Read pandemonium by Daryl Gregory Online


It is a world like our own in every respect . . . save one. In the 1950s, random acts of possession begin to occur. Ordinary men, women, and children are the targets of entities that seem to spring from the depths of the collective unconscious, pop-cultural avatars some call demons. There’s the Truth, implacable avenger of falsehood. The Captain, brave and self-sacrificingIt is a world like our own in every respect . . . save one. In the 1950s, random acts of possession begin to occur. Ordinary men, women, and children are the targets of entities that seem to spring from the depths of the collective unconscious, pop-cultural avatars some call demons. There’s the Truth, implacable avenger of falsehood. The Captain, brave and self-sacrificing soldier. The Little Angel, whose kiss brings death, whether desired or not. And a string of others, ranging from the bizarre to the benign to the horrific.As a boy, Del Pierce is possessed by the Hellion, an entity whose mischief-making can be deadly. With the help of Del’s family and a caring psychiatrist, the demon is exorcised . . . or is it? Years later, following a car accident, the Hellion is back, trapped inside Del’s head and clamoring to get out.Del’s quest for help leads him to Valis, an entity possessing the science fiction writer formerly known as Philip K. Dick; to Mother Mariette, a nun who inspires decidedly unchaste feelings; and to the Human League, a secret society devoted to the extermination of demons. All believe that Del holds the key to the plague of possession–and its solution. But for Del, the cure may be worse than the disease.“Look out, Lethem! Daryl Gregory mixes pop culture and pathos, flavoring it with Philip K. Dick. Pandemonium possesses every quality you want in a great novel, and the good news is it’s only his debut.” –Charles Coleman Finlay, Hugo and Nebula Award-nominated author of The Prodigal TrollFrom the Trade Paperback edition....

Title : pandemonium
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ISBN : 8194322
Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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pandemonium Reviews

  • Stephen
    2019-02-05 09:24

    FANTERRIFIC STORY ALERT. I love finding original, diamonds like this cuz it makes my brain go...As other astute people have chimed, this story turned out to be much deeper and a lot different than I originally expected (in a yippie, yippie good way). This book was such an enjoyable experience and made me want get a serious preach on sermonizing its greatness. While containing elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror, I don’t think the novel neatly fits into any of those containers and spills uniqueness over the cup of any genre that tries to hold it. I'm gonna just wimp out and label it speculative fiction and move on because I am not the person to decide the proper name of new genre bending categories. However, that doesn't mean I'm not willing to throw on my Leopard mankini and Tarzan out singing the praises of this story. Oh, I will. You, just watch me. The story takes the unique approach of combining the scientific/biological study of mental illness with demonic possession and creating a combined phenomenon that is very compelling. The blending of these two components was worth three "Fuck Yeahs" and a "You go Boy" all by itself. BACKGROUNDThe story takes place in an alternate version of the United States where, beginning around the 1940’s, demonic possession has become a recognized and accepted phenomenon. However, the demonic possession in the story is quite different from our common perception of possession. Here, each “demon” has a particular trait/compulsion that they exhibit every time they appear. There is the “Painter” who appears at the very beginning of the story and shuts down an airport terminal while it creates a picture of a farmhouse out of smashed popcorn. Other identified demons include “Captain,” “Smokestack Johnny,” “The Truth,” “Little Angel,” “Kamikaze” and “Hellion.” I will leave it to you to learn what each of the demons signature actions are because that is part of the enjoyment of the story. Anyway, most possessions last a very short time (minutes to hours) and the interruptions caused by the incidents have basically become a part of life (like the Painter scene described above). Possessions occur much more often in people that have previously suffered some form of mental illness. In addition, once subject to a possession, victims often suffer after effects very similar to various forms of mental illness, even if not previously diagnosed with such a condition. This tie-in between possession and mental illness was delicious and gave the story an added depth and richness that was very compelling. For instance, just look at the similarities between these two real life examples:... ...PLOT SUMMARYI think the above gives a pretty good idea about the background of the story and I want to make sure I don’t spoil any of the fun of the book. Therefore, as far as the plot, I will just say that the main character, Del Pierce, was possessed by the demon known as the Hellion when he was a wee lad. Years later, Del is still struggling with the after effects of the possession and desperately wants to find away to get rid of his symptoms. The rest of the story is Del’s incredible journey to find a way to cure himself. There are so many great pop culture references and tie-ins during the story that I went completely Chumbawamba while I was reading it. I don't want to spill the franks or the beans about them because they are such funsies to casually bump into so I will just say that they include super heroes, science fiction writers, secret societies, folklore monsters, an alternate “end” to the OJ trial and a Vast Active Living Intelligence System (okay so I spoiled that one but it's in the book description so you can’t blame me). FINAL THOUGHTSOverall, a very unique and original reading experience. I thought the writing was great and the author’s use of tone was excellent. It was often full of humor and yet also had an underlying sense of deep loneliness and sadness. It is tough to walk that fine line and I think the author did a great job. Highly Recommended!!!! 4.0 to 4.5 starsNominee: Locus Award for Best Fantasy NovelNominee: Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Lit.Nominee: World Fantasy Award

  • Lyn
    2019-02-09 07:22

    Pandemonium by Daryl Gregory is something special and Mr. Gregory has fast become one of my favorite authors – well played, sir, well played.Full of swimmingly good metaphors and delicious similes, AND seamlessly throwing down a very unique demonic possession story landscape with psychic undertonesAND … AND …Bringing in a Sinead O’Connor female priestess character AND …A Philip K Dick character straight out of VALIS who discourses on Theodore Sturgeon’s More Than Human and erudite explanations of Jungian theory!!AND … references to classic comic books …and it’s just a really, really good story.In a nutshell: this is a subtly alternate history story where demonic possessions have become commonplace, and then Gregory masterfully puts together a fascinating paranormal detective story that keeps the reader wound up from start to finish.Bravo, Daryl, bravo.

  • Megan Baxter
    2019-02-12 09:25

    What if possession was an epidemic? What if the same demons kept taking people over for short intervals, over and over? What would they be? Are they demons? Is the cause religious or scientific? And what would it do to you to be one of the possessed?Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook

  • Carol.
    2019-01-16 14:17

    Four and a half stars. If you want a review with links, see my blog at: reminds me of those times when my foodie friends are dragging me to a “fabulous new restaurant” where (mostly) familiar ingredients are deconstructed, spiced and recombined in a creative way. At least this time, instead of an unsettling mess, it resulted in one of those perfect, satisfying meals that fulfill a sensory need as much as a physical one. Not so unusual that I’m left with a disturbing aftertaste, and not so routine that it is immediately forgettable. To wit:Salvatore’s award-winning pizza with wine-poached fig (yes, you read that right), bacon and gorgonzola. Unusual but delicious take on pizza. is a lot like that. Somewhat familiar elements drawn from comic books, buddy flicks and mythology are blended together in a plot that moves quickly but respects each ingredient. Add in some complex characterization, dashes of dark humor and develop it with truly fine writing, and I’m served a book that satisfying on both intellectual and emotional levels.The simple summary: Del is returning to his mother’s home with a dual purpose: confess a recent car accident and psychiatric hospitalization, and to meet a famous demonology researcher at a national conference. Demons are real, although their manifestations usually pass quickly, while the behavior follows certain archetypes: The Painter, the Little Angel, Truth: “The news tracked them by name, like hurricanes. Most people went their whole lives without seeing one in person. I’ve seen five–six, counting today’s.” When Del was young, he was possessed by the Hellion, a wild boy entity, and Del has recently developed suspicions that the Hellion never left him. The story follows Del as he attempts to understand and perhaps free the entity inside him.The plot moved nicely with enough balance between introspection and action to keep me interested. What I loved the most, however, was the writing. There’s the vivid imagery:A small white-haired women glared up at me, mouth agape. She was seventy, seventy-five years old, a small bony face on a striated, skinny neck: bright eyes, sharp nose, and skin intricately webbed from too much sun or wind or cigarettes. She looked like one of those orphaned baby condors that has to be fed by puppets”the humor:“The question, then, was how long could a human being stay awake? Keith Richards could party for three days straight, but I wasn’t sure if he counted as a human being“and sheer cleverness (because I’ve been this lost driving in Canada):“For the past few hours we’d been twisting and bobbing along two-lane back roads, rollercoastering through pitch-black forests. And now we were lost. Or rather, the world was lost. The GPS told us exactly where we were but had no idea where anything else was.Permanent Global Position: You Are Here.”and the occasional snarky social commentary:"What did it matter? I imagined bearded guys all over academia working themselves into a lather over this, precisely because the stakes were so low."For those who might want a sense of the flavor, I was reminded of American Gods, of George R.R. Martin’s Wild Card world (my review) blended with Mythago Wood (my review), but done much, much better. While I had problems maintaining interest in each of the aforementioned, I had no such challenge with Pandemonium. Each bite revealed something almost familiar but somehow unexpected. There’s a lot to enjoy, and an equal amount to ruminate on after finishing. I’ll be looking for more from Gregory.Oh yes: a sincere thank you to Carly for inviting me to dinner.

  • Terry
    2019-02-02 12:15

    3 – 3.5 starsI’m going to say something that sounds unkind, but really it’s a compliment from me: for a long time now I’ve kind of thought of Daryl Gregory as something of a poor man’s Sean Stewart. I must first admit that this happened before I actually read any of his books (this one is my first), and was based on what I could glean of them from the jacket blurbs and comments/reviews. It probably also comes from the fact that I once ran across a posting made by Gregory on a message board or blog somewhere where he bemoaned the fact that Sean Stewart was no longer writing and wished that he could still look forward to more books by him (a desire which I have ardently shared ever since Stewart decided to move on from writing into online game design) and so I thought maybe he was taking the bull by the horns and writing his own in the Stewart mould. I then started looking a bit more closely at Gregory’s books, of which I had been only peripherally aware, and noticed that hey, they really did seem to cover similar thematic and conceptual areas: both wrote what I suppose would be classified as ‘urban fantasy’ (though I hate the tag and don’t tend to gravitate towards the stuff that normally ends up in that bin); both seemed to centre on a very ‘realist’ approach to character and setting with the major caveat that their worlds were impacted by one major ‘speculative’ element (whether it be magical or ‘scientific’) that introduced the bizarre into our mundane world; both seemed to be concerned not so much with stories about world-shaking battles or larger than life figures as much as about how the significant changes in their worlds impacted the lives of ‘regular’ people: how they struggled to maintain normalcy in the midst of chaos and confusion. Still I had never quite mustered up the desire to pick up one of his books for one reason or another until now. Maybe I was afraid of being disappointed. So how did this one go? In a nutshell I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t blown away.Gregory’s world-bending conceit in this one is certainly interesting: demonic possession is real, but these demons aren’t satanic minions from hell (or at least we aren’t sure of that – no one quite knows where they come from), but are instead more like semi-Jungian archetypes from the collective unconscious. They are monomaniacal entities obsessed with fulfilling some particular role or action: it might be the Painter who forces the possessed to depict the same picture or set of pictures over and over again in whatever medium happens to be handy whether it be paint, chalk, or the destroyed pieces of a popcorn machine; it might be the Captain, a shield-slinging hero who tends to manifest when people, especially soldiers, are in danger; perhaps it’s the Truth, a much darker ‘hero’ who guns down anyone whose lies have offended his fine sensibilities; or maybe the Hellion, a Denis the Menace-like nuisance whose antics just might literally make you lose an eye. The victims of possession don’t remember what happened while their body was being controlled from without, and many don’t survive the experience. Our hero is Del Pierce, a man who has been drifting through life as little better than a loser, unable to hold down a regular job or maintain normal relationships, ever since he was possessed by the Hellion as a little boy. For many years he has been able to keep the voices in his head at bay, but recently something has been scratching at the back of his mind and he is returning home from a short stay in a mental institution, nearly broke and grasping at his last straws, in the hopes that he will be able to deal with his demons, whether real or imagined, once and for all.Del is quickly plunged into the bizarre world of ICOP, the international conference of academics and scientists who study the demons, each with their own, usually contradictory, theory of what is happening and how it might be fixed…none of whom have managed to achieve any conclusive result. That is, of course, except for Dr. Ram, a rising star in the world of demonology whose new controversial theories just might give Del a chance at truly living a normal life. Paired with ICOP is the other side of the coin: the unsanctioned ‘conference’ DemoniCon: a mass of cosplaying demon-aficionados each of whom yearns for the ‘glamour’ of being possessed and many of whom see the demons not as a bane on human existence, but as a gift to be revelled in. Now all Del has to do is convince Dr. Ram he is not one of these looney ‘demon groupies’ and that he is in fact the only person who has been able to do the impossible: to trap the demonic entity of his possession in the bowels of his mind. Gregory populates his novel with an interesting and varied cast of characters, from Del Pierce the tortured possession survivor and his long-suffering brother & mother who have tried to help him deal with his broken life, to the sardonic exorcist-priest Mother Mariette (an obvious direct homage to Sinead O’Connor) and many of the other oddball figures that populate both ICOP and DemoniCon (including a direct analogue to Philip K. Dick and his AI construct/demon VALIS). Despite many of the outlandish things that happen and entities that populate this world it was always believable because it was grounded in these characters who really did feel like real, multifaceted individuals. Gregory also manages to keep the plot moving at a good pace, with enough twists and turns to keep me interested and wraps it all up with a satisfying resolution. So what more did I want? I don’t know that I could say anything was really missing. It was a fine book that simply didn’t quite blow me away. Maybe it was just a ‘first novel’ thing. I’ll certainly pick up another one of Gregory’s books and see how he tackles his next foray into the real world turned upside down.

  • Michelle Morrell
    2019-01-29 14:22

    When I read genre books, I tend to lump them into what I call the X-Files Categories. A book is either a monster-of-the-week novel (adventure and action and not a whole lot of substance), or a mythology read (slower, deeper, more cerebral). Reading through the first half of Pandemonium, I was ready for a monster-of-the-week ride. In here, demon possessions are real, accepted and fairly routine. The lead, possessed as a child, is hearing noises and seeing things that have led him to seek out answers.However, my assumptions were wrong, so wrong. I know from experience that Daryl Gregory can write an engaging novel, some pretty fun romps through contemporary science fiction. But instead of a superficial made-for-tv story, I was very pleasantly surprised at the depth that I found. Some really cool ideas about possession, archetypes, collective unconscious, the power of the mind and Jungian theory, and even an homage to Philip K Dick. (Dang it, I’m going to have to finish Valis one of these days, aren’t I?). It wrapped up quite satisfactorily and my estimation of Gregory as a storyteller went up quite a few notches.

  • Kaisersoze
    2019-01-20 12:30

    Pandemonium, the first novel from the author of one of my favourite reads of all time, We Are All Completely Fine, is a decent high-concept thriller with an interesting hook that never really lives up to its awesome potential. Taking place in a world much like our own, but with the critical difference that demonic possession occurs openly and is widely acknowledged (even if whether said demons are evil spirits or something else is hotly debated), Pandemonium is told from the perspective of Del, a young man who was possessed by one such demon when he was young. His story is different from almost everyone else who has ever been possessed, however, in that his demon has never gone away and remains locked inside of him, desperate to escape. Del seeks answers from his former therapist and multiple others, all while getting closer to the truth of what is actually scraping the inside of his mind with increasing power ...Part thriller, part road-read, part fantasy, Pandemonium has a few relatively dark and frightening scenes, but for a story about demons, this remains a relatively horor-free book. Instead, Gregory piles on the mystery about the etiology of the demons and the part that Del may play in their origins being revealed.It's a great-set up, and for a first novel, Gregory's prose shines. His ear for dialogue is spot on, and his characters - especially Del - feel fully realised and easy to connect with. Which makes it all the more disappointing that the last third of the novel falls somewhat flat, with the eventual revelation being fairly standard and not able to justify the lengthy journey to get there.Still, this is a first published novel, and is impressive enough on that basis. It's certainly readable and most readers will likely enjoy the journey if they can keep their overall expectations in check.3 Unwanted Passengers for Pandemonium.

  • Sandi
    2019-01-30 12:11

    Pandemonium is a book that's been coming up in my Amazon recommendations fairly regularly. It sounded a bit intriguing, but a bit silly too. It was one of those books that I thought could turn out to be truly awful. When I saw a copy at the library, I thought it wouldn't hurt to try it.I can't believe that this is Daryl Gregory's first book. It's absolutely amazing. Don't go by the blurb, it doesn't even come close to describing it. The characters and the situation are so well done, it all seemed completely believable. I was not prepared for the twist in the middle and I felt so sad at the ending. Gregory has thought out all the implications of a world where strange characters can possess a person and make them briefly superhuman. I especially loved the appearance of Philip K. Dick as a somewhat minor, yet important character. Pandemonium does seem a bit like PKD, but much more coherent. Gregory has a wonderful style that is all his own. His writing is vivid and well-paced. I look forward to reading his next book, The Devil's Alphabet and anything else he writes in the future. He's amazing.

  • Marco Simeoni
    2019-01-19 09:37

    EDIT: a dicembre 2017 alzo il mio voto da 3,5* a 4*Tanti spunti in troppe poche pagineLeggendo le prime pagine ho temuto una rivisitazione "modello Go Nagai" delle possessioni demoniache alla Devilman. Fortunatamente mi sono sbagliato.In queste 300 e passa pagine ci accompagna - con uno stile altamente cinematografico e descrittivo - nelle vicende di Del (Delacorte Pierce), il protagonista. Ci troviamo in una versione ucronica della terra. A partire dalla fine degli anni '40 si iniziano a verificare delle "possessioni" da parte di demoni che hanno come personalità una singola stringa di routine che mettono in atto all'infinito, possessione, dopo possessione. La vicenda inizia con il protagonista che deve avvisare i parenti di una sua ricaduta... Ho molto apprezzato la prima metà del libro (le descrizioni tra presente e passato altamente immersive, la parte emotiva della pecora nera della famiglia) e anche la rivisitazione degli archetipi junghiani e la visione dell'autore delle tematiche fantasy e sci-fi. Nella parte finale, si nota una corsa al traguardo che tralascia moltissimi punti che avevano bisogno di una rappresentazione più ampia e strutturata, altrimenti il rischio è di cadere nella banalizzazione del pensiero dell'autore stesso.Questo libro è anche una visione chiara di quelle che sono le passioni di Gregory; un lettore poco avvezzo al genere potrebbe trovare fastidiose le continue citazioni io, invece, le ho apprezzate perché sono state inserite appieno nel quadro narrativo.Lo consiglio vivamente a chi volesse una lettura che, nonostante le tematiche ricche e particolari, si legge bene grazie a uno stile molto scorrevole.È il romanzo d'esordio di Gregory, sono curioso di scoprire se in The Devil's Alphabet riuscirà a dare alla sua storia un più ampio respiro, infischiandosene delle pagine.Capitolo 9Ho preso ad esempio questo capitolo per mostrare i limiti che ho trovato in questo romanzo. Troppi spunti nel calderone, troppe poche pagine per svilupparli.(view spoiler)[La Lega Umana, fin qui solo millantata da Bertram - un paziente psichiatrico con cui Del è entrato in contatto quando è stato ricoverato - irrompe in maniera che definisco moolto poco credibile. E come irrompe, scompare e non se ne sentirà più parlare per il resto del libro. (hide spoiler)]Demonologia(view spoiler)[La scelta dei salti temporali per mostrare i vari demoni che si frappongono alla storia principale, in poche pagine, l'ho trovata azzeccata. Soprattutto perché sono collage che sembrano incentrati solo sulle prime comparse dei demoni quando, in realtà, mostrano la storyline del loro creatore fino all'arrivo di Hellion (il vero protagonista) (hide spoiler)]Valis(view spoiler)[Capeau a Gregory che, nella sua terra alternativa, tiene in vita un mostro sacro come Philip K. Dick. In realtà fa molto di più: rende una sua creazione artistica un archetipo che lo terrà in vita. Valis viene usato per spiegare come i "demoni" riescano a evolersi e a compiere qualcosa di diverso dal loro copione strutturato. (Ecco spiegato come Hellion riesca a possedere persone diverse dai bambini) (hide spoiler)]Finale(view spoiler)[Il messaggio che viene dato sui "visionari" che plasmano la realtà, purtroppo non sta in piedi, perché il mondo è stato invaso dal pozzo nero di un solo uomo. Sarebbe stato meglio alternare da subito più demoni per far capire che ci sono tanti e tanti uomini e donne che generano demoni dalle loro sofferenze (hide spoiler)]

  • vladimir
    2019-02-15 06:12

    Ok, what won me over at first was the cover--by Greg Ruth, an artist whose work I greatly admire. But once I started reading I was hooked.Pandemonium isn't quite fantasy (it quickly reveals itself to have elements of Alternate History & SF). Gregory creates a world where demonic possession is normal, sort of, at least society's learned to deal with it when it happens; but the story of Del, who was once Possessed as a boy is the heart of the narrative. It has a personal, intimate tone. The story starts out gently and then soon winds up into a thrilling pace.Interspersed throughout the book are interludes, eyewitness accounts of several of these 'demons', which in their brevity and scope, complement the story-arc without slowing it down.If I'm to compare Gregory to writers, I'd say it would be Tim Powers, James Blaylock, and a less surreal Philip K. Dick.Pandemonium is one of the most clever books I've read in recent memory; the internal logic of his premise is strong, as are his characters; I was left guessing all the way to the final chapters (I'm often able to figure stuff out quickly), and endings are tricky things, but Gregory manages to come up with one that, while open-ended on the broader scale, is perfect for the storyline.There are hidden bonuses for genre & comic book fans, but Gregory's storytelling is sublime enough so as not to make the book exclusionary to those not familiar with genre.Excellent stuff, one of my favorite reads in the past couple of years.

  • Steve
    2019-02-11 09:11

    3 starsI liked this story’s concept but the execution fell short, partly due to some editing mistakes (is Del’s brother “Lew” or “Lou”?), and partly the novel’s wildly inconsistent pacing. It was a unique story and actually pretty good taking into account this is a debut novel. His writing definitely improves with his later books, especially We Are All Completely Fine.This book is definitely off-beat and wonderfully strange. There are tons of cultural and sci-fi/ fantasy references (the most humorous was Philip K. Dick being possessed by the demon, Valis), and many fantastically weird characters. I really wish the story worked better. As I mentioned, the pacing was odd, jumping all over the place. Another awkward piece was the unnecessary romance, which did nothing to help the story.Overall, not a bad read. It just needed a stronger editor to reign it in.

  • Carly
    2019-02-11 09:33

    ~4.5Nonlocal intelligence. Possession Disorder Variant. Socially Constructed Alternate Identity. Demonic possession. Whatever the term, Del Pierce is all too familiar with the process. While the hundred-odd "strains" of demons in Del's world aren’t interested in temptation or damnation, no one wants a demon to jump to them. When a demon possesses a person, acts out a familiar role, a static pattern, and woe betide anyone who gets in its way. The Truth, wrapped in a trenchcoat and fedora, brings swift and bloody justice upon deceivers. Smokestack Johnny rides the trains in an eternal breakneck journey. The Captain carries his unwilling victim into heroic, desperate, and usually tragic last stands. The world has adapted. Every restaurant keeps a massive yellow chair for Fat Boy; airports keep altars to the Kamikaze; hospitals know that if a blonde-ringleted girl in a white nightgown is seen, the Angel is on the prowl, seeking out elderly patients to lull into eternal rest.Del Pierce hasn’t been home in years. But now he is getting desperate, and all of his options seem to be lead back to Chicago. Back to his home. After a brief delay at the airport--the Painter took one of the passengers, and since no one wanted the demon to jump, they just let him do his thing-- Del is finally heading home to face his mother and Very Bigger Brother. He still doesn't know how to break the news.The thing’s inside my head, Mom, and it’s trying to get out.Daryl Gregory has swiftly become one of my favourite new finds of the year. It’s hard to say anything much about the book without spoilers, but I love the world and characters that Gregory created. The core idea--that almost superhero-like entities who jump and possess at random rather than keeping fixed identities-- is so tantalizing and peculiar that I couldn’t wait to learn more. The story also manages to weave in quite a bit of vintage popular culture, and while most of it lost me, I loved the segments that included classic scifi authors such as Philip K Dick and the apparently impossible-to-pronounce Van Vogt.Del, the narrator, is a sympathetic and relatable, his personality riddled with the contradictions and imperfections that are so quintessentially human. Above all, I love his constantly irreverent sense of humour. As he describes himself:We’d understood from high school on that it was Lew’s job to make good grades, find a high-paying career, buy a two-story house in the suburbs, and generally become Dad. It was my job to fuck up. Occasionally this annoyed me, but most of the time I was comfortable with the division of labor.Even in moments of drama, desperation, and despair, Del can't relinquish the wordplay. A few Del-isms:And now we were lost. Or rather, the world was lost. The GPS told us exactly where we were, but had no idea where anything else was. Permanent Global Position: You Are Here.She was seventy, seventy-five years old, a small bony face on a striated, skinny neck: bright eyes, sharp nose, and skin intricately webbed from too much sun or wind or cigarettes. She looked like one of those orphaned baby condors that has to be fed by puppets.There was no bathroom: no bath, no room, not even room for a bath. From the smell, the walls were insulated with old fish wrap.The coffee was terrible and the bacon was ordinary, but the pancakes were avatars of some perfect Ur-cake whose existence until now could only be deduced from the statistical variations in other, lesser pancakes.The rest of the cast is equally wacky and fun, from Del’s nerdy Very Bigger Brother to his all-seeing, all-knowing, cookie-baking- mom to Mother Mariette the Kabuki exorcist priest. Yet occasionally, accentuated by his forlorn attempts at comedy, Del's pain and desperation can be almost palpable.Hope wasn’t a thing with feathers, it was a hundred-pound ball and chain. All you had to do was drag that sucker to the edge and throw it over first.While it wasn't hard to guess what was going on long before Del did, I still found the various revelations riveting, and the conclusion utterly satisfying. Pandemonium is as much about fun as philosophy, and while it doesn’t have a single straightforward message, the issues that it grapples with are intriguing and thought-provoking. In the end, demon-possessed or not, the questions are all the same: what is the purpose of it all? What good can be done in this time, in this body? How can one protect against a disinterested, omnipotent foe? In Del's world, demons are indefatigable, inevitable, endlessly repeating patterns that cannot be avoided or conquered or overcome. Archetypes. Just like sacrifice. Or transformation.Maybe everyone in the world was this inconsistent, this fragmented. All we could see of each other—all we could see of ourselves—was a ragged person-shaped outline, a game of connect-the-dots without enough dots.Excerpted from my review on BookLikes, which contains additional quotes and spoilers that I was too lazy to copy over.

  • Marvin
    2019-02-05 07:19

    Despite the title, this is science fiction not horror. More precisely it is alternative history, The setting is our world but with significant changes. Eisenhower was killed, The American armed forces are stuck in Kashmir and, most important, around 1944 there is a rash of demonic possessions that continues into the present. The actual reason for these demons are unknown but they are called by names like The Captain, The Painter, and The little Angel. From this premise arises a intriguing take on the demon possession idea. The author is clearly influenced by many of the classic science fiction icons including Phillip K. Dick (who has a cameo in the novel as himself possessed by Valic) and A. E. Van Vogt. In fact, an elementary knowledge of The Golden Age of Science Fiction will enhance your enjoyment of this work but is not essential. Daryl Gregory's debut effort has resulted in an amazing piece of story telling and a thoroughly enjoyable mash-up of demonology, science fiction, Jungian psychology, and even a very strange coming-of-age allegory.

  • Inam
    2019-02-04 12:19

    Not as much horror as it was supernatural/comic book. Disappointed because I was looking for scares. Otherwise a decent reading experience

  • David
    2019-02-11 13:37

    Random demonic possession is a problem in the slightly altered reality in which "Pandemonium" is set. Various archetypical demons (Truth, Captain Valiant, the Angel of Death*, to name a few) are showing up, hijacking the bodies of randomly chosen hosts and disrupting public order by behaving demonically. Collateral damage to the unlucky host can be anything from mild trauma to death. Nobody really understands what is causing this epidemic of demonic possession which has spawned a plethora of "demonologists" in a broad assortment of flavors. Jungian psychologists, neuropsychologists, priests, psychics, mediums, and various other charlatans all have suggestions about the best approach to exorcism, but not much success.The issue has become urgent for Del, Pandemonium's first person narrator. At age six, Del was taken over by a demon called Hellion (kind of a scary, more dangerous, version of Dennis the Menace). Though he seemed to make a full recovery, recent events suggest that the demon never left. The story follows Del's efforts to get to the root of his problem through to its ultimate resolution. Demonic possession is well outside my usual reading beat, but this book seemed to be attracting a lot of positive attention, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Overall verdict: I thought "Pandemonium" was a fairly decent story, but nothing exceptional. StrengthsDaryl Gregory writes well.Pacing was good.Decent plot with a reasonably satisfactory resolution. COMPLETELY VAMPIRE-FREE!!!PALINDROMES!!!It's short.WeaknessesThe alternate reality that is the setting for the story is not particularly convincing. The development is a little perfunctory - Gregory keeps a tight focus on Del's story arc and doesn't really explore his premise beyond what he needs to resolve Del's situation.At times the exposition was a little too oblique - key plot developments were not always clear, or details were blurred.The little in-joke references to Philip K Dick, AE van Vogt, and the like may delight SciFi aficionados, but they sailed right over my ignorant head.COMPLETELY VAMPIRE-FREE!!! *Think Oscar, the kitty of doom.(

  • Lori
    2019-02-09 06:30

    What a terrific debut! I was hooked from the first page by the tone of the writing - a modern voice that rings true in the midst of unreal happenings. Quite funny in parts, but also plaintive. I look forward to more books from this author. Pretty much ignored all my chores because I didn't want to stop reading, a lovely way to spend a Sunday.

  • Richard
    2019-01-29 11:16

    The blurb captures the fundamentals of this book: an alternate-reality United States in which folks are sporadically possessed by “demons”. Not the demons you might associate with the Bible or (more likely) Hollywood horror flicks, but archetypes such as “Truth” or “Captain America”.I was very surprised to discover after finishing that this was Daryl Gregory’s first novel. His writing is much more polished than I would expect, with fully-fleshed characters and a strong first-person narrative. I especially liked how some of the historical divergences from our reality as only hinted at, such as the Nixon subplot. The story definitely takes some intriguing twists and turns, including a big one (you’ll know it when you get to it) that bumps this up from three to four stars.I only have three gripes, although only the first two are really about this book. First, there’s this gun. (view spoiler)[It plays a threatening role through much of the story, but the author never established a reason why Del would feel the need to possess it, much less take it to the conference. Given his awareness of his lack of stability, it would seem more likely that he’d be paranoid of letting himself anywhere near weapons. Sure, there might be something akin to a subconscious motive, but the guy seems like he’d realize he’s asking for trouble and spend some time asking some introspective questions. (hide spoiler)]Second, (view spoiler)[I thought the resolution was a bit weak. A single eccentric child managed to trigger much of this? Okay, so Valis asserts that there was a weakness between dimensions or somesuch gobbledygook, but I think the book would have been stronger without that denouement — the Big Twist was strong enough to hold the stage by itself at the end. (hide spoiler)]The final problem is that I was very aware that this could have been a much more intriguing book. The point is made that those that are truly possessed occasionally become famous or infamous as a result, and some folks pretend to have been possessed to get attention and maybe fame. It didn’t take long before I was alert for the possibility that Gregory was alluding to our own celebrity-obsessed culture, and perhaps might be commenting in some way on the Faustian bargain celebrities make. But as far as I could tell, there was no symbolic or allegorical content. Too bad — seemed like a great opportunity wasted. Yeah, maybe I’m a bit peculiar that way, but I like that kind of stuff.Anyway, I can recommend this to anyone how might be into somewhat off-the-beaten-track... er... fiction? I’m not quite sure what subgenre this falls into. I’ll call it science-fiction/fantasy, since that’s a safe catch-all and the other labels have problematic implications. Horror? Nah. Dunno where that came from. Paranormal? Well, yes, but as David points out, there are no vampires, much less ghosts or werewolves, and that’s a good thing.­

  • Charles Dee Mitchell
    2019-01-24 06:11

    Thousands of verified demonic possession since the 1950’s. That is the phenomenon behind the alternative world Gregory otherwise sketches. Some possessions provoke deadly accidents, and one demon, a little girl in a long white dress, is an angel of death for those already suffering terminal illnesses. Others are destructive or merely disconcerting intruders society has adjusted to.As a child Del Pierce was possessed by the demonic version of Dennis the Menace known as The Hellion. Most of the previously possessed get on with the lives, but Del knows that the demon is still trapped inside his brain, literally hammering to get out.Gregory novels are stories about family, friendship, and all the other ties that bind. They just happen to take place in a society undergoing a world-changing phenomenon. Pandemonium was his first novel, and he already knew the fictional territory he would make his own. It’s a pleasure to read, and it includes Philip K. Dick as a character.

  • Lea
    2019-01-25 06:41

    This book had a great premise -- modern day demon possession, set in a world similar to our own.Gregory does a wonderful job with the alternative history here -- Eisenhower is killed by a demon known as the Kamikaze, leading to a persecution of and prejudice towards Japanese-Americans -- and he ties together all the bits and pieces fairly well.I couldn't give this more than three stars, though, for a couple of reasons. One, I felt like there was just too much going on in this book. There's a lot of running from one place to another, the characters jumping from one conclusion to another -- it was difficult to keep track of all the ideas. The other problem I had was with the characters themselves -- I just didn't really like anyone except for Del's brother, Lew. And I could see a lot of people not really liking him! It was hard to care about what happened to them because I didn't like them enough.

  • Victoria
    2019-01-29 13:16

    Found this a fascinating read at first, then it lost me towards the middle to end there... Grew a bit mundane. The concept of demonic possessions going mainstream, and the different characteristics focused on each demon was a very original concept, this part I really enjoyed, as well as the narrators struggle with fighting off his inner demon. I don't know, I guess I was hoping to gain more from it. I am picky !

  • Jason
    2019-01-16 07:19

    Gregory's debut novel about demonic possessions is a very well written, fast page turner. This, like others have said is better viewed as a literary novel that contains fantastical elements and should be viewed accordingly. I really liked the premise, the pacing, and the character development. I look forward to more from Daryl Gregory.

  • Andi
    2019-02-09 09:16

    I really enjoyed this book, even though it just about broke my heart at the end. That is actually praise, because any book that makes me care about the characters enough to hurt for them is a win as far as I am concerned.Honestly, I think it helps a lot in appreciating this book if you have a background in classic science fiction. At the very least, it enables you to appreciate both the ironic and the humorous elements in the book. But in general, the book is a riveting read. It moves fast, has successful twists (twists that surprise but then settle organically into the progression of the story), has rich and dimensional characters, and the central mystery of the book is unique and captivating. The author's alternate reality was convincing because the human reactions to the differences between this history and our own were entirely believable.This book is beautifully written. Grounded but occasionally lyrical prose and a knack for creating poignancy with subtlety. I was deeply touched by this book and it left me with a lot of thoughts on the human condition to mull over. On the strength of this book, I'm going straight to the author's next novel, The Devil's Alphabet, and looking forward to more in the future.

  • Mark
    2019-01-29 14:40

    Wow. An unexpected gem.The premise is simple: A world just like ours except that possession by demons is real. It happens infrequently and is usually brief, leaving the victim shaken, but unharmed. Except for a few. You see, there are different demons that have been identified. The Little Angel, who possesses only girls between 10 and 12 with long curly dark hair and whose kiss can kill. The Painter, who uses materials at hand to paint specific pictures without saying a word, and then departs. The Truth, whose fedora, overcoat, and guns are usually the last thing a notorious liar sees. And so on...Del Pierce is a down-on-his-luck graphic designer who was possessed by the Hellion at age five. Unlike other victims, however, he feels the demon has never left. He can feel it there, in his head, making noises and rattling the bars of the mental cage. He's afraid it's going to get out.This is where the story starts. I'm going to leave out spoilers and say that there are a couple of meaningful twists that take the storyline in interesting new directions. And, while I was on vacation, it was mostly the quality of the book that compelled me to gobble this up in one day. Daryl Gregory has written a truly enjoyable first novel and I look forward to his next works.

  • Bandit
    2019-01-20 07:22

    I've managed to read Gregory's books in reverse order starting with the amazing Raising Stony Mayhall, so this book, the sheer greatnest of this book, wasn't as much of a surprise as it would have been if I'd just picked it up out of the blue. But nevertheless...what an awesome book. And of course how could one expect any less originality in this take on possession from the man who's written the most original zombie story to have come out in ages possible ever. From the excellent storytelling to strong characters to realistic dialogue and great pacing, all things about this book work and well. What an exceptionally talented author. Local library has this listed as horror or it could probably fall under fantasy, but this really is one of those exceptional books that defies genre limitations and should probably just be considered literature, fiction at its finest. Highly recommended.

  • StarMan
    2019-02-12 09:33

    A demon, a nerd, and a priest walk into a bar...Yeah, it's sort of like that. It's a story with an unusual angle on what might or might not be possession by... somethings! (Ha, no spoilers from me).I felt the distinct lack of any "Wow!" moments, but neither did it induce slumber. PANDEMONIUM rates 3 pentagrams, though it had a few 3.33 moments... which strangely enough is one-half of 6.66.

  • Miriam
    2019-01-25 07:38

    Fine, I guess I have to go read VALIS. And probably something by van Vogt.

  • Ayala Sela
    2019-02-14 13:13

    הסיפור נחמד, התרגום לא אחיד ברמה, והיה צריך לעבוד על ניקוי של טייפוז( שלפעמים נראו כמו אוטוקורקט). מגיע לו 3,אבל אני חושבת שבאנגלית הוא היה ראוי ל 4 כוכבים, אז מפרגנת.

  • Vlad
    2019-02-16 08:35

    В комнату входит священник. Выглядит он точно так, как и должен выглядеть экзорцист: суров, сосредоточен и до зубов вооружен облатками, четками, пузырьками со святой водой и благоволением Господним. Из-под мохнатых седых бровей зорко смотрят серые глаза.А посмотреть есть на что. На кровати сидит уродливое создание, которое неделю назад было обычным ребенком — девочкой лет десяти. Губки бантиком, косички, скобки на зубах. Теперь волосы ее растрепаны, постель измазана испражнениями, а на лице застыла хитрая лисья ухмылка. Так и положено выглядеть жертве бесов. Таковы правила.Враги узнают друг друга. Ухмылка становится шире… морщинистая рука крепче сжимает распятие…Все мы знаем, что произойдет дальше. Это очень старая игра.Увы, играют в нее не во всех мирах.В мире Дэла Пирса людям отказано в роли шахматистов. По доске переставляют их самих — если доска и правила существуют. Но об этом лучше не задумываться.В жизнь человечества они вошли в сороковых годах ядерного века. Средневековые сказки об одержимых в один миг стали явью. Подоспевшие ученые выудили из обсосанных до костей пальцев ворох имен: мнемонические образы, прецедентные личности, вариации синдрома одержимости, социально-сконструированные альтернативные личности.Прижилось, однако, простое словечко «демон».Никаких явных целей они не преследуют — не более, чем камень в свободном падении. Прыгая из тела в тело, каждый с упорством механизма выполняет одну и ту же нехитрую программу. Их нельзя увидеть и потрогать, так что забудем про копыта, рога и крылья. Новой эпохе — новую демонологию.Вот Джонни Дымовая Труба. Он предпочитает комбинезоны, голубые рубашки и кепки с длинным козырьком. И крепкий табачок, само собой. Джонни знает толк в локомотивах и железнодорожных байках. Будьте спокойны: он доставит ваших пассажиров из пункта А в пункт Б даже быстрей, чем им (и вам) хочется. Если только поезд не слетит с рельсов… но этого Джонни не обещает.Вот Правдолюб. Его можно узнать по черному плащу и шляпе. Впрочем, сойдет любое тело, при котором имеется пистолет, а лучше — два. Охранник в зале суда? Почему бы и нет. У нас никогда не было столь весомых причин говорить правду и ничего, кроме правды. Апелляций и взяток демон не принимает, а приговор его всегда одинаков.Вот Капитан — парень с щитом в руках и звездно-полосатым сердцем бойца. На десять минут он сделает из вас непобедимого героя. И не беда, что противник будет делать из вас решето. Капитан уйдет лишь тогда, когда разорвет врагов свободы в клочья. А ваш доблестный труп, быть может, покажут по телевизору.А вот Ангелочек. Белокурая девчушка в ночной рубашке, дарующая смерть безнадежно больным. Говорят, ее поцелуй избавляет от страданий. И все же нет такой медсестры, которая обрадуется, увидев ее в больничном коридоре.Поначалу приходилось нелегко, но с годами люди привыкли — как привыкли к терроризму. В ресторанах и кафе оставляет специальные столики для прожорливых Толстяков. В аэропортах Художники выкладывают на мраморе картины из попкорна, сахара и цветного стекла — не слишком часто тасуя сюжеты. Демонам посвящают научные конференции. У них появляются фан-клубы. Их проклинают христиане. Дуайта Эйзенхауэра убивает демон-камикадзе, и Ричард Никсон приходит к власти на тринадцать лет раньше срока. Верный роли политического пугала, господин президент устраивает охоту на демонов… и японцев. И кончает, как водится, плохо.Однако жизнь идет своим чередом. Пылают БТРы в горячих точках, расцветают культы, дорожает бензин. В конце концов, двадцать тысяч случаев одержимости за семьдесят лет — не столь уж много для такой страны, как Америка. Индии с ее асурами достается не в пример больше.Но Дэла Пирса статистика волнует меньше всего. Тварь, что скребется ночь за ночью в его черепе, не дает мыслям сбиться на праздный лад.Для него «демоны прошлого» — не броская метафора, а жесткая реальность. В нашем мозге поселился замечательный сосед… и остался на всю жизнь. О, Хеллион — тот еще сорванец, перед заточением он успел славно повеселиться! Неспроста же миссис Пирс разорилась на стеклянный глаз — ну какое озорство без рогатки? А стреляют одержимые детки куда как лучше обыкновенных. И смыслят кое-что в поджогах, разбитых окнах и прочих проказах.Тем летом в бюджете Пирсов появилась новая статья — «экзорцизм». И седовласый пастор обратил захватчика в бегство. Так думали все.«Изгоняющего дьявола» смотрели все.А потом был ясный летний день, когда подросший Дэл разбил голову о бортик бассейна. И черный колодец без дна, едва не утянувший его в бесконечность. И шумы в черепной коробке, сводившие с ума. И долгие свидания с психиатром.И все закончилось, чтобы годы спустя начаться вновь. Неважно, четырнадцать тебе лет или двадцать пять. У демонов, в отличие от людей, сроков годности не бывает. Им не надоест тебя мучить, пока ты жив.Теперь выбор прост. Излечиться, очиститься, спастись. Или воспользоваться отцовским кольтом, всегда готовым лечь в руку. Иногда дом сносят вместе с жильцами.Так Дэл попадает на международную конференцию по одержимости — карнавал масок, под которыми прячется старое доброе невежество. Надежда улыбнулась одному лишь доктору Раму — неврологу, задумавшему выскоблить демонов из человеческого мозга при помощи скальпеля. Как ни печально, кто-то выскабливает его самого из мира живых, и одиссея Дэла Пирса продолжается.В поисках избавления он встретит героев, чудищ и злодеев. На шкале, отделяющей человека от демона, нет ни одной незанятой отметки. Иные только и ждут, чтобы в их душах прописались чужаки. Другие бегут от них всю жизнь. Третьи вступают в войну с одержимостью, не жалея сил и разума — особенно разума. «Вот так всегда, — гласят хроники Пирса. — Сегодня ты задрипанный менеджер, завтра — пророк с доступом к вечной истине». Возьмите десяток сумасшедших, подкиньте им фантастическую книжку о телепатах (чем Ван Вогт с его слэнами хуже Хаббарда с его «тетанами»?), дайте денег — и теория заговора готова. Жаль, демоны книжек не читают. И к глупцам безразличны так же, как и к остальной части людского стада.Ближе всех к разгадке подобрались юнгианцы. В первобытном море коллективного бессознательного плещутся твари, которых боялся даже Юнг. Кто же ты, бесовское отродье, как не древний архетип, высунувший уродливую башку из воды? Не мы ли тебя вытянули из черной бездны между мирами? Что делаешь ты, двухмерная тень, в трехмерной вселенной сознания?«Кто ты?» — спрашивал на экране священник.«Я никто. Нас много», — шипело существо на кровати.Ответ всегда один и тот же, кто бы ни таился в твоей душе — дьявол или гость из мира грез.Но и эта правда — предпоследняя.Рано или поздно Дэл столкнется в своих странствиях с удивительным созданием — демоном, который притворяется человеком, который выдает себя за демона. Будь тот человек жив, он усмехнулся бы иронии собственного бытия. Но Филипа Дика, счастливого безумца, больше нет — осталось лишь его тело. И остался бессмертный ВАЛИС, воплощение чистой мысли, ставший для всех Филипом Диком. «Всевышнее вторжение» закончилось аннексией. Человек растворился в божестве, как в кислоте. Не о том ли он мечтал?Только соприкоснувшись с ВАЛИСом, Дэл сделает финальный шаг к главной тайне своей жизни. Тайне, которая сметет перегородки между ним и тварью, запертой у него в мозгу. Тайне, которая раскроет его место на шкале. Тайне, которая звучит очень просто:Никаких демонов не существует.По крайней мере, так утверждают те из них, что стали людьми.

  • Mark Enderle
    2019-02-09 08:12

    I gave it an extra star for the Philip K. Dick character and references. A fun read.

  • Hélène Louise
    2019-01-18 12:23

    I've being re-reading this book for the second time - and it won't be the last.Daryl Gregory is one my relatively few favourite readers among the living ones. He's a fantastic story teller and his characters, especially the main ones, are exceptionally alive and loveable (quite a feast, particularly when he writes at the first singular person, like in this book, a narration choice easily leading to simplification and/or complacency). The way he manages to convey love, especially inside family links, is nothing short of exceptional.With that, his stories are always weirdly original, intense and well built.One thing I particularly appreciate about his stories is probably a point some readers frown upon: the story, the characters' story, takes place in an alternative version of our world, in which something very strange had happened, a few years, or a long time, ago. People are wondering and researching about the abnormality, but the book is never about explaining it, only about how normal people, you and me maybe, struggle to live with this strange turn that humanity has taken. The contrast between everyday life and the very strange context is always quite riveting: it seems to really exist, it suddenly becomes a possibility.Yet the committed stance of never trying explaining the unexplainable doesn't lead to a flat description of people wondering and wandering about in a strange world! Each time the author develops a fascinating story within the main mystery, which isn't resolved in the end but is suddenly much clearer, as we understand how monsters are possibly as human as – and even more than some - the humans of the story are.Pandemonium is an uchrony, in which random possessions are humans' lot. The nature of the "demons" are a mystery, but of course there are plenty of opinions and hypothesis, religious, esoteric, scientific ones; but in fact nobody knows anything about it. The demons are not numerous in nowadays America, but have clearly evolved, as they seem to be always the reflect of the currant society and its current beliefs. The demons are jumping from someone to another person, after a few hours or a few weeks of possession, during which the demon express his nature.Del was possessed as a child by the Hellion, a demon who likes to parasite arch small blond boys and making them behaving really badly, throwing tantrums, breaking things, hurting people. Del is a ground up now, but always a bit immature, unable to build a live. His possession scared him, he had a long time to come back as himself, and had to take a long as a teenager, after a swimming-pool accident, when he began to sense a presence in his brain... This presence, nearly unbearable, is coming back as Del had another accident, a traffic accident this time. He's coming home, to his family, his brother and mother, to attend an event where a neurologist might be able to help him.An important part of the story is devoted to Del's relations with his family, which are finely exposed, with humour and sensibility. But mysteries slowly unfold too, Del's one, but also the one which, maybe, will explain the nature of the current demons: The Truth, The Soldier, The Hellion, The Little Angel…