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Pandemonium (Anglais) Broché – 26 août 2008

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The woman next to me said, It’s the Kamikaze. Someone else said, No, it’s the Painter—the Painter or the Fat Boy.

The river of people leaving the gates had log-jammed against a line of cops, and rumor rippled back through the crowd. A demon had possessed a man, and O’Hare security had sealed off the concourse between the gates and baggage claim. Reactions varied from exasperation to excitement. It was another travel delay, but at least it was an interesting delay.

I could see nothing beyond the end of the crowd but the cops’ blue shoulders and the cavernous space of the United terminal. We couldn’t go back: we’d just come through security, and more travelers were filling in behind us. There was nothing to do but wait for the demon to finish its business.

I dropped my blue nylon duffel bag between my feet and sat astride it, surrounded by a forest of legs and luggage. The scraping sensation in my head, quiet since morning, started up again. I stared at my shoes and tried to take clarifying breaths. My last doctor was big on clarifying breaths—that, and heavy meds.

I was tired. I’d been traveling all day, flying standby and catching one flight for every three, portaging the duffel through three airports, three sets of security shakedowns. At least I wasn’t Japanese. Those poor bastards were practically strip-searched at every gate.

Someone backed into me, stumbled, and moved aside. I looked up, and the crowd shifted backward like spooked cattle. A path opened through the bodies, and suddenly I was alone in the middle of an aisle with the possessed man running toward me.

He was naked to the waist, his skinny chest and arms coated with gray dust, eyes wide and happy. He grinned, his mouth making words I couldn’t hear. I got out of his way, leaving my bag in the middle of the floor.

He veered suddenly toward a popcorn vendor cart. Parents yanked children out of his way; people scattered. The crowd’s mood had lurched from morbid curiosity to outright fear. A demon five hundred yards away was a lot different than one in your face.

He grabbed the cart by its handles and tipped it easily with the cartoon strength of the possessed. Someone screamed. The glass case shattered. Yellow popcorn blossomed into the air, and a metal pan bounced off the tile and rolled away like a hubcap.

The possessed man cackled and began to scoop up the popcorn, ignoring the shards of glass. He rose into a squat, arms full, and winked at me conspiratorially. His hands were bloody. He staggered back the way he’d come, hunched over his load. The cop let him pass without making a move.

What else could he do? He couldn’t shoot the guy. It wasn’t his fault, and if they obstructed him the demon might get pissed, jump to someone else (like a cop with a gun), and start hurting people. Nothing to do but keep the gawkers back and wait for it to burn itself out.

I picked up my bag and walked forward—plenty of room at the front of the line now—until I’d reached the temporary barrier, a ribbon of nylon strung between plastic posts. There was no one between me and the demon but a line of cops.

The United terminal was an art deco cathedral of steel and glass, shining ribs arcing under blue glass. I’d always liked it. The demon, trailing puffs of popcorn, shuffled to the middle of the concourse, stopped between the Starbucks and the shrine to the Kamikaze, and opened his arms. The popcorn spread over the marble with a susurrant huff.

He surveyed the mess for a moment, and then began to dance. He crushed the popcorn beneath his glossy black shoes. He paused, then danced again. When he was satisfied he dropped to hands and knees and began pushing the yellow powder into the borders of his sand painting, his collage, his sculpture—whatever the hell it was.

What it was, though, was a farm: a quaint white farmhouse, a red silo and barn, a line of trees, wide open fields. The farmhouse was powdered detergent or sugar or salt; the silo bits of red plastic and glass that could have been plucked from smashed exit signs; the trees cunningly arranged candy wrappers and strips of Styrofoam from coffee cups and junk food packages. The crumbled popcorn became the edge of a wheat field. The picture was simultaneously naturalistic and hazily distorted, a landscape seen through waves of heat.

The demon began to add details. I sat down on my duffel and watched him work. He fiddled with the shards of red glass to suggest the warp of barn wood; gently blew the white powder into the ghosts of gutters and window frames; scraped his shoe heel against the marble to create a smudge above the house that could have been a cloud or a large bird. The longer he worked, the more familiar the scene became. I’d never seen the place before—at least, I didn’t remember ever seeing a farm like this—but the picture was so relentlessly quaint, so Norman Rockwell, that maybe it was the idea of the farm that I recognized. The Jungians thought demons were archetypes from the collective unconscious. Perhaps the subject matter of archetypal artists was archetypes.

And then he abruptly stood and walked away, not even glancing back at the finished picture. The man took maybe a dozen steps, and then collapsed. No one moved for perhaps a minute.

Finally a cop edged forward, his hand on his nightstick, and asked the man questions I couldn’t catch. The man looked up, frightened. The cop helped him to his feet, and the man looked at his cut hands, then around at the crowds. The cop put an arm around his shoulder and led him away.

. . .


Lew, My Very Bigger Brother, bellowing from the other end of the atrium. His wife, Amra, shook her head in mock embarrassment. This was part of their shtick: Lew was loud and embarrassing, Amra was socially appropriate.

Lew met me halfway across the floor and grabbed me in a hug, his gut hitting me like a basketball. He’d always been bigger than me, but now he was six inches taller and a hundred pounds heavier. “Jesus Christ!” he said. “What took you so long? The board said your flight got in an hour ago.” His beard was bushier than when I’d last seen him a year and a half ago, but it had still failed to colonize the barren patches between ear and chin.

“Sorry about that—something about four bags of heroin up my ass. Hey, Amra.”

“Hello, Del.”

I hugged her briefly. She smelled good as always. She’d cut her long, shiny black hair into something short and professional.

Lew grabbed the strap from my shoulder and tried to take it from me. “I got it,” I said.

“Come on, you look like you haven’t slept in a week.” He yanked it from me. “Shit, this is heavy. How many more bags do you got?”

“That’s it.”

“What are you, a fuckin’ hobo? Okay, we have to take a shuttle to the parking garage. Follow me.” He charged ahead with the duffel on his back.

“Did you hear there was a demon in the airport?” Amra said.

“I was there. They wouldn’t let us out of the terminal until he was gone. So what happened to the Cher hair?”

“Oh . . .” She made a gesture like shooing a fly. “Too much. You saw it? Which one was it—not the Kamikaze?” The news tracked them by name, like hurricanes. Most people went their whole lives without seeing one in person. I’d seen five—six, counting today’s. I’m lucky that way.

“The Painter, I think. At least, it was making a picture.”

Lew glanced back, gave Amra a look. He wanted her to stop talking about it. “Probably a faker,” Lew said. “There’s a possession conference going on downtown next week. The town’ll be full of posers.”

“I don’t think this guy was faking,” I said. That mad grin. That wink. “Afterward he was just crushed. Totally confused.”

“I wonder if he even knows how to draw,” Amra said.

The tram dropped us at a far parking lot, and then we shivered in the wind while Lew unlocked the car and loaded my duffel into the tiny trunk.

It was new, a bulbous silver Audi that looked futuristic and fast. I thought of my own car, crumpled like a beer can, and tried not to be jealous. The Audi was too small for Lew anyway. He enveloped the steering wheel, elbows out, like he was steering with his stomach. His seat was pushed all the way back, so I sat behind Amra. Lew flew down 294, swearing at drivers and juking between lanes. I should have been used to Lew’s driving by then, but the speed and erratic turns had me gripping the back of Amra’s seat. I grew up in the suburbs, but every time I came back to Chicago I experienced traffic shock. We were forty minutes from downtown, and there were four crammed lanes on each side of the road, and everyone moving at 70 mph. It was worse than Denver.

“So what have you been doing with yourself?” Lew asked. “You don’t call, you don’t write, you don’t send flowers . . .”

“We missed you at Christmas,” Amra said.

“See, Lew? From Amra, that actually means she missed me at Christmas. From you or Mom that would have meant ‘How could you have let us down like that?’ ”

“Then she said it wrong.”

They’d only been married for a year and a half, but they’d been dating on and off—mostly on—since college. “So when are you guys going to settle down and make Mom some multiracial grandbabies? The Cyclops has gotta be demanding a little baby action.”

Amra groaned. “Do you have to call her that? And you’re changing the subject.”

“Yeah,” Lew said. “Back to your faults as a son and brother. What have you been up to?”

“Well, that’s a funny story.”

Lew glanced at me in the rearview mirror. Amra turned in her seat to face me, frowning in concern.

“Jeez, guys.” I forced a smile. “Can you at least let me segue into this?”

“What is it?” Amra said.

“It’s not a big deal. I had a car accident in November, went through a guardrail in the snow, and then—”

Lew snorted in surprise. “Were you drunk?”

“Fuck you. The road was icy, and I just hit the curve too fast and lost control. I went through the rail, and then the car started flipping.” My gut tightened, remembering that jolt. My vision had gone dark as I struck the rail, and I’d felt myself pitching forward, as if I were being sucked into a black well. “I ended up at the bottom of a ravine, upside down, and I couldn’t get my seatbelt undone.” I left out the caved-in roof, the icy water running through the car, my blind panic. “I just hung there until the cops got me out.”

“Weren’t you hurt?” Amra asked.

I shrugged. “My arms were scraped up, and my back was killing me, but that turned out to be just a pulled muscle. They kept me in the hospital for a day, and then they let me go. And afterward . . . well, all in all I was pretty lucky.”

“Lucky?” Lew said. “Why do people say that? You get a tumor, and if it turns out that you can operate on it, people say, gee, that was lucky. No, lucky is not getting cancer. Lucky is not getting cancer, then finding ten bucks in your shoe.”

“Are you done?” Amra said.

“He totaled his car. He’s not that lucky.”

Amra shook her head. “You were about to say something else, Del. What happened after the accident?”

“Yeah, afterward.” I suddenly regretted bringing it up. I’d thought I could practice on Lew and Amra, get ready for the main event with Mom. Amra looked at me expectantly.

Présentation de l'éditeur

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-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 Troll

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4.3 étoiles sur 5
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Format: Broché
"Pandemonium" est un livre intelligent et subtil. Original, qui plus est! C'est de la fantasy, mais très subtilement dosée (trop sans doute pour moi, ce qui explique mon absence de 5 étoiles, j'ai apprécié l'histoire mais je ne me suis pas laissée emportée).

Nous sommes dans les années 2000 actuelles, aux Etats-Unis. Le monde est exactement tel que nous le connaissons, au détail près que la possession a été reconnue comme valide scientifiquement parlant. Identifiée depuis la fin de la 2ème guerre mondiale grâce aux travaux de Jung, il est reconnu qu'une poignée de démons prend sporadiquement possession d'individus. C'est toujours bref (de quelques minutes à quelques semaines au grand maximum) et cela obéit toujours au même schéma: chaque démon poursuit un but (tuer une personne agonisante en étant une angélique petite fille en chemise de nuit pour the Angel, mettre le bazar dans la maisonnée en étant un petit garçon blondinet pour the Hellion, accomplir un acte héroïque en étant un homme musculeux pour The Captain, peindre en étant the Painter, etc.). Le premier chapitre, montrant une possession par the Painter, est à ce titre très efficace pour attirer le lecteur.

Le plus dur, c'est d'identifier les vrais cas de possession des cas de désordres psychologiques chroniques. Del, une trentaine d'années, possédé à l'âge de 5 ans par the Hellion, est dans ce cas. Il a l'impression d'être possédé, mais son cas ne correspond pas à ce qui est catalogué dans les analyses de démonologie.
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L'histoire se déroule de nos jours, aux EU, dans un quotidien très semblable au nôtre, à une différence près : les démons partagent désormais la vie des humains, par le biais de possessions, souvent brèves, parfois plus longues, et parfois répétées. Les démons sont d'un nombre défini et chacun montre une personnalité marquée. D'ailleurs, cette personnalité détermine le choix de la personne élue par le démon pour servir à ses fins, cette possession n'est pas aléatoire, elle semble même avoir un but à chaque fois, celui d'assouvir les fantasmes des archétypes de la croyance populaire, forgés et accumulés au fil de l'évolution de l'humanité.
Il y a ainsi le Capitaine, qui ne prend possession que de soldats dans un moment crucial (poussant le corps du malheureux à accomplir des prodiges, aux dépens de son intégrité physique), le Petit Ange qui sort de belles enfants aux longs cheveux de leur lit pour les forcer à se rendre auprès des mourants pour les faire passer de vie à trépas d'un baiser, la Vérité, qui pourfend les menteurs, ou encore Hellion, le démon du désordre, qui cherche des petits garçons blonds et vifs pour les transformer en enfants hystériques, intenables et destructeurs...

Del a une trentaine d'années, c'est un jeune homme paisible, aimable et plutôt languide, a priori résigné à avoir une vie qui ne semble mener nulle part.
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Voila enfin une idée originale. Bon vous me direz que la possession n'est guère une nouveauté, certes, mais de la traiter ainsi de façon totalement non-religieuse et de refuser jusqu'à la fin de fournir une explication, ça c'est fort. Imaginez notre monde qui depuis les années 50 est affecté d'une myriade d'actes de possession du fait d'un nombre limité d'entités assez stéréotypées : il y a la Vérité qui tue ceux qui mentent, le Peintre qui dessine toujours la même scène de bâtiment agricole ou le Petit Ange, toujours une très jeune fille dont le baiser tue les vieilles personnes ... Bien entendu les possédés font preuve de prouesses physiques déconcertantes ... au prix de la santé de leur victime, mais qu'importe le sort du vaisseau ... A noter que parmi les vaisseaux figure Philip K Dick qui prétend être possédé et ainsi protégé des excès bien connu de l'auteur de SF, vrai ou faux, allez savoir !
Signalons une énorme surprise que je n'avais pas anticipé et qui révèle une partie de l'origine de ces "démons", très agréable de se faire ainsi surprendre par un livre. Le seul bémol que j'apporterai est en rapport avec la "chair" du roman, je n'ai guère été intéressé par les personnages et le milieu Nord-américain décrit, est-ce dû à l'écriture ou pas ? Il faut dire qu'on n'est pas du tout dans des galeries de personnages héroïques !
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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5 62 commentaires
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A fun engaging alternative history book with a surprising premise 29 janvier 2015
Par Peter S. Bradley - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Del lives in an alternate America where demonic possession is a real phenomenon. It seems that there has always been demon possession, but the 1950s saw an upturn in demonic possession with the arrival of demons like the Truth and Smokestack Johnny and the Painter and the Hellion and the Little Angel. These demons randomly jump into people, causing the person to behave in some constantly recurring script, before leaving to possess someone else. The Hellion, for example, possesses blond five year old boys with cowlicks, turning them into something like Dennis the Menace; the Truth dresses up in a trench coat, a fedora and wields two guns in the pursuit of punishing liars; and the Little Angel is a small girl with curls who kisses dying patients, hastening them on their way to death.

Demons disrupt the lives of the people they possess, and they have disrupted American lives in general. The assassination of Eisenhower by the Kamikaze and the televised execution of OJ Simpson after his not guilty verdict by the Truth have left a mark on the American soul. Also, apparently, Eisenhower's premature death catapulted Nixon into office, who instituted a war on demons, with concentration camps, and something unspecified but apparently awful about Japan.

Del is a survivor of the Hellion. As a child, he was possessed by the Hellion. Although it seems that he was released, he's not sure that the Hellion ever really left, and he wants a cure.

That premise puts Del on the road, and we see something of this strange world, with conferences on demon possession, and groupies who have bit more interest in possession than is reasonable, and fringe groups who have their own strange theories and defenses against demons.

There were a couple of features that captivated me.

First, was the cameo from a certain science fiction writer named "Phil," who did not die in 1983, when he became possessed by the demon VALIS. Likewise, the brainless argument about how to pronounce "Van Vogt" has to warm the heart of any long term science fiction fan.

Second, I liked the chapters which featured backstories of some of these strange demonic avatars or cultural projections. The stories were almost worthwhile as standalone stories.

Third, I like books where I am intrigued enough to fact check the author. In that regard, I liked the elements involving Carl Jun and Jungianism - it seems that we haven't seen stories involving the "collective unconscious" in decades. The references to the Red Book interested me enough to look it up and find out that there really was a Red Book.

Fourth, I liked the idea of a science floundering about with something it can't explain. The variety of theories and the efforts to quantify and postulate in terms of materialism rang true.

The story was engaging and well-written. It introduced characters I cared about and had a resolution that worked. I thought the logic and mythology of this strange world was captivating and intriguing.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Not your typical book about demonic possession. 19 mai 2016
Par Steve - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Format Kindle Achat vérifié
Pandemonium is the first novel written by Daryl Gregory. It tells the story of Del, a person possessed by a demon known as The Hellion. Del lives in a world that is experiencing some well documented outbreaks of demonic possession where the demons are very much like comic book villains. Throughout the rather confusing plot, we see the events unfold through the perspective of a shared mind which appears at risk of unraveling at any given moment. The most prominent question driving the plot is "Can the demon be driven away for good or is it here to stay?" There are indeed some unexpected plot twists and the questions are all tied up by the end of the book in a satisfying ending. The overarching story of Pandemonium is engaging and the characters are likeable. However the book is riddled with interludes, designed to provide the reader with a brief glimpse of some of the other less significant demons. This prevents the book from building up much momentum and for me at least slowed things down as I struggled at times to keep reading it. Good at times with some glimpses of greatness. Overall an OK novel but it would definitely make a better comic book. 3/5
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great! 20 avril 2015
Par Kit M - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book is a bit altered history / alternate reality, a little urban fantasy, and a splash of sci-fi horror. In this universe, demon possession has been widely witnessed, documented, and accepted as real phenomena since the 1940s-50s.

Meet Del, a young man that's had his own brushes with and experiences with demon possession. Except he believes there may be something a little different to his episodes and is determined to get help for it.

I liked Del. He wasn't exactly Harrison Harrison (from "We Are All Completely Fine" or "Harrison Squared") but he did have a little bit of that smarm and charm to him that Gregory's good at injecting into his protagonists. The side characters in this were also great, with Del's brother, Lew, being a favorite.

I'm not going to say much else for fear of revealing too much. What I love about Gregory's stories is that they're twisty and turn-y journeys with great concepts and characters, and I want everyone to get to enjoy the ride!
4.0 étoiles sur 5 A debut novel that's smart and funny. 12 septembre 2010
Par David M. Giltinan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
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, in response, 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 immediate 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. Though the execution didn't always match the brilliance of the premise, the book is intelligent and funny - particularly impressive for a debut novel.

# Daryl Gregory writes well.
# Pacing was good.
# Decent plot with a reasonably satisfactory resolution.
# It's short.
# It's great fun.

# The 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.

Even if this is not your usual genre, "Pandemonium" is well worth your attention.
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Unpossible path to Pandemonium 17 octobre 2009
Par Tony McFee - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
I was starting out on holiday to Mexico and picked up Fantasy: The Best of the Year for the trip. In it, I found and fell in love with a story called Unpossible by Daryl Gregory. It inspired me to seek out more of his work and I was in luck. DelRey had just released his first book, Pandemonium. My hopes were not high. I have found so many short story writers that have a hard time making the transition to long form. This, however, was a powerhouse premier.
The story centers on Del Pierce, a man who like many others in this alternative America, is a survivor of demon possession. He is a unique case. After being possessed by one of the handful of Demon Types, the rest of his life is plagued by an uneasy feeling that he is not alone in his own head. Eventually, after being released from a mental hospital, he makes his way home to begin his quest to find out what started the demonic possessions in the mid-century, what they mean, and why he feels the strangeness that he does.
Pandemonium is a rollicking run through American pop culture. Gregory weaves "real" people and history in with his alternate take on America with fantastic results. He hits all the Americana biggies- comics, sci-fi, movie icons, and more, often with a wink and nod to the reader. It is a fast paced read that is both inspired and inspiring. The best part is that this is Daryl Gregory's first book, hopefully indicating that we have much more to come from this interesting and engaging writer. We will find out next month (Nov.) when his second effort, The Devil's Alphabet, hit shelves.
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