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Olympos Hardcover – June 28, 2005

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; First Edition edition (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380978946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380978946
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #377,173 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Welcome back to the Trojan War gone round the bend. Hector and Achilles have joined forces against the Olympic Gods. Back on a future Earth, assorted creatures from Shakespeare's The Tempest get ready to rumble in a winner-takes-the-universe battle royale. And amid it all, a group of confused mere mortals with their classically trained robot allies (from Jupiter no less) race across time and space to keep from getting squashed as the various Titans of the Western Canon square off.

Confused? It's all part of Dan Simmons's Olympos, a novel one part fun-with-quantum-physics and two parts through-the-looking-glass survey of Western Literature. Picking up where he left off in the high-wire act Ilium, Simmons doesn't disappoint. Not only is Olympos excellent hard science fiction and grand space opera, it's a riveting and fast-paced book that is alternately shocking, thrilling, and often deftly hilarious as his hapless human creations wrestle the forces of literary history itself. Be sure to read Ilium first though. That and a more-than passing familiarity with The Illiad might come in handy for the journey to Mars, Ilium's far-off shores, and the Earth that might be. --Jeremy Pugh

Amazon.com Exclusive Content

Master of the Universes: An Exclusive Interview with Dan Simmons

Changing genres as easily as others change clothes, bestselling author Dan Simmons has written horror, mystery, historical fiction, thrillers, fantasy, and science fiction. In this Amazon.com exclusive interview, he talks about his latest SF triumph, Olympos, a tale of Mars, the Greek gods, and survival in a post-human world.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Drawing from Homer's Iliad, Shakespeare's Tempest and the work of several 19th-century poets, Simmons achieves another triumph in this majestic, if convoluted, sequel to his much-praised Ilium (2003). Posthumans masquerading as the Greek gods and living on Mars travel back and forth through time and alternate universes to interfere in the real Trojan War, employing a resurrected late 20th-century classics professor, Thomas Hockenberry, as their tool. Meanwhile, the last remaining old-style human beings on a far-future Earth must struggle for survival against a variety of hostile forces. Superhuman entities with names like Prospero, Caliban and Ariel lay complex plots, using human beings as game pieces. From the outer solar system, an advanced race of semiorganic Artificial Intelligences, called moravecs, observe Earth and Mars in consternation, trying to make sense of the situation, hoping to shift the balance of power before out-of-control quantum forces destroy everything. This is powerful stuff, rich in both high-tech sense of wonder and literary allusions, but Simmons is in complete control of his material as half a dozen baroque plot lines smoothly converge on a rousing and highly satisfying conclusion.
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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.

Customer Reviews

Others below have said it much better than me.
The biggest problem is that almost no resolution is given to the many fantastic plots and characters.
I could go on but there are simply too many loose ends .

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

68 of 76 people found the following review helpful By Simmons Fan on March 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Please don't get me wrong. I am a HUGE Dan Simmons fan. I am an avid fan of his Hyperion series and I am waiting with serious anticipation for a movie series to unfold. While reading Ilium, I fell in love with the slightly dorky Hockenberry and the glorious Orphu and Mahnmut, worrying and fretting about their outcomes in this finale...

I was SO disappointed. This is just not Mr. Simmons' best writing. At BEST this is a melange of notes, maddeningly short chapters that jump from one subplot to the next (you literally have 5 or 6 subplots with an added one or two thrown in in the last 100 pages just to tick you off). Then, when you are heading for that all critical showdown with the antagonists (of which there are a minimum of 4 major and a whole slew of minors including Helen of Troy), you get NOTHING. I mean, there IS no showdown. The horrific Setebos and his evil sidekick Caliban (who was supposed to be THE bad one in Ilium)...Well, let's just say that Nada, zip and "What the He**!!" were my thoughts and exclamations. It was just awful. You get some seriously disturbing scenes like semi-necrophilia/rape the stasis patient (a la Kill Bill Part 1) which frankly, leave a bad, stinky, taste in your mouth. There is a lot of mind numbing exposition/explanation of physics and brane holes and all the things that make you think that Mr. Simmons is just trying to prove he ran these things past physics/chaos/quantum theory prof friends of his. (My favorite quip from anyone like this was simply "Quantum Physicists have P-branes".)

The book starts out really well. The chapters are of good length. Then they get smaller, more frenetic and things spin in and out and back again until you KNOW the end is going to slam into you and you are not going to like it.
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44 of 48 people found the following review helpful By Tribe Hollywood on October 28, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I'm glad we have Dan Simmons because an author who has the courage to imagine on a grand, fantastic scale and has the guts to take a story all the way is rare and alway a pleasure.

Unfortunately, Simmons fails in this particular attempt - Illium was great, Olympos starts out convoluted, amps up on suspense around the middle and then the story falls apart completely.

I'll avoid being repetetive but let me just say that all the loose ends listed here by other reviewers are truly loose ends and not just oversights by inattentive readers.

For example: If an auhor says: "This character is told to walk the Atlantic Breach for months even though he could be brought to the other side in seconds - but there is a deeper reason for it!" - then I think the reader deserves to find out that reason at some point.

The explanation given for the existence of the Greek gods on Mars and all the other fantastically bizarre things that are going is, it turns out, thoroughly ridiculous. It's an all-purpose explanation that makes no more sense than "Well, anything is possible..."

Why was Hockenberry created by the Gods?

Why was he recording the Trojan War for Zeus?

I mean... - this is the MAIN CHARACTER and his entire existence makes no sense.

What happened to the big villain (Setebos)? He just disappears, without explanation!!!

What is Moira doing in there? First, it seems so important to wake her, then she does nothing but walk around invisible!

Why is Prospero important? What does he do? Nothing.

Why did the moravecs mount a huge expedition to Earth to end the quantum disturbance? They end up doing absolutely nothing because Setebos, as I said, just disappears...

So - many points for imagination and good writing, and a dissappointed shake of the head for a story that simply does not deliver.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A. Todd on November 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm a huge Simmons fan and the Hyperion series is one of my all-time favorite sci-fi collections. I loved Ilium and devoured the book in one weekend. I couldn't wait for the follow-up. In fact, I pre-ordered Olympos and the new H. Potter book at about the same time, and decided that Olympos was my next must-read book.

Then, it literally took me 4 months to read Olympos. I essentially had to force myself to keep reading. Ilium was ablaze with suspense and all the characters, from the gods to the moravecs (organic machines), leapt off the page they were so alive.

Spoiler Alerts: There are numerous story threads that are left hanging, others that simply dissipate. The build-up created in Ilium, where meta-intelligences (Prospero, Sycorax, Ariel, post-humans in the guise of the Greek Pantheon) are battling for their respective interests, is not resolved in Olympos. Other characters arrive, and their motives are never fully explored or explained. Prospero floats around being cryptic. Sycorax gives up a battle she has been waging for centuries to have sex with Odysseus. Ariel appears once, acts mysterious, and disappears. The post-human Greek gods just eventually go away.

In the first book, the fabric of the entire universe is in danger because the post-humans have abused quantum reality. Additionally, the quantum distortions have allowed evil beings from other dimensions to slip into our universe. In Olympos, the evil departs, with no explanation. Apparently, the quantum instability is also resolved, also without much explanation. Primary characters from the first book are ignored in the second.

Most frustrating, the pace of the second book is lethargic through 3/4 of the novel, and then the pace picks up at frenetic speed.
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