Nayad Monroe (nayad) wrote,
Nayad Monroe

2007 Books #40: The Terror, by Dan Simmons

This book is a manual that shows exactly how not to plan and execute an exploratory voyage to the Arctic in the middle of the nineteenth century. For example, a point that is made exceedingly clear by the developments of the story is this: when stocking your ship with food for such a voyage, do not purchase canned goods from the lowest bidder, especially if that company's bid is half the price of the bids offered by three better-known companies. This is very important. Probably it's not a great idea to take up your storage space with lots of fancy china or over 9,000 pounds of chocolate, either. Perhaps more coal for the heating and steam engines would be a wiser choice?

The gross incompetence of the people who plan and provision the voyage is not the only problem encountered in this novel, either. I was pulled through the 766 pages by my morbid curiosity about the mysterious occurrences, unbelievable mistakes, and dire consequences that were revealed one after another throughout the book. I can't say that I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of reading The Terror, but I was fascinated and compelled to read it as quickly as possible, and I have to credit the quality of the writing for that. I recommend it, especially to anyone who is interested in history, exploration, ships, and incredibly freaking cold weather.

I'm definitely looking forward to reading more books by Dan Simmons, especially since I'm likely to meet him at Norwescon in March!
Tags: 2007 books, dan simmons

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