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3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  1,447 ratings  ·  267 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
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Published August 26th 2008 by Del Rey (first published January 1st 2008)
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FANTERRIFIC STORY ALERT. I love finding original, diamonds like this cuz it makes my brain go...

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
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
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
I haven't been as relieved to finish a novel in a very long time but I write that reluctantly.
The scope and ideas behind the book are fantastic; Jung, Sci-Fi, possession, spirituality, technology...and I could go on. However, this doesn't mean that they mix very well, at least not in this case, that of a first published novel.

Daryl Gregory is a well known short story writer and in this book he has still not mastered the art of moving between short fiction and novels. There were times when I cou...more
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
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
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
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
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

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
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.
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

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
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.
Vlad Zhenevsky
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
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
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
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
This book was a real page-turner that made me think. I cared about the characters...I cared about what happened to them. The prose is excellent and the "twists" in the plot are genuinely interesting. There were no moments in the novel that seemed contrived at all to me.

The premise starts out interestingly: since the 40s the world has been harassed by "demons" that possess people. It gets turned on its head and only gets better from there.

To recap...the bottom line for this book with me (and with...more
I was expecting more of a horror novel when I purchased this book, and while the subject matter would have lent itself well to that type of book, it isn't one.

I had to get past those expectations at first, since I was in the mood for a horror novel, but I'm glad I did. I found the concept to be intriguing and original. Good pacing, good plotting, good characters. A solid effort.

I would have gave it five stars except for me, the end fell a little flat. I can't quite put my finger on why I didn't...more
This is not what i expected at all. Thought it would be some mediocre scary story. It is an extremely literary exploration of self with a lot of wonderful 80's and 90's pop culture bits thrown in. Remember the game Don't Break the Ice? i loved that one when i was little

For a debut, this book is extraordinary! Wholly original, have never read a book quite like it. An excellent journey towards the answer of what makes an individual. I really enjoyed this novel and look forward to more from Gregory...more
This is about several of Daryl Gregory's book so I'm posting in on each of those books.

Moving away from your childhood home usually hurts, and so does coming back. Returning makes old aches ache again, and creates new one as being physically close points out the distance that grows between people as we age and change. Daryl Gregory’s fiction emphasizes that, and demonstrates that all this shit is extra intense if you’re possessed by a demon, or if you’re a zombie, or if your home town was the si...more
I was thoroughly drawn in by the concept of this book, that of people in modern times being possessed by archetypes from the collective unconscious. Society has no consensus on the reason for this phenomenon, and people debate both the cause and the cure. But a good concept will only take you so far. The author overindulged in pop culture references. And as more specifics of the plot were revealed, I found the book holding my attention less and less. It was a fun read nonetheless.
Good. This is a story about "demons" and "possession" but more in the voodoo sense of the word -- only not quite, because American archetypes like Captain America possess people instead. And the book starts off with someone being possessed in Airport Security.

It's well written. Daryl Gregory has much in common with Matt Ruff in his overall balancing of viewpoint, action and misdirection. More than that, the book is well edited -- it doesn't waste time inflating the plot, and instead goes right f...more
Alan Marchant
Channeling PKD

Philip K Dick, that is. This book is Daryl Gregory's attempt to take on the persona of the greatly demented late SciFi master. The story includes many of the hallmarks of Dick's writing: identity issues, mundane backdrop, free association, childish protagonist. And PKD himself wanders through the plot. In the end, though, Gregory's sanity breaks through (oops, is this a plot spoiler?) and the story comes to a coherent, non-Dickian conclusion.
Arah-Leah Hay
I am not the target audience for this book and I think in general it would attract more male readers. I have to say though, I was totally into it in the beginning. I was already thinking early on, oh this is cool, original and even funny. It's full of pop culture references too, and I was getting them. Then it just took things too far. For me anyway. The comics....just too much. It really just lost me and my initial investment in the characters, completely.
Nicole (The Bibliophile Chronicles)
Review posted over at The Bibliophile Chronicles!

I stumbled across this little book quite by chance, and I’m so glad I did because it’s an astounding story that stays with you long after you’re finished reading.


Pandemonium is a novel set in a world exactly like ours, except for one thing – possession is real, and can happen to anyone. The story’s protagonist Del, experiences one such possession in his childhood, after a swimming accident. Now many years later, Del is involved in a ca...more
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Modern SF: Pandemonium, Daryl Gregory 1 16 Feb 11, 2013 12:46AM  
  • The Shadow Year
  • The House of the Stag
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  • The Rainy Season
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  • The Red Tree
  • Territory
  • A Princess of Roumania (Princess of Roumania, #1)
  • Osama
  • Jack Faust
  • Enter, Night
  • Waking the Moon
  • Twelve (The Danilov Quintet, #1)
  • Black Cathedral (Department 18, #1)
  • The Troupe
  • Dreadful Skin
  • The Stress of Her Regard
  • The Love We Share Without Knowing
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 The Devil's Alphabet We Are All Completely Fine Unpossible and Other Stories

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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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