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Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, Book 1) Kindle Edition
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- Book 1 of 4 in Hyperion Cantos
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“Dan Simmons has brilliantly conceptualized a future 700 years distant. In sheer scope and complexity it matches, and perhaps even surpasses, those of Isaac Asimov and James Blish.”—The Washington Post Book World
“An unfailingly inventive narrative . . . generously conceived and stylistically sure-handed.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Simmons’s own genius transforms space opera into a new kind of poetry.”—The Denver Post
“An essential part of any science fiction collection.”—Booklist --This text refers to the paperback edition.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
The Hegemony Consul sat on the balcony of his ebony spaceship and played Rachmaninoff's
Prelude in C-sharp Minor on an ancient but well-maintained Steinway while great, green,
saurian things surged and bellowed in the swamps below. A thunderstorm was brewing to the
north. Bruise-black clouds silhouetted a forest 0f giant gymnosperms while stratocumulus
towered nine kilometers high in a violent sky. Lightning rippled along the horizon. Closer to the
ship, occasional vague, reptilian shapes would blunder into the interdiction field, cry out, and
then brash away through indigo mists. The Consul concentrated on a difficult section of the
Prelude and ignored the approach of storm and nightfall.
The fatline receiver chimed.
The Consul stopped, fingers hovering above the keyboard, and listened. Thunder rumbled
through the heavy air. From the direction of the gymnosperm forest there came the mournful
ululation of a carrion-breed pack. Somewhere in the darkness below, a smallbrained beast
trumpeted its answering challenge and fell quiet. The interdiction field added its sonic
undertones to the sudden silence. The fatline chimed again.
"Damn," said the Consul and went in to answer it.
While the computer took a few seconds to convert and decode the burst of decaying tachyons, the
Consul poured himself a glass of Scotch. He settled into the cushions of the projection pit just as
the diskey blinked green. "Play," he said.
'You have been chosen to return to Hyperion," came a woman's husky voice. Full visuals had not
yet formed; the air remained empty except for the pulse of transmission codes which told the
Consul that this fatline squirt had originated on the Hegemony administralive world of Tau Ceti Center.
The Consul did not need the transmission coordinates to know this. The aged but still beautiful
voice of Meina Gladstone was unmistakable. "You have been chosen to return to Hyperion as a
member of the Shrike Pilgrimage," contin-ued the voice.
The hell you say, thought the Consul and rose to leave the pit.
"You and six others have been selected by the Church of the Shrike and confirmed by the All
Thing," said Meina Gladstone. "It is in the interest of the Hegemony that you accept."
The consul stood motionless in the pit, his back to the flickering transmission codes. Without
turning, he raised his glass and drained the last of the Scotch.
"The situation is very confused," said Meina Gladstone. Her voice was weary. "The consulate and
Home Rule Council fàtlined us three standard weeks ago with the news that the Time Tombs
showed signs of opening. The anti-entropic fields around them were expanding rapidly and the
Shrike has begun ranging as far south as the Bridle Range."
The Consul turned and dropped into the cushions. A holo had formed of Meina Gladstone's ancient
face. Her eyes looked as tired as her voice sounded.
"A FORCE:space task force was immediately dispatched from Parvati to evacuate the Hegemony
citizens on Hyperion before the Time Tombs open. Their time-debt will be a lithe more than
three 1-lyperion years." Meina Gladstone paused. The Consul thought he had never seen the
Senate CEO look so grim. "We do not know if the evacuation fleet will arrive in time," she said,
"but the situation is even more complicated. An Ouster migration cluster of at least four
thousand . . . units ... has been detected approaching the Hyperion system. Our evacuation task
force should arrive only a short while before the Ousters."
The Consul understood Gladstone's hesitation. An Ouster migration cluster might consist of ships ranging in size from single-person ramscouts to can cities and comet forts holding tens of thousands of the interstellar barbarians.
"The FORCE joint chiefs believe that this is the Ousters' big push," said Meina Gladstone. The
ship's computer had positioned the holo so that the woman's sad brown eyes seemed to be staring
directly at the Consul. "Whether they seek to control just I-Iyperion for the Time Tombs or
whether this is an all-out attack on the Woridweb remains to be seen. In the meantime, a full
FORCE:space battle fleet complete with a farcaster construction battalion has spun up from the
Camn System to join the evacuation task force, but this fleet may be recalled depending upon
The Consul nodded and absently raised the Scotch to his lips. He frowned at the empty glass and
dropped it onto the thick carpeting of the holopit. Even with no military training he understood
the difficult tactical decision Gladstone and the joint chiefs were faced with. Unless a military
farcaster were hurriedly constructed in the Hyperion system-at staggering expense-there
would be no way to resist the Ouster invasion. Whatever secrets the Time Tombs might hold
would go to the Hegemony's enemy. If the fleet did construct a farcaster in time and the
Hegemony committed the total resources of FORCE to defending the single, distant, colonial world
of Hyperion, the Worldweb ran the terrible risk of suffering an Ouster attack elsewhere on the
perimeter, or-in a worst-case scenariohaving the barbarians actually seizing the farcaster and
penetrating the Web itself. The Consul fried to imagine the reality of armored Ouster troops
stepping through farcaster portals into the undefended home cities on a hundred worlds.
The Consul walked through the holo of Meina Gladstone, retrieved his glass, and went to pour
"You have been chosen to join the pilgrimage to the Shrike," said the image of the old CEO whom
the press loved to compare to Lincoln or Churchill or Alvarez-Temp or whatever other
preHegira legend was in historical vogue at the time. "The Templars are sending their treeship
Ydrasi1I," said Gladstone, "and the evacuation task force commander has instructions to let it
pass. With a three-week time-debt, you can rendezvous with the Yggdrasill before it goes
quantum from the Parvati system. The six other pilgrims chosen by the Shrike Church will be
aboard the treeship. Our intelligence reports suggest that at least one of the seven pilgrims is an agent of the Ousters. We
do not . at this time - . have any way of knowing which one it is"
The Consul had to smile. Among all the other risks Gladstone was taking, the 01d woman had to
consider the possibility that he was the spy and that she was fatlining crucial information to an
Ouster agent. Or had she given him any crucial information? The fleet movements were
detectable as soon as the ships used their Hawking drives, and if the Consul were the spy, the
CEO's revelation might be a way to scare him off. The Consul's smile faded and he drank his
"Sol Weintraub and Fedmahn Kassad are among the seven pilgrims chosen," said Gladstone.
The Consul's frown deepened. He stared at the cloud of digits flickering like dust motes around
the 01d woman's image. Fifteen seconds of fatline transmission time remained.
"We need your help," said Meina Gladstone. "It is essential that the secrets of the Time Tombs
and the Shrike be uncovered. This pilgrimage may be our last chance. If the Ousters conquer
Hyperion, their agent must be eliminated and the Time Tombs sealed at all cost. The fate of the
Hegemony may depend upon it."
The transmission ended except for the pulse of rendezvous coordinates. "Response?" asked the
ship's computer. Despite the tremendous energies involved, the spacecraft was capable of
placing a brief, coded squirt into the incessant babble of FTL bursts which tied the human
portions of the galaxy together.
"No," said the Consul and went outside to lean on the balcony
railing. Night had fallen and the clouds were low. No stars were visible. The darkness would
have been absolute except for the intermittent flash of lightning to the north and a soft
phosphorescence rising from the marshes. The Consul was suddenly very aware that he was, at
that second, the only sentient being on an unnamed world. He listened to the antediluvian night
sounds rising from the
swamps and he thought about morning, about setting out in the
Vikken EMV at first light, about spending the day in sunshine,
about hunting big game in the fern forests to the south and then
returning to the ship in the evening for a good steak and a cold beer.
The Consul thought about the sharp pleasure of the hunt and the equally sharp solace of solitude:
solitude he had earned through the pain and nightmare he had already suffered on l-lyperion.
The Consul went inside, brought the balcony in, and sealed the ship just as the first heavy
raindrops began to fall. He climbed the spiral staircase to his sleeping cabin at the apex of the
ship. The circular room was dark except for silent explosions of lightning which outlined
rivulets of rain coursing the skylight. The Consul stripped, lay back on the firm mattress, and
switched on the sound system and external audio pickups. He listened as the fury of the storm
blended with the violence of Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries." Hurricane winds buffeted the
ship. The sound of thunderclaps filled the room as the skylight flashed white, leaving
afterimages burning in the Consul's retinas.
Wagner is good only for thunderstorms, he thought. He closed his eyes but the lightning was
visible through closed eyelids. He remembered the glint of ice crystals blowing through the
tumbled ruins on the low hills near the Time Tombs and the colder gleam of steel on the Shrike's
impossible free of metal thorns. He remembered screams in the night and the hundred-facet,
ruby-and-blood gaze of the Shrike itself.
The Consul silently commanded the computer to shut off all speakers and raised his wrist to
cover his eyes. In the sudden silence he lay thinking about how insane it would be to return to
Hyperion' During his eleven years as Consul on that distant and enigmati world, the mysterious
Church of the Shrike had allowed a dozen barges of offworld pilgrims to depart for the windswept barrens, around the Time Tombs, north
of the mountains. No one had returned. And that had been in normal times, when the Shrike had
been prisoner to the tides of time and forces no one understood, and theanti-entropic fields had
been contained to a fewdozen meters" around the Time Tombs. And there had been no threat of air
The Consul thought of the Shrike, free to wander everywhere on, Hyperion, of the millions of
indigenies and thousands of Hegemony citizens helpless before a creature which defied physical laws and which communicated only
through death, and he shivered despite the warmth of the cabin.
The night and storm passed. Another stormfront raced ahead of the approaching dawn.
Gymnosperms two hundred meters tall bent and whipped before the coming torrent. Just before
first light, the Consul's ebony spaceship rose on a tail of blue plasma and punched through
thickening clouds as it climbed toward space and rendezvous. --This text refers to the paperback edition.
- File Size : 1838 KB
- Print Length : 483 pages
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Publisher : Spectra; 1st Edition (January 12, 2011)
- Publication Date : January 12, 2011
- ASIN : B004G60EHS
- Language: : English
- Enhanced Typesetting : Enabled
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #6,554 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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I bought Hyperion impulsively because of its "brilliant, transcendent" etc reviews, which I happened upon looking for more Neal Stephenson. I came so close to missing it! How many more wonderful books am I missing? How will I know? Why do I live in the middle of nowhere? ahem.
Buy this book if you love beautifully written sci-fi mystery.
The problem I have with this novel is that the writer tries to do too much with (what is obvious by middle of the book) the first in a series. It becomes more evident with each turn of the page that, with seven protagonists, there are just too many stories to flesh out and still follow the story arc as set out in the beginning of the book. While there is one of the seven who is supposed to be the prime focus of the tale he never really achieves a central place in the telling.
Artistically I found myself nonplussed at the fact that all of the main characters, in turn, tell their own back stories, ostensibly, in their own voice. Unfortunately Mr. Simmons does a poor job of varying from his own style, or removing his own voice from theirs. This results in a certain homogeneity of the stories, even though each one is significantly different and unique.
When I cast my thoughts back near the end of the novel I found it hard to differentiate where one characters story left off and anothers began, the prose used was just too similar, and should have been as varied as the people telling them.
So we have, basically, a collection of short stories from completely different characters and perspectives, yet all told in the same voice, and woven into the same story arc. It's an interesting concept that could've been done better by taking more risks.
By letting our heros speak in their own voices instead of speaking through them in the authors voice these characters could've been much deeper and more engrossing.
Worse yet the author ends the novel abruptly in a ridiculous scene that's lifted right from a famous kid-lit fantasy story's middle! This weird left turn of an ending has the feel of an editors interference, possibly chopping up a too long novel into two, leaving the first with an inexplicable, maddening, mess of an ending!
There is no denouement, no satisfactory wrap-up at all. In fact I believe the publisher just arrogantly assumes that you'll be compelled to buy the next book in the series.
Frankly, I'm not sure that I will.
C. M. Thanks for reading. :^)
I usually try to avoid this kind of review but seriously. Save your time and money.
Read this, and then the others. You won't regret it.
Top reviews from other countries
It just doesn't matter though. Having rolled my eyes at all the sci-fi nonsense in the first chapter, I found myself drawn in and read half the book in one sitting. It follows a Generation X style format where characters take turns to tell their own stories and each story is fascinating. The characters feel very different, their stories really do seem to come from different narrators. Some are pulpy and exciting, others are really touching.
The end is a bit disappointing, it is basically put off to be dealt with in the second book. However, this first entry in the series is so well written that reading the next one was necessity for me anyway.
I’m giving this a five star rating, but it’s only a borderline one. The reason is something any every sci-fi author should beware: time travel does not work. It never does. It creates plot holes and inconsistencies. Fortunately this doesn’t get too much in this book. It gets a lot worse in the next three.
Simmonds weave a mystery around an enigma that slowly unfolds like a rubik cube. Epic scale and gargantuan stakes are at play with the fate of the mega billions of humans, A.I.'s potentially resting in the hands of seven unlikely pilgrims.
I cannot wait to read its sequel. And neither shall you.
Truely, Hyperion is science fiction epic and an automatic classic of the genre.