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A Winter Haunting by P-HarpercollinsPubl

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A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage -- and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town -- the one-time residence of a strange and brilliant friend who lost his young life in a grisly "accident" back in the terrible summer of 1960 -- is only the latest in his long succession of recent mistakes. Because Dale is not alone here. He has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall ...

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									A Winter Haunting
Dale Stewert

Author: Dan Simmons
Description

A once-respected college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart has sabotaged his career and his marriage
-- and now darkness is closing in on him. In the last hours of Halloween he has returned to the dying town
of Elm Haven, his boyhood home, where he hopes to find peace in isolation. But moving into a long-
deserted farmhouse on the far outskirts of town -- the one-time residence of a strange and brilliant friend
who lost his young life in a grisly "accident" back in the terrible summer of 1960 -- is only the latest in his
long succession of recent mistakes. Because Dale is not alone here. He has been followed to this house
of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick,
blanketing early snow is starting to fall ...
Excerpt

Forty-one years after I died, my friend Dale returned to the farm where I was murdered. It was a very bad
winter.I know what you're thinking. There's the old journalism anecdote of William Randolph Hearst
needing someone to cover the Johnstown flood and sending a young cub reporter. It was the kid's big
break. The next day the novice cabled back this lead to Hearst's paper: "GOD SAT ON A LONELY HILL
ABOVE JOHNSTOWN TODAY, LOOKING DOWN IN SORROW AT NATURE'S FIERCE
DESTRUCTION." Old-timers swear that Hearst did not hesitate ten seconds before cabling back this
response: "FORGET FLOOD STORY. INTERVIEW GOD."I say I died forty-one years ago and your
response is, Forget the story about Dale. Who cares? Tell us what it's like to be dead -- what is the
afterlife like? What is it like to be a ghost? Is there a God?At least, these would be my questions.
Unfortunately, I am not a ghost. Nor do I know anything about any afterlife. When I was alive, I did not
believe in ghosts or heaven or God or spirits surviving the body or resurrection or reincarnation, and I still
do not. If I had to describe my current state of existence, I would say that I am a cyst of memory. Dale's
sense of me is so strong, so cut off and cauterized from the rest of his consciousness by trauma, that I
seem to exist as something more than memory, something less than life, almost literally a black hole of
holistic recollection formed by the collapsing gravity of grief.I know this does not explain it, but then I do
not really understand it myself. I know only that I am and that there was a -- "quickening" might be the
best word -- when Dale decided to return and spend the winter at the farm where I once lived and where I
died.And, no, I have no memory of my death. I know no more of that event than does Dale. Evidently
one's death, like one's birth, is so important as to be beyond recall.When I was alive I was only a boy, but
I was fairly smart and totally dedicated to becoming a writer someday. I spent years preparing for that --
apprenticing myself to the word -- knowing that it would be many more years before I could write a real
short story, much less a novel, but practicing with opening paragraphs for stories and novels
nonetheless.If I were borrowing an opening for this tale, I would steal it from Thackeray's boring 1861
novel Lovel the Widower:Who shall be the hero of this tale? Not I who write it. I am but the Chorus of the
Play. I make remarks on the conduct of the characters: I narrate their simple story.Thackeray's
ominiscient "I" was lying, of course. Any Creator stating that he is a simple Chorus and impassive
observer of his creatures' actions is a hypocrite and a liar. Of course, I believed that to be true of God, on
the few occasions when I considered that He might exist at all. Once, when Dale and Mike and I were
having a chickenhouse discussion of God, my only contribution was a paraphrased quote from Mark
Twain: "When we look around at the pain and injustice of the world, we must come to the ineluctable
conclusion that God is a thug." I'm not sure if I believed that then or now, but it certainly shocked Mike
and Dale into silence. Especially Mike. He was an altar boy then and most devout.But I'm digressing
even before I begin the story. I always hated writers who did that. I still have no powerful opening line. I'll
just begin again.Forty-one years after I died, my friend Dale returned to the farm where I was murdered. It
was a very bad winter. . . .
Author Bio
Dan Simmons
Dan Simmons is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion and their sequels,
Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. He has written the critically acclaimed suspense novels Darwin's
Blade and The Crook Factory, as well as other highly respected works including Summer of Night, its
sequel A Winter Haunting, and Song of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Worlds Enough & Time. Simmons
makes his home in Colorado.

								
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