Hyperion

Hyperion

Dan Simmons

Doubleday

Hyperion, the first novel in the Hyperion Cantos, is exactly what science fiction should be.  Rather than focusing on the science of the science fiction, Dan Simmons seems most concerned with literary significance and poetic waxing.  Hyperion is set in the 28th century, after mankind has spread to the stars and colonized countless worlds including a backwater planet called Hyperion (named after John Keat’s epic poem that remained unfinished at the time of his death).  Hyperion exists as an unique anomaly among the known worlds, home to the puzzling labyrinth, the inexplicable time tombs and the enigmatic Shrike (a mechanical monster made of razor wire and blades that impales its victims on a massive metal thorn tree).  Hyperion follows the story of seven pilgrims as they travel to the time tombs and the Shrike on the eve of the universe’s destruction and the stories of how they arrived to that point.  Full of literary allusions, from Canterbury Tales (the story itself is a reimaging of the tales) to the works of John Keat, from detective noir of the ‘50’s to biblical fables.  With the multitude of inference to famous literature, the novel is just as appropriate to lovers of the humanities as it is to fans of science fiction.  Hyperion was the winner of both the Hugo and Locus awards for the year it was released, placing it on a level similar to science fiction classics Dune and Ender’s Game.

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