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)
But I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - J.D. 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.
I know, I know. Hyperion won the Hugo award. And the Locus award. And even a Finnish award! It enjoys many, many, many glowing reviews. Lots of good folks just love this book to death. I am not one of them, though. Sorry.
The basic outline of the plot is interesting. And the Canterbury Tales approach seemed promising at first. But all the melodramatic speeches, corny dialogue, weak characters, and general pretentiousness ruined it for me.
The characters are by and large stereotypes - the drunken poet, the heroic soldier, the hardboiled film noir detective, etc. I wanted to empathise with them, but couldn’t.
The frequent erudite and off-hand references to poetry, classical music (by composer name, of course), and other art and history at first made me want to gag. Eventually, though, it became funny. Here’s a sample of the cleverosity:
Beowulf and Grendel
M.C. Escher (referred to simply as “Escher”, of course)
Lincoln (actually, “Lincoln-esque”)
The Wizard of Oz
John Keats (over and over and over)
And the author never used a simple word when he could substitute a longer or more obscure one. Again, this got funny after a while. I seriously began to wonder if he was getting paid extra for every $50 word and uber-clever reference. Here are some of the gems:
nimbus (cloud or aura)
deity (a god)
lapis (deep blue)
I kept thinking of M*A*S*H’s Radar O'Reilly while he was taking a correspondence course in creative writing. Btw, “lapis” is a word that is normal people never use. But Dan Simmons likes it so much you hear it every ten pages or so. If you’re a college kid, try taking a shot each time you hear it!
I kept listening (at higher and higher speeds), hoping the book would redeem itself and justify all the positive reviews. But it never did. I was so relieved when it abruptly ended. And of course the ending is the kind of high-brow stuff you should be used to by that point.
As I said, many others love this book. If you love “literachoor” you’ll probably really enjoy it. Personally, I will not bother with the other books in this series or anything else by this author. And I’ll be returning this one
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
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.
This was really an enjoyable read, and some of the pilgrims' tales were utterly captivating. Narration is good, not great.
Highly recommended for those who can appreciate good storytelling and aren't looking for a run-of-the-mill thriller for those with short attention spans.
My thanks to audible for bringing this book to the audio format.
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).
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.
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.
I'll hold back the word great until I read the sequel and see how the author ties up the lose ends.
If you ever wondered if there was a literary place where The wizard of Oz, the Canterbury tales, and Rosencranz and Guildenstern are dead meet. There is and its here.
Simmons does an excellent job an area where most Sci Fi writers fall desperately short. He brings us into a complex future world and describes it to us while telling the story rather than taking breaks from the story to tell us how the technology, society and government function. (Orson Scott card really needs to study a book like this so he can avoid his characters annoying dialogs about how the magic or the science works, but I digress).
The story about the Pilgrims headed to certain death but they each work hard to get there, are they doing so of there own decision or have they been pawns of greater power. Is this their fate or can they alter their own destiny? They learn as they approach the inevitable they only have each other, hope and maybe even faith. Is there fate a senseless death? a final atonement? Retribution? an answer to an unknowable question, or maybe just maybe they will survive.
The book does try make a point against industrialism, and for conservationism toward the end, but its not overly political. Published in 1989 way before the Web, his insights into the "Data Sphere" and "commlogs" (read internet and google devices) is fascinating.
I found Allyson Johnson's performance to be lacking, the others were very good to outstanding.
The dialog goes back and forth between the various characters seamlessly, and the narrators give perfectly understated performances that bring across the characterisation without allowing it to take centre stage away from the stories.
And the story is why we're here and what a story it is.
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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
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.
"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!
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.