30. (30) – The Terror, by Dan Simmons

This is probably the weirdest fit for this list and the novel I like more than I am guessing most Science Fiction and Fantasy fans.  It’s historical fiction.  It’s horror.   It’s probably a stretch to call it fantasy, but there are plenty of fantastical elements in the story and I think it is so brilliant I just had to include it on my list.

I have incredible admiration for the work of Dan Simmons. He always seems to put a great deal of research and effort into his books. Going back to the Hyperion Series and the Illium/Olympos books where he was able to blend literature and poetry of Keats, Shakespeare, Chaucer and others into fascinating futuristic science fiction.  The Terror quite simply is one of the most incredible works of fiction I have ever encountered. The Terror is historical fiction with a blend of horror. The horror aspects of the story involving the massive white predator that terrorizes the ship are intense and fascinating. A scene where the Ice master tries to escape from the monster is among my favorite in the book.

But had Simmons avoided the fantastical elements altogether and made this purely historical fiction, the novel would still work.  What makes this book so special is the realism Simmons is able to invoke about what it would be like to be stuck in the ice in the arctic and the incredible decisions the captain is forced to make to keep his crew alive. 

At its core, this is a tale of survival in a place nature doesn’t want you to survive. The research Simmons had to do to create that realism is incredible. At times I got cold just reading this story.  Simmons manages to convey the brutality of this icy setting and the medical issues they faced trying to survive with incredible depth and almost excessive brutality. The Terror is just a masterful piece of literature, one that I would recommend to anyone. It is a brutal tale with much devastation along the way, but it is certainly a worthy journey.

Felan’s Rescue is now available on Audiobook!

Felan’s Rescue is now available in Ebook form (and Kindle Unlimited), Hardback, and Paperback!

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