Dan Simmons

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Dan Simmons
Born (1948-04-04) April 4, 1948 (age 73)
Peoria, Illinois, U.S.
GenreScience fiction, horror, fantasy
Notable worksSong of Kali (1985)
Hyperion (1989)
Carrion Comfort (1989)
The Terror (2007)

Dan Simmons (born April 4, 1948) is an American science fiction and horror writer. He is the author of the Hyperion Cantos and the Ilium/Olympos cycles, among other works which span the science fiction, horror, and fantasy genres, sometimes within a single novel. Simmons's genre-intermingling Song of Kali (1985) won the World Fantasy Award.[1] He also writes mysteries and thrillers, some of which feature the continuing character Joe Kurtz.


Born in Peoria, Illinois, Simmons received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970 and, in 1971, a Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis.[2]

He soon started writing short stories, although his career did not take off until 1982, when, through Harlan Ellison's help, his short story "The River Styx Runs Upstream" was published and awarded first prize in a Twilight Zone Magazine story competition, and he was taken on as a client by Ellison's agent, Richard Curtis. Simmons's first novel, Song of Kali, was released in 1985.[2]

He worked in elementary education until 1989.[2]

Horror fiction[edit]

Summer of Night (1991) recounts the childhood of a group of pre-teens who band together in the 1960s, to defeat a centuries-old evil that terrorizes their hometown of Elm Haven, Illinois. The novel, which was praised by Stephen King in a cover blurb, is similar to King's It (1986) in its focus on small town life, the corruption of innocence, the return of an ancient evil, and the responsibility for others that emerges with the transition from youth to adulthood.

In the sequel to Summer of Night, A Winter Haunting (2002), Dale Stewart (one of the first book's protagonists and now an adult), revisits his boyhood home to come to grips with mysteries that have disrupted his adult life.

Between the publication of Summer of Night (1991) and A Winter Haunting (2002), several additional characters from Summer of Night appeared in: Children of the Night (1992), a loose sequel to Summer of Night, which features Mike O'Rourke, now much older and a Roman Catholic priest, who is sent on a mission to investigate bizarre events in a European city; Fires of Eden (1994), in which the adult Cordie Cooke appears; and Darwin's Blade (2000), a thriller in which Dale's younger brother, Lawrence Stewart, appears as a minor character.[3][4]

After Summer of Night, Simmons focused on writing science fiction until the 2007 work of historical fiction and horror, The Terror. His 2009 book Drood is based on the last years of Charles Dickens' life leading up to the writing of The Mystery of Edwin Drood, which Dickens had partially completed at the time of his death.[5]

Historical fiction[edit]

The Terror (2007) crosses the bridge between horror and historical fiction. It is a fictionalized account of Sir John Franklin and his expedition to find the Northwest Passage. The two ships, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, become icebound the first winter, and the captains and crew struggle to survive while being stalked across an Arctic landscape by a monster.

The Abominable (2013) recounts a mid-1920s attempt on Mount Everest by five climbers—two British, one French, one Sherpa, and one American (the narrator)—to recover the body of a cousin of one the British characters.[6]

Literary references[edit]

Many of Simmons's works have strong ties with classic literature. For example:



Hyperion Cantos series
  1. Hyperion (1989) – Hugo and Locus Awards winner, BSFA nominee, 1990;[7] Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee, 1992[15]
  2. The Fall of Hyperion (1990) – Nebula Award nominee, 1990;[7] BSFA and Locus Awards winner, Hugo Award nominee, 1991[16]
  3. Endymion (1996) – Locus Award shortlist, 1997[17]
  4. The Rise of Endymion (1997) – Locus Award winner, Hugo Award nominee 1998[18]

Short stories:

  • "Remembering Siri" (1983), novelette, prequel to Hyperion
  • "The Death of the Centaur" (1990), novelette
  • "Orphans of the Helix" (1999), novelette, sequel of The Rise of Endymion
Seasons of Horror series
  1. Summer of Night (1991) – British Fantasy Award, 1992[15]
  2. Children of the Night (1992) – Locus Award 1993 (Horror)
  3. A Winter Haunting (2002) – Locus Award nominee, 2003[19]

Short stories:

  • Banished Dreams (1990), collects three prophetic dream sequences that were expurgated from the published edition of Summer of Night
    "Dale's Dream", "Kevin's Dream", "Mike's Dream"
Joe Kurtz series
  1. Hardcase (2001)
  2. Hard Freeze (2002)
  3. Hard as Nails (2003)
Ilium/Olympos series
  1. Ilium (2003) – Locus Award winner, Hugo Award nominee, 2004[20]
  2. Olympos (2005) – Locus Award shortlist, 2006[21]

Short stories[edit]


  • Prayers to Broken Stones (1990), collection of 6 short stories and 7 novellas/novelettes:
    "The River Styx Runs Upstream", "Eyes I Dare Not Meet in Dreams" (novelette), "Vanni Fucci Is Alive and Well and Living in Hell", "Vexed to Nightmare by a Rocking Cradle", "Remembering Siri" (novelette of Hyperion Cantos series), "Metastasis", "The Offering" (novelette), "E-Ticket to 'Namland" AKA "E-Ticket to Namland" (novelette), "Iverson's Pits" (novella), "Shave and a Haircut, Two Bites", "The Death of the Centaur" (novelette of Hyperion Cantos series), "Two Minutes Forty-Five Seconds", "Carrion Comfort" (novelette)
  • Lovedeath (1993), collection of 5 novellas/novelettes:
    "Entropy's Bed at Midnight" (novelette), "Dying in Bangkok" AKA "Death in Bangkok" (novelette), "Sleeping with Teeth Women" (novella), "Flashback" (novelette), "The Great Lover" (novella)
  • Worlds Enough & Time (2002), collection of 5 novellas/novelettes:
    "Looking for Kelly Dahl" (novella), "Orphans of the Helix" (novelette from Hyperion Cantos series), "The Ninth of Av" (novella), "On K2 with Kanakaredes" (novelette), "The End of Gravity" (novella)

Uncollected short stories:

  • "Presents of Mind" (1986, with Edward Bryant, Steve Rasnic Tem and Connie Willis)
  • "Dying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard" (1990, with Edward Bryant), novelette
  • "The Counselor" (1991), novelette
  • "All Dracula's Children" (1991), novelette
  • "My Private Memoirs of the Hoffer Stigmata Pandemic" (1991)
  • "This Year's Class Picture" (1992)
  • "Elm Haven, IL" (1992), novelette, from Freak Show series
  • "One Small Step for Max" (1992)
  • "My Copsa Micas" (1994), novelette
  • "Madame Bovary, C'est Moi" (2000)
  • "Muse of Fire" (2007), novella
  • "The guiding nose of Ulfänt Banderōz" (2009), novella, from Dying Earth series


  • Ruby/Gem S.T.R.E.A.M.M. Poetry (2011)


  • Going After the Rubber Chicken (1991), a collection of three convention guest-of-honor speeches by Simmons
  • Summer Sketches (1992), Simmons reveals how his travel experiences have allowed him to instill a feeling of place in readers of his fiction
  • Negative Spaces: Two talks (1999), about science fiction


In January 2004, it was announced that the screenplay he wrote for his novels Ilium and Olympos would be made into a film by Digital Domain and Barnet Bain Films, with Simmons acting as executive producer. Ilium is described as an "epic tale that spans 5,000 years and sweeps across the entire solar system, including themes and characters from Homer's The Iliad and Shakespeare's The Tempest."[27]

In 2008, Guillermo del Toro was scheduled to direct a film adaptation of Drood for Universal Pictures.[28] As of December 2017, the project is still listed as "in development."[29]

In 2009, Scott Derrickson was set to direct "Hyperion Cantos" for Warner Bros. and Graham King, with Trevor Sands penning the script to blend the first two cantos "Hyperion" and "The Fall of Hyperion" into one film.[30] In 2011, actor Bradley Cooper expressed interest in taking over the adaptation.[31] In 2015, it was announced that TV channel Syfy will produce a mini-series based on the Hyperion Cantos with the involvement of Cooper and King.[32] As of May 2017, the project was still "in development" at Syfy.[33]

The Terror (2007) was adapted in 2018 as an AMC 10 episode-mini-series in 2018 and received generally positive reviews upon release.[34][35]



August Derleth Award

  • Best Novel (1990): Carrion Comfort[7]

Bram Stoker Award

  • Best Collection (1992): Prayers to Broken Stones
  • Best Novel (1990): Carrion Comfort
  • Best Novelette (1994): "Dying in Bangkok"
  • Best Short Story (1993): "This Year's Class Picture"

British Science Fiction Award

  • Best Novel (1991): The Fall of Hyperion[16]

Hugo Award

  • Best Novel (1990): Hyperion[7]

International Horror Guild Award

  • Best Novel (2003): A Winter Haunting

Locus Award

  • Best Horror Novel (1990): Carrion Comfort[7]
  • Best Science Fiction Novel (1990): Hyperion[7]
  • Best Novelette (1991): "Entropy's Bed at Midnight"
  • Best Science Fiction Novel (1991): The Fall of Hyperion[16]
  • Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel (1992): Summer of Night
  • Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel (1993): Children of the Night
  • Best Novelette (1994): "Dying in Bangkok"
  • Best Horror/Dark Fantasy Novel (1995): Fires of Eden
  • Best Science Fiction Novel (1998): The Rise of Endymion[18]
  • Best Novelette (2000): "Orphans of the Helix"
  • Best Science Fiction Novel (2004): Ilium[20]

Nocte Award

  • Best Foreign Short Story (2010): “La foto de la clase de este año” (This Year's Class Picture).

Seiun Award

  • Best Foreign Novel (1995): Hyperion
  • Best Novel (1996): The Fall of Hyperion (tied with Timelike Infinity by Stephen Baxter)
  • Best Foreign Short Story (1999): "This Year's Class Picture"

World Fantasy Award

  • Best Novel (1986): Song of Kali[1]
  • Best Short story (1993): "This Year's Class Picture"


Dan Simmons has been nominated on numerous occasions in a range of categories for his fiction, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Bram Stoker Award, British Fantasy Society Award, Hugo Award, Nebula Award, and World Fantasy Award.[36]


  1. ^ a b c "1986 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  2. ^ a b c "About Dan: Biographic Sketch". dansimmons.com. Retrieved 14 June 2018.
  3. ^ "Review: Darwin's Blade". Publisher's Weekly. October 30, 2000.
  4. ^ Simmons, Dan (2000). Darwin's Blade. William Morrow. ISBN 978-0-380-97369-9.
  5. ^ Gwinn, Mary Ann (February 15, 2009). "Q&A: Dan Simmons, author of "Drood"". The Seattle Times.
  6. ^ Robbins, Michael (October 20, 2013). "Review: 'The Abominable' by Dan Simmons". Chicago Tribune.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "1990 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  8. ^ Miller, T. S. (2013). "Flying Chaucers, Insectile Ecclesiasts, and Pilgrims Through Space and Time: The Science Fiction Chaucer". The Chaucer Review. 48 (2). doi:10.5325/chaucerrev.48.2.0129. Retrieved 26 May 2020.
  9. ^ "John Keats". Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. 2018-09-06. Retrieved 2018-09-07.CS1 maint: others (link)
  10. ^ Willems, Brian (2009). Hopkins and Heidegger. London: Continuum. ISBN 9781441169563.
  11. ^ Feeley, Gregory (27 September 1992). "The Hollow Man". The Washington Post.
  12. ^ Stableford, Brian (2009-03-01). News of the Black Feast and Other Random Reviews. Wildside Press LLC. pp. 73–74. ISBN 9781434403360.
  13. ^ Marvell, A. (1981). "To his coy mistress." The Poetry Foundation. Retrieved on 17 October 2018 from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44688/to-his-coy-mistress
  14. ^ Owchar, Nick. "Book review: 'Flashback' by Dan Simmons". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  15. ^ a b "1992 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  16. ^ a b c "1991 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  17. ^ "1997 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  18. ^ a b "1998 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  19. ^ "2003 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  20. ^ a b "2004 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  21. ^ "2006 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  22. ^ "1993 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  23. ^ Rafferty, Terrence (March 18, 2007). "Ice Men". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  24. ^ "2008 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-16.
  25. ^ "Dan Simmons The Abominable cover art reveal!". Upcoming4.me. March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on March 19, 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  26. ^ "Dan Simmons To Release 'The Fifth Heart', His Next Book After 'The Abominable'". Kernel's Corner. 10 March 2014. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
  27. ^ Marc Graser; Jonathan Bing (8 January 2004). "'Ilium,' 'Olympos' optioned for pic". Variety. Retrieved 29 April 2019.
  28. ^ Fleming, Michael Jr. (3 September 2008). "Guillermo Del Toro booked thru 2017". variety.com. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  29. ^ "Drood". IMDB.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 25 December 2017.
  30. ^ Fleming, Michael (January 29, 2009). "Scott Derrickson to direct 'Hyperion'". Variety. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  31. ^ Falconer, Robert (May 27, 2011). "Bradley Cooper Anxious to Adapt Dan Simmons's Hyperion for the Screen". Cinemaspy. Archived from the original on July 3, 2012. Retrieved 2012-12-10.
  32. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (June 10, 2015). "Bradley Cooper, Graham King, Todd Phillips Adapting Dan Simmons' 'Hyperion' for Syfy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-08-05.
  33. ^ Fowler, Matt (12 May 2017). "Syfy Reboot Includes Greenlit Krypton Series, George R.R. Martin's Nightflyers and More". IGN News. Retrieved 28 May 2017.
  34. ^ "The Terror: Season 1 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  35. ^ "The Terror Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  36. ^ Works in the WWEnd Database for Dan Simmons.

External links[edit]