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Demons [Paperback]

John Shirley
1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Price: 8.78 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

1 Aug 2003
In a future uncomfortably close to today, theapocalypse has surpassed all expectation. Hideousdemons roam the streets in an orgy of terror,drawing pleasure from torturing humans assadistically as possible. Ira, a young SanFrancisco artist, becomes involved with a strangegroup of scientists and philosophers tryingdesperately to end the siege. Ira and his alliesbelieve these demons were summoned. But what ifit isn't demons who possess men, but men whoposses the demons?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 372 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; New edition edition (1 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345446496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345446497
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,408,124 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful 19 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had a lot of high expectations about this book. First off, there was a lot of irrelevant space filler that did not make much sense, namely the relationship between the main protagonist and and old professor whose dialogue read like the ramblings of a madman. That was the first thing I noticed. Second, the writing style makes it extremely difficult to follow what is going on, lacking in depth explanations for what is going on where he expects the reader to fill in the blanks. That is such lazy writing and I absolutely HATE that. I got this for the kindle and it cost 5.72, please do not waste your money people.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  36 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent short novel from Cemetery Dance folks. 30 Sep 2000
By M. Krzmarzick - Published on
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.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Political horror like you never knew was possible. 14 April 2006
By David Agranoff - Published on
"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. The first half is a savage brutal end of the world tale that is what I imagine fifties monster and bug invasion movies would have felt like with George Lucas's CGI team working on it.

While the second slows down it was something Shirley could not avoid in his attempt to take demons to the level that makes it special as horror novel because it doesn't just have hordes of invading demonic beasts but it has an intelligent and important message. However corny that may sound it isn't. Demons does have it's share of monsters and humor but it is so outrageous at times that it shows a superior level of artistic skill when Shirley pulls the story back in with a poignant message. Not unlike Richard Matheson's classic I Am Legend Shirley questions who are the real monsters, where are the roots of this apocalypse?

The lagging the story does in the middle is quickly forgotten when you get to the end. The finale is a welcome pay-off. For me it was Shirley's desires to break the unwritten rules in the way he describes things and where the plot twists. Demons is one of the most fun books I have read in years and made a devoted fan out of me. John Shirley's latest projects were novelization of the Constantine movie...his next projects are novels based on Hellblazer the comic not the film. And re-issue(slightly re-worked) of his classic horror novel Darkness divided I for one can't wait for those.

Coolest quote of the book: "How like fish you are, swimming in the sea but unaware of it; you are the fishy swimmers awash in a sea of suffering"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fine Horror Novel from John Shirley 20 Aug 2004
By John Kwok - Published on
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.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic and Vivid Tale of Demons 3 Dec 2002
By Elliott Humphrey - Published on
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.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Demons and the Conscious Circle 13 Sep 2000
By A Customer - Published on
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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