Demons by John Shirley is actually two half-stories under the same cover. There is a 9-year jump between the stories, but it’s not a problem. They both sport the same feel, mythos, and primary characters.
Demons – The Setup
Both stories in Demons have a ‘near futuristic’ feel. In the first story, several species of demons appear on Earth and attack humans, killing them off in very unpleasant ways. The seven different clans of demons might correlate to the “Seven Deadly sins,” but this was never confirmed in the book.
In the second half, corporate research into ‘psychonomics’ coupled with the research of a new pesticide are about to open the door for the Demons to re-enter the world.
Demons – The Good
Really good writing. Good turns of phrase and wonderful analogies. The first book is gritty, and well-paced. Mr. Shirley handles POV (Point Of View) well – taking the reader into the subject’s head when appropriate, but stepping out for the remainder to make the story ‘bigger’. The Demons are truly monstrous; their actions are truly horrific, and each clan of demon is distinct from the others.
Demons – The Bad
Word choices are sometimes ostentatious. [Editor’s Note: And *that* observation isn’t?] Keep a thesaurus nearby. The first story merely hints at the ‘industry=evil’ theme, but the second book will make you choke on it. In fact, the second book isn’t so much about Demons as it is about how chemical research and third world countries are Evil, and self-awareness is Good. The demons play such a small part in the second book that all references to them could be removed without significantly changing the story.
Demons – The Short Version
Demons by John Shirley contains a pair of sly, well-written stories about how industries, corporations, and third world countries are evil. And Demons.