3 of 3 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
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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
3 of 3 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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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.
2.0 out of 5 stars An over-long and pretentious epic.,
The phrase `epic sci-fi' is a bit of an oxymoron; science fiction evolved from short stories & serialisations in periodicals such as Astounding; the best books, even those of a series, can always be read as stand-alone works and they are never over-long tomes. The same cannot be said for the two books in this omnibus. There is no doubt that Dan Simmons is a talented author with a fertile imagination and a consistent, well considered universe but neither book is a complete novel in its own right and, despite a generally readable style, there is a marked tendency to wander off into irrelevant detail so I ended up skip-reading great chunks in an effort to stay awake until I hit the next good bit. The poetry and Keats stuff comes across as plain pretentious and while the first book has a nice narrative flow (albeit borrowed rather heavily from Chaucer), the second book jumps about all over the place in a most unsatisfactory manner (and I totally lost interest in page after page of AI waffle). I can understand that many lovers of the epic, be it either fantasy or science fiction, would really enjoy this series of books, but like so many modern epics, I found it drawn out, tedious and lacking in impact. It is also physically not easy to read; it has a hefty 780 pages of small type in trade paperback format - very heavy and hard on the old eyes. I'm afraid I didn't enjoy it and I shall not be tempted again into the Hyperion universe.
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting cultism, but dissapointing last hundred pages,
Hyperion is mostly book composed of multiple stories that all have something in common; the Shrike. The writing is itself delightful, but some of the stories are somewhat unsatisfying. This is especially true for the Consul's story, which is the last one. Also, the end is, in my opinion, unrealistic. Not unrealistic in the sens that what happens is not possible in this universe, but in the sens that the way the characters behave is simply... to simple. There is no complexity in their choices and behaviors. In my opinion, the last 50 pages or so are not the same quality as the rest of the book and for me that's a big down side. I will not provide further details as to spoil the experience of new readers, since this perspective is my own and is certainly not share with all the readers. Also, I am not a big fan of religions (although I understand it is a fundamental concept in societies history and mass psychology) and the cultism that could be found throughout the book was somewhat dull. The complete opacity of the Shrike church and its disciples was too simple in my perspective, where all the members seem to be perfectly behaving. This lacks plausibility, even in a sci-fi universe and I wished this church would've been either a small plot (not a core part of the book) or much better developed.
4.0 out of 5 stars 25 Years Old, Still a Masterpiece,
An absolute masterpiece, bar none.
Simmons' descriptions are gloriously rendered, the characters are all unique and interesting, and the systems that support the world surrounding the story are so plausible you would swear they actually exist--and perhaps they do in some other universe.
Though many readers seem to hate Martin Silenus (the poet), I loved him the minute he appeared on the page. He is crass, outspoken, swears like a sailor, and is just plain hilarious. But he's not just the comedic relief. His story/chapter is just as interesting as the other characters. I won't ruin it here with details, but suffice it to say things go far beyond the unexpected for Martin.
Just a few extremely small nitpicks of 'Hyperion.' Simmons' descriptions can become a bit much at times, especially when he (or his characters, more like) describe the sky for the ten thousandth time. I get it, the sky is beautiful to behold.
Simmons' also tens toward repetitive descriptions of things. Particularly his over-description of things that are blue, like water and sky. He tends to use the word 'lapis' (as in 'lapis blue') to describe the sky, and 'ultramarine' to describe oceanic waters again and again and again. The only reason I pick on this is because it can make all the many varied planets feel like the same planet. Maybe Simmons' was trying to link the planets through this repetitive descriptive device.
Last nitpick: Simmons' leans on using similes of 'Old Earth' far too often, almost to the point of killing any life breathed into some of the very unique settings he creates. I often found myself asking, If you're going to use similes that refer so much to Earth as it is nowadays (or, more appropriately, as it was in the 1980s), why go to the trouble of creating whole other worlds? But, that is just me. Don't let that stuff ruin the book for you. It certainly did not for me.
To conclude I would say, as I said at the beginning of this review, that 'Hyperion' is a must read. If you like science fiction, read it. If you normally 'hate' science fiction, read it. And, especially if you write science fiction (as I do), read it.
It is an essential read. Period.
5.0 out of 5 stars Original beginning to a space opera,
If you like original sci-fi and are prepared to make a commitment (dust off that trusty attention span), then Hyperion may just be the book for you. This first of a series of four novels farcast me back to my college literature class, where I studied the Canterbury Tales. I found Simmon's chausserian treatment of the pilgrim's stories quite original in a sci-fi context. This against the backdrop of some impending doom, a transtemporal bogeyman, the mysterious Ousters, the techno-driven Hegemony, the super powerful AIs, etc, etc. It's all very dense and laden with the potential for a myriad subplots. So much so, that everything simply can't be explained in this single book. To me, it was part of the appeal; a sense of lingering mystery and slight morbitity, and a constant premonition that something wicked this way comes. I didn't love all the pilgrim's stories, nor did I particularly like all the pilgrims but all in all this book kept me hungry until the end. If you read Hyperion and enjoy it, you will invariable want to read the next installment, Fall of Hyperion.
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.
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!
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Hyperion(CD)(Unabr.) by Dan Simmons (Audio CD - May 15 2009)
Used & New from: CDN$ 16.23