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THE HOLLOW MAN by Dan Simmons


by Dan Simmons

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1992
ISBN: 0-553-08252-3
Publisher: Bantam

Psychic fantasy science novel with a touch of horror, just enough to allow Simmons (Children of the Night, p. 564; Summer of Night, etc.) to keep his foot in that field as well. A promising device goes amiss into routine thuggishness and ends in ``probability reality.'' Gail and Jeremy Bremen are telepaths who met and married ten years ago. Together, they find relief from the psychobabble of voices around them, the minds of people they meet and a larger psychobabble grounded in the whole ``wave'' of human intelligence. When Gail dies of an inoperable tumor behind her eye, Jeremy freaks out, burns down their house, abandons his professorship, and goes on the road. In Florida, he witnesses a mob murder, is kidnapped by the mob, later escapes. Taken up by Miz Morgan, a rancher, he finds himself facing razorblade dentures over his important parts and escapes from her too. In Las Vegas, his mind-reading stands him well at the poker table; he's a huge winner, but the mob is back. After saving his life still again, he winds up in the hospital, enters the closed- off mind of a retarded blind boy, and finds Gail alive in a probable reality that the boy has put together from particles of Jeremy's mind. Throughout, in flashback, we are treated to far-out wave-particle theory about a unified wave of human consciousness that allows for transfer of mind or being. From this description, you might expect a lyrical novel featuring great psychic leaps of imagination. Simmons leaps, but where he lands in a parallel probability is far less vividly experienced than possibilities allow. The nostalgic opening chapter of Summer of Night is better than this whole novel. Nearly everyone whose mind gets read is sour and meanspirited. Big brainy equations, small rewards.