In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. 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.
©1989 Dan Simmons; (P)2008 Audible, Inc.
Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1990
Locus Award, Best Novel, 1990
"Dan Simmons has the Midas touch: Every genre he writes - whether SF, horror, mystery, historical, or thriller - he turns to gold. Hyperion and The Fall Of Hyperion set a new standard for grand-scale science fiction." (Kevin J. Anderson, author of The Saga of Seven Suns)
"Dan Simmons was a star from the outset. It was the Hyperion books that made him a superstar. The man, quite simply, is what we in the trade call a writer's writer." (Mike Resnick, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author)
Each of [the pilgrim's] stories would make a superb novella on its own. (The New York Times Book Review, Gerald Jonas)
Let's face it, these authors aren't paying me, so there's no need to lie!!
First off, this review pertains only to THIS book. I have no idea how the rest of the books in this series are. As many reviews point out, this book is really only a prologue to the 2nd book. This one sets up the incredible characters that will take you through that one.
This book is the way that adult SciFi should be. It doesn't skirt the edges of "PG-rated" SciFi, like so many authors feel the need to in this genre. It knows it's a twisted dark animal, and it's not afraid to lick the toilet. The characters are very real, and incredibly flawed. Each has their own story, which is compelling, imaginative, and unique.
The world Simmons sets up is very believable. For the most part, he uses current science to back up the future technology he's woven into the story. He takes very few liberties with "fantasy crap SciFi", which I have to admire. If you're an intelligent adult, with a pension for science, then this is your kind of SciFi. Trust me, it doesn't get much better than this!
This book certainly makes me want to read the rest of the books in this series. The only reason the narrators got 4 stars instead of 5 is because the girl's voice was, at times, not that great. Also, the fact that there are multiple narrators was a little jarring at certain points.
I read this series back in its first published hardcovers, so I look at this book with a judgmental eye - Is it a worthy listen, and its subsequent writings? Here's my take on this audiobook.
This is outstanding scifi, to the point. It reminds me of "The Mote In God's Eye," in its depth, solid character backstories and various perspectives. As in the mentioned comparison, this is complex storytelling that makes you consider as you listen. Each character has purpose and propels the story along, often in unexpected ways. This is THOUGHTFUL scifi, with tremendous respect for the reader's/listener's time, intellect, and maturity. If you want pulp scifi, go listen to Heinlein - This one's for those hungry for a story with meat on its bones, one that makes you want more. One that makes you want to listen to it again, in case you missed something important, and that's quite possible, with this fantastic scifi audiobook.
What's it all about, you ask? Again, Audible listener, I give only hints in reviews, neither plots nor spoilers here. Here's a taste of what your hear...
Knights Templar traveling across the galaxy in living trees. A undying priest carries
a nightmarish secret from an abandoned zombie-like congregation, a woman becomes younger each day, and races to beat the clock, literally. A virtual reality-trained military leader seeks the love of a woman haunting him in his computer-driven landscape. A drunken writer seeks the final and ultimate story. A spacefaring horde, soon to arrive in the known space of man, to conquer and enslave the billions that fear their arrival. And of course, they all seek the Shrike, a man-shaped judge and jury covered in blades, riding the currents of the time tombs, bringing death to most, and life to some.
And that just scratches the surface.
These various stories and their perspectives come together to create a great tale, and you'll definitely want more.
The narration team does a good job to bring this audiobook to life - If you read my other reviews, you know I'm BRUTAL on narrators. The can make or break the author's work. So, "good" is high praise coming from me.
All in all, this is an audiobook that you'll like.
So the Shrike awaits. Enter the Time Tombs, Audible listener, and be judged!
After reading the other reviews of this book, I am compelled to submit my own. First, this is a very well crafted science fiction classic. It creates an entire future universe that is both plausible and fascinating. Second, the story and characters are well developed, intriguing and real. I highly recommend this book. I agree that the female narrator was initially irritating, but once her story begins, becomes more interesting and you get lost in her tale. Be warned however, this only one-half of the book. For complete closure, you will need to read The Fall of Hyperion. Read back to back, this is a brilliant tale of the future with real and unique characters and storyline. This book is well deserving of both the Hugo Award and Locus Award for Best Novel of 1990.
The first of two books in the series focuses on a universe where a far flung civilization is in decline. Seven disparate people embark on a reluctant pilgrimage to an ambiguous and malignant entity.
During the journey they tell their stories in an effort to puzzle out why they've been chosen, and how they can use their shared experiences to achieve their individual goals.
Wonderfully written characters make this bleak, intense book worth reading. But be forewarned, the experiences they share are dark! This is not a joyful read, but an extremely memorable one. Definitely a must for Sci-Fi fans.
Hey Audible, don't raise prices and I promise to buy lots more books.
I don't write separate reviews for books in a series. Especially here, where Hyperion has been called the prologue to the Fall of Hyperion (FoH), it's been intimated that the former cannot stand on its own and I agree. Some have compared and contrasted the two connoting that there is perhaps a lack of cohesion and that they are very dissimilar. To that end, I disagree. The "prologue" smoothly transitions into the main body of the work and feels completely natural. Taken together, the two seem very much a part of a cohesive whole.
I was skeptical that the stellar cast of narrators of Hyperion could be equaled by a single actor, albeit Victor Bevine in FoH. Mr. Bevine was phenomenal and I never, at any point in the listening, felt like the work was diminished.
It is good that I have listened to this author later in life. Having been brought up reading the classics of all genre of literature, it is often difficult to appreciate lesser works after having experienced the masters. Dan Simmons is a master when compared to authors of any genre. I have heard Simmons compared to Dickens. Truly in his development of characters, the comparison seems a fair one. It would be hard to compare the plot of this work to that of any other.
Often fraught with and characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions, the work is almost too much to be believed. But somehow Simmons makes it all believable for some time in the future. Unlike some classic, older SciFi which seemed futuristic when it was written but then later became seemingly dated, this piece is fresh, modern or hopefully even timeless. There's religion, technology, philosophy, excitement, a great deal of love and caring among seven pilgrim strangers and funny, now that I think about it, only one real villain in a world that is more vast than I can even imagine. This is truly a magnum opus in every sense of the word.
Dan Simmons creates an amazing future with interesting technology where man's impact on the universe has some pretty significant ramifications for their own survival. This book kicks off the series in fine style and keeps you interested right up until the very bizarro ending.
The main story arc is about a pilgrimage to a distant planet to visit the Time Tombs. As you listen you know there is a lot at stake on the pilgrimage and you try to put together the pieces of the puzzle as you learn about each of the characters. Each one has their own significant reason for going to Hyperion and the future of mankind will be impacted by the outcome.
You will have to pick up book 2 if you really want to know how that all turns out as this book abruptly ends after all the build up. I was a big fan right until the ending which felt severely out of place to me. Book two wasn't nearly as good and for me all the excellent build up was wasted.
As the series goes on it finds religion and that is when it started to lose me. Combine the extremely complicated world of the AIs with the focus on Christianity for the humans and I found myself wishing I was listening to something else. I wasn't offended by it, I just didn't find the whole religous aspect of the books to be that interesting. Sadly it became the major focus of the series and my enjoyment dropped off significantly. I did listen to all 4 books and I enjoyed the first and last books more than books 2 and 3.
I enjoyed the narration and liked the ensemble cast used in book 1.
The important thing to understand is that is the first part of series and in reality this book is little more than a prologue. That being said it is a gripping first chapter. The hyperion series is more than a story, it is a work of philosophical and religious fiction that explores the meaning of life and the universe. Don't take that to mean its not full of action, it is. This series has everything in it from medieval sword fights to massive space battles and the destruction of worlds.
At its heart this is the story of mankind's struggle for true transcendence. The plot is deep and convoluted involving substantial time travel and is its secrets cannot be fully understood until the last book. This is a work that you have to begin with some faith that at some point it will all make sense. Trust me, it does and the final revelation in The Rise of Endymion is remarkable.
Christians beware, this book may challenge many of your belifes in uncomfortable ways.
A great sci-fi story told in the "frame story" format. (Like Canterbury Tales.) Seven very different people are on a pilgrimage together to Hyperion and each of their back-stories unfolds the plot.
What I liked best about this story is that in addition to being a great story and setting, (common in good sci-fi/fantasy) the author happens to be a great writer (not so common even in good sci-fi/fantasy). You can tell that the author has a love of science and futurism but also a love of language and poetry. (References to Keats abound.)
Warning: When I started this book I thought it was a stand-alone novel. However, it ends abruptly and I'm told that the Fall of Hyperion finishes the story.
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.
This is not only a great story, well performed and well written. It is also particularly interesting for stepping through 6 different contrasting genres of writing extremely well. I loved this and would highly recommend it.
I loved this book. It is beautifully written with brilliant characterisation and a really good storyline. The format means that there are six interesting stories narrated by each of the main characters and these in themselves are well-constructed sci-fi. The over-arching story kept me interested throughout and made me immediately order the sequel "Fall of Hyperion", which I also read and loved. Very highly recommended to people who like the genre - it is one of the best of it's kind. Well read.
"Fantastic...but only as good as the narrators"
This story is probably one of the best sci fi books I have ever read (listened to!). The stories within the story are likewise fantastic.
The only reason I gave it 4 stars is that an audiobook is only as good as the narrator. This book is read by numerous narrators and the lady who narrates M. Brawne Lamia has one of the most annoying accents ever! It was more frustrating as Brawne Lamia is a really interesting character.
An exceptional book, a very good recording and an enjoyable and engrossing experience from beginning to end.
If you can find the time please try to read the book, but if that isn't possible then this is the next best thing, a story of stupefying complexity and subtlety.
The best thing is that the second book is as good if not better than the first, so enjoy.
"Wonderful Sci Fi"
This has got to be one of the best science fiction books I have read. The listener follows seven pilgrims who are on a quest to meet a mythical monster - the 'shrike' on the planet 'Hyperion'. Each pilgrim shares his story with the others, and each story is told in a different style which reflects the individuals' characters. The stories are sometimes harrowing, sometimes sensual and sometimes touching, but always riveting. Dan Simmons has created an incredible, multifaceted world (worlds!) with history, politics, mysticism and religion all mixed in. It is thoroughly captivating - buy 'The Fall of Hyperion' at the same time as you'll want to read on.
"A fantastic combination"
We all have our favourite authors and when listening to them as an audiobook we either fall more in love with them or end up slightly disappointed that they don't meet our expectations - we don't like the reader or it doesn't fire our imagination the same as with our own reading. With this in mind, when I have been selecting new authors, I have done so on the basis of comments people have made, playing a sample of the narrator and how well it has been rated here and elsewhere online.
Dan Simmons and Victor Bevine et al have been a find! This has book has depth in all sorts of unexpected areas and the narration is first rate. Lots of different themes are covered from different perspectives as the story unfold before you - you'll love some characters, hate others and see still others in a new way. It makes you think about certain things that are relevant and wonder how you might have chosen to deal with it.
I don't wish to give any plot away and I hope that you might discover this wonderful combination of first rate narration with a fantastic author.
"Brilliant and gripping story"
I've little to add to what previous reviewers have said except that this is a truly superb audiobook. I was gripped from the word go, and was engrossed right the way through despite the book's length. Probably in the top two or three audibooks I've listened to this year. Narration is excellent. Strongly recommended.
This is without doubt, the best series of books I have downloaded from Audible so far. Epic sci-fi with amazing characters that you will really feel for as the story unfolds. I had of course read the books a long time ago but hearing them brings a whole new dimension to the story, beautifully narrated by the reader, my only tiny complaint was some of the American pronounciation of word and names but it never gets in the way of the huge, complex, and very rewarding story. I've just finished listening to Fall of Hyperion and have to admit to tears in my eyes at certain points. About to start Endymion, plenty of tears to come as I remember. Highly recommended even if you don't like sci-fi!
"As fine a Science Fiction Novel as Dune"
Every so often you come across something really special when reading or listening. This is not "like" Dune There were times when listening the to this novel when the words flowed over the ear like quicksilver. It has real characters, great action and a unique storyline, it is complex but not obscure and it is epic without being pretentious. In short it is a real gem, listen to it!
On the book...
I really liked this book - and have recently finished listening to all of the series. Iain M Banks is still my favourite sci-fi author, but I'd listened to all of his audio books and wanted some more epic contemporary sci-fi and people seemed to recommend this - and rightly so. As a whole the story is definitely epic, has great characters and a really great story. In this one, the sex scenes were a bit perverse and unnecessary. I could see the idea he was going for with it - but it didn't play out well really and was pretty cheesy at times. Other than that, the story is really good and well worth reading.
I didn't really think much of the narrator - it sounded like English wasn't his first language maybe. He pronounced every single word - like 'to' and 'a' - fully, which - when you actually hear it done - is quite strange. He occasionally made little errors in pronunciation - saying the 'chasm' with a soft 'ch' sound - which is a bit weird - or maybe he just did the whole thing in one take without bothering to fix the error. He also pronounced 'Aargh' exactly as it is written, with a clear 'r' and then a hard 'g' sound on the end. No-one really says that when they scream - that's just obvious - again - weird. The thing I disliked the most though was his inability to portray anything other than a small range of emotions. Whenever he took on a woman's voice - there was one set tone - and any emotion - such as anger - was not portrayed at all - it was always just 'the soft woman tone'. The range of accents for the different characters was good - just a bit more attention to tone and emotion was needed.
"The Best Sci Fi Series in Audiotape"
This was an eye-opener! The whole series is exquisitely crafted and sensitively narrated and so good I hope it wins many many awards. The ONLY writer to rival Ian M Banks.
It takes just a little while to engage with the story, but then you realise that you are in love with this strange but fascinating world with astonishing yet poignant tales.
Highly addictive, I bought the whole series.
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