Review: Hyperion

Review: HyperionHyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1) by Dan Simmons
Published by Bantam Spectra on January 1st 1970
Pages: 482
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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.
A stunning tour de force filled with transcendent awe and wonder, Hyperion is a masterwork of science fiction that resonates with excitement and invention, the first volume in a remarkable new science fiction epic by the multiple-award-winning author of The Hollow Man
From the Paperback edition.


I don’t think I’ve ever read a novel that made me feel swindled–until Hyperion. I picked up this sci-fi novel because I was fascinated by the mystery surrounding the godlike Shrike. What is it? Why do people worship it? And why go on a pilgrimage to confront something referred to as the “God of Pain?” Just what was the Shrike’s plan—to save the world or to destroy it? Those were just a few of my questions. To my dismay, none of them were answered.

Instead, I found myself reading what amounted to a book of short stories. The pilgrims on the quest to meet the Shrike, shared their stories. They hoped to find a connection in their pasts that would reveal why they were chosen for their current dangerous quest. They also anticipated that this exchange of stories would reveal which one of their number was actually a spy.
Expecting them to meet the Shrike and get some definitive answers, I slogged through the short stories. A few of them were really interesting, but others were so bad that I ended up skimming them. And when I finally finished the last of the short stories, the characters went to sleep and the book ended. I really couldn’t believe it. The pilgrims didn’t even meet the Shrike, which I mistakenly thought the book was about in the first place.
I suppose this ending (which I won’t call a cliffhanger because it was in no way suspenseful), was supposed to make me want to rush out and buy the sequel, but I’m afraid that I’d get just another filler book, like Hyperion, that had so much potential, but fell flat. Ultimately, if you love sci-fi novels, maybe you will enjoy this book for what it is—a collection of short stories, without any real connection or ending.


Posted July 17, 2015 in Book Reviews, Science Fiction

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