cover image The Hollow Man

The Hollow Man

Dan Simmons. Spectra Books, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-553-08252-4

Hugo Award winner Simmons returns to science fiction after a pair of horror novels ( Summer of Night ; Children of the Night ) with this impressive and thoughtful novel about the pain and the power of telepathy. Jeremy and Gail were made sad and lonely by their ability to read others' minds, until they found each other. Married, they grew closer than any non-telepathic couple ever could. But when Gail dies, Jeremy goes over the edge. He finds himself inundated with ``neurobabble,'' unable to keep out the roaring ocean of other thoughts that surrounds him. Drowning in despair, he begins a journey meant to resemble bear an unmistak able resemblance to that of Dante in his Divine Comedy --he flees his job, friends and home; runs afoul of gangsters in Florida; lives homeless in Denver; and uses his telepathy to win his way to wealth in Las Vegas. Simmons is at his best during Jeremy's descent into despair, searching for relief from the neurobabble and flirting with suicide. Blending chaos theory, quantum physics and neuroscience, Simmons constructs a vague but intriguing scientific explanation of telepathy. The power-of-love happy ending may leave some readers unsatisified, since it doesn't resolve some of the book's bleaker issues, but Simmons's novel remains an engrossing look at a well-worn concept. of telepathy. (Oct.)