April 1, 2003
When award-winning author Dan Simmons ’70 gives a reading from his prolific and wide-ranging body of fiction, one thing is certain—the audience is in for a surprise. There’s simply no telling where the evening will take you.
Witness these reviews from Simmons’ three most recent works:
"Simmons writes action scenes that'll leave your hands clammy on the page," Booklist says in describing the author’s noir crime novel Hardcase.
"A cracking good read . . . surely the first psychological/horror masterpiece of the 21st century," was the Denver Post’s description of Simmons’ 2001 novel A Winter Haunting.
"The author's lapidary prose and ambitious ideas mesh seamlessly in this mesmerizing meditation about humanity's place in the cosmic scheme," Publisher’s Weekly wrote about "The End of Gravity," one of five novellas in Simmons 2002 collection Worlds Enough and Time. "The work has the intensity of a prose poem."
The writer Stephen King wrote of Simmons’ Summer of Night: "An American nightmare with scares, suspense, and a sweet, surprising nostalgia. One of those rare must-read books!"
Currently, it’s the writer’s science fiction that has the publishing world abuzz, as his epic Ilium, based on Homer’s Iliad, is scheduled for release in July 2003. Simmons’ previous science fiction novels—Hyperion and Endymion—gained the writer legions of fans and international awards, and Hyperion is currently optioned to a major movie studio, with actor Leonardo DeCaprio interested in playing a leading role.
The author admits that creating Ilium was a struggle.
"The plot was like a cage of snakes that I was supposed to tie in some sort of elaborate knot, and while I was busy working on a clever knot with three of the snakes, the fourth one would be busy biting me on the ass," Simmons says in an interview in the Fall/Winter 03 issue of Wabash Magazine. "Eventually I dropped out of the world, spent a month off email, over a month away from the phone except for the most important calls, and just went back to the mat. And the first volume of this tale shaped itself up. Whether it ultimately works or not, this is the book I wanted to write."
So at Monday night’s reading, will it be science fiction, horror, speculative fiction, hard-boiled crime noir, mainstream fiction, or a little of each? Simmons hasn’t decided yet.
Come find out at 8 p.m. Monday, April 7, in Center 216.
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