Hyperion, released in 1989, the Hugo Award winner reads more like a maze than a science fiction novel. Built with the frame story technique, following interconnected short stories. The individual tales told from unique perspectives, timelines, and styles. Within this SciFi the stories convey alternating genres from horror, thriller, or mystery. Hyperion reads like no other Science Fiction available.
The forefront plot follows a group of individual strangers on their pilgrimage to confront the powerful, mysterious, nightmarish, Shrike. As the group adventures through the planet Hyperion they recount their tales of what ties them to the metallic creature. Each story bringing the reader closer to understanding this Universe, technology, and monster.
This book took me so long to read. Not due to any lack of interest or failing to captivate me, but massive complexity. From the start there are references that I didn’t understand by the end. This future is intricately conceived and technically thought out. Leaving the reader to play catch up through the novel. As my read along buddy put it, this is not a book to read before bed. The massive scale and alternating settings can leave your head abuzz. There were points of my read through that I needed to take breaks to gather my understanding.
The scope of the book may be immense but by the end I had a working awareness of it all. What separates this book from others for me is the use of real world science. Time debts from deep space travel and unique planetary physics are just a couple examples of what Dan Simmons integrated. Not shying away from the technical workings of things. As oppose to a typical hand wave, like Star Wars where things work just because they are supposed to.
The characters were all so amazing. Again not the typical personalities, archetypes were set aside for this book. The individual tales explore the depths of each player. Dynamics of the group constantly changing as more and more is revealed. All the while aware that one of them is secretly a spy; a mysterious murder not helping their relationships. I did not love one character more than another which makes them feel more real.
Pushing my way through this circuitous story I began to worry. As the end approached and the climax was nearing overdue, I was concerned there would be no finite conclusion. Then within the last 10-20 pages the story blows up. The ending is mind blowing, poetic, and thought provoking. One of the most worth while conclusions of my reading history.
I recommend Hyperion for those looking for a deeper sort of science fiction story. The adventures and techniques make this a wild ride with bookish fulfilment. I feel like I read 7 books in one. It would slide into a 4 out of 5, and well worth the reading.
Thanks again booknerds, happy reading.