Sunday, July 4, 2010

Review: The Terror: a Novel

The Terror: A Novel
by Dan Simmons
Little, Brown and Company (2007), Hardcover, 784 pages
Books on Tape (2007), Audio CD

Lat. 53° 32’ Long. 113°30’

4 July, 2010

As Terrence Rafferty wrote ‘The Terror won’t kill you unless it falls on your head.’ (From The New York Times, March 18, 2007).

There is always something ‘white’ out there that you have to follow (the White Whale), or something ‘white’ that is following you (the White Thing); the chances are your choice.

Dan Simmons is an American author, writer of various genres: science fiction, fantasy, and horror. This time with The Terror Simmons try a new genre for him: historical fiction; telling the fictionalized story of Franklin’s expedition, which on board of Her Majesty Ships (Terror and Erebus) was searching the Northwest Passage among the ice of the North Pole.

Terror and Erebus are stuck in the ice when strange things begin: the crew’s fears (disease, starvation, poisonous food, cold) materializes in a White Thing who kills everybody unseen.
After the death of Sir John Franklin, Captain Francis Crozier takes command of the crew, leading them toward an uncertain escape from the ice. Eventually someone survives helped by an Inuit woman who cannot speak, but knows a lot more than you think.

The Terror is narrated from the different characters’ viewpoint, especially Crozier and Dr. Goodsir (remarkable his diary).

For those interested in Franklin’ s Expedition (the true story), I found very interesting the article on Wikipedia ('s_lost_expedition).

Last quotation: ‘When the Tunnbaq dies because of the kabloona [the pale people] sickness, the spirit-governor-of-the-sky knew, its cold, white domain will begin to heat and melt and thaw. The white bears will have no ice for a home, so their cubs will die. The whales and walruses will have nowhere to feed. The birds will wheel in circles and cry to the Raven for help, their breeding grounds gone.
This is the future they saw.’ (p. 710)

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