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)
This novel is like an avalanche - starts slow and little confusing, but picks up speed and force as it moves forward. Wrapped in a stunning Sci-Fi backdrop, Hyperion is a story of a pilgrimage of a soul-
-A Priest who dedicated his life to finding a proof of his faith finds a massive cathedral that should revive Catholicism but turns out to be something else completely.
-A Soldier who is shaped and maimed by his military past, but not as much as by his love.
-A Poet that lost all vocabulary but 7 words because of a head trauma.
-A Scholar that must come to terms with the fact his daughter is aging backward, one day at a time.
-A Detective who falls in love with her client, an AI reincarnation of John Keats.
-A Consul who is not sure if survival of humanity is such a necessary thing.
Each story takes the reader to another world and together they weave together a wonderfully detailed tapestry of the imaginary universe.
The Priest's tale is presented as diary entries, the Poet's tale is told through lyrical prose, the military action-adventure-style story of Colonel Cassad is full of lasers and explosions, the Detective's story is a crime noir. Throughout each tale, one thing is evident: Dan Simmons is a terrific writer. Each style is well done (especially the Poet's tale), and even though there's so much variance in style, the novel always feels like a cohesive whole. And again, such heavy topics as individualism, love, parenthood, alcoholism, religion, morality, and art are all explored without a preachy voice.
Chorus of narrators in the beginning is quite jarring, especially because of ‘he said’ and ‘she said’ inserts in a different voice, but as the novel branches out into 6 personal stories, the reason for multiple narrators becomes more understandable.
Voice artists are terrific.
Hyperion is the tale of pilgrims on a voyage to the planet Hyperion with the intention of encountering The Shrike, a being of almost godlike power who is said to grant one pilgrim in a group their heart's desire. But as with the Canterbury Tales, this is just the framework upon which to hang six tangentially related short stories - the tale of the Priest, the Soldier, the Poet, the Scholar, the Detective and The Consul.
Each of the individual stories is told by the protagonist in their own voice. The Poet's tale is full of pompous farce, the Detective's Tale reads like a 31st-century Sam Spade mystery, and so on. Hanging over all the stories is the spectre of The Shrike and his mysterious homeworld, which have touched each of the travelers in some way.
Some of the stories are more captivating than the others, but together they weave a mesmerizing whole. And like the Canterbury Tales, the point of the book is not the resolution awaiting the travelers at their destination, but the stories they tell as they make their way. Uniquely structured, captivating, and well worth a listen.
Highly recommended visionary science fiction. Told in the style of Canterbury Tales where each character recounts their story as they travel. Their stories are superb and reveal both their characters and motives and progress the story. However unlike Canterbury Tales this is no comedy.
Be aware however that the story isn't finished at the end of this book in the series.
I'm planning on reading the rest, this is must listen material for those who like science fiction.
Hard to identify a favorite character and although they were all quite different through the depth of the story telling and characterization I identified with parts of each of them.
Damn fine narration although Allyson Johnson sounds more feminine and attractive than I imagine fits her tough character. A very minor point.
Who knows, but in the right hands what a fantastic film this could be.
There are alot of good scifi books
the first couple of hours
several hours in i had no clue what was going on and didn't care about any of the characters. DONE
The novel is a frame story; structured sort of like Canterbury Tales. The main characters proceed on a pilgrimage towards a deadly encounter with a kind of mythical creature which is alleged to come from the future to judge humanity. They each tell their tale in order to determine why it is that they were all chosen for the pilgrimage and to piece together the plot from their separate viewpoints. Each individual tale is quite compelling. Some emotionally moving, others exciting. The author allows the reader to almost survey various subgenres of SF within a single novel and a large, sophisticated fictional world. I found that aspect of the novel most enjoyable and original.
Each tale is narrated by a narrator assigned to that character. During the scenes of the frame story, the narrators play their roles in dialog. When the character proceeds to tell his tale, the narration completely becomes the domain of that character's narrator. All of these narrators are extremely talented. I felt they greatly added to this audiobook. They took what really is an amazing novel and elevated it a great deal more.
The novel has a most excellent balance between plot and character. While it is largely character driven, and the true drama is almost certainly existential and philosophical, the author provides plenty of action to drive the story forward, especially in the more action-oriented characters.
The tale of the priest is theological SF. The tale of the military colonel is told in military SF. The tale of the poet is horror SF. The tale of the detective is pure cyberpunk. The tales of the scholar and consul are forms of time travel SF, but in the case of the consul, includes aspects of spy and mystery novels. All of these tales are seamlessly woven together in a frame plot that I found equally as compelling as the tales it frames. I rarely have encountered a novel structured in this way where the frame was anything more than thin bookends for the individual tale.
The themes of all these tales are intensely existential and speak to the human condition. They deal in human pain and grief in several contexts and aspects of life. Each of these griefs do in the end weave together to make a kind of sense.
I highly recommend this to hard SF readers who enjoy complex, intellectual plots and deep characters.
When I first starting listening to this book, I thought OMG what have I purchased, this is terrible. However, I persevered through the first chapter and then it captured my attention and the story has grown on me. I am now enjoying the story. It is not however, the kind of story that I cannot put down.
too many concepts that are simply not explained and so you begin to skim read gleaning the bare bones of the story, letting the rest go. This prevents me from becoming immersed in the story.
I enjoyed the narrators
The Depth the writer goes to to explain the world around him in the tiniest of details he goes to to portray the image of the time. Most impressed
Without any doubt this book equals the "The Reality Dysfunction" by Peter F Hamilton. Till Hyperion, was in my opinion the greatest Scifi I have ever read.
The World an the life going on in it. I think this statement explains it well enough because the narrator has done such a good job that its all that needs saying.
Definitely yes, was hard to go to sleep at night while listening to it, because I wanted just "five more minutes"
A must have addition to anyone's lib, an cant recommend it enough.
I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.
Reading is a different experience, couldn't be "better or worse", but what I will say is that the production was spectacular. The only other audible production I can compare it to is Dune. It was just great from the main narrator to the different characters just great. I wouldn't have enjoyed a movie more, which I think is a better comparison.
Rachel has to be one of the most interesting and compelling characters I have encountered. A close second would be Father Hoyt...all in all the character development is very well done.
I have not, but he (they) did an awesome job.
"go listen to the audible version first, they did it better"
Simmons is just a great writer, I would compare him to Arthur C. Clarke and Ursula LeGuin.. He is descriptive, develops characters very well and presents a multi layered story that draws you in. the basic story premise is based on systems theory, religion, poetry and a complex science fiction space opera. Detractors will maintain that Simmons spend too much time describing minute items. But I enjoy getting lost in the details of a good story so I personally enjoy that. I plan on listening to the remainder of the series. I cannot say enough about the production and overall delivery of this great book. My favorite (besides Dune and the Dispossessed) on audible in the SciFi category thus far. Thanks!
I'm a Hard SF & Space Opera-loving, alien android from the future. I bring gifts of SciFi eBooks & accessories for your leader's Kindle. Take me to him/her/it.
I really enjoyed the story structure of 6 separate character back-stories being told, and the reader being left to perform the synthesis. It was rewarding to find small areas where one or more of the back-stories referenced one another, and impressive how each was told in a truly unique style & voice. One of the back-stories, for example, is an homage to the hard-boiled private investigator noir played out across multiple worlds linked by public instant teleportation system. Another story is practically devoid of any fast-paced action altogether while it explores the slow-motion heartache of very personal drama within one family losing their daughter to a mysterious ailment. Naturally, all readers will prefer one or more of the storylines while finding others less engaging, but I won't opine here, as it seems there is intentionally something provided for all readers. There is an interwoven theme of literary appreciation that I feel I would have appreciated more if I had more familiarity with 19th-century poetry, but it doesn't prevent one from enjoying the SF. One distraction I found in the multiple narrations was how equally eloquent and poetic they all seemed despite their varied origins. An example of this would be the overly patient and floral detail given to the language of a lowly space construction worker from the final back-story narrative. Still, I found the layering of detail that resulted from hearing the tales sequentially was gripping and made each moment more urgently interesting than the last. I disagree with the opinion that the novel is indigestible in isolation from its sequel by the simple fact that I could quite contentedly walk away from the series after just this first book (although I doubt I will). Unresolved mysteries and cliffhanger endings are commonplace in short stories and novelettes, which I read voraciously, and focus the attention instead to the concept questions, rather than the answers. What would it be like to watch your child age in reverse, knowing each day brings her closer to oblivion? How does one maintain a relationship when travel at relativistic speeds causes one partner to age at a vastly different pace than the other? How must a homogenous human society that erases the cultural distinctness of each new colony world it incorporates appear to another branch of humanity that avoids the comfortable familiarity with planet-based life for one between the stars? Can the ancient authority of religious tradition, in this case Judaism and Catholicism, be maintained in a post-diaspora following the destruction of Earth and it's Holy Lands? The great ambition of this novel is to tie together such disparate storylines in a way which feels quite natural to the reader, and to provide a universe big enough to accommodate them all believably. In that regard, Hyperion is quite successful, and remains a wholly enjoyable stand-alone work.
I first read Hyperion when I was a teenager (and when I'd never heard of John Keats), and I was wondering if it would still hold up (and whether it's more fun if you've read some Keats). The answer is yes!
At first I was doubtful. The first chapter is very awkward because the 5 voice artists are conversing with each other and there are irksome pauses between their lines that should have been edited out - it sounds very stilted.
But hang on in there, because the meat of "Hyperion" is the five lengthy tales told by individual narrators, and this is where the novel really takes hold. Each of the stories is wonderfully engrossing and moving, and each evokes the novel's many worlds and societies in thrilling detail. They are little masterpieces of storytelling and each could stand alone in their own right; but linked together, they illuminate and develop each other beautifully. As the novel comes to its close, you realize that it's a masterpiece of formal perfection. Despite ending on a cliffhanger it's entirely satisfying.
The only disappointment for me was the reader of the Brawne Lamia tale, whose voice lacks the emotional depth of the other readers, and who lumbers the pivotal character of Johnnie with a truly awful attempt at a British accent. The other readers are all wonderful though.
This is one of the great science fiction novels and well worth a listen.
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