Friday, August 05, 2005

"I Am in Awe of Dan Simmons"

The title to this post is praise from Stephen King, apparently in reference to Mr. Simmons' book Summer of Night. I have that book and haven't read it yet, but I very much agree with Mr. King's sentiment. There are two kinds of writers who influence me, which I would call "encouraging" and "discouraging." Stephen King in his later years is an encouraging writer for me. His books mostly very enjoyable, but I get the feeling when reading one that my writing is at least close to the same level, or could be given more time and practice. In fact, Bag of Bones is the book that inspired me to start writing novels in the first place. Earlier King books, such as 'Salem's Lot and especially The Shining are a little more intimidating and probably fall in the second of my two categories. Dean Koontz is another writer who I find encouraging and is the author whose writing I think mine most closely resembles.

Discouraging writers, on the other hand, are those that are exhilirating to read, but yet almost depressing, because they give me the feeling that no matter how hard I work at my craft, I will never approach their levels. Dan Simmons fall in this category. His books are phenomal: a combination of sharp writing and incredible imagination. The Hyperion cycle, especially the first two books, is phenominal, and the more recent Ilium is worth its weight in gold. I am looking forward to getting Olympos to finish the story.

I bring all of this up, because I am about to continue The Summer of the Vampire, and begin Mr. Simmons' Children of the Night. I suspect that this will be the best of the four books I have planned, and I am really looking forward to it. The report will follow.


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