Dan Simmons may be best known for his Hugo Award-winning far-future science fiction tetralogy, which includes Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, and Rise of Endymion. But he is equally at home with horror novels like the just-released Carrion Comfort, Summer of Night, and A Winter Haunting, and with the detective stories in his Joe Kurtz series.
Recent novels The Terror, about a real attempt to find the Northwest Passage, and Drood, which combines the life of Charles Dickens with the plot of the Dickens’ unfinished final work, combine intricately accurate historical plots with disturbing supernatural frisson. Look for more of the same in Black Hills, due out next week.
Regardless of plot or theme, four elements that define Simmons’ works are his thorough research, his literate writing style, his careful delineation of characters, and the vivid detail of his settings, whether on board space ships, on faraway planets or, as in Black Hills, on the grasslands of South Dakota, the Chicago World’s Fair and the face (and faces) of Mount Rushmore.