Brad's Reviews > Song of Kali

Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
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Jun 05, 12

bookshelves: horror
Read in May, 2007, read count: 1

Song of Kali isn't one of Dan Simmons' best works, but it is a fine example of what makes him one of my favourite writers: his range.

Simmons loves history, mythology, authors, writing and reading, and his loves have led him to create one of the most varied bodies of work amongst active writers (although it appears he will soon be challenged for the crown by China Mieville). He's written about John Keats in space, Ernest Hemingway in the Gulf, the Greek Gods, Franklin's lost Arctic expedition, retold Dickens' unfinished novel, and in Song of Kali he tackles the bloody Hindu goddess of eternal energy, Kali, in a nasty, modern day Calcutta.

It's an urban-fantasy horror novel with some genuinely freaky moments, made all the more freaky by their macabre banality. To become a member of the Kali cult, for instance, one need only bring a corpse to the first meeting. It's irrelevant how you get your corpse. You can kill it, dig it up, steal it, whatever works for you, but it makes for a frightening sequence, fraught with "what ifs?" and "holy shits!". And all of this is offered as a reflection of what humanity truly is, even when most of humanity is gleefully hiding its ugly nature behind a saccharine humanism.

There's much of violence and its cost running throughout Simmons' work (another reason I love him), but it appears in myriad forms. And always from a different genre direction. Historical fiction, urban fantasy, hard sci-fi, horror, historical horror, whodunnit, poetry, mythos, and whatever else works.

Simmons is an author among authors, and if you have never read him this is a good place to start. Song of Kali may not dazzle, but it will pique your interest and get you ready for his more daunting books (of which there are many).

p.s. I don't care if you think I am crazy (or what he thinks, for that matter). I love him. So there. ;)
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message 1: by Chris (new)

Chris If you love him so much, why don't you marry him? :P

couldn't resist


Brad Resistance is no fun at all.


Zulfiya I really like Dan Simmons - his style, his vocabulary, his literary enlightenment, his ability to be a chameleon writer and write well in different genres. Song of Kali was a good starting point for Dan Simmons - his descriptions of crowd made me feel claustrophobic, and the passages about the experience in the dungeon and in the slums have an authentic Gothic haunting feeling.

His controversial Flashbackis on the reading agenda despite its GOPish conservative undertone. Sorry for a political comment:-)


Brad Never apologize for political comments on any of my reviews, Zulfiya. I tend to wear my politics on my sleeve, so ....


Kelly H. (Maybedog) Resistance is futile.

I have this book on hold at the library so it's good to hear a friend liked it. I didn't realize Simmons was GOPish which is disturbing but not particularly shocking. I can handle it if it's not too bad. I've been known to enjoy a Dean Koontz book or two. Just have to take a deep breath every now and then while reading.


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