Newest Review: ... as the different stories are told in different ways. It also shows a staggering breadth of innovation not only for the richness of the wo... more
Shrike! Be scared...
Hyperion - Dan Simmons
Member Name: one47
Hyperion - Dan Simmons
Date: 19/07/01, updated on 19/07/01 (83 review reads)
Advantages: A tremendous journey through an incredible galaxy.
Disadvantages: There are only four books!
I remember when I first heard of this series of books. I was a teenager, and my parents told me what an excellent read it was ? Of course I knew better! At least I thought I did.
I suppose the fact that I?m writing this opinion on the series of four books is a clue as to the fact that I did eventually read them, and liked the first one enough to continue and read the last three. In fact I chose Hyperion as my favourite book of all time in 1999, and two years on, that choice has yet to be changed.
"Hyperion" can be read as a standalone piece of literature, but is superbly supplemented by the three follow-up novels, "Fall of Hyperion", "Endymion" and "Rise of Endymion". I would add that the later stories jump about through time a bit, so would advise that if you intend reading all four, that you should do so in order... Even in order, you might get a headache :-)
Revolves around seven travellers, initially on a spaceship (actually a treeship!) making a final pilgrimage to Hyperion. Only one pilgrim can benefit from this journey, to be granted one "wish" and the rest expect to perish at the hands of a mechanical monster called the Shrike. The shrike is a marvellous machine, or perhaps a godlike mechanical beast, most simply described as being chrome and steel, and spikes and claws, whose unlucky victims he hangs on a metal tree of tormented souls to live forever in mortal agony (Dan Simmons does this beast justice; I don?t!)
The "players" are a father (with his daughter, a baby), a priest, a warrior, a treeship pilot, a poet, a woman with a computer/avatar in her head, and a freelancer/rogue - Quite a collection!
The majority of the first book (a good 85%) alternates between the tale of their journey from the treeship to the "Time-Tombs" (home of the Shrike) and the telling of each of the traveller's tales of how and why they cam
e to be chosen to be part of the pilgrimage... As these tales unfold, you find your opinions of each character developing and morphing in the most unexpected ways. Simmons tells each traveller?s tale in the first person, and modifies his writing style to suit each character perfectly.
Alternatively, the tail end of the book is a complete change to a dynamic adrenaline rush towards the expected finale. People go missing leaving nothing but blood to show for their presence, mysterious technological objects are found, the stories told by the group-members add to the mystery of "what IS this pilgrimage in aid of" and how will it all end? Where do the futuristic technologies mentioned in some of the tales originate, why is the daughter getting younger by the day, and will she be saved?
>>> Fall of Hyperion
Once you?ve started the first book, too many questions are raised for you to be able to put it down. In fact some of the questions are not answered until the end of the fourth book... What ARE those biological crucifixes???
Fall of Hyperion continues where the Hyperion cliffhanger leaves off. Who is dead, who is alive, who stands to survive the pilgrimage. This book develops the tale beyond the planet of Hyperion to a galactic scale of political intrigue. Which of the originally human races is in the right? Or is the computer "Core" the antagonist in this game? Will war break out, and how will the wounds be mended? ...and how do our pilgrims fit into all of this?
All of the above are answered, and a very satisfactory ending is reached. I didn?t feel the need to pick up and read Endymion for several months after reading "Fall" ? The book?s fly-leaf intro does not do it justice.
>>> Endymion and Rise of Endymion
This part of the tale picks up the thread 30 years later, and follows Raul Endymion, who is related to one of the original pilgrims, through several years, back and fort
h in time from that point.
Many of the original seven Hyperion characters play a part, including the menacing "Shrike", whom we see much more of in the final two books, and by the end you know more of its mysterious purpose, and can see it in an altogether different and perhaps less threatening way (Nasty though it remains.)
Our hero Raul is basically following his nose. Rugged and ready for anything, he is still not prepared for the journey his Uncle is to send him on, or for the place he will find himself at the end of his journey (almost the end)
Raul is in a prison pod floating in space, and is writing the story you read to pass the time before his death - He is sealed in a "Schrodinger cat box" where the decay of a radioactive isotope will (or will not) cause the release of a fatal poison (sound familiar?) - As he tells his story of love, pain, joy and suffering, there is the constant background reminder that he is serving an obscure death-sentence that could end the story at any point. Not only that, but this is described as his "final death sentence" and the first chapters tell the tale of his "First death sentence!"
You will be introduced to an incredible array of technologies, politics, ideals and concepts, fitting uniquely together in Dan Simmon's equally unique universe.
Now I think I'll go find some more Dan Simmons book on amazon.co.uk :-)