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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2015
Hyperion by Dan Simmons is a great mix of science fiction, horror, fantasy, poetry, and well-written prose. Structured like the Canterbury Tales, it provides the backstory of seven travellers (one per chapter) who journey to the planet Hyperion in search of the Shrike, a creature that is a perfect killing machine. While some seek out the Shrike for its relation to the Time Tombs (a series of caves with time-warping properties), others have more nefarious intentions. Others still disappear before it is their turn to tell their tale.

Hyperion, as mentioned, provides the *backstory* of the travellers; I've criticized several books for not driving the present action forward, but Hyperion does this well. The present action in some parts is directly influenced by the travellers' stories and is compelling enough on its own to make the interludes worthwhile. Moreover, Hyperion ends right as the present action involving the Shrike and the Time Tombs is about to really begin, so the sequel is an integral part of the story of the first book. The sequel, Fall of Hyperion, is therefore high priority on my long, long reading list.

It's been a while since I've read something so engrossing (other than Andy Weir's The Martian, which I have still yet to review). Dan Simmons has a great method of worldbuilding, in which he'll introduce a new technology without infodumping, then keep bringing it up when relevant to provide more and more detail. The same goes for his characters, for how the disparate plots of the seven travellers begin to coincide, and even for how the different genres mentioned above all tie together. All told, five stars.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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.
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on April 1, 2015

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.
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on December 4, 2014
Others have adequately described the book. All I can add is how intriguing the universe described in this book is. The fresh ideas about technology and how interestingly they reflected developments in the understanding of cosmology and quantum physics.
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on November 11, 2014
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 7, 2014
With all the extremely high ratings for Hyperion, I was expecting something really special and felt really let down when I didn't get it. I kept expecting the story to "get better" but it never did. Don't waste your money.
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on June 18, 2014
This book was very different than the usual science fiction that I have read. I enjoyed it and look forward reading the next in the series.
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on February 24, 2014
Not sure why this deserved a Hugo award. The book has some excellent ideas but overall was disjointed and lacked cohesion. I had the impression Simmons was setting the stage of some grand saga rather than writing a novel that was itself complete.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon February 22, 2014
I am blown away. Dan Simmons doesn't world-build - he created a universe. Even though this is only a half story, I would still give it 6 out of 5 stars.

It is part political, part religious, and fully science fiction. It takes place hundreds of years after Earth has become uninhabitable and humans moved to the stars. There are several individual stories within this one larger story. The large story is about seven people going on a pilgrimage to the Shrike temples. Each of the seven has a story as to how they came to be on this pilgrimage, although something happens to the seventh person so we do not hear their story. The Shrike, also known as the Lord of Pain, and the temples seem to be moving backwards in time. Even by the end of this installment we do not find out why, but I am fascinated by it.

To be honest, there were several things that piqued my fascination and imagination throughout the story but enough was left out that you could practically call it a mystery novel. As I have no patience whatsoever, I am already reading The Fall of Hyperion.
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on October 31, 2013
Wow, just wow!!

This is truly a masterpiece of science fiction. Incredibly creative, astonishingly well written and a totally gripping and awesomely f***ed up story! This is well worth a read and belongs up there with the greats of the genre! Highly recommended!
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