- Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
- Publisher: HarperTorch; Reprint edition (June 28 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0380817926
- ISBN-13: 978-0380817924
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 3.8 x 17.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 272 g
- Average Customer Review: 87 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #115,830 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Ilium Mass Market Paperback – Jun 28 2005
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“[Ilium] will leave most readers waiting breathlessly for the next installment...utterly addictive.” (Kirkus Reviews)
About the Author
Dan Simmons is the Hugo Award-winning author of Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, and their sequels, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. He has written the critically acclaimed suspense novels Darwin's Blade and The Crook Factory, as well as other highly respected works, including Summer of Night and its sequel A Winter Haunting, Song of Kali, Carrion Comfort, and Worlds Enough & Time. Simmons makes his home in Colorado.
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Though the years of rebirth were painful, Thomas expects to have a grand old time of comparing reality to Homer. However being enslaved to the Greek Gods and a Muse is no fun, but worse is the reality on the Plains of Ilium. The romanticism of Homer and others seem out of place as Thomas sees the atrocities of the war and the idiocy of the legends. In fact he dreams of a B-52 dropping the A-bomb on these Plains to end the insanity. If that is not enough, adding to his dismay is that Aphrodite orders him to help her kill Athena.
While Thomas finds reality monstrously disappointing, robots research the terra-like created atmosphere of Mars and selfish people reside on a genetically different future Earth. Time means nothing in this universe.
Combine The Tempest and The Iliad into a strange well-written speculative fiction and what you have is ILIUM. The story line takes some adjustment with the anachronisms of Thomas and his transplanted peers discussing A-bombs while the pre BC Trojan War occurs. The cast is a delight and the three subplots blend together into a tremendous science fiction novel with fantasy elements that will elate the audience. However, don't tell your English teacher about Dan Simmons' chutzpah messing with the classics even if it is quite entertaining and successfully achieved.
Ilium follows the Simmons tradition of weaving high tech science fiction with low tech, pretty straightforward and well developed characters. The technology is profuse, and very cool when you picture it in your head. Readers of the Hyperion series will see similarities in a lot of it and there is, of course, the literary subplot with plenty of allusions. This time it is Shakespeare vs. Proust. The characters interact with each other intelligently and are written with distinctly separate personalities. You are going to forget you are reading and really get into the characters, even when they are only discussing something before a big battle. That makes picturing them easy, and the anticipation of forthcoming action even moreso. The stunningly vivid action scenes come into the mind's eye better than any multi-million dollar summer blockbuster. No one is perfect in Simmons' world and every hero/heroine in the book has his/her faults, foibles and has to completely earn his/her status. What a refreshing thing! Real characters. Nothing like the tedious, boring, glamour-gam novel "Shelters of Stone" by Jean M. Auel that I followed Ilium with. The Cro-Magnons might have well have had electricity and TV's. They had every other luxury and if they didn't, by golly, it was inadvertently invented by her absolutely perfect main character! Gads.
I fondly await the 2005 release of The Odyssey. However I have only a slightly curmudgeonly couple of things to say about future sci fi books. Once this series is finished, I would like Mr. Simmons to consider never doing again offered as a friendly "fresh" challenge to future sci-fi novels (unless I am treated to the "final" Hyperion novel to find out what happened to our hero!). I would like to see him not refer to any authors' work or use it as a subplot or character defining mechanism. I would like to see him never use same weaponry (flechette guns for ex.), or the word/idea of creche, resurrection, QT'ing (or the portal system as in Hyperion novels), and while challenging, characters based on very vague (and probably an medieval autistic adult's version of his world) manuscripts (the Voynix/Voynich connection...) etc. There are a couple of other things but space prevents. While Simmons is an amazingly diverse writer with tons of awards, I am concerned that he will run into the "Stephen King" syndrome. Part of the reason I no longer read King's books is because after a while, despite my love for the author, the characters and plots were recycled over and over again. For example, I could pretty much figure out who was going to be paired with the scared child, who was going to be the "sacrificed character" and so on. I really believe King was an amazing author but his retirement is not a surprise. Sometimes you just run out of things for your stock characters to do...(I really like the guy so don't kill me for my criticism!)
Mr. Simmons seems to be capable of weaving amazing worlds that make one yearn to be there. I want him to continue to do that but leave all the previous things behind so that every novel continues to be fresh, new and as great a read as this one (and the Hyperion novels). Brad Pitt ain't got nothing on HOCK-EN-BAR-EE!!
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