1 of 1 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
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
Most Helpful First | Newest First
1 of 1 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 within this milieu has created an intriguing story with multiple threads and which works on many levels. Better obtain The Fall of Hyperion too, as the second book carries on the story, right from where the first book ends.
5.0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary science fiction!,
This is extraordinary science fiction. Dan Simmons hasn't only created an entire world, he's created an entire galaxy of fascinating worlds. These worlds reflect the facets of humanity, and some of the images he creates are so beautiful that you wish they were real, such as the motile isles of Maui-Covenant and their dolphin herders.
Beyond that, he has the confidence to leave much of the description to his readers' imagination, and he profoundly respects his readers' intelligence. The Shrike and the powers around are a sort of MacGuffin in this book, peripheral to the motives and stories of the six pilgrims who tell their tales. But the Shrike becomes much more prevalent in "Fall of Hyperion".
I would echo the previous reviewer who said to have "Fall of Hyperion" ready; it definitely is a continuation of this story. I didn't have it, and it took me about a month to get it in order to finally resolve the stories of these characters in whom I had become so invested.
This is one of the best books I've ever read, and stands out in the field of SF for being good fiction -- in my opinion, it stands against any other genre.
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, each who must tell his "story" to the others concerning why he/she is making the trip. Echoes of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales for sure, and even hints of Arthurian legend as well. The first story, told by father Hoyt--which actually is not his story but told from the diary of his mentor--had me hooked. It was Sci Fi, it was theological, it was imaginative and fresh. Simmons made Hyperion a mystery in it's own right, an unexplored planet with creepy dwellers and underground labrynths. The Shrike, its mysterious lone alien inhabitant, is either God or the Devil or just some mysterious alien who kills at will. It forged me on. Kassad's tale was pretty good, though not nearly as interesting. It was militaristic, adventurous, about a fallen soldier who should be a hero but is villified due to actions that saved the world. Not to mention Simmons delves into temporal anomolies and paradoxes during this tale and doesn't explain it all too well. Maybe that was his point, i don't know. Weintraub, whose daughter is regressing to her newborn state (who is 30 when the tale is told) tells the tale of watching his daughter live backwards in time. While interesting, and unique, it dragged on until the inevitable conclusion I knew was coming. Simmons chronicled 30 years of living backwards...it was too much. Get on with it already. Lamia's tale is pure pulp detective story. I liked it, it's fun and fast paced. Throw in an AI consipracy about murdering other AIs as well as the human race, and yeah, it could be a movie. No gripes there, all kudos. And finally the Consul's tale, which like Hoyt's is told from the comlog of his grandfather, is pretty boring. It sets up a revelation any seasoned reader is able to spot from the beginning of the book, which is not a big deal, but it takes focus of the pilgramage--and therefore the book--away from the Shrike and all its deified qualities. Basically it makes the first 400 pages moot. Then again i haven't read Hyperion Fall yet, which i most certainly plan on doing, so maybe I'm wrong. Still, it left me closing the book somewhat less enthused than when i started. This was my first Simmons book, and he won me over, and despite my somewhat harsh review, this book was definitley worth the price, and i will definitely read the series. If nothing else, this is a fresh approach to the genre, and for that he must be commended.
4.0 out of 5 stars The first step in a wonderful and creative universe!,
While I admit that there are a few dry spots (for me at least) in his writing as a whole. Dan Simmons has me totally hooked on this series! If you enjoy SciFi and a wonderful story line that doesn't focus too much on any one aspect, but keeps your mind tingling, then you will love this series. At first I didn't know what to make of it, but trust me, give it a little time and you'll be hooked. It is the first book in a long time that has had me actually swearing when I have to stop reading and set it down :D
Also, I'm not sure what major rigersa has, but I suspect he's reading books that I'd consider a total bore. Just because something is a "classic" doesn't mean it's _good_. Sorry rigersa, I'm not really trying to bash you dude, but man, you are focusing far too much on one aspect of the book and letting it ruin your view on the series. Oh, it isn't Dante's Inferno or the like, but it is still a great story! Please give it a second try and pick up the second book!
I'd rate this 5/5 but like I said, it does have a dry spot here and there with a bit too much focus on the names of people and places, but it's all good. Just means I have to skim over a few lines here and there, nothing bad at all!
3.0 out of 5 stars Imaginative but not for me,
It was a startling revelation to realize 50 pages from the end I simply didn't care. Here I was 85% through the book and completely unsympathetic with the characters and their situations, completely unmotivated to solve the mystery of the Time Tombs and the Shrike, completely unenthused to finish the book at all. Not a good sign. I have read many books with shallow characterization. RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA, a personal favorite, has very little in terms of compelling characters. But this...
The 7 tales start out great and generally go downhill. Hoyt's tale is absolutely riveting and almost worth the cost of admission by itself. Then tales get less interesting and less interesting until we get to Lamia's absolutely yawn-inducing yarn. Never mind the Consul's tale. I was never one to let the result of a movie or book make up for an unsatisfying beginning and middle. I need more than just a clever explanation or dramatic payoff. This is why I consider THE USUAL SUSPECTS somewhat mediocre but enjoyed SIXTH SENSE. I liked Mel Gibson in PAYBACK but disliked KILL BILL.
And its why this book earns 3 stars from me instead of 4 or 5. I don't need a soap opera, but I do want characters I care about. And, although the author inserts a line justifying all the literary name-dropping in the book as a result of a naming convention for Hyperion, I admit it was tiresome after awhile to see all the elementary references to literature. Seeing the excerpted portion of ODE ON A GRECIAN URN in particular made me groan. This, however, I am willing to admit is a result of my own baggage brought in from an extensive liberal arts education.
4.0 out of 5 stars Hooked, Then in Grips of The Shrike!,
I am currently in the grips of the Shrike after reading this book. Unfortunately, I was not one of the wise ones who read the other reviews which suggested having the sequel, FALL OF HYPERION, ready to go. After finishing HYPERION in 3 days, I am desperate to rush out and get its sequel so I can find out what happens to the characters that I'd grown to love.
Everything everyone says is true. HYPERION is a well-written sci-fi book with technology, futuristic ideas, and moral questions that fire the brain cells the way I like my good sci-fi to!
I stumbled through Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES in High School and cannot make a good comparison to it here. Apparently, author Dan Simmons took some inspiration from the classic poem.
HYPERION succeeds because of the expert character development. These seven pilgrims have distinct personalities that grow on you. Simmons tells his tale (actually seven of them!) through flashback. But Simmons does it the old fashioned way: he tells us tales around the campfire! Each of the seven pilgrims has a reason for being on the journey to HYPERION. Therefore each gets his/her own space (i.e. "The Soldier's Tale", "The Priest's Tale", "The Detective's Tale") As you get further into the book, some of the tales intersect, revealing the deeper mysteries of the story.
Simmons also explores time, which is such a fun sci-fi genre to mess with. A particularly moving Tale involves aging backward.
Well, I have to cut this short -- I must rush to the bookstore to buy the second book. I hope you all feel the same as me after you read HYPERION!
5.0 out of 5 stars A Genuine Epic,
Hyperion is the story, set about 700 years in the future, of a pilgrimage to a world called Hyperion and a mysterious creature known as the Shrike. The Shrike is a mysterious entity, the center of an apocalyptic cult, of great power and danger, but entirely unkown nature and objectives. It is linked to a group of equally mysterious structures on Hyperion, the Time Tombs, which appear to be moving backwards, rather than forwards through time. The events take place against a backdrop of a developing galactic war between the two subcultures of the human race that have evolved over centuries since the destruction of Earth.
As the pilgrims travel to Hyperion, each tells their story and recounts how their life has been touched, in some way, by Hyperion, the Shrike, or the Tombs. The tales, the first one told by a poet, are an obvious nod to Chaucer. There are many other allusions as well, particularly to the great romantic poet John Keats, who is a character in this book and actually the main character in 'The Fall of Hyperion'. (Keats wrote two long works, Hyperion and Endymion, each focussing on the mythical war in which Zeus overcame Cronos and rose to the top of the divine heirarchy.)
Each of the individual tales, on its own, is effective. Each also has a different style - the poet, Martin Selenus, uses an overblown heroic style to tell his story, the detective speaks in the voice of a noir crime novel, etc. Together the tales form a complex web in which, the more we learn, the more questions we have.
This is the first novel in a series of four, and readers shoud be aware that it doesn't really stand on its own. This book and "The Fall of Hyperion" form a complete story, as do "Endymion" and "The Rise of Endymion", set about 250 years later. But none of the four can really be read alone. The four together form a work closing in on 3,000 pages, but are in this case the scope of the story well matches that great length. This is one of the best SF series ever written, quite possibly the very best.
4.0 out of 5 stars Introducing new standards to science fiction,
The book is composed of essentially what serves as an introduction to a journey by seven pilgrims and continues in their individual stories of how they got chosen for the pilgrimage, plus a few chapters to describe their arrival to their destination. Those that read this one should know the next Hyperion book is set elsewhere, and it's The Fall of Hyperion, book three that finishes the stories of these characters as well as taking off where book two left.
Few science fiction books have been literary by any standard but Simmons does not fall too short. In fact I wouldn't think it's too much to say this is the scifi equivalent of JRR Tolkien's Lord of The Rings, with rich language, evocative descriptions, even some poetry although it's best not to delve deep into that; let's just say Tolkien was hardly that dead serious of his either.
The start of the book felt somewhat average until it got to the pilgrims' stories. You truly relate to them, and their accounts make fascinating short stories with various themes, bound together by the larger storyline. All the characters are far from cliched and have quite powerful contradictions - their inner demons - within what first appears one dimensional.
Overall it is a great opening for the series, but the quality of the writing actually manages to improve in the following books. If you consider this impressive by scifi standards, wait until you get to Fall of Hyperion.
4.0 out of 5 stars An Entrancing Tale,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Four books, one story,
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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