I was thinking back through the books I’ve read in the past few years (quite a few, though not nearly as many as I would have liked) and it occurred to me that THE TERROR by Dan Simmons would probably appeal to a lot of gamers.

The Terror

I got it for Christmas a couple of years ago and read it right away, enjoying it immensely. It is a fictional account of the fate of the real-world arctic expedition of HMS Terror and HMS Erebus in 1845. The two ships were searching for the Northwest Passage, became trapped in the ice, and the ultimate fate of the ships and the crews is still mostly a mystery.

Here’s the Publisher’s Weekly write-up:

Hugo-winner Simmons brings the horrific trials and tribulations of arctic exploration vividly to life in this beautifully written historical, which injects a note of supernatural horror into the 1840s Franklin expedition and its doomed search for the Northwest Passage. Sir John Franklin, the leader of the expedition and captain of the Erebus, is an aging fool. Francis Crozier, his second in command and captain of the Terror, is a competent sailor, but embittered after years of seeing lesser men with better connections given preferment over him. With their two ships quickly trapped in pack ice, their voyage is a disaster from start to finish. Some men perish from disease, others from the cold, still others from botulism traced to tinned food purchased from the lowest bidder. Madness, mutiny and cannibalism follow. And then there’s the monstrous creature from the ice, the thing like a polar bear but many times larger, possessed of a dark and vicious intelligence. This complex tale should find many devoted readers and add significantly to Simmons’s already considerable reputation.

Emphasis mine.

Apparently there’s a Cthulhu campaign based on a search for the lost expedition called Walker in the Wastes.

I really enjoyed the novel and am hoping to listen to it on audiobook in the near future. If you’re looking for something to read this summer, maybe the reading about the deep cold these guys found themselves trapped in will help keep you cool.

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6 Comments to “The Terror”

  1. TheRavyn says:

    This sounds good! Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Kilgore says:

      It’s a great mix of historical fiction, survival (or not) tale, and a bit of monster/supernatural mystery thrown in for good measure.

  2. bat says:

    Do they uncover Gwar in the book? I mean, you can tell us that much! It sounds like a good read, one of those books that gives you horrible claustrophobic nightmares.

  3. Ripper X says:

    I loved the Terror! Awesome book.

  4. Badelaire says:

    I read this book two Christmases ago. Sitting down on the Cape during the winter, long cold nights, windy, with the waves and the surf, enjoying a glass of bourbon and reading the book by lamplight on occasion for sheer ambiance. One of the best supernatural horror novels I’ve ever read, bar none.

    What’s probably creepiest about this novel is that it is so carefully intertwined with reality. The Terror was indeed a ship that was lost in the far frozen north, all the characters in the book really existed, and all the real evidence of what happened to the ship and crew (which is still something of a mystery) finds its way into the novel.

    I would strongly suggest to anyone interested in reading the book, that you hold off on doing any real-world fact-finding until after you finish the novel; it will, I feel, make things a lot more satisfying if you read about the reality AFTER you read the fiction.