The Art of Darkness

More Author Recommendations

April 29th, 2010 by Cobwebs

Following on the heels of the author recommendation I did for Tim Powers, I dug up reviews of two other science fiction authors that might also interest thriller/horror fans. These were both written a couple of years ago, so both authors have published more novels in the interim, including the first book in Morgan’s fantasy series, The Steel Remains, and Simmons’ appealingly gothy Drood.

Incidentally, if you’ve got your own suggestions for spooky SF-type writers, let us know in the comments!

Dan Simmons:

Simmons has done quite a bit of work in the horror genre (Summer of Night, Song of Kali), and his science fiction is tinged with a lot of cringe-inducing imagery. However, his descriptions are amazingly rich and detailed, and his characters seem like real people instead of coatracks to hang ideas on (a complaint I always have about Asimov).

Books to look for include:

  • Hyperion – A group of “pilgrims,” all with dark secrets, travel toward a mysterious, ancient, and deadly shrine on an alien world. Written in the style of The Canterbury Tales, each traveler has his or her own chapter, and they all tell their tales in a distinct voice. Simmons explores some of the things that humans might become, and some of the dangers that may await them in the future.
  • The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of Endymion (the sequels) – None of these are as powerful as Hyperion, but they’re all worth reading. The Fall of Hyperion ties up, more or less, the loose ends from the first book, but it has a tacked-on feeling to it, as though Simmons hadn’t really intended to write a sequel. The two Endymion books explore characters in the same universe, whose fates are related to the goings-on in the Hyperion novels, but the ties are fairly loose.
  • Prayers to Broken Stones – A collection of short stories (including one which became a chapter in Hyperion) covering topics as diverse as the familial implications of returning from the dead, a combat theme park in Vietnam, and psychic vampires, Simmons really shines with short stories.
  • Ilium and Olympos – Three planets (Earth, Mars, and Jupiter), two major literary themes (The Iliad and The Tempest), loads of AIs, cyborgs, hypersentient thingummies, and a couple of confused humans. I haven’t read these two yet, but I’ve had endless paragraphs quoted at me by my husband, whose judgment I trust in such matters.

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