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Pandemonium

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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,808 ratings  ·  297 reviews
It is a world like our own in every respect . . . save one. In the 1950s, 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 ...more
ebook, 0 pages
Published August 26th 2008 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2008)
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Stephen
FANTERRIFIC STORY ALERT. I love finding original, diamonds like this cuz it makes my brain go...
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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 s
...more
Carol.
Aug 02, 2015 Carol. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Recommended for fans of superheroes, wrestling with personal demons
Recommended to Carol. by: Carly

Four and a half stars. If you want a review with links, see my blog at: http://clsiewert.wordpress.com/2014/1...

Pandemonium 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
...more
Lyn
Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory is something special and Mr. Gregory has fast become one of my favorite authors – well played, sir, well played.

Full of swimmingly good metaphors and delicious similes, AND seamlessly throwing down a very unique demonic possession story landscape with psychic undertones

AND … AND …

Bringing in a Sinead O’Connor female priestess character AND …

A Philip K Dick character straight out of VALIS who discourses on Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human and erudite explanations o
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Terry
3 – 3.5 stars

I’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 bl
...more
Sandi
Pandemonium is a book that's been coming up in my Amazon recommendations fairly regularly. It sounded a bit intriguing, but a bit silly too. It was one of those books that I thought could turn out to be truly awful. When I saw a copy at the library, I thought it wouldn't hurt to try it.

I can't believe that this is Daryl Gregory's first book. It's absolutely amazing. Don't go by the blurb, it doesn't even come close to describing it. The characters and the situation are so well done, it all seeme
...more
Kaisersoze
Pandemonium, the first novel from the author of one of my favourite reads of all time, We Are All Completely Fine, is a decent high-concept thriller with an interesting hook that never really lives up to its awesome potential.

Taking place in a world much like our own, but with the critical difference that demonic possession occurs openly and is widely acknowledged (even if whether said demons are evil spirits or something else is hotly debated), Pandemonium is told from the perspective of Del,
...more
vladimir
Oct 31, 2008 vladimir rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of unconventional fantasy; Jungian psychology; Joseph Campbell
Ok, what won me over at first was the cover--by Greg Ruth, an artist whose work I greatly admire. But once I started reading I was hooked.

Pandemonium isn't quite fantasy (it quickly reveals itself to have elements of Alternate History & SF). Gregory creates a world where demonic possession is normal, sort of, at least society's learned to deal with it when it happens; but the story of Del, who was once Possessed as a boy is the heart of the narrative. It has a personal, intimate tone. The st
...more
Carly
~4.5

Nonlocal intelligence. Possession Disorder Variant. Socially Constructed Alternate Identity. Demonic possession. Whatever the term, Del Pierce is all too familiar with the process. While the hundred-odd "strains" of demons in Del's world aren’t interested in temptation or damnation, no one wants a demon to jump to them. When a demon possesses a person, acts out a familiar role, a static pattern, and woe betide anyone who gets in its way. The Truth, wrapped in a trenchcoat and fedora, brings
...more
Marvin
Despite the title, this is science fiction not horror. More precisely it is alternative history, The setting is our world but with significant changes. Eisenhower was killed, The American armed forces are stuck in Kashmir and, most important, around 1944 there is a rash of demonic possessions that continues into the present. The actual reason for these demons are unknown but they are called by names like The Captain, The Painter, and The little Angel. From this premise arises a intriguing take o ...more
David
Random demonic possession is a problem in the slightly altered reality in which "Pandemonium" is set. Various archetypical demons (Truth, Captain Valiant, the Angel of Death*, to name a few) are showing up, hijacking the bodies of randomly chosen hosts and disrupting public order by behaving demonically. Collateral damage to the unlucky host can be anything from mild trauma to death. Nobody really understands what is causing this epidemic of demonic possession which has spawned a plethora of "de ...more
Lori (Hellian)
What a terrific debut! I was hooked from the first page by the tone of the writing - a modern voice that rings true in the midst of unreal happenings. Quite funny in parts, but also plaintive. I look forward to more books from this author. Pretty much ignored all my chores because I didn't want to stop reading, a lovely way to spend a Sunday.
Richard
Oct 02, 2012 Richard rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Sandi
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
The blurb captures the fundamentals of this book: an alternate-reality United States in which folks are sporadically possessed by “demons”. Not the demons you might associate with the Bible or (more likely) Hollywood horror flicks, but archetypes such as “Truth” or “Captain America”.

I was very surprised to discover after finishing that this was Daryl Gregory’s first novel. His writing is much more polished than I would expect, with fully-fleshed characters and a strong first-person narrative. I
...more
Andi
I really enjoyed this book, even though it just about broke my heart at the end. That is actually praise, because any book that makes me care about the characters enough to hurt for them is a win as far as I am concerned.

Honestly, I think it helps a lot in appreciating this book if you have a background in classic science fiction. At the very least, it enables you to appreciate both the ironic and the humorous elements in the book. But in general, the book is a riveting read. It moves fast, has
...more
Mark
Wow. An unexpected gem.

The premise is simple: A world just like ours except that possession by demons is real. It happens infrequently and is usually brief, leaving the victim shaken, but unharmed. Except for a few. You see, there are different demons that have been identified. The Little Angel, who possesses only girls between 10 and 12 with long curly dark hair and whose kiss can kill. The Painter, who uses materials at hand to paint specific pictures without saying a word, and then departs. T
...more
Lea


This book had a great premise -- modern day demon possession, set in a world similar to our own.

Gregory does a wonderful job with the alternative history here -- Eisenhower is killed by a demon known as the Kamikaze, leading to a persecution of and prejudice towards Japanese-Americans -- and he ties together all the bits and pieces fairly well.

I couldn't give this more than three stars, though, for a couple of reasons. One, I felt like there was just too much going on in this book. There's a lot
...more
Megan Baxter
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
Charles Dee Mitchell
Thousands of verified demonic possession since the 1950’s.

That is the phenomenon behind the alternative world Gregory otherwise sketches. Some possessions provoke deadly accidents, and one demon, a little girl in a long white dress, is an angel of death for those already suffering terminal illnesses. Others are destructive or merely disconcerting intruders society has adjusted to.

As a child Del Pierce was possessed by the demonic version of Dennis the Menace known as The Hellion. Most of the pr
...more
Jason
Gregory's debut novel about demonic possessions is a very well written, fast page turner. This, like others have said is better viewed as a literary novel that contains fantastical elements and should be viewed accordingly. I really liked the premise, the pacing, and the character development. I look forward to more from Daryl Gregory.
Miriam
Fine, I guess I have to go read VALIS. And probably something by van Vogt.
Vlad Zhenevsky
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
J.A.
As a comic book and Philip K. Dick fan, the premise of this book had me hooked. Pop culture archetypes have spawned demons that possess human hosts, temporarily transferring their supernatural, albeit one-dimensional, abilities to the host, who is left with no memory of their possessed behavior. The host may also be missing body parts and more, depending on the demon. The narrator is Del, a man whose life was left in shambles by his childhood possession by a demon named The Hellion. One of the l ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Reviewers were happy to see a fresh take on a well-worn subject of sci-fi and horror stories: demonic possession. They suggested that by creating a world where demons are commonplace, Gregory has in fact found a way of making the subject novel. Critics were even more impressed by Pandemonium's well-developed characters. As one reviewer noted, the possessions of the story affect the trajectories of the characters' lives in the same way as mental illness, without transforming this novel into an al

...more
Bandit
I've managed to read Gregory's books in reverse order starting with the amazing Raising Stony Mayhall, so this book, the sheer greatnest of this book, wasn't as much of a surprise as it would have been if I'd just picked it up out of the blue. But nevertheless...what an awesome book. And of course how could one expect any less originality in this take on possession from the man who's written the most original zombie story to have come out in ages possible ever. From the excellent storytelling to ...more
Brainycat
Brainycat's 5 "B"s :
blood: 3
boobs: 3
bombs: 0
bondage: 1
blasphemy: 4
Stars : 3.5
Bechdel Test : FAIL
Deggan's Rule : FAIL
Gay Bechdel Test : FAIL

Please note: I don't review to provide synopses, I review to share a purely visceral reaction to books and perhaps answer some of the questions I ask when I'm contemplating investing time and money into a book.


Imagine Herman Hesse and Theodore Sturgeon eating acid with Philip K. Dick then spending the whole day reading classic comics while watching Bil
...more
David
I just could not get involved in this story. It just wasn't "heavy" enough. A book has really got to grab me early on in the process. Either through great characterization or an "in your face" kind of moment and that just isn't happening here. A demon possesses a guy in the airport and he......draws a picture? come on...I need more than that.
Pinky
Nov 08, 2009 Pinky rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Dick. Er.... Philip K., of course. Donald P, in particular: you would dig this, I think.
I promise some thoughts soon, but I recommend--it's a kick.

I never came back to this. But it's lingered in my head, so much so that I quickly grabbed his new one... and it's made me rethink my rating, upward.
Bryce
An interesting book, that straddles the line between the speculative fiction genre and "real" literature. In Pandemonium, a disease referred to as possesion is a fact of life in America. People are possessed by demons, really archetypes common to the collective unconscious. Del has trapped one of these demons inside his head... and it's struggling to get out again.

I'm not sure who'd I recoomend this book to. My geeky sci-fi friends would appreciate the concept and the not-so-subtle pop culture r
...more
Efseine
That was quite wonderful, actually. There were a few moments in the middle where I thought about abandoning the book altogether because I thought I knew how Gregory would end it, or at least wasn't interested in finding out. I underestimated him a lot, because the ending of this novel is amazing, utterly different than what you might expect from this sort of thing. It's thoughtful, original, moving, and just amazingly well-done. Obviously Gregory is a thoughtful writer; the premise is clever, an ...more
Anne
Pretty good, I hope the author writes more with this concept and characters. One criterion I use to determine whether a book was 'good' as opposed to merely entertaining is whether the characters linger in my mind for days afterward. In this case, yes; also the settings and the premises. A lot was packed into this, and I get the feeling that Gregory could take this novel and, if he wanted to, repackage it as completely sci-fi, or horror, or romance, or American Family, or action fantasy by simpl ...more
Ero
A very enjoyable page-turner.

While this is primarily a clever and fun read in a fantasy/sci-fi sense (it's about demonic possession), it's also not a bad allegory for the dangers & rewards of listening to the voices in one's head: the ending here suggests that mystical threats are also promises, and responsibilities, psychic forces which pop culture encourages us to suppress and/or pervert into twisted caricatures-- and that what we should be doing is harnessing these powers to steadier mor
...more
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1343790
Award-winning author of Pandemonium, The Devil's Alphabet, and Raising Stony Mayhall.

He is also the writer of comics such as Dracula: The Company of Monsters and Planet of the Apes, both from BOOM! Studios.

His first collection of short stories is Unpossible and Other Stories, by Fairwood Press (October, 2011).

Daryl lives in State College, Pennsylvania.
More about Daryl Gregory...
Raising Stony Mayhall Afterparty We Are All Completely Fine The Devil's Alphabet Harrison Squared

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“Maybe everyone in the world was this inconsistent, this fragments. All we could see of each other -- all we could see of ourselves -- was a ragged person-shaped outline, a game of connect-the-dots without enough dots.” 6 likes
“Divine essence?' I said. 'Hey, I'm Fat Boy, I'll possess a guy and make him eat ten pounds of chocolate in one sitting! Yeah, that's divine, that's fucking deep, that's like ...' I couldn't think what that was like. It was like something, though.” 3 likes
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