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Ilium Mass Market Paperback – June 28, 2005

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 752 pages
  • Publisher: HarperTorch (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380817926
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380817924
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.5 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (266 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Genre-hopping Dan Simmons returns to science fiction with the vast and intricate masterpiece Ilium. Within, Simmons weaves three astounding story lines into one Earth-, Mars-, and Jupiter-shattering cliffhanger that will leave readers aching for the sequel.

On Earth, a post-technological group of humans, pampered by servant machines and easy travel via "faxing," begins to question its beginnings. Meanwhile, a team of sentient and Shakespeare-quoting robots from Jupiter's lunar system embark on a mission to Mars to investigate an increase in dangerous quantum fluctuations. On the Red Planet, they'll find a race of metahumans living out existence as the pantheon of classic Greek gods. These "gods" have recreated the Trojan War with reconstituted Greeks and Trojans and staffed it with scholars from throughout Earth's history who observe the events and report on the accuracy of Homer's Iliad. One of these scholars, Thomas Hockenberry, finds himself tangled in the midst of interplay between the gods and their playthings and sends the war reeling in a direction the blind poet could have never imagined.

Simmons creates an exciting and thrilling tale set in the thick of the Trojan War as seen through Hockenberry's 20th-century eyes. At the same time, Simmons's robots study Shakespeare and Proust and the origin-seeking Earthlings find themselves caught in a murderous retelling of The Tempest. Reading this highly literate novel does take more than a passing familiarity with at least The Iliad but readers who can dive into these heady waters and swim with the current will be amply rewarded. --Jeremy Pugh --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Hugo and Stoker winner Simmons (Hyperion) makes a spectacular return to large-scale space opera in this elegant monster of a novel. Many centuries in the future, Earth's small, more or less human population lives an enjoyable, if drone-like existence. Elsewhere, on some alternate Earth, or perhaps it's the distant past, the battle for Troy is in its ninth year. Oddly, its combatants, Hector, Achilles and the rest, seem to be following a script, speaking their lines exactly as Homer reported them in The Iliad. The Gods, who live on Olympus Mons on the planet Mars, may be post-humans, or aliens, or, well, Gods; it isn't entirely clear. Thomas Hockenberry, a late-20th-century professor of the classics from De Pauw University in Indiana, has, along with other scholars from his era, apparently been resurrected by the Gods. His job is to take notes on the war and compare its progress to Homer's tale, noting even the smallest deviations. Meanwhile, the "moravecs," a civilization of diverse, partially organic AIs clustered on the moons of Jupiter, have been disturbed by the quantum activity they've registered from the inner solar system and have sent an expedition to Mars to investigate. It will come as no surprise to the author's fans that the expedition's members include specialists in Shakespeare and Proust. Beautifully written, chock full of literary references, grand scenery and fascinating characters, this book represents Simmons at his best.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Dan Simmons is the most consciously literary of science fiction writers.
James D. DeWitt
The first 150 pages of this book were a real struggle to get through and I almost didn't bother going on.
The book is separated in three major stories that are all loosely linked to one another.
Sebastien Pharand

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

149 of 162 people found the following review helpful By Lawrance Bernabo HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 27, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I reached the point long ago where I became rather fiercely committed to the idea of reading a novel without knowing too much about the story. Book covers are immediately discarded upon purchase (sometimes not to be found for months later when they surface again all crumpled and wrinkled), and I passionately avoid reading the back covers of paperbacks until after the book is read, at which point I am usually grossly offended. Consequently, I picked up Dan Simmons' "Ilium" simply because I heard it was a retelling of the Trojan War in general and Homer's "Iliad" in particular. Since I teach that epic poem in my Classical Mythology class and have always considered myself to be an "Iliad" person rather than an "Odyssey" person, that was enough to get me to pack this book away for a recent trip when I could commit myself to some serious continuous reading. So I was rather surprised to learn that a retelling of the "Iliad," after a fashion, is but one of three story threads that start to come together over the course of this 576 page novel, which is itself but the first half of the saga envisioned by Simmons.

The Trojan War is being reenacted on an Earth created by a race of metahumans who have assumed the roles of the Greek gods of classical mythology, who apparently live on Mars. Our vantage point to this exercise is Thomas Hockenberry, a scholar who is pretty sure he is dead and remembers little of his life on earth, but knows Homer's epic poem chapter and verse, and along with the rest of his colleagues is cataloguing where the action diverges from the "Iliad.
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94 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Sebastien Pharand on July 31, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I'm not a big fan of the science-fiction/fantasy genres. What I am a fan of, actually, is Dan Simmons. He is the only author who can constantly hop genres all the while remaining fresh and appealing to all of his fans.
Following his great epic Hyperion/Endymon, Simmons comes back with another mind blowing science-fiction saga. Ilium is as good if not better than its predecessor, and it is bound to become a classic of the genre, because Ilium is like nothing you've read before. Simmons has done the impossible by creaing something completely fresh, new and highly interesting.
The book is separated in three major stories that are all loosely linked to one another. The first story is set on earth, where the post-humans are about to discover that there is much more to life than their uncomplicated, empty existence. When three of these post-humans go on a trek to investigate their originators, they will uncover a dark sercret that will threaten everything they thought they knew.
The second story concentrates on a group of robot-like Shakespeare-quoting things who are going on a mission to Mars to try and understand why the planet has terraformed itself. But when their mission goes wrong, they will soon be left stranded on this strange planet.
And finally, the final story (and most interesting one) is about a scholi (a professor who goes back in history to observe) who is serving as a witness to the greatest battle of all time, the one depicted in Homer's The Iliad. But the scholi will soon realize that one little shift in events can render the whole future uncertain.
And this is probably the heart of Simmons's incredible novel. Beautifully written, this book is all about the power of transformation in time, in space and on a personal level.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By James D. DeWitt VINE VOICE on August 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Dan Simmons is the most consciously literary of science fiction writers. He not only borrows ideas for stories; he uses the forms of the great stories of western civilization and even quotes from them in the story. If there really are memes, anyone reading "The Hyperion Cantos" risked infection with John Keats' poetry and John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress."
With "Ilium," the infectious risk is Homer's "Iliad" and "Odyssey;" Shakespeare's sonnets and "The Tempest;" and - gulp - Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Lost." Yowza.
"Ilium" is three seemingly unrelated stories from the 40th Century, stories from three different possibilities of what man might become. There are the Moravecs, inhabiting Jupiter's and Saturn's moons, man-machine hybrids, with a lingering taste for the works of Shakespeare and Proust. There are the Eloi - an appreciative nod to H. G Wells here - who turn out to be all too horrifyingly Eloi, a "post-literate" and possibly degenerate normal human race. And there are the gods of Olympus - Mons Olympus - who may be post-humans, engaged in a bloody re-enactment of the Trojan War.
We see the story through the eyes of Moravecs, a few of the humans and one of Scholi, the observers of the gods, re-constructed college classics professors, sent to report to the gods on the re-enacted Trojan War. And we watch as the Scholi - one in particular - are dragged from their roles as observers to participants, and as the three stories merge into one. It's a superb piece of plotting and narration.
There are resonances from "The Hyperion Cantos," but they do not distract. There are no emotional bombshells equivalent to F. Paul Dure's experience - for my money, nothing in science fiction touches the story of F. Paul Dure - but there are stunning surprises.
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More About the Author

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.
Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years -- 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York -- one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher -- and 14 years in Colorado.

His last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating, and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students. During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year in high school writing ability according to annual standardized and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.
Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."
Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Colorado -- in the same town where he taught for 14 years -- with his wife, Karen. He sometimes writes at Windwalker -- their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike -- a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion novels -- was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson, and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.
Dan is one of the few novelists whose work spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, suspense, historical fiction, noir crime fiction, and mainstream literary fiction . His books are published in 27 foreign counties as well as the U.S. and Canada.
Many of Dan's books and stories have been optioned for film, including SONG OF KALI, DROOD, THE CROOK FACTORY, and others. Some, such as the four HYPERION novels and single Hyperion-universe novella "Orphans of the Helix", and CARRION COMFORT have been purchased (the Hyperion books by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films, CARRION COMFORT by European filmmaker Casta Gavras's company) and are in pre-production. Director Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Stood Still") has been announced as the director for the Hyperion movie and Casta Gavras's son has been put at the helm of the French production of Carrion Comfort. Current discussions for other possible options include THE TERROR. Dan's hardboiled Joe Kurtz novels are currently being looked as the basis for a possible cable TV series.
In 1995, Dan's alma mater, Wabash College, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions in education and writing.

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