The science fiction genre is one of the more interesting genres because you never know what you will get. Carrion Comfort by Dan Simmons changed what readers were used to and it led to an amazing novel as a result. Keep reading for a short summary of the book and why you should read this book next!
Carrion Comfort Summary
It is 1942 and Saul Laski is pretty sure he is going to die the Chelmno extermination camp that the Germans built during World War II in Poland. Despite the long shot, Saul tells himself to survive as he is visited by the Germans and taken away by a supernatural power that leads him into the darkness.
Now, it is 1980 and the novel focuses on Melanie, Nina and Willi. They gather in Charleton, South Carolina to talk about the Game. Each of them tells the other about their kills that they committed using their Ability to control others by entering their minds. Melanie wants out of the Game and plans to exit as she hasn’t played the Game for the past couple of years.
Willi’s plane explodes the next day and Melanie suspects that it was Nina and that Nina plans to get rid of both of them. That leaves Melanie paranoid, and she changes her usual routine of staying home and goes out instead. A big fight breaks as Melanie and Nina possess and control people and kill the other one.
With multiple victims, Charleston is left in chaos. Natalie’s father was one of the people killed and she wants answers. Sheriff Rob Gentry and Agent Haines interviewed Laski as he was in town and knew one of the people in the fight. Gentry cannot make sense of the multiple dead bodies and suspects that Saul knows more than he is letting on.
Natalie, Saul, and Gentry get caught in something much bigger than them as they try to take down the mind controllers. But they learn that the conspiracy goes very high, and some rich and powerful people are involved. Will they get their revenge or be three more dead bodies left behind by these agents of chaos?
Background and Commentary
First published in 1989, the novel won the Bram Stoker Award, the Locus Poll Award for Best Horror Novel, and the August Derleth Award for Best Novel. After reading the novel, I agree that is deserved every award it got. The writing is great, the plot is well-thought out, and the characters are fleshed out and feel very real.
The mind-controlling people in the book don’t have any real names but they are called vampires which feels accurate. That is why seeing the novel win the Bram Stoker Award feels right. This is a long book, but it feels worth it as the action never slows down.
The science fiction/horror novel is a novel unlike anything else and the interesting combination of genres makes it worth checking out. Simmons makes this novel feel like a spy thriller at times, a horror novel, and a science fiction novel. Not many authors can combine all three and complicate a simple book and Simmons somehow makes it look easy.
This is one of those books where I will miss the characters after finishing the book. It was a long read and I was glad that I was able to spend a lot of time in this world that Simmons created. If you enjoy horror novels or science fiction novels, then this is a must read!