Del Rey: February
2002 (Hardcover, ISBN: 034544647X)
Del Rey: April 2003 (Trade Paperback, ISBN: 0345446496)
Buy at your local bookstore!
(Also available in unabridged audio read by the author and Harlan Ellison. Download from
Cemetery Dance (2000)
They can't be real.
This is the world of fast food restaurants and childrens' meals with toys
become their own layer of landfill; this is the world of shopping malls and MTV
Video Awards and People magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year; this is the
world of bacteria and old people's homes and EKGs and thousands more layers of
landfill. This is not a world in which demons could invade by the thousands and
rampage through the population, killing hundreds of thousands in a single day --
seven kinds of demons for, as one of them puts it, "Seven kinds of fun."
This can't be happening.
But it is.
You can get used to anything. You got used to this world... didn't
Starred review, Publishers Weekly 24 July 00
Horror fiction that traffics in the supernatural perforce sometimes deals with
matters of psycho-spiritual import. Rarely does it tackle them as directly as in
this exciting, vigorously original novella...The book is brief, but Shirley
packs into it an epic's worth of imagination and ideas...With its potent
underlying philosophy, serious theme, fresh vision and taut storytelling, this
little novel makes a big impact.
Shirley blows the lid off evil, giving it the widest possible range to wreak
havoc...While the novel presents a war between good and evil waged on a grand
scale, Shirley has not forsaken his craft of drawing intimate character
studies...a miniature epic in which the diabolical aspects of our troubled times
materialize with dreadful implacability...This haunted novelist, like one of his
book's heroes, cannot help hearing "the groan of the world." After reading
DEMONS, the reader's ears will become uneasily open as well. -- Michael Alec
Booklist, Feb 1, 2002
Shirley's well-turned apocalyptic tale, redolent with the terror of inexplicable
carnage, is two novels in one...and Shirley links the two episodes nearly
seamlessly...Shirley plays well with the old themes of universal consciousness
and spiritual enlightenment as well as the darkness and light in the human
psyche. His brand of horror mixes the blatant -- corporeal demons -- and the
subtle to disclose the merely human capacity for atrocity...Well done horror
with lots of soul-searching. -- Regina Schroder
Kirkus Reviews, Dec 15,
Masterful, amusing, and sent from Mars.
Horror Garage #5Spring/Summer 2002
As a fast-paced adventure tale, almost a paean to classic alien-invasion horror
stories, Demons is riveting and the resonance of the story's deeper meanings
make it truly remarkable. It's both frightening and enlightening...[The book
entails] escalating scenes of horror:an entire town of shambling poison-maddened
living dead; sewers full of vicious toxin-contaminated cannibals; piles of
corpses; and finally a giant demon, the embodiment and implement of humankind's
destruction...John Shirley accomplishes what few writers can even attempt:
horror that arises from real modern fears mixed with metaphysical meaning and
social consciousness -- all written with vigor and style.
San Francisco Bay
Demons proves [Shirley's] a kind of pop magic realist, mingling religious
themes with flotsam from contemporary mass culture to create a vertiginous world
where reports of demonic invasion come to you via the Internet...[Demons is] an
allegory for our time, full of creepy splendor and excitement...a brave and
smart book. Read it if you dare.
Publishers Weekly, Feb 18,
[A] crafty elaboration of the dark metaphysics in the original parable about
corporate greed...Shirley succeeds in fashioning an over-the-top occult thriller
solidly anchored in a bedrock of social consciousness.
John Shirley is a fine writer, well versed in the ways and means of fear, and
DEMONS is an impressive addition to his body of work.
Library Journal, Mar.
The apocalypse has come and gone and demons prowl Earth, forging a path of
violence and torture as they rampage across the planet. A few scientists, aided
by a young San Franciscan artist, pool their resources in a bold maneuver to end
the reign of these creatures. From the streets of America's cities to the heart
of the Middle East, Shirley's latest novel, based on an earlier story, combines
fast-paced action, outrageous science, and graphic horror.
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More about Demons...
In a future uncomfortably close to the present day, hideous demons have
inexplicably invaded. They roam the streets in an orgy of terror, drawing
pleasure from torturing humans as sadistically as possible. Divided into seven
clans, these grisly invaders -- gnashing, writhing, bloodthirsty monsters --
seem horrifically to belong in our world.
Ira, a young San Francisco artist, becomes involved with a strange group of
scientists and philosophers desperately trying to end the bloody siege. Yet
through it all, Ira continues to paint -- for in his canvasses lie crucial clues
to the demons' origins.
Yet the demons draw their strength from an all-too-familiar evil -- a deadly
malevolence supported by some of the greatest powers on earth, concealed beneath
the trappings of status, success, and abused power. Ira and his allies --
including a compelling young seeress -- come to believe these demons didn't just
appear. They were summoned. But the most shocking revelation is yet to come...
Demons: Original and Version II:
The original novella DEMONS was published as an
acclaimed, limited edition hardcover that Publishers Weekly called a
"mini-masterpiece." With he Del Rey editions the novel is completed and the terror continues, as
UNDERCURRENTS, takes the reader on a macabre journey into the center of the
conspiracy that may lay waste to the Earth.