I'm reading THE TERROR by author Dan Simmons now, and I thought I'd start a topic for THE TERROR book discussion, especially on book versus show stuff, just in case anyone else still around is up for it?
Needless to say, BOOK SPOILERS abound!
I'm currently a little over halfway through the novel, and am kind of shocked to say this, but I vastly prefer the show so far.
While superb -- the book is beautifully written, no question -- a literate and impressive achievement, there is a distancing quality to the book so far, and I found the time jumps in the first third/half to be kind of unnecessary.
Missing "Human" and Dialogue Moments
More than that, for me the novel is so far simply missing a lot of the profound little human moments of the show, most of which seem to have been written by the show-writers, not by Simmons. Goodsir's moments with Lady Silence are so far absent, Crozier's incredible speech to the other officers as he quit drinking, and his tender ministrations by Jopson -- so far all of those are show-only. Even Franklin's death is much more experimental and shocking in the show -- in the book it's more straightforward (still from his POV), while on the show he has those recurring visions of the opera house and of his wife, etc.
Inuit & Lady Silence Differences
Lady Silence is a much more furtive presence around the edges, and she's constantly naked and sexualized right from the get-go (first by Franklin, who both lusts after her and considers her a subhuman animal, and then by other men, especially Irving).
So far, I vastly prefer the TV Lady Silence, as at the 50% point in the book, she has no connection to Goodsir at all yet, which is a shame, since I loved her connection to Goodsir on the show (and much prefer that to her situation in the book with Irving, who is basically constantly semi-stalking, watching, and lusting after her).
There's also very little Inuktitut language at all in the book, and Lady Silence arrives on the scene tongueless -- I definitely prefer the way the show handles it, allowing her to speak with Goodsir and share language with him (and with Crozier), before removing her tongue on the night of the ill-fated Carnivale.
Hickey, Page vs. Screen
There is a lot less Hickey so far in the book, versus the show, although it's nice to report that everyone is definitely onto him. He's a more openly pathetic character in the book (very obviously a villain out for himself), this little weasel by the halfway point with 6 teeth just constantly scheming.
Fantastic Book Scenes
The book is riveting though. Effective moments in the book would have to include Blanky's tour de force escape from the Tuunbaq, which takes place over several pages and yet it is utterly riveting -- as well as the incredibly disconcerting and creepy Carnivale scene, where the men are basically mocking Franklin's death while also sort of paying homage to Tuunbaq. The fire is accidental and Dr. Stanley has nothing to do with it.
Another especially haunting chapter in the book is Crozier's detox, in which he lies in his bunk and has visions (whether real second sight or imagined is slightly up to the reader) of the other search parties for the Franklin Expedition, as well as, beyond that, people attempting to locate or contact the Expedition via supernatural means, like seances, etc. It's a really strange and striking chapter as he floats between past, present and future, and between life and death.
Another beautiful segment in the book is Peglar's, and details with dignity and care his past sexual relationship with Bridgens (they are indeed a couple, or were, but have a tacit understanding that no sexual relationship will take place on board).
So that's the scoop so far! I'm enjoying the book, I was just very surprised that a lot of the more poetic moments that moved me the most so far have evidently come straight from the TV writers, not from Simmons's novel.
What did anyone else think?