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417 of 455 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and deeply moving
Though 'Hyperion' is dependent upon its sequel and ends with a tooth-grinding cliff-hanger, it is in its way self-contained. 'Hyperion' is centered on the six pilgrims' tales, their pasts, the terrible needs which drive them to confront what is almost certain death--or worse. Each of the tales is written in a unique style, and each introduces a new element to bind the...
Published on June 11, 2000 by Ilana Teitelbaum

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70 of 84 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a Disappointment!
I enjoyed "Hyperion" (see my 4-star review) and, upon finishing, I eagerly started "The Fall of Hyperion". I was anxious to find out the fate of our brave pilgrims. 500 pages later, I didn't even care about them anymore.

Rather than focusing on the characters in the first book that I had grown to care so much about, in "Fall",...
Published on September 17, 2001 by Adam Pasztory


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417 of 455 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and deeply moving, June 11, 2000
This review is from: Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) (Mass Market Paperback)
Though 'Hyperion' is dependent upon its sequel and ends with a tooth-grinding cliff-hanger, it is in its way self-contained. 'Hyperion' is centered on the six pilgrims' tales, their pasts, the terrible needs which drive them to confront what is almost certain death--or worse. Each of the tales is written in a unique style, and each introduces a new element to bind the story as a whole. All are wrenching, even disturbing in their intensity, in their focus on the deepest possible of human suffering.
Do not read this book if you're looking for a light, fun read. In fact, forget it. This book defies all expectations, serves up horrors that were hitherto unimaginable if you are even remotely sane. Dan Simmons is in this book exploring a world that has lost its soul and is decaying by inches. To underscore that decay, the tales focus on the underpinnings of humanity--death, love, parenthood, art--and twist them into the most horrific contortions possible. The tale of the cruciform, for example, investigates with terrifying clarity the possibility of there being a fate far, far worse than death.
As a result, the quest of each pilgrim has a greater significance than being merely a quest; in the empty world which Simmons creates, they are pioneers searching for a depth beyond the tested parameters of their rotting civilization. The atmosphere of the book is overshadowed by the horror of the Shrike, yet does not completely dim the hope of what might be.
Steeped in the tangled sorrows that drive them, the characters do not always engender sympathy. I found Kassad shallow and difficult to relate to, and the explicit sex a turn-off. However, Martin Silenus, Sol Weintaub and the Consul--to name a few--are fully realized, complex characters, and even at their worst moments, still by their very existence encourage the reader to keep reading simply to learn their fates.
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182 of 203 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth the price just for the tale of Sol & Rachael., April 17, 2000
By 
dsrussell "greyhater" (Corona, CA. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) (Mass Market Paperback)
An account of six tales from seven desparate travelers as they make a pilgrimage to Hyperion to seek out one the most terrifying monster ever created in fiction, the Shrike. They all have various reasons to risk their lives, and all hold the belief that whoever survives the Shrike, one prayer will be granted.
All six stories (novellas in their own right) are brilliantly conceived, and every reader here has his or her own personal favorite. While the priest's tale is one of the most harrowing I've ever read, I was personally moved by the tale of Sol and Rachael. As a parent, I found this tale especially haunting. As another reviewer mentioned, I will not think of the words "...later alligator...'while crocodile..." in the same light ever again.
This is science fiction told in a grand scale. It is sweeping in scope and Simmons' narrative is extremely imaginative, often fanciful, yet sometimes yawn inspiring. It is not an easy read. For those that know little or nothing about the poet, Keats (me included), much of the narrative may become ambiguous or boring. But despite that (or because of that), Simmons spins a masterful tale of the travelers and of the great war against the Hegmony and the Technocore.
Unfortunately, "Hyperion" is only the first part of a two-part story, and ends unfinished. One has to purchase (unknowingly) "The Fall of Hyperion" to complete the story. My suggestion would be to purchase them both at the same time and enjoy--it's well worth the money.
Although this novel won't be to everyones' taste (what novel is?), I thought it to be one of the best novels I've read in many a year. Between 1 and 10, I give "Hyperion" a solid 8. Had the novels been double bound and sold as one (as they should have been), I would have given "Hyperion" an enthusiastic 9.
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103 of 116 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Space opera at it's best! The best series ever!, July 20, 2000
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This review is from: Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) (Mass Market Paperback)
Hyperion and the rest of the series is the best science fiction series yet written. I do not make this claim lightly. I have read alot of science fiction and the only books that I would say that come close are The Sparrow by Maria Doria Russell and Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Although Across the Sea of Suns and the rest of the Galactic Center series by Gregory Benford was another favorite.
Hyperion is one planet in a large federation of planets which are at their political peak. This book is the story of 7 people picked to go on a pilgramage to the time tombs on Hyperion to see if they can figure out what is happening. The time tombs are guarded by a creature called the Shrike. The Srike can move forward and backward through time at will and seems to be invulnerable to any type of weapon. The 7 people are strangers to each other, but they have on common link, they have all encountered the Shrike before and been allowed to live. There is a legend and even a cult religion that has grown up around the Shrike for hundreds of years. It is said that the Shrike can grant any wish. Pilgrims that go searching for the Shrike must travel in groups of prime numbers or everyone will die. They must approach the time tombs on foot or everyone will die. According to legend, the Shrike somehow interviews everyone in the party if they have followed these rules and one person will have their wish granted and all the other party members will be killed. Also, the time tombs are moving backwards in time, and the fear is that once the time tombs stop that a whole army of tens of thousands of Shrikes will be unleashed. But this is just one thread in the vast tapestry of the story which grows in complexity with each book. What is happening on Hyperion is at the center of the collapse of this federation of thousands of planets that is on the brink of collapse. It is a facinating tale.
Enjoy.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Possibly my favourite sci-fi ever, April 25, 2001
This review is from: Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) (Mass Market Paperback)
Hyperion is truly incredible. As well as being a science fiction version of the Canterbury Tales, it also sets out a breathtaking and at the same time chilling vision of what humanity's future might be like. It creates a spectacular and wonderfully detailed world where citizens step through farcaster portals to have lunch on another planet, mysterious artificial intelligences scheme and plot, so-called 'barbarian' Ousters migrate between the stars, and a terrifying demon-machine called the Shrike stalks the area around a set of mysterious artifacts which appear to be travelling back in time. This world is populated with all sorts of fascinating characters and cultures, such as an artificial recreation of the poet Keats, a girl doomed to age backwards and a planet of peaceful environmentalists crushed for daring to resist modernisation.
This first book of four, consisting almost exclusively of the stories told by seven pilgrims (a priest, a soldier, a poet, a scholar, a detective, a starship captain and a diplomat) as they travel across the planet Hyperion to meet the Shrike, is essentially a gigantic prologue which sets the scene for the tumultuous events of The Fall of Hyperion. It builds up a picture of the Hegemony (the 'established' human grouping) as what I take as being the author's idea of the inevitable product of today's Western civilisation, and establishes the background to the crisis that has brought the seven pilgrims together, which appears at first to be a simple war of aggression by the Ousters but turns out to have much deeper ramifications involving the AI TechnoCore, the Shrike and the future of humanity. The stories they tell also leave many unanswered questions and mysteries that will hopefully leave the reader running to find the second book. Each one is distinct - some horrific, some merely moving, all intriguing. I have to say that the Priest's Tale, the first to be told, will always be special because it left me thinking: 'Wow! Could this get any better?!' And best of all, because this is the first book, you don't have to grimace too much at the annoying continuity errors that increasingly crop up as the series progresses.
As I said, the book leaves many questions to be answered in the next one. However, the greatest mystery of Hyperion is not the unknown purpose of the Shrike or the sinister plans of the Core. No, the greatest mystery of Hyperion is: WHY DOESN'T THE CONSUL HAVE A NAME?! ;-)
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52 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Book Set 'Em Up, January 18, 2000
And this book knocks 'em over. I love reading stories in which "everything you know is wrong". Simmons takes the characters and events recounted in "Hyperion" and swallows them whole in a tale that had me scraping my brains off the back wall. The introduction of M. Severn and Meina Gladstone makes for two of the more fascinating and deep characters I think I've ever read. The former is a cipher, reflecting the events taking place hundreds of light-years away (those of "Hyperion") and interpreting them through a dead poet's thoughts. The other is a master politician, leader of a Hegemony that encompasses more billions of souls than almost is comprehensible. The sacrifices they both make to save themselves save humanity itself, but at a terrible price.
Some sections of the book are slow (I found the myriad battles with the Shrike tedious) the majority of the tale is fast moving, incredibly rich and believable, and astounding in its plot and details. This book and its predecessor are simply two of the finest works of literature in any genre, and are utterly entertaining.
I've handed copies of the "Hyperion" books over to probably 20 friends over the last 8-9 years, and had never had any of them returned to me. I don't care ... these books are *that* good.
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96 of 109 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The ending of the two-book series was excellent., October 6, 1998
By 
dsrussell "greyhater" (Corona, CA. United States) - See all my reviews
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Dan Simmon's `The Fall of Hyperion' is not a sequel, but rather the second half of the unfinished story, `Hyperion'. While `Hyperion' was unique in its six wonderful tales as told by six people on a pilgrimage, `The Fall of Hyperion' is more conventional, but is a real page-turner.
`The Fall of Hyperion' explains what happens to our travelers and delves into the purpose of the Shrike. It also expands greatly on the fairly thin plot exposed in `Hyperion'. Most readers should enjoy this well-conceived and engrossing end to the story. Together, `Hyperion' and `The Fall of Hyperion' rank up there with the best science fiction has to offer and I give it 9 out of 10, or a five star ranking. However, because the reader is required (unknowingly) to purchase both books, I give each book 8 out of 10 and a four star rating.
Those who have forsaken `The Fall of Hyperion' because it requires another purchase, are missing a rewarding experience. Those who have not yet read the Hyperion series are in for a treat. It is worth every penny of the two-book purchase price.
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43 of 49 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A multilayered epic, June 20, 2000
'Fall of Hyperion' follows the style of an epic which can be read on many levels. It is an analysis of John Keats's poetry, the relationship of God and Man, whether there is a God at all, and the purpose of human suffering all at once--and this to name just a few. I do not think it should be judged in comparison with the first book, as they are both extremely different in structure. 'Hyperion' is a tight novel centering on the past lives of the pilgrims, while 'Fall of Hyperion' is an intricately woven tapestry much akin to epics such as 'Dune'. Both are ingenious in their respective approaches to theme and character.
The new character viewpoints, Severn and Paul Dure, are well-developed, and Meina Gladstone is a tragic gem of characterization. The other characters undergo trials that stretch them to the limits, and lend a glimpse into the fragility of humankind. My only complaint is Kassad, who never feels real, though the author obviously admires him very much. His relationship with Moneta was a disappointment to me, as it never developed beyond sex, yet is referred to as 'love'. I didn't see it, and therefore didn't buy it.
'Fall' contains the same trauma and horror from 'Hyperion', on a deeper and larger scale, making some scenes intensely painful to read. But with the pain comes a massive wellspring of emotion which, though still painful, is ultimately a pain which shapes and refines. Simmons is unafraid to go where other authors dare not, and for that he is deserving of praise. The action is such that there is never a slow moment, and the surprises are endless. Without question, Simmons knows how to weave a story.
The multiple themes running through this book are difficult to follow. Somehow Simmons meant to tie the poetry of John Keats with questions relating to the nature of God and humanity, but this is done with such complicated strokes that the book probably needs to be re-read many times to be fully appreciated. I for one developed an interest in Keats as a result of reading this book--not to mention an affection for 'Mister John Keats, five feet high'.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in the last 2 years!, April 10, 2002
This review is from: Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) (Mass Market Paperback)
I've always put off reading Hyperion for some unknown reason. This year, I was accepted to Clarion West, where Simmons is going to be teaching, so I decided to pick up his most famous book in order to be able to approach the man with semi-intelligent conversation.
I was amazed. The book is made up of six novella length stories told by character on a pilgrimage to the deadly Shrike. Like the Canterburry Tales, each character takes a turn telling his or her tale, and believe me, any one of these tales would be worth the price of the book all on its own. I won't go into any description of the tales because I don't want to spoil your enjoyment, but I can say that they are written in a variety of modes and styles that portray Dan Simmons's superb talents.
Even more amazing, every tale is interconnected to the larger frame story: the pilgrimage. Each tale holds a vital clue to the pilgrims' future meeting with the Shrike.
For careful readers, Hyperion holds references to major literary works of our world, including Pounds Cantos and Shakespeare (and I already mentioned Chaucer). This is a book that was not only worthy of the Hugo, but should have been considered for "literary" awards as well.
One note of caution to those expecting a pat ending: the pilgrimage does not end in this book. You'll have to continue to Fall of Hyperion, as I'm going to do immediately. Simmons's work is so awe inspiring, so exquisite, that I'm both excited and intimidated to have him reading my own work this summer.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highest Recommendation. Simmons'masterwork. Ten stars., July 23, 1997
By A Customer
This review is from: Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) (Mass Market Paperback)
There's so much good to say about this book, that I could never fit it all in, without completely boring and alienating anyone who may read this review. It simply must be read to be believed. I've personally read it six times, and am planning on reading it again.
Coupled with its' sequel, The Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons has created a universe of complexity and wonder, which I enjoy enough to return to again and again.
If you enjoy re-reading books, and find that you learn something new each time, then you'll love this book.

The story takes place in the future, after the Big Mistake has decimated Earth, and driven its' survivors out to the stars. The resulting Community of Man, known as the Hegemony, wages a war with a rouge fleet of humanity, known as the Swarm. Aided by advanced computers,
simply known as AI (Artificial Intelligence), whose computing power is such that they can predict the future with over 99.9999% accuracy, the Hegemony maintains a tenuous grip on its' collection of worlds, known as the Web.
However, the AI's ability to predict the future (and thus assure the continued dominance of the Web) with 100% accuracy is hampered by the existence of the world known as Hyperion. Apparently, Hyperion serves as an unknown variable in any equation that the supercomputers develop. Further, there is the Shrike, a seemingly immortal, unstoppable killing machine whose designers and purpose are unknown, and whose very existence may(or may not)decide the outcome of the Web.
The Hegemony decides to send a group of seven pilgrims to Hyperion, in an effort to solve its mysteries, and in doing so, continue the reign of the Hegemony, at the expense of the Swarm.
Based partially on an unfinished poem by Eighteenth century English poet John Keats(which chronicled the cataclysmic battle between the Greek Gods and their predecessors, the Titans), and Modeled after Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the story unfolds with each pilgrim stating his/her reasons for going on the very dangerous journey. Along the way, the reader is drawn in to Simmons' world, as the secrets slowly begin to unravel.

Regretfully, this clumsy attempt of mine berely scratches the surface of this wonderful and challenging novel.
You simply must read it, and enjoy.
Filled with metaphor, poetry, action, and intrigue, Hyperion is a fantastic, if difficult read; however, if you're willing to put your mind to work, the effort is very rewarding.
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70 of 84 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a Disappointment!, September 17, 2001
By 
Adam Pasztory "adampasz" (San Francisco, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I enjoyed "Hyperion" (see my 4-star review) and, upon finishing, I eagerly started "The Fall of Hyperion". I was anxious to find out the fate of our brave pilgrims. 500 pages later, I didn't even care about them anymore.

Rather than focusing on the characters in the first book that I had grown to care so much about, in "Fall", the author follows two new main characters that are not well developed, and tend to be only passive observers of the universe around them. Also, the style of this sequel is very different from the first book. Every chapter ends in a cliffhanger, and the next one picks up with a different character's story. Used sparingly, this technique can build suspense, but here it is irritating. There were many times when I was tempted to just skip ahead so I could follow a particular storyline. In general the writing feels sloppy and rushed.

Another annoying aspect of "The Fall of Hyperion" is the overabundance of exposition and explanation. Not only does Simmons waste dozens of pages, recapping the events of the first book, he even recaps things that happened 100 pages earlier in this< book. The whole thing could have been edited down to 100 pages, and tacked on as a final section of "Hyperion".

All this being said, there are some exciting moments every once in a while, and it's nice to learn how the story of "Hyperion" ends. Still, I can't say it was worth suffering through all the filler. I don't think I'll be progressing any further in this series.
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Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos)
Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) by Dan Simmons (Mass Market Paperback - March 1, 1990)
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