Floating Dragon Mass Market Paperback – Jan 24 2002
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"A deliciously imaginative story of hauntings and monsters." -San Francisco Chronicle
"Here is a novel guaranteed to double the national nightmare quotient, so watch out." -Cosmopolitan
"Buy it today. Anything by Straub is worth several thousand John Sauls and a million V.C. Andrewses." -Philadelphia Inquirer
"Straub's effects are quite spectacular...I was fairly awed by some of the more nightmarish scenes in Floating Dragon." -New York Times--This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.
About the Author
Peter Straub is one of America’s foremost authors of supernatural and suspense fiction. He is the New York Times bestselling author of a dozen novels, including the horror classic Ghost Story and The Talisman, which he cowrote with Stephen King. His latest novel, Black House—also written with King—is a #1 New York Times bestseller. A past president of the Horror Writers of America and multiple award winner, he lives in New York City.
Top Customer Reviews
The plot is confused. The "Floating Dragon" is - perhaps - partly supernatural, though primarily it is explained as a leaked Department of Defense gas, that drives people insane and eventually liquefies their bodies. While losing their minds, the unfortunate victims hallucinate - hence, the possibility that what is being perceived as a recurring supernatural evil is all in the mind of the beholder.
I really disliked this book when I first read it, but I decided it required a re-read in later years after overcoming my initial disappointment. It was much better than I remembered it, but its flaws still gravely weaken it. Really, it's all quite good until the last seventy-five pages or so, when the action becomes completely hallucinogenic and virtually impossible to follow, and the ending is terribly trite to the point of being laughable. Straub's worst trait is a tendency to go way over-the-top, and that is at its worst here. But his characters, as usual, are quite memorable, and his writing in every other regard in typically splendid form.
If you're a Straub fan, this one may or may not put you off him. If this is your first exposure to the author, pick a different title, something like Ghost Story or If You Could See Me Now, to get a better feel for Straub closer to the top of his game.
I first read this book in 1986, I thought it was a little confusing, but being as young as I was (14) I finished it. I figured it must be my immaturity, that I didn't follow the story well. So jump ahead to 2000, I just happen to come across my dusty Hard cover that I had and decided to give it a retry. Now I am almost 30 and I feel I have some comprehention of things so I read it over. Well I was right, the premis of the book is great, it's just that Straub was having a hard time putting it into words. The book was too long and wordy with too many unimportant charactors we didn't need to hear about. I found the main charactors very 3 dimensional, as well as the description of the town, but the story runs along at a bumpy pace. It's not a lite read at all. You'll need to put your thinking caps on for this one. But Straub is not a King or Koontz more like Henry James. Now on a positive note; mind you Floating Dragon is not a great book, but Straub is a great author.
Straub to me is a literary Horror writer, he doesn't write fast books with happy endings. His books make you think and contemplate. He is in a genre of his own.
Well Mr. Straub you have succeeded.
Floating Dragon was, at the time, Straub's last foray into supernatural horror (Mr. X marks his return to the field that made him famous). As an ancient, paranormal thing awakens to again wreak havoc on an accursed town, an equally horrid nerve gas escapes and infects the population of said town. How much of the events of this story are really happening and how much is collective hallucination brought upon by the gas? The question is not answered by Straub, who leaves a great deal to the reader to figure out. But the clues are there, you just have to dig past all the symbolic and over the top effects scenes (of which there is a HUGE amount). Granted Floating Dragon may not be Straub's best novel, but even his lesser efforts are far superior to other horror writers successes.
While the cycle that things occur in is similiar to the one in Ghost Story, i feel that the difference between the two, explaining why it happens once every generation, makes more than enough sense to show that Straub is not simply rehashing a plot device from a previous story. I've read most of the other reader reviews of this book, and while I don't agree with some of them, it just goes to show that every person takes a book a different way, comparable to how someone feels about a song they are hearing for the first time. Some may love Floating Dragon, others may hate it, but if you like anything else Straub wrote, i highly recommend you read this title.
Here, the hallucinogenic toxic cloud really becomes a non-issue after the set up, which is too bad. It could've taken center stage, especially since one of its possible effects--even mentioned in the book's start--is perhaps to enhance psi abilities. Straub could have made CENTRAL use of that, especially since his main characters are supposed to be psychic; it would have explained why the antagonist was so unusually powerful this time around.
Of course, that would mean making sure ALL the bizarre occurances were either ambiguous (i.e. could be hallucinations caused by the gas) or the result of the protagonists psi being turned against them and/or latent psi in someone else being harnessed. Ironically, if any Hollywood insiders are listening, making such a fix could still salvage this novel as fodder for a pretty good movie. (Then again, I'm still waiting for Hollywood to wise up and remake a Ghost Story adaptation that true to, and thus as good as, the novel.)
Most recent customer reviews
SO glad his back issues are becoming available in Kindle.
And this is one of his best.
This was only my second Straub read. I can see now how he and King could blend so flawlessly for the Talisman and The Black House. Read morePublished on Jan. 29 2004
If I could give this book 4 1/2 stars, then I would. It is some of the best work Straub has produced. He should be wearing the mantle for gothic horror author master. Read morePublished on Feb. 20 2003 by papaphilly
I have read this book three times since it was released in the early '80's. I think this is Peter Straub's best all-out horror novel. Read morePublished on April 3 2002 by Patrick m Tinney
By far, my favorite work by Mr. Straub. The bizarre events of the story and interesting characters fill the reader with deep concern for the outcome of this tale. Read morePublished on Feb. 23 2002 by allison k mangin
Having read 'Ghost Story' and 'shadowland'I guess I'm on a downward slope with Mr Straub and this book proves it. Read morePublished on Nov. 5 2000 by Mr. Robin J. Wisniewski
The problem with Straub's novel is its level of ambiguity, brought on by the convergence of too many similar plot threads. Read morePublished on Sept. 22 2000 by Lowell Yaeger