I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
Please get your Shrike on.
This SF novel absolutely surpassed my expectations. I loved the framing (see: The Canterbury Tales); loved the multiple styles and voices; loved the complexity; and loved the characters. There were times when I could hear echos of Isaac Asimov's The Foundation Trilogy and Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles. Anyway, it was brilliantly executed BIG S, Big F, Science Fiction.
My taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
I IGNORE RELIGIONS, I DO NOT SUCCUMB TO THEM
Twice, maybe thrice, I have endeavored to devour this Odyssey of Dan Simmons (modern day Keats). Hark, soon my AMBIGUITY of this PARODY, BEFUDDLES me, leading to REMORSE and the chore becomes PERFUNCTURY. Simmons has a huge following, of which I have a good friend who still reads the hardback copies. He seems to be more preferred by the scholarly types. Tastes differ and I usually find Simmons to be too long winded. Followers of the Octopus or the lounging man will eat this up. My tastes lead more to the simpler and faster, as anyone who follows me knows. I am the king of sophomoric reviews about sophomoric books. You know which camp you fall in. Having said that, I really did try.
I really tried to like this book. Based on the reviews, I bought all 4 books of the series. At the end of the first book, I disliked all the characters and could not care less what happened. The other 3 books will remain unread.
I'm a voracious reader who unfortunately spends a lot of time on the road. Audiobooks make my life a lot better.
I wanted to like this book so much. I love long books, I love a series of long books. Overall, however, I'm very disappointed. Simmons is a very good writer, uses language well, etc. I don't mind the sex scenes, although they seem at times gratuitous and don';t add much to the characters, and may just be a bit much. The pilgrim's individual stories, for the most part, were good and, as another reviewer said, one (in my case the story of Rachel growing younger and losing her memories) was very emotionally moving for me. And I agree that one of the stories (the last one, I think) was a bit confusing and not very interesting. I frequently felt like I was not paying as close attention as I wanted to, and finally realized that what kept running through my head was "When does the REAL story start?" It does seem like this is a giant "back story" telling how these characters got to where they are presently. I would have preferred at least starting the action with what (I presume) is in the second book, and then flashback to these backstories, but that is a personal preference.
The ending is not what I'd want, but I guess the author and all the readers knew a sequel (or many) were coming. It didn't disappoint me nearly as much as Stephen King's ending to the Dark Tower series, but then again I enjoyed every single thing in the Dark Tower series EXCEPT the ending, so it's a little different matter.
I'm putting any further downloads of this series on hold for the moment. I might actually re-listen to part or all of Hyperion (fast-forwarding occasionally) and then decide if I want more.
This series tries to combine an examination of weighty issues - such as individual vs collective good, the relationship between human and artificial intelligence, the question of what humans might evolve into, religion vs state - while at the same time providing an entertaining plot. It's successful enough for me to have thoroughly enjoyed both the print and audio versions. I like listening to long books with a bit of heft so this 4 volume series has been great.
Unlike many others commentators I didn't find the main narrator smooth sailing, though this might be a stylistic preference for the most part. He's not terrible, just that sometimes he sounds as though he's voicing a commercial. One major irritation was his failure to produce an English accent for the voice of John Keats - the attempt interferred with pleasurable listening of those parts (this is more of an issue in the next book than this one).
intellectual sci-fi of Clarkeian depth. truly a title that will be pertinent for generations.
as for the performances, they range from very good to annoyingly awful with Allyson Johnson's effort supporting the lower end.
Simply not on the level of other sci-fi greats. Lots of cool ideas, but... It's so drawn out only to end before the ending! Honestly, no disrespect to mr simmons, this book does not belong on anyone's top sci-fi lists, which is unbelievably where I heard about it.
After reading it way back when it was first published in print, I recently listened to the audiobook version and had pretty much the same reaction to it. I feel almost obligated to admire the author for his skillful weaving of a complex, multi-layered web of tales, all written in totally different styles, each of them contributing in an ingenious way to our understanding of the world that forms the backdrop to this story. Really, really well done, and I fully understand why this book is a sci-fi classic.
Alas, in the end it all sort of falls flat for me, a classic example of arts for art's sake. Some of the tales are gripping (Detective, Poet, Soldier, ) but the others just meander on without much purpose (in particular the Consul's tale). At times it feels like a sophomore in English studies trying to squeeze as many "big" words, as many memes as possible into a paragraph to impress the professor. If someone had seriously edited the book and cut 25% out, it would have been a masterpiece. Well, there's still the issue that it really ends just when it's about to become really interesting. I'm not huge fan of blatant cliffhangers books that leave essentially everything open and bring nothing to a (at least partial) conclusion.
The narration cast is outstanding. Having different characters narrated by different actors works extremely well here.The person reading the poet is brilliant!
I usually do not have a problem paying attention to audiobooks, but I found myself zoning in and out as these characters blathered on and on telling each of their stories. I don't know if it was the story or the performance, but I couldn't pay attention to this really, really long book. And, I love scifi.
There needed to be more feeling and action in the tone. It was very dull, boring and monotonous.
Not to me.