This is going to be a brief post, as I can’t really say too much without spoiling the book for other readers.

Even though Dan Simmons has been writing books for decades, this was the first of his that I’ve read. The basic setting is in the far future, when humanity is established across many worlds in the Web, with travel through portals and FTL travel in “spin-ships”. Beyond the web is Hyperion, a world with an enigma. Known as the “Time Tombs”, an assemblage of bizarre empty artefacts appear to be moving backwards in time, and patrolled by an entity known as “The Shrike”. The world is on the edge of civilised Human space, and under threat from the Ousters, renegade humans with a reputation for savagery and brutality.

A final pilgrimage is being made to the Shrike, of seven individuals from very different backgrounds. In a similar fashion to the Canterbury Tales, each person tells their story, and this is what makes up the bulk of the novel. I was struck by Simmons’ ability to write characters with very different personalities and perspectives, from poets to military leaders, and almost anything in between. The writing style seemed to vary from character to character, which was refreshing. Some of the cyberpunk writing late on in the book reminded me of Gibson and Sterling from the late Eighties, whereas some of the descriptions of trying to save aquatic species from Old Earth brought Arthur C. Clarke to mind.

One thing that comes across clearly in this novel is that each of the travellers has been, or is, suffering. This theme runs throughout. I found myself wanting to read more of the characters, and would have been quite pleased to have had books devoted to them.

All in all, I thought that this was an excellent book, and will read the sequel, “The Fall of Hyperion” quite happily. It’s a shame that I can’t discuss it in more detail, but if anyone has read it and feels like talking about it, you can message me. Is it worth reading? In my opinion, definitely.


One Comment on “Hyperion”

  1. I love Hyperion, and Fall of Hyperion. I will note that the tone of Fall is quite different again, though it does finish this part of the story. The next books, based round Endymion I’m not so keen on..or maybe just haven’t been in the right mood when I tried.
    I didn’t read Fall for quite a while after I read Hyperion..I was quite happily with them mentally where the book left them, even though argh. Yeah, you can’t really discuss it much, can you?
    Comparing Hyperion and Fall..? Well..let’s just say sometimes I think Hyperion is perfect, and Fall is ok. Other times I think Fall is pretty much perfect, and Hyperion is just okay 🙂 It really does depend how much the mood I am in corresponds to whichever I am reading at the time.

    Before I read Hyperion, all I had read of Dan Simmons was ‘Summer of Night’, one of his horror books..and in which the tone/style is different yet again. It was okay, but I much prefer his SF. I’ve read Ilium since the Hyperion books, a few years back. Hmm. I think I’d like to read it a second time before I decide whether I really like it or not. But it was definately intelligent, thought-provoking and interesting.

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