New Book: The Terror

Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 9th, 2007

Dan Simmons The Terror

Little, Brown and Company has published, on January 8, 2007, a new novel with cryptozoological fiction as a major component of the plot.

Dan Simmons’ The Terror: A Novel features a central character that is a creature, the Thing, which attacks and slowly kills off the crew members.

Grolar Bear

Here’s what Publishers Weekly has to say:

Hugo-winner Simmons (Olympos) brings the horrific trials and tribulations of arctic exploration vividly to life in this beautifully written historical, which injects a note of supernatural horror into the 1840s Franklin expedition and its doomed search for the Northwest Passage. Sir John Franklin, the leader of the expedition and captain of the Erebus, is an aging fool. Francis Crozier, his second in command and captain of the Terror, is a competent sailor, but embittered after years of seeing lesser men with better connections given preferment over him. With their two ships quickly trapped in pack ice, their voyage is a disaster from start to finish. Some men perish from disease, others from the cold, still others from botulism traced to tinned food purchased from the lowest bidder. Madness, mutiny and cannibalism follow. And then there’s the monstrous creature from the ice, the Thing like a polar bear but many times larger, possessed of a dark and vicious intelligence. This complex tale should find many devoted readers and add significantly to Simmons’s already considerable reputation.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

4 Responses to “New Book: The Terror”

  1. Stirling responds:

    Wasn’t that the expedition that slowly went mad then died from lead poisoning (not botulism) due to the lead solder in the food tins?

    Seems horrific enough to me.

  2. Craig Woolheater responds:

    Review taken from Men’s Journal Magazine

    Sir John Franklin’s Arctic expedition ended in CANNABALISM AND DEATH. And in this new fictionalized account, things get even worse.

    By Jonathan Miles
    The Terror
    Dan Simmons;
    Little, Brown; $26

    Inside every horror writer beats the heart of a brutish sadist. How else to explain an occupational fondness for creating characters just to dismember them later? Dan Simmons, the horror and sci-fi maestro behind Hyperion and A Winter Haunting, takes that sadism a dark notch further with his novel The Terror, a wicked imagining of the fate of Sir John Franklin’s 1845 Arctic expedition to chart the Northwest Passage.

    The scant clues pointing to the expedition’s real-life fate show enough suffering as is: After Franklin’s two ships, Erebus and Terror, were ice-locked, the expedition’s 129 men struggled through three or more years of cold, starvation, scurvy, the effects of lead-poisoned tinned food, and everything else the Arctic could fling at them. Some of them, historians suspect, resorted to cannibalism, but in vain. Not a man survived the ordeal.

    In The Terror, however, Simmons levels one more cold horror at them: a massive, bloodthirsty yeti-like creature tracking the expedition’s every move. Polar sacrilege? Naw, just deliciously frigid fun, the warped result of combining The Worst Journey in the World with Alien. (In the Arctic, no one can hear you scream.)

    Simmons’ depiction of early Arctic exploring is so dead-on that a by-the-facts account would have sated most readers. Alternating between the journals of one of the ships’ surgeons and a taut, elegant narrative, Simmons writes with the salty grace and precision of Patrick O’Brian. But in piling supernatural nightmare, layering mystery upon mystery, he has produced a turbocharged vision of polar doom. “The Devil trying to kill them up here…was not just the white-furred thing killing and eating them one by one,” he writes, “but everything here – the unrelenting cold, the squeezing ice, the electrical storms, the uncanny lack of seals and whales and birds and walruses and land animals, the endless encroachment of the pack ice…everything. The monster on the ice was just another manifestation of a Devil that wanted them dead. And that wanted them to suffer.”

  3. ahab responds:

    Dan Simmons is a terrific author. He likes to span different genres (mystery, horror, sci-fi, etc). If you’ve never read anything by him I highly recommend picking up one of his novels. My favorite are the Hyperion series.


  4. bill green responds:

    hey loren & everyone this new book called the terror looks very great. this book cover great too it does look a great sasquatch story line too it. thanks bill

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