Leah Kiczula, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by Leah Kiczula)
This is the first book in an epic 4 book series spanning hundreds/thousands of years (Depending on the character). The get the full pleasure of reading Hyperion, you must read all four. However, the first in the this awesome series, chronicles the lives of and passage of six pilgrim's making their way to the Temple of the Shrike where one will get their wish and rest shall die. Set among interstellar war, outback planetary conflict, and a time that moves forward yet backwards, these tales set the stage the the exciting adventure that is the Hyperion Cantos.
KateH, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by KateH)
Though it starts out sorta schmaltzy, Hyperion quickly becomes eminently readable and damn-near highbrow, with homages to both Chaucer and Keats. Sure to please lovers of sci-fi, but even those who typically avoid genre lit might enjoy this one. Ignore the cheesy cover art and dive into a ripping good story.
jlgill, August 4, 2012 (view all comments by jlgill)
Like the Canterbury Tales, Hyperion is a frame tale; a series of stories within a story. Not a fan of Middle English literature? No worries-- the similarities end there. Hyperion follows a group of extra-planetary pilgrims to the world of Hyperion, chosen for a final pilgrimage to petition the planet's mythical inhabitant, the Shrike, Lord of Pain, for a wish. According to myth, only one pilgrim will survive the encounter, and so each-- a preist, a soldier, a poet, a scholar, a detective, and a consul-- tells the story of how they came to make the journey, and why, in the hopes that this information may somehow aid them in determining the outcome of their fateful meeting with the Shrike. The novel is largely made up of these consecutive tales, and I became fully immersed in each in turn.
Simmons is a master of narrative voice, as his characters (archetypes, really) each tell of the horrors, mysteries, and losses that led them to seek the Shrike. There are many mysteries in Hyperion, each unfolding slowly in the course of the pilgrims' tales. What is the Shrike, and why has it started ranging--and killing--beyond its former region? Why are the "space barbarian" Ousters attacking the planet Hyperion? Is one of the pilgrims a spy? We also learn, in exposition deftly woven into the narrative of the fall of Old Earth, the establishment of the World Web and the TechnoCore, the Church of the Shrike, and the interstellar Hegemony government that governs the World Web. Simmons doesn't tell, he shows-- gradually, teasingly, and masterfully.
Hyperion is the sort of book I'd like to hand to folks who say they don't like science fiction, and say "THIS. This is what SF can be like!" It was an absolute joy to experience. I listened to the audio on a long car trip and found myself transfixed, wanting to stay on the road "for just another hour" so that I could prolong the fun. I implored my closest friends to read it right away, so I would have someone to talk about it with. It's the sort of book that both rivets you in the moment, and sticks with you for days afterwards.
888, September 3, 2011 (view all comments by 888)
Yet another classic in sci-fi. Interesting narrative where the premise is an eclectic group, chosen very mysteriously (and its still not made clear at the end of the book why some are chosen) to visit a planet which is about to be invaded/destroyed. The goal is for them to make contact with a strange, deadly "Shrike" who is literally the Lord of Pain (he tends to impale people). OH and he is also in control of some time-travel devices. Through storytelling we learn more of these "ambassadors" but also about the deadly nature of the Shrike. The ending is a bit of a letdown but don't worry, there's a sequel.
FNORDinc, January 31, 2010 (view all comments by FNORDinc)
mongo loaned me this book, claiming that this series is a personal favorite. he described the series as “a combination of sci-fi, fantasy, horror, and the single best description of Artificial Intelligence” he had ever read. i was glad to push it to the top of the unread pile.
i do not know yet that i have gotten to the AI references he described yet, as i still feel fredrik pohl’s gateway series nailed it, but the other claims are pretty accurate :) i suppose i will see when i get to #2.
Hyperion, a planet on the ass end of the universe, has not yet been incorporated into the Hegemony. Old Earth was abandoned after the “big mistake of 38″. The Hegemony being the new ruling factor of our species, spread out across the universe, seeding planets with colonies.
Hyperion wanders through the stories of seven pilgrims, pulled by the Shrike Cult to the planets surface, on a final trip to the mysterious time tombs. the tombs were discovered centuries back and have a bizarre ebb and flow of backwards flowing time surrounding them. the source of the tombs (besides the future of course) is unknown, as is the Shrike itself. Referred to by the Cult as the “Lord of Pain” it slaughters at will. all seven pilgrims are bound to die. why they have come to the planet Hyperion willingly is the whole reason to read this book.
this book visually accosted me. phrases and styling burned into my brain.
“[..] she was homesick there: the sunsets were abrupt, the much-vaunted mountains slicing off the sunlight like a ragged scyth, and she longed for the hours-long sunsets of home where Barnard’s Star hung on the horizon like a great, tethered, red balloon while the sky congealed to evening. She missed the perfect flatness where –peering from her third-floor room under the steeple gables –a little girl could look fifty kilometers across tasseled fields to watch a storm approach like a bruise-black curtain lit within by lightning bolts.”
Mongo was kind enough to loan me book two as well. He advised that when i was done with the first, i would immediately want to move to the second. Why did Mongo have to be right.. and why did i forget book two on my work desk……
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Thirteen is a futuristic techno-thriller and a sci-fi masterpiece. I was reminded of Dan Simmons's Hyperion the world and its people are that richly drawn. At once gripping and thoughtful, this is a novel worthy of the top awards. It's got my vote.
by Denver Post,
"A magnificently original blend of themes and styles."
by Gerald Jonas, The New York Times Book Review,
"Each of [the pilgrim's] stories would make a superb novella on its own."
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