Monday, November 8, 2010

The Terror by Dan Simmons and Other News

Although I have been reading consistently through out the post, none of the books I have read have me as excited to pick up and continue as this one. This book was named one of the "best books of the decade" by the A.V. Club, and so far I completely agree.

From the moment I picked it up, I was hooked. It puts you right in the middle of the chaos, and slowly spreads out to fill you in on the background and characters, never loosing the level of intensity and danger that looms.

Set in 1845-1847, two ships head out to find the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. After miscalculating and bad judgment, they end up getting trapped in the packed ice, unable to move, and having to wait for the ice to melt enough to get out. Lasting over a two summers and heading into another winter, their supplies are running out. The prospect of running out of food and heat in the Arctic and having to face another winter would be enough of a compelling story, but the author doesn't stop there. He puts another danger against the crew, in the form of some sort of 12 foot monster that seems to be killing them for sport for than food.

The only thing that I know about the monster is that it isn't a polar bear, and the author makes that quite clear, but only being about a third of the way into it, I still don't have a clear picture of what this thing is. Being told through different viewpoints of the crew, they still have yet to fully view the monster as it hunts them through the snow storms and full darkness that winter brings to the Arctic.

So far, this is a great read and am not getting any hint of that I will be disappointed by the end. I am eager to look towards other books by this author to see what else he is capable of. That is the true measure of a good book, in my opinion anyway.

Other News-
I recently saw that Leonardo Dicaprio has signed on to play America's first Serial Killer. To clarify, I am unsure if he is the "first" or "first documented". How is this related? Because the movie is based on one of the books I had read over the summer, before we had started this blog, I thought I would mention it now as I saw it in the "news".

The movie is based off the book "Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson, and it is a excellent book about 1. the first serial killer, and 2. the Chicago World's Fair exhibit. It has been a while, and many books since then, to go into a lot of detail without messing up the dates, but I found it a very interesting read. The book deals mostly with the World's Fair and the people involved, the planning, construction, and running, and given the time period and the events and accomplishments, makes for itself an entertaining book, except for some long segments on the landscaping which I admit to skimming.

Then the author peppers the book throughout with the story of H.H. Holmes, who is credited with being America's First Serial Killer. Basically happening around the same time as the World's Fair planning and execution (no pun intended), Holmes even uses the fair to gain access to his victims. But, to me, the murders that he committed weren't as interesting as some of the other things that he managed to pull off as he tried to make a name for himself. An extremely likable guy that was able to use charm and deception to disarm his would-be pursuers, otherwise who knows how many lives could have been saved, as the number of actual murders he committed is unknown, ranging any where from 27 to possibly up to 200.

No comments:

Post a Comment