Friday, March 1, 2013
FFB: Song of Kali - Dan Simmons
Although originally published in 1985 the book is set in 1977 which is key to the story and provides an explanation of the mindset of the protagonist. Luzcak in searching for Das the poet and the solution to a vague mystery is in essence really searching for himself. He is a frustrating character in some ways for he does appear to be extremely naive and often foolish in his refusal to surrender to the inexplicable and mystical events that surround him. He pays a dear price for his Doubting Thomas attitude and stubborn Western beliefs.
This is one of those visceral reading experiences I so rarely have. It deeply affected me. Later I went to read other reviews to see if others had similar experiences. I was taken aback by what I read. For the most part the book was dismissed as "boring" and "uneventful" and "not horror." That the book won a World Fantasy Award may lead readers to expect something that the book does not exactly deliver. The fantastical or supernatural elements are prsent but minimal and while there is more than a fair share of gore for the readers that crave that kind of thing that is not the primary purpose of the book. There are no werewolves, vampires, or brain eating zombies. Isn't there too much of that now? But as for genuine horror on a completely new level I'd say the book has plenty.
Effectively told and intelligently written Simmon's novel tells a story of everyday horror accepted as the norm in a culture that is as corrupt as our own United States. Readers in search of a true modern day horror novel should look no further. Simmons describes a kind of horror that is ignored by most people. Dismissing Song as Kali as "not horror" is akin to an Untouchable being treated as a non-entity by a Brahmin. That's the real horror Simmons is telling us about.