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The Terror Paperback – 1 Jan 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 944 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (1 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553818201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553818208
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 4.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 68,715 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


"Simmons has created a chilling supernatural novel... the horrific trials of their impending icy deaths are vividly brought to life" (DAILY EXPRESS)

"One of the most remarkable things I've read... nothing short of a masterpiece. It is a bona fide tour de force" (SFREVU)

"I am in awe of Dan Simmons" (STEPHEN KING)

"Go out and buy this book... a fantastic achievement. Gripping, well-observed, and at times genuinely frightening" (SFX)

"A revelation. Dan Simmons is a giant among novelists" (LINCOLN CHILD)

Book Description

The bestselling author of Ilium transforms the story of the ill-fated Franklin Expedition into a devastating historical adventure that will chill you to your core.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By J. Cronin VINE VOICE on 23 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
The Terror is based on the true story of the ill-fasted Franklin expedition to the Arctic in search of the Northwest Passage. Two ships, the Erebus and the Terror, set sail to find the passage and were never seen again by white men. Graves and artefacts were found by other later explorers but the story of the hundred plus men will never be fully known.

Simmons cleverly uses this true story as the base for this fantastically thrilling novel. The dark nature of the human psyche is the true monster in this tale, not the huge beast that is methodically slaughtering crew members. The decline of the human body and the human mind is brilliantly explored and proves to be more chilling than the brutal attacks of the white beast. The story is well researched and it's all too easy to imagine yourself there in the dark and the cold, wrapped in clothes that never fully dry out. The invasion of the white Europeans into the lands of the native Inuit is also introduced in this book through the use of Inuit mythology.

This is a large book and the pace is somewhat glacial, if you'll pardon the pun. However, it's well worth the read. Just wrap up warm as you read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By M. Marshall on 3 April 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a little hesitant about reading this book, not being a geat fan of historical novels and having been left not particularly impressed by the only other Simmons novel I've read, A Winter Haunting. Generally speaking though, I found this to be an interesting and entertaining read, which, considering it's the best part of a thousand pages and mostly set on an immobile ship is someting of an achievement. Only the epilogue, which was a bit obscure and mystical for my taste, disappointed.

The nature of the story, which takes place over a number of years, and its isolated setting mean that a certain ammount of patience and commitment is required by the reader - not because its boring but because the plot requires the necessary time and detail to reveal itself in a realistic and believable manner. It's as far-removed from the Dan Brown style of smash bang wallop no-time-to-breathe story-telling as you can get.

A word of warning though: this is not a book about a monster - it's a book about a polar expedition with occasional guest appearances by a monster. If you're expecting The Thing you'll be disappointed.

If, like me, you were completely ignorant of the Franklin expedition then this book is also something of an education. Although highly fictionalised it nevertheless inspired me to investigate the factual events that inspired this novel.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clarence on 25 Nov. 2010
Format: Paperback
This is one of my favourite novels ever....although I have to admit I don't get a lot of time for reading I devour anything that is set or themed in my birth place.
The Terror describes the ill fated Franklin expedition to find the fable North West Passage...(If I was around I would've been more than happy to point them in the right direction)
As the ships are stuck fast in the ice strange things begin to happen and what follows is a supernatural series of events that the reader is not quite sure is actually happening or not. Starvation starts to affect the men's minds. It is a shame frozen foods weren't invented as I'm sure the lack of vitamin C could have been easily remedied by some frozen petite pois to accompany the seal meat.
But that's beside the point..The Terror is a great thrilling read...I recommend to anyone who wants to experience icy thrills.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carl Bedson on 1 Sept. 2013
Format: Paperback
An excellent fictionalised accounting of the doomed Franklin expedition. If you are not yet familiar with that tale, it may be first helpful to research it using a book such as Glyn Williams' Arctic Labyrinth.
What Dan Simmons has done - so very fabulously - is to write an intriguing and highly believable (mostly) description of the circumstances, choices and heroism of this famous British exploration.
The book starts a little joltingly flitting back and forth over a couple of years, yet then the context and events start to unfold and you are drawn in. Written from the perspective of different characters you get an empathetic and honest feel of what it might have been like to be stranded, freezing, dying of hunger amongst the Arctic ice sheets, almost knowing you will never escape. The various viewpoints are a fascinating and plausible composition of Victorian explorers and sailors: you see bravery, ingenuity, honour and yet also maliciousness, cowardice and betrayal. You read the debates and arguments that take place amongst the protagonists, men wrestling with desperate decisions that could mean their improbable survival or likely starvation - thes debates are heart wrending, frustrating, agonizing, poignant... you almost want to get on board the ships, shake these guys and tell them about their forthcoming disasters.
As a creative and imagined description of history, this book is amazing. Well researched and utterly believable.
The further story which is behind the book: the thing on the ice - sometimes this is almost incidental. Just the sheer Victorian frozen ship claustrophobia is enough. However, eventually the thing on the ice story starts to make sense, feels complementary to the human horror saga and finishes the book poetically and philosophically.
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