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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My 100-word book review
If you are searching for epic, literary science fiction with overtones of horror, look no further. Hyperion is a complex and intelligently written novel set in the far future, where opposing cultures are on the brink of war and where a small band of pilgrims are journeying to the mysterious Time Tombs. Simmons has imagined a richly textured galactic civilisation and...
Published on April 12 2007 by A. J. Cull

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars starts well, drags near the end
I'm a harsh critic, so my three stars means i still recommend this book. Simmons has a knack for language, that's for sure. And being able to create an entire universe that we can understand in all its complexities is not an easy thing to do. Having said that, the book starts out really well. I'll forego plot but to say we're dealing with seven travelers on a pilgrimage,...
Published on May 7 2004 by Ryan Thomas


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4.0 out of 5 stars An Entrancing Tale, Feb. 19 2004
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This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
I'll admit that when I first read Dan Simmons "Hyperion," I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I had read it on the recommendation of an English teacher, and I could immediately recognize the talent the author demonstrated, but it took a few weeks before I realized how much I had enjoyed the read. The prose is beautifully crafted. It flows almost lyrically, with vivid imagery supporting an amazingly creative plot (which, by the way, is a loose parallel to "Canterbury Tales"). It is filled with more allusions and references than you can believe, but it isn't written in a style that leaves you feeling lost if you miss one or don't know what is being alluded to. I caught lots, but I'm sure there were just as may more that I read without even recognizing.
"Hyperion" is an English teacher's dream, ripe with all of the classical elements of rich literature, but manages that without becoming a student's nightmare of boring, dry plot and 19th century diction that unfortunately seems to characterize so many such 'literary' books. This book is certainly science fiction, but remains clear of the pitfalls that turn many people away from the genre. The characters are well-developed and the reader has no trouble at all empathizing with them.
As a stand-alone novel, Hyperion could survive as an admirable work, though one with an abrupt and hardly satisfactory conclusion, but more importantly, it is the entry point to the Hyperion series, which is nothing short of an absolute masterpiece.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Four books, one story, Feb. 18 2004
This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
As is perhaps clear by most people, Hyperion is the first book out of four book strong quartet: Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion and Rise of Endymion.
Placed in a distant future, the four books are actually two inter-connected stories set about 200 years apart:
Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion deals with an inter-galactic war between Humanity of the Hegemony, an advanced galactic civilisation supported by autonomous AI (the techno core), and with travel between planets through instant farcasters. The politics within the Hegemony are incredibly complex, and everything is complicated by two factors: the mysterious and genetically evolved Ousters, known as barbarians to the hegemony, and the mysterious Shrike in the Valley of the Time Tomb. Everything in the Hegemony is planned and checked by the aid of the techno core, but Hyperion defies any clear analysis. All that is known is that a mysterious structure in the Valley of the Time Tombs are travelling backwards in time from the far-far distant future with a terrible message. As Hyperion stands in the balance as the universe is on the verge of intergalactic war between the Ousters, the Hegemony and the AI, a band of pilgrims are selected in order to secure the time tombs and solve its mysteries before it is too late.
In Endymion and Rise of Endymion, the story continues in the much-changed universe as it has become, in the aftermath of the conflicts of the first two books.
Reviewers typically focuses on the action in Hyperion, which is understandable, and some questions the length and level of detail. The reason for the structure of the book - six of seven pilgrims telling their tale as they travel towards the time tombs - is that not only are their stories interwoven into a larger scheme: through their stories hints are given to the reader to solve the actual and even bigger mysteries of the four stories...
And this is what makes the Hyperion quartet such an incredibly rewarding reading experience. I have read all four books two times, and still I am amazed at Simmon's ability to keep track of his story. As a reader, you are introduced to the universe at the same time as you are introduced to the mystery of the universe. As it turns out, the universe itself and the destiny of mankind through incredibyle subtle and oftentimes brutal warfare and struggles of both physical, mental and spiritual kind is the real mystery of the book.
Therefore, as an example, you actually cannot understand the full significance of the Labyrinth worlds of Armaghast, the heretic heroism of Father Duré, the apparently dumb and mindless Bikura, and the apparent innocence of Lenar Hoyt - which all appears in the story of the first pilgrim - untill you notice how the many different peaces fit into the overall scheme. The very fact that they both appear in book three and four, suffering a terrible fate, is a hint as to how subtle everything works out.
It is therefore more appropriate to see Hyperion as an ouverture and a laying out of the pieces to the first mysteries. Entertaining in and of itself but containg clues to the real and horrible and thrilling story that is the true mover of the four books.
Simmons must be given a cadeau for being able to keep track of his story. That alone needs sheer genius. That he manages to keep track of it and resolve most of it (!) by the end of book four, makes this a born classic.
Buy them - and enjoy a mindblowing trip into a possible future for mankind.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Poetic and Literate, Feb. 11 2004
By 
M. Tillman (Maryland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
This book, as the first in a series of four, sets the tone for what becomes a very lofty struggle that embodies the very nature of humanity in a future time where individuals are becoming less and less human. The tale is thoughtfully woven as a tapestry of interconnected events in the lives of a set of pilgrims on a journey to the most remote reaches of the Hegemony of Man (very Chaucer-esque). Along the way, we learn how each pilgrim's piece of the puzzle fits into the whole of the group, and gradually we uncover a bit of the mythos that surrounds the world of Hyperion, and how it seems that, despite its remoteness, it is at the center of everything.
For these books, I can think of no one more apt to describe the worlds that he has created. In much the same way that Frank Herbert created the desolation of Arrakis, Simmons manufactures plants, animals, and breeds of people to populate his fantastic section of the galaxy. In this way, he generates a certain depth to the book that exists because there is nothing overlooked. As with all great science fiction, he takes the high road and doesn't dumb the book down by writing it for a 20th (or 21st) century reader by explaining every nuance and term used in the book. In fact, over the course of the four book series, there are quite a few things that are never explained, but would logically be perfectly clear to someone who lived during the times covered in the books. This, in my opinion, really gives the book a sense of time and story that comes through as a mature writing style.
This is a series of books that I reread on a fairly regular basis, and the stories are never far from my mind. Highly recommended for a lifetime of enjoyment.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Superb scifi ideas. Poetry, imperialism,coexisting with AIs., Jan. 26 2004
By 
M. Haque "masud/torun" (Europe) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
Excellent. Hard scifi.
As they make their way toward the Shrike and the Time Tombs, on the planet Hyperion, six characters tell their individual stories. Each of them have been altered by the mysteries of Hyperion in his/her own, unique way, and now they have been called by the Shrike church to make a pilgrimage to the Shrike.
Each story is fascinating, and often macabre and tragic.
As we hear the stories one by one, we also get to know more and more of the universe in which our characters live. The introduction to the universe is painless, and integrated seamlessly into the tales.
And the universe is magnificently constructed. A Hegemony of mainstream humanity, guided/used by a Core of Artificial Intelligence. There is a description of interacting with the AI Core in a manner similar to that popularized recently in the Wachowski brothers' "Matrix" movies. There is a population of humans evolving separately, the "ousters", feared and fought by the Hegemony. Both groups left Earth many centuries ago (the "Hegira"). The Hegemony worlds are connected by instantaneous-travel portals. But to reach non-Hegemony worlds, such as Hyperion, one has to do real near-light-speed travel, with the corresponding relativistic effect of aging slower than the people on the planets.
Human nature and capitalistic greed haven't changed much. The Hegemony civilization trashes the environment and life of new planets, and exploits populaces as it expands. Lower classes continue to live miserable lives, in underground slums. There is a rich crime under-world. Publishers continue to exploit poets.
The future-view is eurocentric, but not excessively. Among the pilgrims, there is a palestinian and a jew, and a most important character, the Consul, appears to be of Pacific Island ancestry. In fact, the colonization of the Pacific Islands happens again in this far future, as the Consul's native Maui-Covenant planet is incorporated into the Hegemony. There is an Indian planet and an East Asian planet, and many references from non-White cultures --the Hegira, the Benares, goondas, maybe other references that I've missed.
Other than human nature and imperialism, the story is also -- quite surprisingly -- about poetry.
And finally the question -- which of the six stories did I like best? I thought for a long time and couldn't come up with an answer. They are all excellent. The Scholar's tale is maybe the saddest on a personal scale. The detective's tale introduces us to Hegemony technologies and the AI core.
Maybe the Consul's story is the saddest of all, on a global scale. It expresses the author's idea that imperialism and genocide are fundamental to human civilizations. And just as Whites have crushed the rest of us here on Earth today, so will dominant cultures continue to scr_w others, for eternity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Classic SF novel, Jan. 13 2004
By 
Alexander Gitlits (Moscow, Russia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
Hyperion is an SF homage to "Cantenbury tales". Six people are travelling together and tell each over their stories, which brought them to the trip. It sounds simple but isn't. The stories are all different and each of them is great. It's not obviouse at first, but these tales represent the evolution of SF. We have a lost diary kind of horror story, not unlike Lovecraft, then there is military SF in the vein of "Starship Troopers" or Gordon R.Dicksons' Dorsai novels then ... well, maybe you'd better find out by yourself.
The world of this novel is very well written and it feels like a real future, not some stock footage you find in many other novels. There was a lot of thought put into the universe of this book.
Hyperion is followed by 3 more books - Fall of Hyperion, Endimion, Rise of Endimion. Many readers were put back by a complete change of style in the second book. So you'd better be ready for a VERY different second novel, which is still good.
The Hyperion cantos is one of the definate SF cycles of the late 20th century. If you read even a bit of SF (and judging by your being on this page you do), you should take a trip to this world.
It is definetly up there with "Dune", "Foundation" and a couple of others.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Surprise, Dec 22 2003
By 
Amazon Customer (Kew Gardens, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
Like another recent reviewer, I discovered this book purely by accident. I'm not much of a sci-fi buff, and was expecting a "trashy novel" (which I happened to be in the mood for). It definitely was not that; but while I enjoyed it -- and the whole series, twice -- immensely, I thought it had enough problems to warrant 4 stars.
The six vignettes that make up the bulk of this volume are all fascinating: I found the scholar's tale to be by far the most moving, and the priest's to be the most interesting and most disturbing. They serve as excellent vehicles for fleshing out the characters (though the priest -- perhaps the shallowest character -- is fleshed out more by implication).
The poetic allusions are a little heavy-handed, and sometimes feel contrived, though they can be of interest to literary devotees. And one weakness that appears through all the Hyperion books (with the possible exception of Endymion): the ending is rather trite, and unnecessarily so. It wouldn't be a huge problem, except that it becomes disproportionately noticable given its high-visibility position. Simmons's style seems to employ a tasteful amount of camp (if that makes sense) generally; endings may be the exception to this rule.
The book's strength is, as with science fiction generally, in my experience, as a thought experiment that happens to be a novel. As becomes increasingly apparent in later books in the series, the man vs. machine theme is central, and handled far more competently than, say, the way it was handled in the recent Matrix movies. Of course, the Shrike is more thought experiment than character, but an engaging one. Environmentalist topics are dealt with as well, and in an ingenious enough way that someone not sympathetic to environmentalism (e.g., me) will give the subject a new think.
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4.0 out of 5 stars pretentious, old-fashioned, and worth the read, Sept. 23 2003
By 
Dale A. Favier (Portland, OR United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
~
Well, no. Not a classic. It's a cut above most science fiction, and occasionally it rises to the best quality, as in "The Scholar's Tale," in which Simmons looks at how the parent and child relationship could be reversed in a really astonishing way. But not a classic. I'm not saying that Simmons isn't capable of writing a classic, but he hasn't written one yet.
For all the irritatingly self-conscious "literariness" of this book, it's really very old-fashioned science fiction, and it has the vices and virtues of old-fashioned science fiction. The vices: the characters are wooden and stereotyped. There's not a trace of real cultural difference or sensitivity: all these characters are actually present-day Americans hastily dressed up as denizens of the future. The plot is extravagant: the fate of mankind is in the balance, of course. business as usual. The virtues: there is sometimes in Hyperion the real "let's turn the universe on its head and see what falls down!" experimentation, the "visions of the future" kind of science fiction. The dystopian elements are nicely done. Is it the barbarians or the forces of civilization that are threatening humanity? Is the destructive impulse of humanity really its salvation, really its creative impulse? Simmons runs with these as far as any classic science fiction ever did.
I haven't yet read the Fall of Hyperion -- and I plan to, so you can see that I can't be all that disappointed -- so some twists of the plot are yet to be untwisted. I may be favorably surprised. But some things can't be recovered from. The "poet" figure is a disaster from start to finish, a hackneyed comic-book version of the foul-mouthed hard-drinking artist, and the supposed insight of his tale -- that lust, the creation of art, and predation have something, vaguely, to do with each other -- is hardly late-breaking news even within the precincts of science fiction. The "soldier" is equally pointless. There's an awful lot of blood and gore mixed up with sex, which is at least thematic, here, but I still don't like it. The end of the book -- as noted in many reviews -- is really just a "to be continued": but having these people suddenly singing and skipping down the yellow brick road was an awful, awful mistake. There was supposed to be a sort of Zorba-dancing feel to it, I guess, but it gave more the feel of an motiveless authorial freak. None of these people is the "ah, hell, let's dance!" type.
So what worked well? The "framed tales" worked really surprisingly well, actually catching some of that strange, indirect narrative force that Chaucer managed to harness. Every once in a while one of Simmons' arch turns comes off and is hilarious -- when he suddenly dropped into the style and plot of the hard-boiled detective story for "the Detective's Tale" I actually laughed aloud.
What this author needs -- and, sadly, what he's terribly unlikely to get -- is a ruthless editor who will stop him in his tracks and say, "is this particular arch turn worth trashing the mood of the story?" and "what really is the heart of this story, and how does this episode take us deeper into it?" Until he gets that sort of discipline either from the inside or the outside, we'll be getting, not classics, but clever pastiche.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Hyperion- Great SF, Sept. 1 2003
By 
B. Gorman (Glen Ellyn, IL USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Hugo award winning novel (1990) with a brutal cliffhanger ending. Very cool picture of the universe and the "hegemony of man" in the future. If you liked the Vernor Vinge books you will like this... it unfolds similar to the Canterbury Tales... with 6 travelers sharing their tales to the group while on a pilgrimage. The Hegemony is a "web" of worlds connected by farcasters(teleportation devices). There is a troubling technological over structure called the "techno-core" which is populated by AI constructs that seceded from the Hegemony and serve as the technological framework of the government and economy for their own, unknown, reasons. There are mysterious constructs on the world Hyperion called the Shrike (apparently a creature that brings only death) and the empty "Time Tombs" that are both moving BACKWARDS in time for unknown reasons as well.

I finished it last night and now need to get the sequel (Fall of Hyperion) because of how it ended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Literature. Period. SF. Period., Aug. 19 2003
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This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
With 328 reviews thus far that add up to a nearly perfect 5 rating, its obvious that Dan Simmons' "Hyperion" is beloved by many readers. Indeed, the novel seems to bring out the rhapsodical in many reviewers. And if you've read any of these reviews, you know its for good reasons.
"Hyperion" is, to the best of my knowledge, the first SF novel that must be considered a literary masterpiece, which is to say, canonical as literary fiction. In mho, it marks the emergence of contemporary SF as Literature. And because Dan Simmons wrote such a beautiful novel back in 1989, a generation of SF writers has emerged to write a species of fiction unprecedented in the history of literature, a species that thenceforth has redefined the idea of the Novel. That may be overstating the case, but the purity and overpowering poetical sensibility of Simmon's writing cannot be disputed. And in no way to diminish the achievements of Gene Wolfe and Robert Silverberg - the grandfathers of literary SF - but Simmons was the first novelist to deliberately embrace the so-called literary canon and weave it into a profound and beautiful SF tapestry.
"Hyperion" and "The Fall of Hyperion" constitute a single novel often referred to as "The Hyperion Cantos" (after the book club edition title). And taken as a single story, a single novel, it is a breathtaking affirmation of the imaginative storyteller's art and craft. But it is not simply a story well told, it is SF. And that means it is about ideas. "Hyperion" and its sequel are ideas cloaked in literature. They are, in point of fact, novels that provoke wonder (which is exactly what science fiction has always been about).
I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unique but excellent Science Fiction, July 31 2003
By 
Ben De Bono (Ramsey, MN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hyperion (Mass Market Paperback)
Hyperion is the first volume in what so far seems to be one of the finest SciFi epics ever written. Despite the fact that I'm an avid SciFi/Fantasy reader I'd never heard of Dan Simmons until reacently. I saw an advertisment for his new book Illiad on a website. It looked interesting so I decided to check him out. I enjoy reading epic series (Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, etc.) and when I was selecting a book by Simmons to try I saw that he had written a series and decided to read the first book, Hyperion. I'm very glad I saw that advertisement because the end wresult was one of the finest Science Fiction novels I've ever read. It was very different then what I expecte4d and also very different then any other SciFi book I'd ever read. However, for someone who's fed up with cliched stories this was definetlly a postive point
The plot revolves around 7 Pilgrims from seemingly unique backrouds who are selected to go on a Pilgrimage on the planet Hyperion. The galazy is on the brink of complete war and the pilgrim's goal is to find the mysterious Shrike. This first volume is devoted largely to them telling their individual stories. 6 of them share and they discover that their backgrounds are all connected in someway to Hyperion and more specificlly the Shrike. I won't tell which one doesn't share and for what reason.
The novel ends in a cliffhanger leaving the reader eagerly awaiting the second volume. After finishing Hyperion this afternoon I immediatlly went out and bought The Fall of Hyperion. I'm glad to have discovered not only this excellent story but also this excellent writer. I hope that if you haven't yet read Dan Simmons you'll give him a try and read some of the best Science Fiction you've ever read.
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Hyperion
Hyperion by Dan Simmons (Mass Market Paperback - Feb. 1 1990)
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