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Publisher's Summary

On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it.

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.

Critic Reviews

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)

What members say

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The Shrike Awaits. Enter The Time Tombs...

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!

137 of 150 people found this review helpful

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  • Lore
  • SAN JOSE, CA, United States
  • 05-05-12

Excellent start to a series that finds religion.

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.

125 of 142 people found this review helpful

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  • Nancy
  • Brigantine, NJ, United States
  • 02-25-09

Bleak & Intense Sci-Fi

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.

53 of 60 people found this review helpful

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Brilliant and Well Crafted

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.

62 of 72 people found this review helpful

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  • aaron
  • los angeles, CA, United States
  • 04-28-12

A LESSON in How to Write Smart, Dark, ADULT SciFi

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.

55 of 64 people found this review helpful

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More than a book

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.

45 of 54 people found this review helpful

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I understand why it's a classic, but...

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!

16 of 19 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • Yamhill, OR, United States
  • 03-08-11

Astonishingly good

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.

58 of 72 people found this review helpful

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  • Ingwe
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 04-03-13

Classic Sci-fi

Any additional comments?

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.

26 of 32 people found this review helpful

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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.

98 of 123 people found this review helpful

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  • Peter
  • 12-02-09

Inspired Sci-fi

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.

18 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. S. Gibson
  • 08-15-10

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.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • 09-18-09

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!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Sharon
  • 03-22-09

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. G. J. Walker
  • 11-10-09

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.

16 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 09-24-09


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!

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Sophia
  • 01-27-12

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Dean
  • 05-03-09


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.

12 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Mike
  • 06-04-17

No soul, no body and generally boring.

This book was disappointing, it generally waffled in ridiculous detail when supposed to be told from a first person story telling perspective. This broke the illusion of people telling their stories for me. I cared little for the characters and the plot was bordering on juvenile with a mysterious boogie monster and random recounting of gratuitous sex to perk the audience out of their bored slumber.
The voice performances were very good and well maintained the different personas. It's not their fault the story was rubbish.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 01-21-17

Brilliant Story Let Down By Monotone Narration

Would you listen to Hyperion again? Why?

No. I'd prefer to listen to the other books in the series. I also found the main narration to be boring and monotone. It was just the strength of the story that held my attention.

What did you like best about this story?

The separate story lines are all unique and very engaging. Thankfully they also gave my ears a break from the main narrator as they were narrated by different voice actors.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?

Everything! The main narration is so monotone I almost stopped listening to the book. I decided to give the book until the end of the first mini story (which starts at about the 2 hour mark) before deciding if the entire book was a lemon. Luckily, the first story was very enjoyable and after that the other voice actors who narrated the other stories really saved the audio for me. Had I stopped listening I would have missed out on a very good book.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The first narration from a different voice actor!

Any additional comments?

I think this book could have been so much better with a different narrator (such as R.C. Bray). With better narration I would have given 5 stars across the board. The other narrators were very good I just didn't like the main narration.

6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Sasha
  • 10-28-17


Solid performances from the cast, wonderful writing, but just remember, if you get this book, you're in it for the long haul - the narrative is not even close to being wrapped up in just this book and you basically have to get the next in the series. But that's not to say it isn't satisfying. It's moving and thought-provoking, but there's no escaping the fact that it's kinda only half a book. Oh, and there's a looot of backstories. Like the whole book is a couple of backstories.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • 09-21-17

A favourite

Where does Hyperion rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Hyperion is hands down favourite novels. Every time I read (or listen) it just reveals another layer of its depth.

Who was your favorite character and why?

No single character of Hyperion is my favourite, they're all an interwove mesh of personalities which form the story.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The mixed voiced actors is done fantastically in this production. Usually I find mixed narrator's disjointing, but in this case, not at all.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The themes found in Hyperion are heavy. Much of them will stick with you forever as this oppressive weight on your chest. Genuine horror.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Tom
  • 12-13-16


good book. 10/10
would certainly doop again.
apparently based of Canterbury Tales?
this review requires a minimum of twenty words.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-21-18

This book is absolutely stunning.

Dan Simmons is a god amoung men. I read this book 4 years ago and it has never left me. I thought listening to this would do the book an injustice but the narration is incredible.
Bravo to all those involved in the production.

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  • Hagahoonda
  • 12-13-17

Great story, great performance

Really enjoyed this one. Performance was great as well with multiple actors for the main characters.

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  • Joe
  • 07-28-17

Just too slow.

The story is brilliant. I hung on till after the priests story, but after that, the book was painstakingly slow. I would compare it to 'restless leg syndrome' While I was engrossed in the story, I just kept wanting something to happen.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-22-16


intricate, well performed and so many great ideas put together effortlessly. Highly recommended for civilization scifi enthusiasts.

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  • Janon
  • 09-01-16

Great Audio book!

wasn't expecting much from the description bug was very pleasantly surprised. I've had this on my wishlist for years and finally took the plunge and enjoyed every second of it.
Compelling Sci-fi with compelling story telling and great characters and interesting technology.
So Good! total recordation

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  • Christopher
  • 08-06-16

Great story

loved the book and it was enhanced by the great performances by the voice talent.

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  • The Talent
  • 02-13-16

What a book!

I don't know if I've ever "read" a book quite like this. The author doesn't just tell you the story, he immerses you in velvet with every word and drives daggers into heart. It was beautiful and horrific and breathtaking and thrilling - all at the same time.

The actors portrayed the story well. It's a shame they didn't remain the same in the next in the series.