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Floating Dragon

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  8,465 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Two monstrous evils.

This quiet suburban town of Hampstead is threatened by two horrors.

One is natural. The hideous, unstoppable creation of man's power gone mad.

The other is not natural at all. And it makes the first look like a child's play.
Paperback, 595 pages
Published August 5th 2003 by Berkley (first published 1982)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Dirk Grobbelaar
I keep on being drawn back to Peter Straub for my Horror fix. With this author it isn’t just about the nasty stuff: it’s about the presentation. Floating Dragon is a case in point: not only does Straub expose our fears; he toys with them.

The plot in a nutshell
What you’ve got here is essentially a town that is periodically plagued by a sequence of terrible events: serial killings; disappearances; children dying under mysterious circumstances. This only happens once every generation and only the i
After the success of Ghost Story and Shadowland, Peter Straub wanted to try his strenght in tales that do not involve anything supernatural. Floating Dragon, published in 1983, was to be his final horror novel for a long time - till the 1999 return to the genre with Mr X.

As a novel, Floating Dragon operates on the ever familiar canvas of "horror in a small town", popularized in the 70's by Salem's Lot. While Salem's Lot was lean, swift and fast-paced, Straub's novel is much longer, much more com
Mike (the Paladin)
I'm sure there are those who will disagree strenuously with me on what I think about this book.

I reviewed this book "back a'ways" and someone brought my attention back to it. I originally put most of the review under the "spoiler line" below. I will the clear...that I was disappointed in this book. I'd just read Ghost Story and found it great. This one not so much...didn't really care for it. It seemed to start with promise but I thought it sort of crashed and burned.

My taste of course,
John Moretz
Too much backstory and exposition but not enough actual suspense and action to keep me reading past the half way point. I tried...
Eliza Victoria
Floating Dragon could have knocked my socks off, but unfortunately the novel’s middle part got bogged down by too many abstractions, too much 80′s horror imagery – the pulsing red light, blood everywhere, visions in various stages of decomposition. Granted that it was written in the mid-80′s, but I’m reading this now in 2011, and it was just too much. Many times the horror becomes ridiculous, even cheesy, even laughable, far from the subtlety of his short story collection, Houses without Doors, ...more
I don't quite understand the comparison between Straub and King: sure, they both write horror, but I think they have very different writing styles that I find it hard to explain. Straub is much more blatant with his psychological horror, whereas with King it kind of just creeps up on you. Both are equally scary in their own right. In a brief summary, this book is about a group of four people who must come together to fight an evil that has lived in their town for centuries. The evil hides under ...more
Paul Dinger
It was a really good potboiler. The biggest fault that I can see past the static characters is the confusing dragon itself. I don't think Straub really knows what caused this horror and his caricature of military and police types clashing has a real satric thrill that should have been developed. But it was still a good read. I read reviews here comparing it to Stephen King's It (which is probably the other way around considering It was written later) and The Tailsiman. I think Straub is in anoth ...more

If I could give this book more stars, I would.

In 1980, the people of Hampstead, Connecticut are about to have another black summer as a cloud of terror settles over them. As people melt, go crazy, or simply drop dead from fear, the threat becomes stronger, invading the minds of the survivors, seeming to ooze from the very land of the town. One man knows about the monstrous past of the town... and perhaps can gather those who can stop it.

This was a fantastic tale, written by a master in the heyda

Tee Jay
Apr 13, 2010 Tee Jay rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Die-hard Straub fans
Shelves: horror
It was long…but I finished it. It wasn’t bad, sometimes it was actually enjoyable. Nonetheless, I found it long, and so of course this little tidbit is going to prevent me from giving Floating Dragon a glowing review.
First off, I found that this novel’s strength was also its weakness. Early on in the novel, Straub delves into Hampstead’s history, a Connecticut town that almost literally goes all to hell. The town, and its inhabitants, are in terrible trouble from more than one facet of evil, si
Oct 20, 2007 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror fans
Shelves: favorites
What would happen if a mysterious toxic gas leaked out of a research facility and drove almost everyone who came in contact with it completely and murderously insane? This book gives one possible answer to that question through excellent character development, pacing, and high-intensity suspense.
A government experiment goes awry and a deadly gas is released over the affluent suburb of Hampstead, Connecticut. Meanwhile, the decendants of the town's original founders return toHampstead for the firts time in over 100 years, igniting a firestorm of events that are the continuation of an ongoing curse.

After I read (and was completely scared shitless) by Ghost Story in high school, I was afraid to read anything else by Straub. I remember passing up Shadowland and this book; by then I was in
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peter Straub constructs a scary tale of chemistry gone mad and a returning evil, combining together to make the perfect (storm) cloud.

I original read this book over 2 decades ago, and on the back of that thought that this was a 3 star read. Since re-reading this book I have re-evaluated this and given it a 4 star rating. Up until the last third of the book I was certain that I was going to give the book 5 stars. I loved the way that Straub built the story and the characters, mixing each of their
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Great big wodge of expository dialogue right in the middle nearly did me in. The eventual pay off was almost worth it.
Jack Dixon
I was very excited to read my first novel by Peter Straub. I must say that I am a huge fan now. The closest to his works that I have been in the past prior to reading this was the movie Ghost Story. I am sure the novel is much better than the movie. I was very entertained by the eeriness, madness, fear and gore in the book. The characters were very likeable too under the circumstances. Looking forward to diving into his other works now. More, more, more, please!!!
Marcus Trimpin
The only book that ever actually scared the s*** out of me. I am an avid fan of horror fiction but no other book, even other Straubs even came close to the visceral reaction that I had to this one. It very well may be that, as an avid cyclist that lived several towns away from the the town of "Hampstead, CT" (Wilton, CT), I could picture events in nearly every locale in this book as if I were there. But who's toe say? An engaging read and highly recommended.
Steven Kent
This was a long book and I ABSOLUTELY hung of every word on every page until the last few pages--which disappointed me so badly I stopped reading.

I give the first 610 pages five stars. If you read it and find your opinion slipping toward the end, stop reading and savor the first 98 percent.

BTW, and I am not exaggerating... there was a violent scene in this novel that was so brilliantly written I felt faint after reading it.
Isadora Wagner
AMAZING! What Peter Straub did for a a well-to-do Connecticut town, the imagery, the imagination, the horror, the sheer playfulness--this will go down as a classic of our age. A truly modern gothic classic, if such could be said. Worthy of N. Hawthorne, the best of S.King..these were about the only two I could compare this to...On my best favorite horror story list. I also highly recommend A Ghost Story.
Sep 27, 2014 Tanja added it
I've had this book for years, I've been saving it as a special treat read for a... whatever sometime where it might possibly rain.
Anyway, I love Ghost story. LOVE IT! Ghost story this aint.

Now I wasn't expecting the same story or anything lame like that, but I was expecting the same standard.
It starts of OK, but it ends ridiculous. Now I don't need much to be able to suspend my disbelief, but one of the things I do need, is be able to believe that the characters believe the weird shit that's go
12/?/12: Floating Dragon by Peter Straub. Set in the early 1980s, the town of Hampstead suffers devastation when a toxic chemical cloud settles over the area, setting off a black summer full of illness and violence. And there are more sinister forces at work, too...This book reminded me a lot of Stephen King's The Tommyknockers. It's a similarly sprawling story about a town descending into murder and mayhem because of supernatural causes. In The Tommyknockers, it's an extraterrestrial influence. ...more
Jeff Francis
Peter Straub’s an unquestionably accomplished writer, and, at times, even a prose stylist. However, I didn’t like “Floating Dragon” as much as most of his readers.

It’s obviously a long novel – the reader knows that going in – but I also found it to be overstuffed. I liked the subplot about the chemical spill, as well as the myriad denizens of Hampstead, but the supernatural elements were just too confusing, so much so that it was often hard to tell how revelations related to prior plot points. A
Keith Deininger
Many amazingly creepy moments. Straub is the master. I've read Floating Dragon a couple of times now and I really want to give it 5 stars, but it falls a little flat in the last 100 pages or so. Still, an incredible read.
C. Lorion
Wow. Another Straub story that left me breathless at the end. How does this guy do it?
This was enjoyable. It definitely dragged in some parts (especially toward the end), but on the whole was a good read. Similar to "The Stand" in many ways; it was also fun to find the Talisman/Black House references.
Jaime Contreras
This was an excellent bio-terror novel. If you do not mind melting skin, great characters and unrelenting thrills, you will become riveted. This is a superior writing effort by the gifted Mr. Straub.
In this book a small, wealthy Connecticut town is subjected simultaneously to an ancient curse and a toxic chemical spill, whereupon hellish, hallucinatory hilarity ensues. Okay, fine, but the latter event is given too much emphasis for the runty subplot it is. Really in the end it just exacerbates the horror of the curse, and gives the outside world a mundane explanation for things. The main characters even end up dismissing the correlation of the two disasters as coincidental. How lazy is that ...more
Carol White
I just love the way you worked in the Ultimate Evil in the novel. Better than Stephen King. Loved this book.
Tyler McHaley
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Admittedly, I have only read one other Peter Straub book, and that was Ghost Story, which many consider his masterpiece or at least a masterpiece in the horror genre of literature. In many ways, I think Straub outdid himself with some of the storytelling in Floating Dragon. That was difficult to do, considering its predecessor.

I felt the narrative was not cliché and was very imaginative. It may seem a bit redundant by today's standards, but in its time, I think it
A small New England town is cursed by an ancient evil that makes an appearance every 100 years. Meanwhile DRG-16, a thinking biochemical cloud that can cause instant death, hallucinations, and madness in its victims, is accidentally released from a secret government lab and settles over the town. Four individuals, direct descendants of the town's founders, must come together to battle the "Dragon" – the ancient evil that has reappeared. Or are they all going mad because of DRG-16?

I have to admit
Adam K.
This book was almost perfect. Unfortunately, it suffered from the "It" effect--the novel was so intense, its horror so overwhelming, ambitious, and smart, that the author could not write an ending worthy of it, and so you have the main characters coming up with arbitrary weapons against the evil that just look silly as you try to visualize the scene. You know how it goes--they realize that the way to beat the evil is to recite some poetry, mantra, or song lyrics and tap into their own emotional ...more
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Peter Straub was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on 2 March, 1943, the first of three sons of a salesman and a nurse. The salesman wanted him to become an athlete, the nurse thought he would do well as either a doctor or a Lutheran minister, but all he wanted to do was to learn to read.

When kindergarten turned out to be a stupefyingly banal disappointment devoted to cutting animal shapes out of heavy
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