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Olympos Hardcover – June 28, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 207 customer reviews
Book 2 of 2 in the Ilium Series

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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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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: 6.1 x 1.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (207 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #507,498 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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