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Carrion Comfort [Paperback]

Dan Simmons
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 July 2010

Carrion Comfort penetrates the darkest recesses of the 20th century, as one man seeks to justify his belief that a secret society of powerful beings is behind many of the world's most horrific catastrophes. Ranking among the greatest reinventions of the vampire legend, this classic novel explores humanity's attraction to violence and what it means for our future.

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Carrion Comfort + The Terror + Summer of Night
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Product details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus; Revised 20th anniversary ed edition (1 July 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849162212
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849162210
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 202,978 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.

Product Description


'Carrion Comfort is one of the three greatest horror novels of the 20th century. Simple as that' Stephen King.

'A nightmarish chronicle of predator and prey that will shatter your world view forever. A true classic' Guillermo del Toro.

From the Back Cover

THE PAST. Caught behind the lines of Hitler's Final Solution, Saul Laski is one of the multitudes destined to die in the notorious Chelmno extermination camp. But he will soon fall into the clutches of an evil far older and greater than the Nazis themselves. THE PRESENT. A rare few individuals have the Ability - the psychic power to influence the minds of others. Each year they meet to discuss their ongoing campaign of debauchery and slaughter. But this year things are not going according to plan... The story that follows spans decades and continents and penetrates the darkest recesses of the 20th century. As well as ranking among the greatest reinventions of the vampire legend, Carrion Comfort explores humanity's attraction to violence and what it means for our future. Revised and reissued for the 20th anniversary of its first publication, with a brand new introduction by Dan Simmons.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly haunting story 15 Jan 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dan Simmons is famous for his much-heralded SF epic "Hyperion Cantos" (winner of the 1990 Hugo Award for SF), but he has written many other books, horror as well as SF.
"Carrion Comfort" is one of his earlier horror books. It is a chilling story about a group of vampire-like, mutated humans, who do not feed on blood, but on other people's minds. Their so-called Ability enables them to enter a person's mind, take over control and force the victim to do whatever they want him to. Their favourite game is putting their victims up to killing other people.
Dr. Saul Laski, a Jewish psychiatrist, accidentally meets one of these 'mind rapists' during World War II in a concentration camp in Poland. He manages to escape and decides to spend the rest of his life searching for this horrible character. A series of killings in the town of Charleston in 1980 finally puts Laski on to the right track. In collaboration with Natalie Preston, a girl whose father has been murdered by one of these creatures, he follows the bloody trail left by the mind vampires.
This is not just another vampire story. It is an original and disturbing tale about a small group of apparently ordinary people, whose insatiable appetite for violence and their ability to control other people's minds transforms them into monsters. The vivid descriptions of the principal characters and of the 'mind rapes' experienced by the vampires' victims, really send shivers down your spine. In spite of the generally dark and gloomy atmosphere of the book, Simmons occasionally manages to squeeze in some rather funny passages too.
If you're into horror stories and you'd like to read a really good one, try "Carrion Comfort". I'm sure you won't be disappointed.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unlikely hero meets tormentor from the past 27 Oct 2004
Simmons conjures up a race within-the-race of humans, with tremendous mental powers, who can make any other soul obey their smallest wish. The power keeps them strong and young, far stronger and far younger than they ought to be.
They use their powers differently, a Television preacher to enhance his wealth, a slimy producer to get more sex, but the strongest of them all is of course the most frightening..
An old Gestapo devil, with many lives on his hands, still resides on his private island and has a great future planned for the human race, as he plans to make the world's leaders start the Final War against each other.
Only a few stand against him, one old woman of considerable powers herself(yet not nearly strong enough for the combined evil forces..)A young black woman and an overweight white southern state sheriff make an unusual couple in their hometown and joins the fight,together with an old jewish ex-death camp prisoner.
How does one protect oneself against an enemy who reads your thoughts and may command your will? An enemy that can find you wherever you hide?
The book is a page-turner, in spite of its colossal format(some 900 pages) and I strongly recommend it to anyone who loves horror books or modern fantasy.
Mr Simmons is a writer of great proportion, although far too unknown an translated in my country.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and inventive horror epic! 3 May 1999
By A Customer
Dan Simmons is a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to writing fiction. He is also, I'm happy to report, a genuine master of each. From the mind-blowing SF of his 'Hyperion Cantos' to the small-town nostalgia (and horror) of 'Summer of Night; from the chaos theory mathematics of 'The Hollow Man' to the 'psycho-analysis' of a retired astronaut in 'Phases of Gravity'; from a original modern twist on the vampire myth in 'Children of the Night' to the taut historical thriller of 'The Crook Factory', Dan Simmons has it all.
'Carrion Comfort' is no exception to his genre-breaking nature. Simmons single-handedly redefines the epic horror novel, so long the sole territory of authors such as Stephen King and Dean Koontz.
This is a very gripping tale, and very surpising. Just when you think you have everything sorted in your mind Simmons pulls the rug from under you and sends you well and truly spinning. It is a high recommendation indeed when you can say of a novel that spans nearly to 1,000 pages that you wished it were longer. (Simmons' own 'Hyperion Cantos' sequence of SF novels exceeds 2,400 pages over 4 volumes and the same wish is also true of that tale.)
This is a true horror classic in every sense of the word. I just wish that Dan Simmons got the recognition that he so rightly deserves in terms of worldwide sales.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars has some moments but drags for the most part 23 Feb 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It's just too long. I can handle long. Stephen's King's IT is of similar length and that flew by. But this has crazy amounts of padding that are an effort to get through.As the story progresses it becomes more and more corny with lots of cheesey dialogue.
The bad guys are pretty interesting and have such an ambivalent attitude to murders that I carried on reading just to enjoy their eventual downfall. The last chapter in that respect is a kick in the guts and i felt cheated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Who's On Your Mind? 29 Jun 2012
By John M. Ford TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Dan Simmons' novel is science fiction because some of its characters have an unusual ability to invade, control, and destroy other people's minds. It is horror because of how most of them use this power. Readers will anticipate some of these manipulations, recognize others as understandable extensions of everyday evils, and certainly be horrified by new evils from the author's able imagination.

Simmons' "mind vampires" hide in our society, controlling financial transactions, government policy, and media events from behind the scenes. Some play games to see how many people they can force to kill each other. Some aspire to more expansive versions of these games involving armies or entire countries. They have their feuds and disagreements with each other, too. Some are friendly; some are fatal.

In this story a group of the mind vampires is hunted by an unusual trio of ordinary human beings. Bobby Joe Gentry is a South Carolina sheriff trying to solve a series of seemingly random murders. Natalie Preston is looking for an explanation for her father's murder--and for his killer. Saul Laski is a psychiatrist, expert on violent behavior, and a WWII concentration camp survivor. Having encountered mind vampires operating in the Third Reich, only Saul begins the hunt with a clear idea of what the three are pursuing.

The story is good. Both the strengths and limitations of the mind vampires' "Ability" are addressed plausibly. Some interesting differences emerge in how the Ability is used to serve different, but equally selfish goals. The existence of "neutrals" who are unaffected by the Ability is a necessary plot device. But it is used with restraint, allowing the main struggle to occur between the mind vampires and ordinary, determined human beings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Stephen Kings favourite?
All right story,but hard to describe it as a horror novel.More along the line of the old 80s movie Scanners.
Published 5 days ago by Peachy
1.0 out of 5 stars dissapointed
I have to admit to being very disappointed by this book. I had read song of Kali which I loved and was looking for more stories by the same author . Read more
Published 1 month ago by Hollycat
4.0 out of 5 stars Fun read
A tense, supernatural style thriller. The idea is good and there are some great set-piece scenes. It is long and i have to admit by the end i was skipping some of the descriptive... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Neb
2.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing.
I'm a big fan of Dan Simmons and would rate The Hyperion Cantos and The Terror as two of my favourite books, but Carrion Comfort was a real disappointment. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Phobophore
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it if you love horror
One of the best horror novels. BUY IT !!!! It doesn' t get much better than this. Plus it was only 50 pence.
Published 5 months ago by richard lampshire
5.0 out of 5 stars You won't be able to put it down
One of the best thrillers I have ever read. As dark as they come. One of those books that you simply cannot walk away from once you have started.
Published 9 months ago by antoine petit
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
Lots of action, lots of twists, this book kept me on the edge of my seat all the way through.
Action/Horror.. what more could you want!
Published 12 months ago by David
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
As usual, Dan Simmons did it again!
It is a great story, greatly woven and skilfully concluded. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Sleep Mode
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic - but also flawed
Dan Simmons is an award winning writer of sf and horror. Carrion comfort is one of his earliest books.
The book has been rereleased on its 20th anniversary. Read more
Published on 13 April 2012 by D. J. Ketchin
4.0 out of 5 stars Epic
"Carrion Comfort" is an epic tale that spans several decades and features a multitude of characters. Read more
Published on 19 Nov 2011 by Z de MC
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