‘Chion’ (novel)

A perilous journey through the strangest apocalypse.

A novel by Darryl Sloan (2007)

First came the snow. Then came the screams. Six hundred and fifty pupils, confined to their classrooms, waiting impatiently for the break-time bell to ring, eager to rush outdoors for a snowball slugfest. But when the first foot crosses over the doorway to the playground, something goes terribly wrong: the boy is strangely powerless to prevent himself from falling … and then screaming.

If the pupils thought being restricted to a classroom for half an hour was hard, all of them are now about to get a lesson in the real meaning of the word “confinement.” No one can leave the building. Not now, not when school’s over, not tonight, and not tomorrow. It’s the same story all across the country, in every school, every workplace, every home, every vehicle: death is waiting outdoors.

No one knows whether the phenomenon is a freak weather condition, a chemical weapon, or a divine curse. One thing is certain: what’s lying outside is not snow. And unlike snow, it is not melting away.

Tensions escalate as the dreadful reality dawns. What will happen when our food runs out? How can we be rescued if we’re merely a handful among millions? How can the rescue services function when vehicles can’t use roads and aircraft have nowhere to land? How will anyone anywhere survive?

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The original print-run of Chion was 750 copies. They are all sold, bar 12 that I have in my possession. Please contact me if you wish to purchase one of the few remaining. There are no plans for a second edition.


Interviews with the Author

Audio interviews:

Written interviews:


Reviews & Awards

“Darryl Sloan has built his novel on a truly original notion. The word Chion (as explained in the epigraph) is a Greek term that means “like snow.” What’s falling is white and cold, but it does not melt and is more adhesive than superglue … Is it acceptable to leave hundreds to their doom? Is it right to save that one person in circumstances where everyone else is already as good as dead? Can a boy barely in his teens find answers to questions which challenge even adult readers? … It’s gripping stuff, never dipping into the typical end-of-the-world clichés … Ranking right up there with Lucifer’s Hammer [by Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle].”
Critical Mick [Read Full Review]

Chion is a magical story that’s a must have … There is more to this novel than just a high concept. Inside the school, trapped by the weird snow, a genuine, beautifully evoked human drama unfolds … This is a book that exemplifies the very best of POD – something that would be overlooked by the mainstream but is, nevertheless, important and necessary to read. A+”
The PODler [Read Full Review]

“The book is a similar high-concept apocalypse similar to M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening or The Mist based on a Stephen King story. Except where those movies fail – and fail deeply, as The Mist has one of the most distressing and frustrating endings in movie history – Chion succeeds. Perhaps movies are the best comparison for Chion because the book is seriously cinematic – one of those books where you forget you’re reading.”
Self-Publishing Review [Read Full Review]

Chion has to be one of the most unique thrillers I’ve ever read. I mean, how many thrillers will there be that rehash, dinosaurs, sharks, killer viruses, aliens or rampaging beasts? Well, never fear, because Mr. Sloan has made a monster out of pristine white snow, of all things, and this story will grab you and hold you just as fast as the fluffy flakes themselves! … On every level, it delivers right up to the end.”
PODlings [Read Full Review]

“There is nothing dumbed-down or kiddie-like about this story. Some of the scenes here are not for the faint of heart though. Not that they are violent or gruesome, but because they drive home the evil men can do in situations such as this one … I didn’t know what to expect when I opened this one, despite having heard many good things being said about this book in the past, and I was not sure that I was up to reading such a story in light of the recent events in my part of the world at the time of writing. However, the author has me at the edge of my seat from the first page of this breathtakingly-paced tale and I couldn’t stop reading until I hit the last page.”
Mrs. Giggles [Read Full Review]

“We see people killing one another over food. We see a man murdered in front of his small children. We see a child held at gunpoint by a teacher who has decided that ‘survival of the fittest’ means that the teachers should live and the students should starve. Sloan didn’t put these things in for shock value. Indeed, the bloodshed is not detailed very much at all. This is not a boiled-down thriller. We see a sense of realism that shows that even our society’s innocents would be harmed in these events. With a bittersweet ending, this is a story that you simply mustn’t miss.”
Jeffrey Allen Davis, author [Read Full Review]

“This story makes many ‘traditionally published’ books I’ve read pale in comparison … It’s an original story idea – which seems to be hard to find now-a-days–and has a good underlining message … This story is filled with a constant moral dilemma: how far do you go to save those you care about?”
Books For Youth [Read Full Review]

“The story starts strong and quick. The scenario is convincingly nightmarish and fiendishly clever. The narration is intimate and natural … Jamie’s plan of escape is clever and plays fair, leaving the reader excited to follow wherever Sloan leads.”
None May Say [Read Full Review]

“Shades of John Wyndham and John Christopher come through as Chion mimics the best of the old post-apocalyptic greats, while at the same time remaining poignant and contemporary. Darryl Sloan is a keen observer of human nature. His plotting is meticulous and clever. He deserves to have national and international success with this. It is the best book I’ve read this year.”
Will Hadcroft, author [Read Full Review]

“Both kindness and cruelty are increased in a vivid display of humanity, and it caused me to wonder: What would I do? Can I even answer that question? If the whole country were in such mortal danger, would my thoughts be on my own survival – or someone else’s? … Chion is an absolute gem.”
Grace Bridges, author [Read Full Review]

“The story starts off with a bang, and things just keep on coming at you. It’s like being in the middle of a fireworks display. You really don’t know what’s coming next, but you can hardly wait to find out.”
Christian Mystery Writers [Read Full Review]

“When you finish reading this book you’re going to find out that it’s really not about this weird snow at all, but about us. This snow is an excellent vehicle in uncovering the hidden evils of human nature, and sometimes bringing out a kind of harsh heroism in others.”
David Brollier, author [Read Full Review]

“I read a lot of mediocre books, but this wasn’t one of them. Seamless, engaging and appealing. 9/10.”
POD People [Read Full Review]


Readers’ Feedback

“I really liked it! I thought you did a very good explanation behind the ‘science’ of the snow. I’m not sure I would have gone into that much detail, but it really helps with the story’s believability factor. The tragic love story between Jamie and Tara is very well observed and touching. You’re lucky you see this kind of thing every day. I have to think really hard to remember awkward teenage romances. It’s a stark world you describe when they get outside and some of the visuals have the power to stay with the reader – people caged in their cars is well creepy. Jamie is a good protagonist and thinks his way out of situations very cleverly … It’s a fantastic adventure story, brilliantly paced and constantly inventive. Well done.”
Philip Henry (County Antrim, N. Ireland), author of Mind’s Eye

“My first impression of the gluey snow was confusion, mainly because I was expecting the snow to be toxic in some way … Once I’d got into the story, however, I found I took to the idea completely (and tried to work out ways myself of how I would go about escaping). The scientist’s view on the glue’s resin and hardener really drew me in. I was halfway through when I felt disappointed (only in that I wanted the story to last), because I was really getting into the survival aspect of it, and felt that seventy more pages wouldn’t be enough for that. The way you took the story off so that we were left with the two characters and their survival helped, because all those pages were, then, their adventures. The twist at the end was good … I really enjoyed Chion. It was well written and well paced … Well done, Darryl.”
Michael Quayle (Manchester, England)

“I started reading it at 10pm on Sunday night before I went to bed, and struggled to put it down. Needless to say, 100ish pages later, at 3.30am, I thought I should really go to bed! I spent the next 30 minutes or so lying in bed wondering what was going to happen to Jamie and Tara, and ended up reading another 15 pages before I eventually fell asleep. I finished it last night. It was a great read.”
Paul Murphy (Surrey, England)

“It was a great read and a story that flowed very well. It left you feeling everything that Jamie was feeling and sympathetic to the hard choices he needed to make in order to survive. I am glad that I got it after we had the snow here, as it gives you a whole new perspective on life and how people change under extreme circumstances. Look forward to your next book.”
Neil Garratt (Hertfordshire, England)

“Jamie leaving Mr. Parka and Mr. Leather to die: talk about a kill-or-be-killed circumstance. I mean, really, what would you do if faced with that choice? This is something I personally haven’t yet decided upon. I honestly can’t imagine myself being so selfish as to do what it takes to preserve my life at the cost of another, and yet if that occasion ever occurred, how much would the panic and the aforementioned survival instinct dictate my actions. I’m sure for you that writing that scene was difficult. It seems to me Jamie, to a large degree, isn’t just a mere character on a page but an extension of yourself. The whole ‘write what you know’ thing. And when penning it you would have had to take into account what Jamie would do but, since you were living the scene with Jamie and Tara, what you would also do if it came down to it. I’m not saying you’d allow others to perish to save your own skin, but I’m sure you must have paused from the keyboard and seriously wondered how you’d personally tackle this.”
A.P. Fuchs (Manitoba, Canada), author of Axiom-man

“It took me back to my teen years, when, as a Tripods fan, I was reading as much young adult sci-fi as I could get hold of (John Christopher and John Wyndham being my favourites). Chion has a tangible atmosphere and pacy plot; the science bits ring true; the main characters are likeable and believable. Unlike many sci-fi novels, it didn’t go overboard with the horror angle. It was simply a very enjoyable read! Thanks for the experience.”
Vicky Woollon (Whiteness, Shetland)

“For me, a book has to grab me by the throat, shake me and not let go until the last page. That’s what yours did … I read it in one sitting, I just could not put it down … I do hope you continue to write, you have such a talent.”
Coleen Falconer (County Down, N. Ireland)

“Nice one, Darryl! I’ve just finished reading Chion, and thought it was an excellent read. I know I shouldn’t really compare it with other works of literature, but for me it was reminiscent of John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids and also, in a way, The Chrysalids. That’s supposed to be a compliment, by the way. I would also say that it was a real page-turner, but that’s an awful cliche, isn’t it?”
Gavin Lloyd Wilson (Oxfordshire, England)

“I just finished it last night. I couldn’t sleep, and it was such a good story I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. The writing is clear, easy to read, and flows smoothly. It captures the progress in a way that keeps it interesting. I had sympathy for the characters, and wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to them. It’s an original story – which seems to be hard to find now-a-days – and has a good message. This is definitely a page turner. It caused me to do something I’ve never done before: pickup from the middle and, without stopping, continue all the way to the end. Chion makes many ‘traditionally published’ books I’ve read pale in comparison.”
James Maxon (Minnesota, USA), author of A Wizard’s Tale

“If you enjoyed John Christopher’s Empty World then you should enjoy this novel. I started it on a Friday and finished it on the Sunday. If this novel were to add a new word to the English dictionary, it would be ‘unputdownable.'”
David McKinney (County Antrim, N. Ireland)

“I really enjoyed Chion. If I might be so bold, I found it quite John Wyndham-esque, and I mean that as a compliment. I have certainly been recommending it.”
Andrew M. Boylan (Lancashire, England), author of Concillium Sanguinarius

“I listened to the audio excerpt and you now have me hooked! i have to know what happens. It is superbly written; I think Dean Koontz would be pretty proud to write something as good.”
Tom Silk (Northamptonshire, England)

“Fantastic, and very well paced. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and marvelled at each and every surprise. Bravo, sir.”
Graham Richards (West Sussex, England)

“I was very impressed with the book, finished it in one sitting yesterday evening, obviously directed at a younger age group than I belong to (I’m in my thirties), but excellent reading all the same.”
Robert Rountree (County Armagh, N. Ireland)

“I loved Chion. Thought it was very well written. The ‘sticky snow’ concept is brilliant … It deserves to do well, and admire the way you got it out there on your own, so congratulations!”
Cameron Smart (Glasgow, Scotland)

“I love it! It was so gripping. I kept wanting to see what was going to happen next. Kudos!”
Paula Berinstein (California, USA), host of The Writing Show

“I’m impressed. I just wish it was twice the size, ’cause i really enjoyed it.”
Darren Irvine (County Antrim, N. Ireland)

“Read it within two days, really enjoyed it. Hope you have another one on the way soon!”
Katrina Bracken (Norfolk, England)

“Loved the book. A good premise for an end-of-the-world scenario. John Christopher-esque.”
Zohra Fraine (South Lanarkshire, England)

8 thoughts on “‘Chion’ (novel)

  1. Brian says:

    Nice story. Quite enjoyable to read.

  2. GodIsWearingBlack says:

    Just read the book, started late last night and was instantly drawn in.
    Very good read, really enjoyed it. :D

  3. I really enjoyed the book.

    I was worried at first as the book is pretty small, about 200 pages, but by the time I had finished I was fully satisfied. Definitely a good read and a great ride. The author is offering it at an economical price on Ebay.

  4. [...] I loved his accent too! So I went looking for his site. I found out about his self-published book, Chion. I read an excerpt. I bought [...]

  5. Mike says:

    Thank you Darryl!, I’ve just finished reading ‘Chion’.. man, what a ride!.. What I love about this tale is the same thing that I love about H.G.Wells War of the Worlds. There is no hero, there is just events and the struggle. Yet nature paves the way to salvation. However, unlike Wells’ story, this one left me almost weepy with jubilation yet also ponderous to the other ends (no spoilers)… If this is not made into a film by a British company, like ’28 days later’, then the world is going to miss out on a great story. I am going to spread the word about this one :)

    It might be only 145 pages, but anyone reading this who wants to get the same gratuitous fuzzy feeling as they do from watching a really good DVD, buy this book and relish in the excellently coloured picture that Darryl Sloan paints.

    I reckon that anyone who pooh-poohs this book, probably has little imagination!

    5 star for me!

  6. Dear Mr. Sloan,

    I have a blog, Online Novels, http://online-novels.blogspot.com/, with the names, descriptions and web addresses of several hundred free novels available on the internet; please let me know if I may include a link to your book, Chion.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely, Susan Crealock

  7. Karl says:

    Interesting concept and not a bad read, but it was a bit short. I got through it in about an hour. I felt the story started off really well, and the plot zoomed along at a fair pace, but then the ending was far too rushed and lacking detail as to what happened and why. It all seemed to build up really well but then deflate completely, everything being wrapped up in a couple of pages.

    I guess part of my dissatisfaction is in the scale- much more could have been made of the base concept, maybe running some parrallel storylines alongside Jamie’s offering different perspectives of what happened, including maybe some incling as to how/why.

    Thats my constructive criticism anyway- I hope it is taken as such.

    thanks for the entertaining read!

  8. Darren Higham says:

    Finally got round to buying this even tho I have been meaning to ever since you wrote it and I’m really glad I did, it is much better than Ulterior which was also a good read and the idea of killer “snow” is one of those things that make you wonder why nobody else has thought of it before.

    I actually wouldn’t mind another story that follows a different group of people somewhere else and how they survived the disaster because as Karl says there is a lot more that could have been done.

    Still it was a great read and it was nice talking to you again (we actually emailed each other a few times a few years ago when Ulterior first came out tho I had a different email address back then)

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