July 15, 2006

Song of Kali

2 out of 5 stars

Dan Simmons is perhaps better known for his science fiction, particularly his Hyperion saga, but this is one of his earlier works, crossing the fantasy / horror boundary. Unlike his somewhat unwieldy SF works, it's tightly written and compelling to read. Unfortunately, in tone it perhaps tries a little too hard for suspense and moves into the realm of melodrama.

Some places are too evil to be allowed to exist. Some cities are too wicked to be suffered. Calcutta is such a place. Before Calcutta I would have laughed at such an idea. Before Calcutta I did not believe in evil – certainly not as a force separate from the actions of men. Before Calcutta I was a fool.

Written in 1985, it also seems to me to play to strongly on the idea of India as some strange exotic & otherworldly place, to succeed today. So not really a Fantasy Masterwork, as it claims to be. But not totally bad, the pacing is good, racing through to a climatic ending. Two stars.

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