These two books form a mammoth first part to an epic series by Dan Simmons. Hyperion follows a group of seven people -The Consul, a detective, a poet, a soldier, a scholar, a priest, and the captain of the tree ship on which they are travelling – on a pilgrimage to Hyperion, where the Time Tombs are located, where they will, inevitably, encounter a mythical creature, worshiped by some, feared by almost everyone else, called The Shrike.
Borrowing from the structure and form of Geoffery Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, each character shares their tale. The second one, The Fall of Hyperion, follows them as they navigate the challenging landscape of Hyperion, and the Time Tombs under the shadow of the Shrike, and the impending Ouster Invasion, and its consequences.
Both the books are mindbogglingly brilliant.
What I love about them is how different both of them are from each other; the first is divided into stories detailing the past lives of the pilgrims before the came onto the Tree Ship. And each story has a different genre to it, and each story shows their connection to the Shrike, and Hyperion. My personal favourite is the Scholar’s tale, where he talks about his daughter, who was conducting her research at one of the time tombs, The Sphinx, and due to some anomaly, she has started ageing backwards, and because of that the scholar and his wife have to take care of their daughter again.
The sequel, and the reason I’m reviewing them together, picks up where Hyperion left-off; Hyperion ends on a sort of cliffhanger, and a revelation that not all would expect. Hyperion leaves all our characters in a state of confusion, danger, and mistrust, and this is just the beginning of their journey. The Fall of Hyperion, as opposed to Hyperion, switches perspectives between the pilgrims, and Gladstone, as she prepares for the Ouster Invasion.
The second one has some twists that one wouldn’t expect, and it is perhaps the better one of the two.
I had been putting off reading this series for a very long time, only due to its immense size and the epic proportions of the book. It is definitely a Herculean task that you’d undertake reading this series; by no means is this an easy read. But every moment you spend reading this series, it is worth it, because of the rich atmosphere and the diverse world that Simmons creates. It’ll be very easy to get lost in world.
(P.S. I love the concept of time debt that is introduced, and, basically, all the technology thrills me and the little nuggets of sciencey explanation makes me very happy.)
Also, in some ways, the are some Shakespearean undertones to the characters and I love that about them.
This is one amazing book, and any self-respecting Sci-fi fan should read it, and enjoy it.
I’m currently reading the third book, Endymion, and subsequently, I’ll proceed to The Rise of Endymion, both of which take place several centuries after the events of Hyperion/The Fall of Hyperion.