The next 13 days are a countdown to Halloween. Therefore, I’ll be writing every day about darker, colder, more skeletal and demonic things than is usually the case around here.
It starts with this review of Song of Kali and will end on Halloween with a short story I’ve written for you.
Song of Kali by Dan Simmons
Steven Spielberg was not the first one to find inspiration in the horrors of the Thuggee cult. In fact, as I sit here remembering Indiana Jones And The Temple Of Doom, I would love to know if Steven had read any Dan Simmons.
I first wrote about Dan Simmons in my book review of The Terror. There are so few “horror” books that are actually frightening. Gory doesn’t mean scary. Gross and sadistic scenes don’t necessarily make a book terrifying, or even interesting.
Song of Kali does for Calcutta what Temple of Doom did for…well, for corridors full of bugs, human sacrifice, shrill blond women, suspension bridges, mine cars–man, that was a great movie.
Temple takes place in India, with frequent references to Pankot Palace and the dark goddess Kali. She’s the one with the fiery, spiky head and all the skulls around her neck.
Song of Kali is set in Calcutta and there’s no campy humor or monkey heads to relieve the tension.
The story in brief
An American poet takes a freelance writing assignment to travel to Calcutta. He is going to find the famous Indian Poet M. Das. Das vanished years earlier and was presumed dead. Now reports have surfaced that he is alive and has written a new, long, and strange epic poem.
The poet flies to Calcutta with his wife and their seven month old child.
Things go badly. Simmons creates a mood of dread that I can’t even begin to describe. If you like horror, Song of Kali is a treat.
That’s all I’m going to say. You’ll thank me for leaving the restraint if you read it.
See you tomorrow.
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