~Free Ebook ♬ Pandemonium ♁ It Is A World Like Our Own In Every Respect Save One In The S, Random Acts Of Possession Begin To Occur Ordinary Men, Women, And Children Are The Targets Of Entities That Seem To Spring From The Depths Of The Collective Unconscious, Pop Cultural Avatars Some Call Demons There S The Truth, Implacable Avenger Of Falsehood The Captain, Brave And Self Sacrificing Soldier The Little Angel, Whose Kiss Brings Death, Whether Desired Or Not And A String Of Others, Ranging From The Bizarre To The Benign To The HorrificAs A Boy, Del Pierce Is Possessed By The Hellion, An Entity Whose Mischief Making Can Be Deadly With The Help Of Del S Family And A Caring Psychiatrist, The Demon Is Exorcised Or Is It Years Later, Following A Car Accident, The Hellion Is Back, Trapped Inside Del S Head And Clamoring To Get OutDel S Quest For Help Leads Him To Valis, An Entity Possessing The Science Fiction Writer Formerly Known As Philip K Dick To Mother Mariette, A Nun Who Inspires Decidedly Unchaste Feelings And To The Human League, A Secret Society Devoted To The Extermination Of Demons All Believe That Del Holds The Key To The Plague Of Possession And Its Solution But For Del, The Cure May Be Worse Than The Disease
I suppose this is the first Daryl Gregory that I really really loved And since it s only my second novel, it might be not too far a stretch to start thinking he might be one of THOSE AUTHORS.You know, Good Ideas, Great Execution, Cool Characters, Deep Plot and while we re at it, it s a fantasy SF hybrid with major horror undertones, a vast world building mythology history doing an alternate universe diverging from the 50 s and ending in the present.DEMONS Or is it daemons Whatever, it s awesome Possession all over the place and while there are still people with mental health issues, real demons are possessing people out in the open and it s kinda obvious as hell it s a real thing So real that it s on the law books Media You name it It s there And this is just the setup.The rest of this novel has surprises So I m not gonna start spoiling stuff, but the fact that this begins quirky and develops fascinating twists and never strays far from a gorgeously drawn world with complicated and cool characters in a VERY un UF way, becomingof a thriller than anything, makes me want to jump for joy It s a serious treatment of both mental health, fantasy, and Jungian analysis And because it leans fully on the hardcore fantasy side rather than a trite dismissal on the traditional fiction side just makes me weep with joy So yeah, I love this stuff Quality all the way through. Four and a half stars If you want a review with links, see my blog at reminds me of those times when my foodie friends are dragging me to a fabulous new restaurant where mostly familiar ingredients are deconstructed, spiced and recombined in a creative way At least this time, instead of an unsettling mess, it resulted in one of those perfect, satisfying meals that fulfill a sensory need as much as a physical one Not so unusual that I m left with a disturbing aftertaste, and not so routine that it is immediately forgettable To wit Salvatore s award winning pizza with wine poached fig yes, you read that right , bacon and gorgonzola Unusual but delicious take on pizza is a lot like that Somewhat familiar elements drawn from comic books, buddy flicks and mythology are blended together in a plot that moves quickly but respects each ingredient Add in some complex characterization, dashes of dark humor and develop it with truly fine writing, and I m served a book that satisfying on both intellectual and emotional levels.The simple summary Del is returning to his mother s home with a dual purpose confess a recent car accident and psychiatric hospitalization, and to meet a famous demonology researcher at a national conference Demons are real, although their manifestations usually pass quickly, while the behavior follows certain archetypes The Painter, the Little Angel, Truth The news tracked them by name, like hurricanes Most people went their whole lives without seeing one in person I ve seen five six, counting today s When Del was young, he was possessed by the Hellion, a wild boy entity, and Del has recently developed suspicions that the Hellion never left him The story follows Del as he attempts to understand and perhaps free the entity inside him.The plot moved nicely with enough balance between introspection and action to keep me interested What I loved the most, however, was the writing There s the vivid imagery A small white haired women glared up at me, mouth agape She was seventy, seventy five years old, a small bony face on a striated, skinny neck bright eyes, sharp nose, and skin intricately webbed from too much sun or wind or cigarettes She looked like one of those orphaned baby condors that has to be fed by puppets the humor The question, then, was how long could a human being stay awake Keith Richards could party for three days straight, but I wasn t sure if he counted as a human being and sheer cleverness because I ve been this lost driving in Canada For the past few hours we d been twisting and bobbing along two lane back roads, rollercoastering through pitch black forests And now we were lost Or rather, the world was lost The GPS told us exactly where we were but had no idea where anything else was.Permanent Global Position You Are Here and the occasional snarky social commentary What did it matter I imagined bearded guys all over academia working themselves into a lather over this, precisely because the stakes were so low For those who might want a sense of the flavor, I was reminded of American Gods, of George R.R Martin s Wild Card world my review blended with Mythago Wood my review , but done much, much better While I had problems maintaining interest in each of the aforementioned, I had no such challenge with Pandemonium Each bite revealed something almost familiar but somehow unexpected There s a lot to enjoy, and an equal amount to ruminate on after finishing I ll be looking forfrom Gregory.Oh yes a sincere thank you to Carly for inviting me to dinner. What if possession was an epidemic What if the same demons kept taking people over for short intervals, over and over What would they be Are they demons Is the cause religious or scientific And what would it do to you to be one of the possessed Note The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook Strange but intriguing At times I wondered where this book was going The plot was disjointed in many places However, just when you think it s boring the narrator starts discussions C G Jung or the distinguishing characteristics of science fiction vs fantasy Heck, Phillip K Dick makes an appearance in the novel It s hard to dislike a book that s this odd Btw Did I mention there are demons too 3 3.5 starsI m going to say something that sounds unkind, but really it s a compliment from me for a long time now I ve kind of thought of Daryl Gregory as something of a poor man s Sean Stewart I must first admit that this happened before I actually read any of his books this one is my first , and was based on what I could glean of them from the jacket blurbs and comments reviews It probably also comes from the fact that I once ran across a posting made by Gregory on a message board or blog somewhere where he bemoaned the fact that Sean Stewart was no longer writing and wished that he could still look forward tobooks by him a desire which I have ardently shared ever since Stewart decided to move on from writing into online game design and so I thought maybe he was taking the bull by the horns and writing his own in the Stewart mould I then started looking a bitclosely at Gregory s books, of which I had been only peripherally aware, and noticed that hey, they really did seem to cover similar thematic and conceptual areas both wrote what I suppose would be classified as urban fantasy though I hate the tag and don t tend to gravitate towards the stuff that normally ends up in that bin both seemed to centre on a very realist approach to character and setting with the major caveat that their worlds were impacted by one major speculative element whether it be magical or scientific that introduced the bizarre into our mundane world both seemed to be concerned not so much with stories about world shaking battles or larger than life figures as much as about how the significant changes in their worlds impacted the lives of regular people how they struggled to maintain normalcy in the midst of chaos and confusion Still I had never quite mustered up the desire to pick up one of his books for one reason or another until now Maybe I was afraid of being disappointed So how did this one go In a nutshell I enjoyed it, but I wasn t blown away.Gregory s world bending conceit in this one is certainly interesting demonic possession is real, but these demons aren t satanic minions from hell or at least we aren t sure of that no one quite knows where they come from , but are insteadlike semi Jungian archetypes from the collective unconscious They are monomaniacal entities obsessed with fulfilling some particular role or action it might be the Painter who forces the possessed to depict the same picture or set of pictures over and over again in whatever medium happens to be handy whether it be paint, chalk, or the destroyed pieces of a popcorn machine it might be the Captain, a shield slinging hero who tends to manifest when people, especially soldiers, are in danger perhaps it s the Truth, a much darker hero who guns down anyone whose lies have offended his fine sensibilities or maybe the Hellion, a Denis the Menace like nuisance whose antics just might literally make you lose an eye The victims of possession don t remember what happened while their body was being controlled from without, and many don t survive the experience Our hero is Del Pierce, a man who has been drifting through life as little better than a loser, unable to hold down a regular job or maintain normal relationships, ever since he was possessed by the Hellion as a little boy For many years he has been able to keep the voices in his head at bay, but recently something has been scratching at the back of his mind and he is returning home from a short stay in a mental institution, nearly broke and grasping at his last straws, in the hopes that he will be able to deal with his demons, whether real or imagined, once and for all.Del is quickly plunged into the bizarre world of ICOP, the international conference of academics and scientists who study the demons, each with their own, usually contradictory, theory of what is happening and how it might be fixed none of whom have managed to achieve any conclusive result That is, of course, except for Dr Ram, a rising star in the world of demonology whose new controversial theories just might give Del a chance at truly living a normal life Paired with ICOP is the other side of the coin the unsanctioned conference DemoniCon a mass of cosplaying demon aficionados each of whom yearns for the glamour of being possessed and many of whom see the demons not as a bane on human existence, but as a gift to be revelled in Now all Del has to do is convince Dr Ram he is not one of these looney demon groupies and that he is in fact the only person who has been able to do the impossible to trap the demonic entity of his possession in the bowels of his mind Gregory populates his novel with an interesting and varied cast of characters, from Del Pierce the tortured possession survivor and his long suffering brother mother who have tried to help him deal with his broken life, to the sardonic exorcist priest Mother Mariette an obvious direct homage to Sinead O Connor and many of the other oddball figures that populate both ICOP and DemoniCon including a direct analogue to Philip K Dick and his AI construct demon VALIS Despite many of the outlandish things that happen and entities that populate this world it was always believable because it was grounded in these characters who really did feel like real, multifaceted individuals Gregory also manages to keep the plot moving at a good pace, with enough twists and turns to keep me interested and wraps it all up with a satisfying resolution So whatdid I want I don t know that I could say anything was really missing It was a fine book that simply didn t quite blow me away Maybe it was just a first novel thing I ll certainly pick up another one of Gregory s books and see how he tackles his next foray into the real world turned upside down. When I read genre books, I tend to lump them into what I call the X Files Categories A book is either a monster of the week novel adventure and action and not a whole lot of substance , or a mythology read slower, deeper,cerebral Reading through the first half of Pandemonium, I was ready for a monster of the week ride In here, demon possessions are real, accepted and fairly routine The lead, possessed as a child, is hearing noises and seeing things that have led him to seek out answers.However, my assumptions were wrong, so wrong I know from experience that Daryl Gregory can write an engaging novel, some pretty fun romps through contemporary science fiction But instead of a superficial made for tv story, I was very pleasantly surprised at the depth that I found Some really cool ideas about possession, archetypes, collective unconscious, the power of the mind and Jungian theory, and even an homage to Philip K Dick Dang it, I m going to have to finish Valis one of these days, aren t I It wrapped up quite satisfactorily and my estimation of Gregory as a storyteller went up quite a few notches. I had pretty high expectations for this given how much some of my Goodreads friends enjoyed it I thought it was fine, but I didn t love it like I had hoped.Generally I quite like Gregory s writing, but honestly I wasn t a fan of the ongoing discussions about Jung and his ideas that were part of the story I m not saying they could necessarily be left out, just that this aspect of the story wasn t as appealing for me.Even though this wasn t my favourite, I still have some other Gregory books I m interested in reading, particularly Harrison Squared. FANTERRIFIC STORY ALERT I love finding original, diamonds like this cuz it makes my brain go As other astute people have chimed, this story turned out to be much deeper and a lot different than I originally expected in a yippie, yippie good way This book was such an enjoyable experience and made me want get a serious preach on sermonizing its greatness While containing elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror, I don t think the novel neatly fits into any of those containers and spills uniqueness over the cup of any genre that tries to hold it I m gonna just wimp out and label it speculative fiction and move on because I am not the person to decide the proper name of new genre bending categories However, that doesn t mean I m not willing to throw on my Leopard mankini and Tarzan out singing the praises of this story Oh, I will You, just watch me The story takes the unique approach of combining the scientific biological study of mental illness with demonic possession and creating a combined phenomenon that is very compelling The blending of these two components was worth three Fuck Yeahs and a You go Boy all by itself BACKGROUNDThe story takes place in an alternate version of the United States where, beginning around the 1940 s, demonic possession has become a recognized and accepted phenomenon However, the demonic possession in the story is quite different from our common perception of possession Here, each demon has a particular trait compulsion that they exhibit every time they appear There is the Painter who appears at the very beginning of the story and shuts down an airport terminal while it creates a picture of a farmhouse out of smashed popcorn Other identified demons include Captain, Smokestack Johnny, The Truth, Little Angel, Kamikaze and Hellion I will leave it to you to learn what each of the demons signature actions are because that is part of the enjoyment of the story Anyway, most possessions last a very short time minutes to hours and the interruptions caused by the incidents have basically become a part of life like the Painter scene described above Possessions occur muchoften in people that have previously suffered some form of mental illness In addition, once subject to a possession, victims often suffer after effects very similar to various forms of mental illness, even if not previously diagnosed with such a condition This tie in between possession and mental illness was delicious and gave the story an added depth and richness that was very compelling For instance, just look at the similarities between these two real life examples PLOT SUMMARYI think the above gives a pretty good idea about the background of the story and I want to make sure I don t spoil any of the fun of the book Therefore, as far as the plot, I will just say that the main character, Del Pierce, was possessed by the demon known as the Hellion when he was a wee lad Years later, Del is still struggling with the after effects of the possession and desperately wants to find away to get rid of his symptoms The rest of the story is Del s incredible journey to find a way to cure himself There are so many great pop culture references and tie ins during the story that I went completely Chumbawamba while I was reading it I don t want to spill the franks or the beans about them because they are such funsies to casually bump into so I will just say that they include super heroes, science fiction writers, secret societies, folklore monsters, an alternate end to the OJ trial and a Vast Active Living Intelligence System okay so I spoiled that one but it s in the book description so you can t blame me FINAL THOUGHTSOverall, a very unique and original reading experience I thought the writing was great and the author s use of tone was excellent It was often full of humor and yet also had an underlying sense of deep loneliness and sadness It is tough to walk that fine line and I think the author did a great job Highly Recommended 4.0 to 4.5 starsNominee Locus Award for Best Fantasy NovelNominee Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Lit.Nominee World Fantasy Award carol wrote a stellar review for this title plus, don t miss the pizza description and pic.