Happy birthday Dan Simmons!

Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Italian edition)
Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Italian edition)

Dan Simmons was born on April 4, 1948 in Peoria, Illinois, USA.

Dan Simmons earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from Wabash College in 1970 and a Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. For several years he worked as a teacher writing in his spare time. Only in 1982 his first story, “The River Styx Runs Upstream”, was published and won a literary competition.

For some years Dan Simmons kept on teaching while his success as a professional writer increased. In 1983 he published the novelette “Carrion Comfort” which he later developed in a more sophisticated way into a novel. However, due to various problems with different publishers, the novel was published only in 1989 with the same title.

Because of those problems, the first novel published by Dan Simmons was “Song of Kali” in 1985. A horror, the novel won the World Fantasy Award.

Since the beginning of his career, Dan Simmons has written works of various literary genres, mixing their elements. Strong links with classical literature are present in his science fiction novel “Hyperion” (1989), the first of the Hyperion Cantos also composed of the novels “The Fall of Hyperion” (1990), “Endymion” (1996) and “The Rise of Endymion” (1997) and the novella “Orphans of the Helix” (1999).

Horror themes were back in some interconnected novels: “Summer of Night” (1991), winner of the British Fantasy Award, “Children of the Night” (1992), winner of the Locus Award for the horror category, “Fires of Eden” (1995), winner of the Locus Award, and “A Winter Haunting” (2002).

In the following years Dan Simmons wrote a trilogy of hardboiled novels with detective Joe Kurtz as their protagonist: “Hardcase” (2001), “Hard Freeze” (2002) and “Hard as Nails” (2003).

A science fiction mini-cycle with mythological elements is the one formed by “Ilium” (2003) and “Olympos” (2005). The mix of genres often makes it difficult and restrictive to label Dan Simmons’ works. “The Terror” (2007) is a historical drama based on real events but the author adds fantasy / horror elements. At the end of March a TV show that adapted the novel made its debut.

In recent years Dan Simmons wrote more science fiction works such as “Flashback” (“Flashback”) of 2011, controversial because it’s a very political novel that supports the American tea party’s positions and is explicitly anti-Obama. However, he seems to prefer historical settings with novels such as “Drood” (2009), with Charles Dickens as its protagonist, “The Abominable” (2013), another one with horror elements, and “The Fifth Heart” of 2015, with Sherlock Holmes and Henry James as its protagonists.

Dan Simmons has widelpy proved his ability to write works of very different genres mixing their elements in various ways. That’s proved by the many successes that his works had in many nations and by the many awards they received in various nations.


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