Dan Simmons

This one has a far different structure than the previous book. It introduces two new point-of-view characters, a cybrid of John Keats and the president of Hegemony, Meina Gladstone. Cybrid is an artificial intelligent made from the memories of John Keats in a human body. The parts where the cybrid is the POV character are written in first person and present tense. The parts were Gladstone is the POV person are in third person and in past tense. When the cybrid sleeps, he can see what is happening to the pilgrims on Hyperion and this is written from one pilgrim’s POV in third person and present tense. This might seem messy but I hardly even noticed the tense shifts when I was reading.

We get to know lots of more about the characters, the plot to destroy humankind and who are actually behind it, about the TechnoCore, Ousters, and the Shrike itself. Even though this is a sequel to Hyperion I feel that it might be possible to read it without reading Hyperion because there is quite a lot of recapping. However, I think that the first book was better so it might not be worth it.

While this was also a good book, I didn’t like it as much as the first one. I also realized that these days I feel rather impatient with chapters that end in cliffhangers when there are multiple POV characters. I was very much tempted to just skip the chapters with the new POV characters. However, my brother said that I would have missed some of the plot if I had and he was right.

All in all, I rather enjoyed the two books. According to my brother the Endymion books aren’t as good so I’m not likely to read them. I might read something else from him, though.

My brother urged me to read this one and he was right. Hyperion is down-right literature. It built much like Cantebury tales or Decameron (or Sandman: World’s End) where several people tell their own tales inside the story. I happen to love this structure.

Seven pilgrims are on their way to the planet Hyperion while their galaxy is going to war against the Ousters. The seven people don’t know each other and so one of them suggests that they should tell each other why they have been granted the right to be on the pilgrimage. They’re going to see the Time Tombs and the mysterious Shrike who is apparently destined to end the whole human race. Most of the book is about their stories. Their journey advances between the stories.

All of the stories have a distinct feel about them; some are told in first person and some on third. There’s a touching story about parents’ life and sacrifices for their child and a hard boiled intergalactic detective story. Two of the stories have intimate connection with time: in one of them a woman ages backwards or rather gets younger as time goes by and on the other a pair of lovers are separated through time because one of them has to travel in hibernation from planet to planet. The first story is told through diary excerpts.

I liked all to stories even though some of them didn’t really seem to have much relevance for their main quest. The whole doomsday cult with the Shrike is very interesting and I also find it interesting that it could have risen to power at all. That so many people are apparently fascinated by the end of the human race.

On the other hand, it has far too few female characters and whole tone of the book was pretty pessimistic. And the ending was just not cool.

The Ousters were very interesting and well done. At first they reminded me of the Reavers from short-lived but excellent tv-series Firefly (I even got the Reaver music playing in my head when they first appeared) but they turned out to have a culture of their own.

Luckily, my brother has the next book in the series.