RARA-AVIS: RE: Dan Simmons' SF

From: Larson, Craig ( Craig.Larson@trinidadstate.edu)
Date: 08 Jan 2004

I've read a lot of Dan Simmons' work, largely his horror novels and recent forays into crime and thrillers. Besides the Joe Kurtz books, he's also attempted crime thrillers with _The Crook Factory_, in which Ernest Hemingway attempts to track a Nazi submarine near Cuba with his fishing boat, and _Darwin's Blade_, about an insurance investigator.

Besides _Hard As Nails_, the latest Kurtz novel, Simmons also published _Ilium_ in 2003, the first of a two-part re-visioning of Homer's The Iliad. It wasn't particularly noir-flavored, but it was an entertaining, fast read.

A lot of Simmons' work in science fiction, from the titles to the books themselves, seems to be very allusive in nature--_Ilium_ references The Iliad, Shakespeare's _The Tempest_, and Proust's _Remembrance of Things Past_, just to name a few. The Hyperion books and the Endymion books are also allusive--_Hyperion_ is structured around the
"pilgrims on a quest" plot of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, for instance, and I think Simmons was deliberately trying to echo Keats in the Endymion books. The books don't really fit in this month's discussion of noir-flavored science fiction.

Craig Larson Trinidad, CO

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