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Black Hills

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  2,221 Ratings  ·  362 Reviews
Amid the chaos and bloodshed of the Little Big Horn battlefield, a young Sioux boy decides to show his courage by laying hands on General George Armstrong Custer precisely at the instant of the general's death. What eleven-year-old Paha Sapa, whose name "Black Hill," can't know is that this brief contact will result in an uncanny connection that will shape his life for eve ...more
Paperback, Reader Pick Guide, 509 pages
Published March 23rd 2011 by Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books (first published 2010)
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When will Dan Simmons come up with some original ideas? This latest is about a Lakota (Sioux) Indian named Paha Sapa (which means Black Hills) who has the psychic ability to read a person’s memories and get a glimpse of their future by touching them. After trying to count coup on a dying soldier at the Little Big Horn, he ends up with the spirit of George Custer inhabiting his consciousness. This puts Paha Sapa at odds with Crazy Horse, whose memories he also absorbs, and forces him to run away ...more
Edward Lorn
Dec 02, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paperbacks
DNF due to absurd sex letters and boring bullshit. Easily one of Simmons's worst. Which is sad because the book isn't terrible all the time. But when it is terrible, holy shit, it's almost unreadable.
11811 (Eleven)
I'm not sure why I finished listening to this but every time I thought I was at a dead end it would turn back onto Fascination Street. (Maybe not the same street The Cure sang about. That would require further tiresome research.)

I love Simmons but, like his genres, my ratings are all over the place. This gets somewhere between one and five stars. At half the length of masterpieces like The Terror and The Abominable, it felt twice as long.

He could have shaved a hundred pages by sticking with Eng
Feb 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dansimmons
The beauty of Dan Simmons is how well he transcends genre. Not content to just be a science-fiction novelist, or a horror novelist, or a crime novelist, or a historical ficiton novelist, he does a bit of dabbling in all of those genres. And that's the thing: he doesn't just dabble. He kicks each genre square in the ass.

Simmons is such a damn fine writer that his work can be enjoyed as the beautiful works of art they are, regardless of the genre. In fact, the genre of each individual work is irr
J.K. Grice
Oct 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved the premise of this book, and Simmons delivers an absolutely brilliant story. Meticulous historical research, coupled with wonder and Native American magic make this novel a superb read. Highly recommended.
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am so glad I listened to the audiobook of Black Hills instead of trying to read it. It's so dense and convoluted that I don't think I would have made it through the print version. Plus, it was pretty cool listening to the two readers. The one who narrates all of Paha Sapa's experiences sounds like a Lakota. He does a great job with all the Lakota words and phrases that would have just fouled me up royally if I had been trying to read it. The reader who does Custer's ghost sounds sufficiently 1 ...more
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This sets the bar pretty high for the rest of the 2010 releases I read. It's also my first chance reading a Dan Simmons novel, and I think I'll be reading a lot more of his work in the years to come. This is a coming-of-age tale, with a love story, with a dash of the supernatural, and a kind of requiem for the Native American ancestry. I dare say anyone who reads this book will be contemplating it long after they've set it down.
Nov 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Three and a half stars.

Black Hills is another intelligent marathon of a book by Dan Simmons. It's actually a bit shorter than his last two, The Terror and Drood, at 500+ pages. It is also not quite as good at his last two novels but still an entertaining and impressive read. In Black Hills, Ten year old Sioux Indian Paha Saba touches General Custer at Little Big horn at the time of Custer's death and causes the boy to be haunted by his spirit. The novel follows Paha Saba throughout his life culm
May 22, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I'll still read everything Simmons writes, but this one was, for me, just OK. For the last few years I've marveled at Simmons' ability to write so much, so quickly, about such a range of topics. And yes, I understand that an author of Simmons' prominence will (may?) have a research assistant or two helping out. But at several times during Black Hills I was reminded of Mark Twain's apology to a friend that he wrote him a long letter "because he didn't have time to write a short one." There were p
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Dan Simmons grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Master
More about Dan Simmons...
“PAHA SAPA PULLS HIS HAND BACK SHARPLY BUT NOT BEFORE HE feels the rattlesnake-strike shock of the dying Wasicun’s ghost leaping into his fingers and flowing up his arm and into his chest. The boy lurches back in horror as the ghost burns its way up through his veins and bones like so much surging venom.” 1 likes
“Then the young men, streaming blood on their painted chests and backs, would stand and begin their dancing and chanting, leaning back from or toward the sacred tree so that their bodies were often suspended totally by the rawhide and horn under their muscles. And always they stared at the sun as they danced and chanted. Sometimes they danced the full two days. More often, they would dance and leap until the pain caused them to fall unconscious or—if they were lucky and Wakan Tanka smiled on them—until the rawhide and horn ripped through their powerful chest or back muscles and freed them.” 1 likes
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