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Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos) Mass Market Paperback – February 1, 1990
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On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope--and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.
Praise for Dan Simmons and Hyperion
“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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Read this, and then the others. You won't regret it.
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.