Dan Simmons

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. A typical example of Simmons' intermingling of genres is Song of Kali (1985), winner of the World Fantasy Award.[1] He also writes mysteries and thrillers, some of which feature the continuing character Joe Kurtz.

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


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. Simmons' first novel, Song of Kali, was released in 1985.[2]

He worked in elementary education until 1989.[2]

Horror fiction

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]

Soon after Summer of Night (1991), Simmons, who had written mostly horror fiction, began to focus on writing science fiction, although in 2007 he returned with a work of historical fiction and horror, The Terror. In 2009, he published another book, Drood, 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

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 English, one French, one Sherpa, and one American (the narrator)—to recover the body of one of the English characters' cousin.[6]

Literary references

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

Screen adaptations

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."[14]

In 2008, Guillermo del Toro is scheduled to direct a film adaptation of Drood for Universal Pictures.[15] As of December 2017, the project is still listed as "in development."[16]

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.[17] In 2011, actor Bradley Cooper expressed interest in taking over the adaptation.[18] 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.[19] As of May 2017, the project was still "in development" at Syfy.[20]

The Terror (2007) was adapted as an AMC TV 10 episode-mini-series in 2018 and received generally positive reviews upon release.[21][22]


Hyperion Cantos

  1. Hyperion (1989) – Hugo and Locus Awards winner, BSFA nominee, 1990;[7] Arthur C. Clarke Award nominee, 1992[23]
  2. The Fall of Hyperion (1990) – Nebula Award nominee, 1990;[7] BSFA and Locus Awards winner, Hugo Award nominee, 1991[24]
  3. Endymion (1996) – Locus Award shortlist, 1997[25]
  4. The Rise of Endymion (1997) – Locus Award winner, Hugo Award nominee 1998[26]


  1. Ilium (2003) – Locus Award winner, Hugo Award nominee, 2004[27]
  2. Olympos (2005) – Locus Award shortlist, 2006[28]

Joe Kurtz

  1. Hardcase (2001)
  2. Hard Freeze (2002)
  3. Hard as Nails (2003)

Seasons of Horror[29]

Other books



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 Fantasy Society Award

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

British Science Fiction Award

  • Best Novel (1991): The Fall of Hyperion[24]

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[24]
  • 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[26]
  • Best Novelette (2000): "Orphans of the Helix"
  • Best Science Fiction Novel (2004): Ilium[27]

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. "1986 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  2. "About Dan: Biographic Sketch". dansimmons.com. Retrieved June 14, 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. "1990 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  8. "John Keats". Poetry Foundation. Poetry Foundation. September 6, 2018. Retrieved September 7, 2018.CS1 maint: others (link)
  9. Willems, Brian (2009). Hopkins and Heidegger. London: Continuum. ISBN 9781441169563.
  10. Feeley, Gregory (September 27, 1992). "The Hollow Man". The Washington Post.
  11. Stableford, Brian (March 1, 2009). News of the Black Feast and Other Random Reviews. Wildside Press LLC. pp. 73–74. ISBN 9781434403360.
  12. 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
  13. Owchar, By Nick. "Book review: 'Flashback' by Dan Simmons". latimes.com. Retrieved December 11, 2018.
  14. Marc Graser; Jonathan Bing (January 8, 2004). "'Ilium,' 'Olympos' optioned for pic". Variety. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  15. Fleming Jr., Michael (September 3, 2008). "Guillermo Del Toro booked thru 2017". variety.com. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  16. "Drood". IMDB.com. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved December 25, 2017.
  17. Fleming, Michael (January 29, 2009). "Scott Derrickson to direct 'Hyperion'". Variety. Archived from the original on February 5, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2012.
  18. 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.
  19. Goldberg, Lesley (June 10, 2015). "Bradley Cooper, Graham King, Todd Phillips Adapting Dan Simmons' 'Hyperion' for Syfy". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved August 5, 2015.
  20. Fowler, Matt (May 12, 2017). "Syfy Reboot Includes Greenlit Krypton Series, George R.R. Martin's Nightflyers and More". IGN News. Retrieved May 28, 2017.
  21. "The Terror: Season 1 (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  22. "The Terror Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved April 10, 2018.
  23. "1992 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  24. "1991 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  25. "1997 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  26. "1998 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  27. "2004 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  28. "2006 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  29. "Seasons of Horror series by Dan Simmons".
  30. "2003 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  31. "1993 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  32. Rafferty, Terrence (March 18, 2007). "Ice Men". The New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  33. "2008 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved July 16, 2009.
  34. "Dan Simmons The Abominable cover art reveal!". Upcoming4.me. March 14, 2013. Archived from the original on March 19, 2013. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  35. "Dan Simmons To Release 'The Fifth Heart', His Next Book After 'The Abominable'". Kernel's Corner. March 10, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  36. Works in the WWEnd Database for Dan Simmons.
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