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Carrion Comfort (1989)

de Dan Simmons

Sèrie: Carrion Comfort (intégrale)

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1,759447,096 (3.85)75
Plunging into the darkest corners of 20th-century history, Simmons weaves fact with the fantastic to reveal a secret society of beings that may--or may not--exist behind the world's most horrible and violent events.

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Es mostren 1-5 de 44 (següent | mostra-les totes)
My copy came with a forward by the author in which he explains the trials and tribulations of writing this, his second book, and what he went through to get it published. Quite a story in itself. I enjoyed this book immensely but it is a long read. Simmons does a great job of keeping us hooked and interested. He mentions problems with finding a sympathetic editor and I feel it shows. The plot could have been tightened up, and the showdown finale seems a bit messy, with one of the protagonists going through a lot of physical punishment that made it hard to continue to suspend disbelief. I couldn't help feeling that Simmons doesn't fully explore his observation of human nature, instead choosing to err in favor of a compelling story, a decision that is hard to argue with. I will definitely look for more by this author. ( )
  aeceyton | Dec 26, 2020 |
I don't think characters are Dan Simmons strong point. His people are stereotypes. The evil preacher, the evil Hollywood producer, the evil Nazi, even the Southern sheriff is just the stereotypical fat guy with a little more education. He's not convincing with the black gang members. I suppose the worst thing about the book were the gratuitous rape scenes. It's also one of those novels where the heroes get beaten to an inch of their life, and then get up and do it over and over. They're not brave, they're just stupid, and when they die it's a little hard to have sympathy for them. This formula is common in the Alistair MacLean and Stephen King novels. The overall concept is good, the execution is poor. ( )
  billycongo | Jul 22, 2020 |
This was the second novel Dan Simmons wrote, immediately after Song of Kali. It was not his second published novel, however. Read the introduction to this edition to find out why; it makes a good story on its own, except for the really abrupt ending.

Simmons' genre-hopping tendencies start showing up right here - supposedly a horror story, this reads more like his take on a Robert Ludlum thriller - but with psychic, mind-controlling bad guys. It certainly is a page-turner, which is a good thing given its length, though there is a slow patch right at the beginning of the End Game. Taken along with all the rest of Simmons' output it only strengthens my opinion that this author can turn his hand to any genre and produce competent work.

So - End Game? - what's that all about? There's a chess theme running throughout the novel, which is divided into three sections, Opening, Middle Game and End Game. It's an inextricable part of the novel but towards the end becomes overt and slows the pace at a time when one would expect the opposite. On the other hand, the device solves some serious plot problems in a believable way. I'd be curious as to whether the end-game depicted in the book is considered well played by serious chess players.

One of the protagonists is Jewish and has a tattoo on his arm...this can be a cheap trick by an author in order to gain immediate sympathy and moral authority for the character but in this case such accusations would be false; this book is essentially about the Holocaust and what caused it; that most important of questions, what would you have done? Would you have followed orders and slaughtered Jews by the millions? Would you have done what ever it took to survive as a Jew in the camps, including tacit collaboration, by working for the Nazis? Why is it possible for industrial genocide to take place? Simmons is saying, in a very exaggerated fashion, that dominance of will by a minority or even an individual can cause all of this, though his "mind vampires" are not intended as a completely literal explanation.

Simmons is brave and suggests that the history of the modern state of Israel is not a black-and-white thing and asks what should one be prepared to do to route out evil? How many "innocents" have to die before it becomes morally untenable to take decisive action against a mass murderer who will continue and escalate his activities? Is revenge a moral justification? Is inaction morally justified? Should you involve others in what you know is a deadly conflict? The book does not necessarily answer all these questions - the idea is to make the reader think about them.

The "bad guys" in this book are bad indeed, but one of them is given a 1st person voice and she comes over most strongly as an utterly foul and increasingly deranged character because of it. Sharing her thoughts made me feel unclean - she's an appalling, disgusting creature. It would be easy to call her a monster, not human - but that is a cop out: her bigotry and evil are entirely human and that is what we have to face up to. Humanity has this potential.

This is a good book and thought-provoking but it isn't perfect: it is perhaps too long by 50-100p, the chess theme isn't terribly original or clever and I don't like the very end, though to explain why would add spoilers. Is there any unnecessary literary name dropping? Yes - this time Simmons' favourite "junk" writers are name-checked. These are mainly thriller writers - including Ludlum. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
So I'm changing my final score on this novel from a solid 3 to a generous 4 stars, because the book was JUST THAT UNPREDICTABLE.

That's an odd thing to say as a re-read, no?

There's lots of places where the novel easily deserves a 5 star, just on reflection, alone, and since this came out nearly 30 years ago I'm not going to fuss too much over spoilers.

Do You Like Chess?

Then this novel is for you.

Do you like mind-vampires that look, feel, and act like Donald Trump, Conservative Religious Nutsos, Concentration Camp Masters, or quiet, unassuming matrons who take on entire inner-city gangs?

Then this novel is for you.

Do you also like long and rambling adventures populated by normal folk caught up in the nightmare of marionettes, either trying to escape the nightmare or get revenge for the things that had been done to them? As in Full-Blown Epic-Length rambling and character-development-through-action for almost 900 pages, with a nearly uncountable number of reversals, sad deaths, and improbable successes?

Then this novel is for you.

Honestly, I never had any issues with anything in particular. This was a pretty epic horror novel filled with tons of mind-jumping, mind and body controlling, and history. The focus on the details is what made it pretty damn awesome, but that's what horror is all about.

If I were to put my issue into words, I'd still have a hard time, because its faults were also its strengths. It was unpredictable.

I can't say I liked most of the characters, and it was really hard to actually enjoy being in the minds of the baddies, but Melanie was a real treat. Saul, more than anyone, was complex and multifaceted and sits in my mind, as back when I first read this when it was new, as the quintessential portrait of a nazi-hunter/vampire-hunter. Hell, I've been judging all other novels with the trope by this gold standard ever since.

I'm glad I re-read this, but my god it was long. There was so much, by my older and jaded eyes, that I think could have been cut right the hell out, but it was a horror novel first and foremost, and having a long build-up before the missiles come and destroy the island (or whatever) is still what we seek in the style.

If you want a very long and interesting ride, a near perfect diversion with lots of sex, horror, and a cast of baddies with zero moral fortitude and the undercurrent that they *might* get what's coming to them, then I really recommend this novel. :) ( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
This book gave me nightmares for years! ( )
  ElentarriLT | Mar 24, 2020 |
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"Not, I'll not, carrion comfort, despair, not feast on thee;

Not untwist—slack they may be—these last strands of man

In me or, most weary, cry I can no more..."

—Gerard Manley Hopkins
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Saul Laski lay among the soon-to-die in a camp of death and thought about life.
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Carrion Comfort was published in France as L'Échiquier du mal in multiple editions. There was a single volume (combined with the main Carrion Comfort work), a two volume set and a four volume set. The boxed sets are combined into the main Carrion Comfort work, but the individual volumes should not be combined together.
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Plunging into the darkest corners of 20th-century history, Simmons weaves fact with the fantastic to reveal a secret society of beings that may--or may not--exist behind the world's most horrible and violent events.

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Mitjana: (3.85)
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