It was an interesting story, but sort of morose. I found it mostly depressing and the actions of many of the characters unbelievable. Still, it had certain appeal in that it explored thoroughly the extremes to which the diverging attitudes of humanity might lead us. And it is an excellent warning against isolationism.
I feel like all these books end abruptly. I guess that is what you get when you take a huge book and break it into 4 parts. I long for the ways of french romanticist literature when a 1400 page book like the Count of Monty Cristo got published commonly. Anyway. It is good. Though I noticed that whoever put the cover art together spelled Conciliator wrong (or the people who listed it on audible did, either way someone screwed up).
There seems to be a general misconception that this book is somehow attacking the right wing political agenda. I can tell you as a republican/libertarian, that nothing could be further from the truth. This book praises small government and self determination which are supposed to be two of the main goals of the right. Nor does Steele attack southern culture, if anything I believe that naming the man who rebels against the tyranny of the unjust government portrayed here in after Robert E. Lee is, if anything, high praise. Just because he calls the oppressive single party of the government of the former united states the "Liberty Party" does not mean he is attacking the right. Steele seeks to demonstrate that any government which embraces a single ideology and openly condemns all others will tend towards repression and the abuse of power. I think one of the strongest arguments for this intent comes from later in the book where the characters encounter a single ideology communist government (no better than the liberty party's republic), but I don't want to spoil it for you.
I think the story is really good, some of the writing is a little unsophisticated for my tastes (but I'm spoiled by writers like Heinlein, Asimov, Herbert, Simmons, Clark etc), mainly it seems toned down on vocabulary to reach a broader audience. The book is well read, and as I say the story is very compelling. I'd say this is a solid 4 star audio book.
I would give Hyperion 4.5 stars, but I feel obligated to give 5 if just to offset these science fiction appreciation challenged fools. Sure, Hyperion ends abruptly. What publisher do you know that lets you publish a 1200 page novel? This is one of the best science fiction books of all time, I know, I've made a side career of reading Scifi. I would say the list goes something like this: Dune, Enders Game, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, Hyperion, the Mote in God's Eye, the Fall of Hyperion. Read it, listen to it, but don't stop with it, finish up with the Fall of Hyperion as well. The books are really fantastic (not a huge fan of Endymion and Rise of Endymion but they tie up the series nicely). Seriously, if there is one writer today whose work compares to that of the "Golden Age" writers, it is Dan Simmons. This book is mostly character development, but it is great character development.
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