Century painting of the HMS Erebus and Terror.

Or this 1860’s drawing of three of the Franklin Expedition’s crew members graves on remote Beechey Island, based on a sketch by Dr. Kane who led an expedition searching for Franklin –

Or these wonderful sea- and icescapes by the great JMW Turner –



Or, perhaps his favorite, this mural at a Polish university by a 19th Century artist obsessed with the Franklin Expedition’s last days –


Early Blog Review of THE TERROR

Even though Advance Readers’ Copies of The Terror are just in the process of going out to reviewers, reps and book customers have received their ARCs and here is one early opinon posted on the SIBA web site, from a bookstore reviewer with a blog in Charlotte, who also sent a review to Booksense.


Book #27: Dan Simmons’ The Terror

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:11 pm by Frazer

So last night, I was in the kitchen about 7.30, working on dinner (chicken piccata–a good quick meal for a Wednesday night), when Sally came in the kitchen, and said, “Where’s my dinner? I’m hungry!” (When it comes to food, Sally–and, indeed, the entire Brewster clan–is very direct.)

“I’m working on it, honey, almost finished. We’ll have dinner in fifteen minutes.”

Then she noticed that I was leaning over something on the counter next to the cutting board where I was mincing shallots. “Hey,” she said. “You’re reading while you’re cooking! You never do that!”

“I know,” I admitted, “but I’ve only got 100 more pages, and I’ve got to finish it tonight!”

And I did. It had taken over my life. I thought about it whenever I wasn’t reading it. Its length (nearly 800 pages) and my generally slow reading pace made sure it would take me a while, but two weeks for such a long book is pretty good for me. And whenever I was in the same room with it and not otherwise occupied, I had to read it.

“It,” of course, is Dan Simmons’ marvelous new novel, The Terror. (Text note: since “Terror” in the title refers to a ship, I know that technically it’s supposed to be italicized as The Terror. But I’m too lazy to be a stickler today.) Most of us have probably run across a little Dan Simmons sometime in our careers. He writes fine novels across a variety of genres (fantasy, sci-fi, horror, hardboiled mysteries), and I’ve long been a fan of his horror novels. I thought Summer of Night, for instance, was much better than its thematic relative, Stephen King’s obnoxiously overstuffed It.

So when my Hachette rep Marty Conroy sold me a new novel by Simmons which was about the men of a lost Arctic expedition from the late 1840s stuck in the ice and stalked by a monstrous predator, I was more than a little interested. The marketing blurbs trumpeted, “Patrick O’Brian meets Stephen King!” Okay, I’m not so much the O’Brian fan, but large horrifying creatures eating people has been a favorite book and movie theme of mine for many, many years. I anxiously awaited the galley.
When it came, my initial excitement was quickly smothered by dread, 760 pages? This sucker is going to take me weeks! But Marty had told me a picky colleague of his had read and loved it, so I decided to put it next on the pile.

Well, it did take weeks. Two weeks, to be exact. And they were two weeks very well spent. As I said, the novel is riveting. I never once, in all its 760 pages, thought, “Okay, this is slowing up, move it ahead!” It does not let up for a minute. The situation at the start of the novel is that the Franklin expedition (which actually did get lost in the Arctic in 1847), consisting of two ships (Erebus and Terror), has, in seeking the Northwest Passage, gotten stuck during the winter far north of the Arctic Circle. They have already spent one winter in their position, and in 1847, there isn’t enough of a summer to get the ships free. (The Erebus is already smashed beyond repair, though the crew use it for shelter.) As they face down the winter of 1847, which of course is dark 24/7 and very very cold, their captain Sir John Franklin is dead and supplies are dwindling. They may or may not be able to make it to the summer, and if the summer’s too cold, they’ll still be stuck. They’re thousands of miles from any chance of rescue. And did I mention the fact that men keep disappearing from the ships and coming back in pieces, if at all?

Yes, friends, the situation is bad enough, but the ships’ crews have company on the ice. Very bad company indeed. As if putrefying rations, treachery, near mutiny, a mysterious tongueless Esquimaux woman, dire cold, and the constant threat of scurvy aren’t enough.

And, oh, man, does Simmons do right by his material. His writing has never been better. The action scenes never drag the way they often do in long novels. The characters are real, flawed, living, breathing creations, especially the incompetent Sir John Franklin, the heroic Captain Francis Crozier, the equally heroic Doctor Goodsir. I feel that I have lived this novel with its characters, and I’ve taken about all the freezing weather and constant fear of mutiny I can. Seal blubber even sounds appetizing to me now. But you can bet I’ll be drinking my orange juice to ward off scurvy. You don’t want to die of that, believe me.
If this sounds like something you’d like, do NOT miss the Rep Around Galley Breakfast, on Sunday starting at 7.30 am. Marty Conroy tells me he will have a limited number of galleys there. No, it doesn’t come out until after Christmas, but people have to spend their gift cards on something, don’t they?

Next up: Marisha Pessl’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics.


OLYMPOS Out in Mass-market Paperback

With the July, 2006 release of Olympos in paperback, the entire Ilium-Olympos saga, beginning with the 2005 Hugo-nominated Ilium and concluding with Olympos, is now available in mass-market paperback format.

Intertwining Homeric themes of fate, ceremony, friendship, duty, and courage with nonstop action and cutting-edge 21st Century SF sophistication, the Ilium-Olympos saga has been called one of the great achievements in contemporary speculative fiction.

Nick Givers said in LOCUS – “Considered as a great explosion of Story, Dan Simmons’s OLYMPOS , sequel to the already voluminous ILIUM (2003), is a supreme achievement . . . this is, in other words, something resembling the ultimate SF novel, a convergence of most, if not all, of SF’s idioms and narrative potentials in a synthesis so commanding that it might appear to put a capstone to the entire literary project that is SF, obviating any need to go further . . . for readers seeking to understand what SF is and what it can be, the ILIUM/OLYMPOS diptych will for the time being be the cynosure.

Kirkus Review of OLYMPOS

A sequel to Simmons's ILIUM (2003) offers up the Trojan War along with elements from The Tempest, The Time Machine, Victorian poets and pop SF.

ILIUM ended with the Greek and Trojan heroes allied against the Olympian gods, advanced space-going robots called moravecs aiding the human side. Meanwhile, in a different reality, a lovely but decadent human civilization is under attack from its feral former servants, the robotlike voynix. A third plot strand now updates the conflict between the sorcerer Prospero, Caliban and Caliban's monstrous god Setebos. And the revived 20th-century American scholar Hockenberry attempts to chronicle the events while making love to volatile Helen of Troy. Simmons brings each subplot to a boil and spins off sub-subplots about Achilles' love for a dead Amazon queen, Odysseus' voyage to the alternate Earth with the moravecs, the arrival of Setebos and his minions in what was once Paris, etc. Everything comes together into a solid adventure story, with all the mysteries explained in respectably up-to-date SF terms. At the same time, Simmons adopts the device of having his characters quote freely from Homer, Shakespeare, Shelley, Browning, Proust and a host of other sources that liberal arts majors can have fun spotting. The author often gives his borrowings an ironic twist--as when Odysseus quotes Tennyson's "Ulysses" to a classical scholar who half-recognizes the poem, or when Prospero objects to playing himself in a production of The Tempest, not wanting to memorize so many lines. Homeric tags alternate with tough-guy street talk, and several of the moravec scientists turn out to be Star Trek fans. Simmons's gift for vivid description is evident throughout, as well. He effectively combines a serious subject, ironic perspective, strong action and believable (if not always sympathetic) characters.

Ambitious, witty, moving: Simmons at his best.

Publishers Weekly Review of OLYMPOS

DAN SIMMONS.Eos,$25.95 (576p)
ISBN 0-380-97894-6
Shakespeare’s rawing fromTempest Homer’sand the Iliad, work of several 19th-century poets, Simmons achieves another triumph in this majestic, if convoluted, sequel to his much-praised Ilium (2003). Posthumans masquerading as the Greek gods and living on Mars travel back and forth through time and alternate universes to interfere in the real Trojan War, employing a resurrected late 20th-century classics professor, Thomas Hockenberry, as their tool. Meanwhile, the last remaining old-style human beings on a far-future Earth must struggle for survival against a variety of hostile forces. Superhuman entities with names
like Prospero, Caliban and Ariel lay complex plots, using human beings as game pieces. From the outer solar system, an
advanced race of semiorganic Artificial Intelligences, called moravecs, observe Earth and Mars in consternation, trying to
make sense of the situation, hoping to shift the balance of power before out-of-control quantum forces destroy everything.
This is powerful stuff, rich in both high- tech sense of wonder and literary allusions, but Simmons is in complete control of his material as half a dozen baroque plot lines smoothly converge on a rousing and highly satisfying conclusion. Agent, Richard Curtis.7-city author tour. (June 28)


The Future of Publishing Now

In an important recent Backspace speech that has received much attention from publishers, booksellers, agents, and authors, New York literary agent Richard Curtis explains that the salvation of publishing in the 21st Century may already be here in –

By Richard Curtis

It’s me with another crackbrained prediction about the future of publishing. (We’ll ignore the fact that every crackbrained prediction I’ve ever made has come to pass.) And the one I’m going to make today is going to come to pass, too.

Let me start with a question or two. How many of you check on your amazon.com ranking? And how many of you are aware that unpublished books are also ranked on amazon? That is, as soon as your forthcoming book is listed on amazon, it begins getting ranked. Even though it’s not scheduled for five or six months, an eagerly anticipated book may post a strong ranking. Now, how can that be? How can a book show up in the rankings when it hasn’t even been published?

(click here to continue reading THE SUBSCRIPTION REVOLUTION. . .)


Darwin's Blade in the Comic Strips

As recently noted by a reader posting on the Dan Simmons' Forum, the following comic strip by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum dealing with Dan's accident-investigation thriller, DARWIN'S BLADE, (copyright 2000, published by William Morrow), appeared on "Unshelved Comics Archive" at overduemedia.com. You can visit their site for more library comic goodness via this link: http://www.overduemedia.com/archive.aspx?strip=20050911





Dan’s U.K. publisher ORION – an imprint of Gollancz of London – is reissuing Dan’s backlist in the U.K., beginning with THE HYPERION OMBNIBUS – a gathering of HYPERION and THE FALL OF HYPERION into one volume, a first for British readers – and last year published ILIUM at about the same time as the American edition hit the stands. In 2005, Orion will publish OLYMPOS.

Response to ILIUM has been strong in the U.K. and includes some of the following –

“Exuberant. Visceral detail, breathtaking audacity”
                                  -Justina Robson, THE GUARDIAN

“Sets the standard for SF in the new century”
                                  -Peter F. Hamilton

“Grade A hyper-imaginative space opera and about as unmissable as Science Fiction gets”

The covers for the ORION editions are especially striking – following the visual theme of the ancient helmet seen as a scarred planetoid first used for the cover of ILIUM.



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