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Literature: The Terror
The Terror is a 2006 Historical Fiction/Supernatural Horror novel written by Dan Simmons, detailing the Franklin Expedition, the doomed 1845 voyage to explore the Northwest Passage of ships HMS Terror and Erebus. In Real Life, the explorers died of starvation and scurvy, while in this novel they also have a mysterious man-eating monster to contend with. There is also a mysterious, seemingly mute Inuit woman the explorers christen "Lady Silence", who may or may not know something about the monster that is stalking the expedition.


This work contains examples of:

  • Abandon Ship: As in Real Life, the crew has to abandon the ships after they get stuck in the ice.
  • The Alcoholic: Crozier.
  • Animal Motif: Hickey is constantly compared to a rat.
  • Anyone Can Die: Many anonymous crew members are eaten by The Thing, and several important characters are mentioned as having died in passing, with little to no fanfare. By the end of the book, the remaining crew is not even bothering to bury their dead.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Goodsir's diary.
  • Burial at Sea: Somewhat subverted, as the sea is so deeply frozen the crew members can only dig holes in the ice to bury their dead in.
  • The Captain: Crozier. At least he becomes so after the death of the incompetent Franklin.
  • Cool Old Guy: Sir John Ross.
  • Dear Diary: Dr. Goodsir keeps a diary and most of the chapters centering on him consist of his diary entries.
  • Dedication: Perhaps fittingly, to the cast of The Thing from Another World.
  • Determinator: Captain Francis Rawdon Moira Crozier. Also Icemaster Blanky, who successfully escapes being eaten by the creature twice. The creature ends up eating the man only because he finally sits down and allows it to.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Fitzjames crosses it after Franklin's death.
  • Door Stopper
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: Crozier does this while recovering from quitting drinking cold turkey.
  • Driven to Madness: Hickey
  • Driven to Suicide: Dr. Harry Goodsir
  • Dumb Muscle: Magnus Manson
  • Dwindling Party: The expedition, as scurvy, murder, and the monster take their toll.
  • Eldritch Abomination: the Thing on the ice qualifies
  • Face Death with Dignity: Icemaster Blanky and John Bridgens.
  • Foil: Franklin and Crozier. Franklin is soft - Crozier is tough. Franklin is a fool - Crozier is competent. Franklin is religious - Crozier is an atheist. Franklin is an aristocrat - Crozier is low-born. Franklin is a teetotaler - Crozier is an alcoholic. Franklin is a family man - Crozier is a loner. Franklin is polite - Crozier is a jerk.
  • Foregone Conclusion: For anyone who knows about historical Franklin's expedition.
  • From Bad to Worse: Say, would you like to be stuck in the Arctic? How would you like to be stuck in the Arctic with your food running out and scurvy setting in? OK, how would you like to be stuck in the Arctic with your food running out, scurvy setting in, and a terrifying sea monster stalking you?
  • Gentle Giant: Manson, at least unless directed otherwise.
  • A God Am I: Hickey believes this of himself, even as he watches The Thing devour his band of cannibal mutineers and his very soul.
  • He Knows Too Much: Hickey decides John Irving must die after he catches him and Magnus Manson with their pants down.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Many of them, including Charles Darwin.
  • Hope Spot: A number of these. Most involve the possibility of finding open leads to sail out of the frozen sea on.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters
  • Mindlink Mates: Crozier and Lady Silence.
  • Pink Elephants: Crozier withdraws hard. However, his sickness-induced visions prove to be prescient.
  • Psychic Link: Crozier eventually develops this with Lady Silence.
  • Shout-Out: An in-universe example, one of the crew members suggest the Grand Venetian Carnivale tents be designed in the same manner as the colored rooms in Poe's The Masque of the Red Death.
  • The Smart Guy: Doctor Harry Goodsir
  • Smug Snake: Hickey.
  • Spanner in the Works: Hickey, and how!
  • A Taste of the Lash
  • The Teetotaler: Sir John Franklin.
  • Tempting Fate: Who could think that organize a carnival intentionally modelled after the carnival from The Masque of the Red Death is a bad idea?
  • This Is as Far as I Go: Icemaster Blanky and John Bridgens realize the futility of the situation and decide to die with a modicum of dignity. Blanky is eaten by The Thing; Bridgens fate is not written but certainly he dies as well.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The map of the area the ships Terror and Erebus and their respective crews are traversing in the novel is marked with the burial locations of a number of characters, by name, so when characters with these names begin showing up it's not hard to realize who's not going to survive.
  • The Voiceless: Lady Silence.
  • Wooden Ships and Iron Men
  • Young Future Famous People: Sir John Franklin's wife is smitten with a Peter Mark Roget. Sir John dismisses his plans of writing a "silly dictionary."
DroodCreator/Dan Simmons    
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