Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Ilium” as Want to Read:
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Ilium (Ilium #1)

3.99 of 5 stars 3.99  ·  rating details  ·  15,225 ratings  ·  656 reviews

The Trojan War rages at the foot of Olympos Mons on Mars— observed and influenced from on high by Zeus and his immortal family—and twenty-first-century professor Thomas Hockenberry is there to play a role in the insidious private wars of vengeful gods and goddesses. On Earth, a small band of the few remaining humans pursues a lost past and devastating truth—as four sentien

Paperback, 576 pages
Published August 7th 2003 by Gollancz (first published 2003)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Ilium, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Ilium

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
Seak (Bryce L.)
If someone were to describe this book to me (if they even could), I don't know if I would believe how much I absolutely enjoyed it. Dan Simmons is a mad genius.

Shakespeare-quoting humanoid robots, Greek Gods, post-humans, and old-style humans somehow make the craziest awesome story imaginable.

Ilium is a story told through essentially three unrelated viewpoints. First, there's Hockenberry. This is told in first person. Hockenberry is called a "Scholic," a human from our the 20th century (our time
Jonathan Cullen
"Literary science fiction". One of the words in this phrase struggles and strains against the other two like an 18-month old who doesn't want to be picked up. It doesn't want to be associated with a genre that often is long on ideas and short on quality prose and sharp and distinct style. It often succeeds in escaping the pull of science fiction's weak gravity. Occassionaly, an author creates a story that is so dense that the word is held in place in an unstable orbit. Ultimately many of those f ...more
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
Most excellent.

I like SF, and I like much of what gets lumped under the rather stuffy title 'classic literature'. Clearly, so does Dan Simmons. Set in a very distant future, long after both AI and posthumans have merged, this novel contains three main storylines, all of which ventually intersect.

First, there's a group of languid, pleasure-seeking old-style humans living on old earth, all their needs taken care of by mechanical servitors left for them, presumably, by the posthumans. Upon comple
My review of Ilium in a nutshell:
“I liked it?”


I’m not sure if it is possible to be too ambitious when creating a plot for a novel, but Dan Simmons seems to be on a mission to find out. There are concepts, there are high concepts, and there are Dan Simmons concepts.

When it’s time for Simmons to begin a new novel, I picture something like this:

Dan Simmons is smoking a pipe (made from the bones of an aurochs), deep in the bowels of Stately Simmons Manor. Inspiration
James Williams
Sep 15, 2007 James Williams rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who think that the Trojan war with nanites sounds like fun
According to the cover for Ilium, it was nominated for the Hugo Novel of the Year in 2004. It absolutely deserved it. It also didn't win, and it deserved that as well.

Don't get me wrong. It's a great book and I loved reading it (indeed, this was the second time I read it and I think I enjoyed it more the second time). It's really three stories all happening in different places in the solar system at the same time, inevitably approaching one another. It's rare to find a book tries this and does
Scott Rhee
I can't seem to say enough in the way of praise for Dan Simmons. The guy is a frickin' genius and one of the best writers working in any genre today.

"Ilium" is his science fiction magnum opus. It is a grand epic in the same way Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and Frank Herbert's "Dune" series were grand epics in their genre. The funny thing is Simmons's "Ilium" is a sci-fi epic ABOUT one of the greatest epics of all time, Homer's "The Iliad". Well, it's not so much about "The Iliad" as it
Jul 22, 2007 Mark rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sci-fi fans, literature fans
The Iliad serves as the starting point here ("Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles..."), and from there Dan Simmons proceeds to amaze you with some of the most literate science fiction you'll ever read. The story unfolds in three parts, which are skillfully woven together to increase dramatic tension as the plot lines spiral closer to each other. The end of Ilium is a soft stop, there is some closure but it leaves much open for the next book Olympos.

The science fiction is the good stuff that s
Prepare to have mind blown.

I like dense reads, and I like immersing myself in complex worlds created by brilliant minds... but never, NEVER have I read a more astonishingly complex novel. 1/2 the way through this gigantic mind bender I was still completely without a clue about what was going on in the book. The fact that I and so many others rate this book so highly tells you a little something about our Mr. Simmons and the quality of his writing. Who get's away with this?? Nobody does... excpet
In spite of the violent content, I really like Dan Simmons' Hyperion and its sequel.

This book looked like it had potential. For reasons unknown, the Greek gods are kicking it on Mars and the Trojan War is being fought with a lot of their participation.

Now the book starts throwing in all sorts of sci-fi wonders...nice, but not enough to save this.

First- it's far too detailed and has too many repeated references to the Iliad. Second, some seriously unbelievable things happen several times. And th
Nicholas Armstrong
A book should not be hard to read. To pick up a book, and to read the words and enjoy them should not be hard, it should just be. Reading this book was hard. Every moment I normally would pick up a book to read a little I would pick up this, and every time I did not look forward to it.

It baffles me; I could have sworn that I enjoyed Hyperion and that it was well-written, could I have been so wrong? This was not enjoyable, it was not well-written, and it was so hugely disappointing.

700 pages is
Holy bloody freakin' incredible hell. Or Hades. Whatever. I'm... I have no words. Seriously. This was beyond brilliant. I don't know who took Dan Simmon's brain, drugged it up, sprinkled it with colours and glitter to come up with THAT but please do it again. Often.

Ilium is a wild mixture of science-fiction, fantasy, a history (or should I say literature?) lesson, and awesomeness. And it's only the first part - don't think you can get in other books between Ilium and its sequel Olympos (I wante
Jun 12, 2007 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not just sci-fi readers
The plot of this book is to complex to even attempt to go into but it has a dead historian recording events of the Trojan war for the gods, strange humans on a seemingly distant future earth, a machine race of explorers living on the outskirts of the solar system, and Shakespeare. Believe it or not they all go together in not such a surreal way as you might think. The characters are well rounded and evolve with the story. I don't know that it has important moral implications in the world but it ...more
Dan Simmons, one of my favorite authors. This book has it all, it has the Trojans, Troy, and the Iliad. Aliens, robots, and Gods of all sizes. This book is a blast to read and will appeal to fantasy readers, science fiction readers, and even to historical fiction readers. A must read.
I could probably sit here and write a grad-school length essay about Dan Simmons' Ilium, an aircraft carrier of a novel if I've ever seen one, but in the interest of your time and mine, I'm going to avoid describing the plot (which you could readily find anywhere, although I would argue that you are better served by NOT looking up the plot) and generally also avoid discussing literary themes. Instead I just want to tell you why this novel is pretty awesome.

First of all, Ilium is just plain bold
An alternate future earth where humans have forgotten how to read. Living robots who share a love of classic literature. An ancient Greek battle where iconic heroes do battle with the gods of Olympus. Mix these all up in a space opera novel (or two) and you get the novels Ilium by Dan Simmons. This complex, lengthy tome is quite the journey, spanning two books (the second is Olympos, but I’m just writing one review for both novels).
The plot lines are so complicated and detailed (indeed, each b
Kat Hagedorn

How very unfortunate that Simmons' duologies fail with the second book as much as they succeed in the first book. I was really looking forward to reading Olympos, the second book of this duology, until I read the abysmal reviews.

But apparently, Simmons plays even more havoc with his created world-- that of a re-imagined Trojan War, set on Mars no less, and the Earth that can no longer house true humans except those who live exactly 100 years and have no culture to speak
Ilium is good but flawed. I wish I could give it three-and-three-quarters stars If you haven't read Homer lately, you may want to brush up before reading this book. I started reading Ilium then quickly put it down, read Homer's Iliad, and then came back and finished Dan Simmons' Ilium. I was glad I did. You'll get a lot more out of Dan Simmons' book if Homer is fresh on your mind.

Please see my review of Olympos for my take on both Ilium and Olympos, which are a set.
I had great expectations when i first started to read this book. I knew and I was told that It wasn't gonna be Hyperion. And that's OK. But I still started to read waiting to be amazed. And I was. The start was a bit slow but as soon as I entered the world Dan Simmons created this time, as soon as i started to view into the characters i realized something:
1- Great beggining
2- Promising characters
3- Fantastic setting

This, as Hyperium, was an ambitious project. And it could have been a really goo
Arun Divakar
Imagine the Trojan war, imagine Mount Olympos with the entire pantheon of Greek gods, imagine a couple of sentient robots on a mission to do recon in Mars, imagine a post apocalyptic world where human beings are nothing but insensitive drones and to top it all off imagine a human trying to take Achilles and Hector to war against Zeus...this is what Ilium is about.

Dan Simmons creates a mind boggling tale of Sci Fi, Myth and Fantasy merged into one. The tale starts off as seen from three perspecti
John Boettcher
I thought that the best I was ever going to read from Simmons was his Hyperion series. That thought was seriously challenged with Ilium, and it's sequel, Olympos.

The way that Simmons weaves the tale of Troy into a science fiction masterpiece is absolutely astounding. For high school and college student who struggled greatly and mightily through Homer's epic poems, these two books should be required reading BEFORE reading Homer's actual work. Simmons's knowledge of the stories, it's characters,
It isn't every day that you read a book that features genetically evolved post-humans who have moved to Mount Olympos on Mars in the year 4000, taken the personas of the gods of the Greek Pantheon (Zeus, Apollo, Athena, etc.), and then open space-time gateways to direct humans through the events of the Iliad in 1,200 BC. The whole notion of beings from the future appearing as gods, upgrading the DNA of humans by frequently mating with them, and producing powerful demigod offspring like Heracles, ...more
Hands down the best scifi that I’ve read in the last ten years. This was the first time that I’d read Dan Simmons and I was floored by the depth of his characters, the complexity of his plot, and the intricate and fascinating world(s) he created. I personally liked the feeling over never really knowing more than any of the characters. I enjoyed the mystery of being on level with the characters, unsure of what would come next. Nothing about this is a light read. The book treats you like an adult ...more
The Illiad on Mars. Sounds absolutely ridiculous right? Turns out it's awesome.

Ilium is a wonderful science fiction book by Dan Simmons that takes this very concept, combines it with philosophical robots from the far reaches of space and ignorant humans on Earth in the far future. All of the story-lines run parallel to each other and weave a fascinating world very different from our own.

This is science-fiction, but the "fantasy of science-fiction" as my boyfriend describes it. The concepts aren'
Rebecca Maines
I suspect Dan Simmons writes routine crime/thriller books to pay the rent while he researches and writes his real oeuvre, which tend to be multivolume stories on a vast canvas that contain a PhD's worth of insight into literature, philosophy, history, and assorted other subjects. Ilium is the beginning of one such. The premise is that the gods and goddesses of Olympus are real; they are re-enacting the events of Homer's Iliad on Mars . . . and none of the players but Zeus knows how the story com ...more
Intricate plot, excellent book. How does Simmons think this stuff up?: Mr. Simmons is arguably one of the best genre-hopping authors around, having pulled down awards for SciFi, Horror, Fantasy, etc. But this massive book (700+ pages in the paperback) makes me wonder exactly how does he think this excellent stuff up?

Ilium mixes the Trojan War (is it the real Trojan War, or a setup re-creation?), future humans (who are so pampered that they have forgotten or have been forced to forget their hist
Having recently reread the Iliad of Homer this book is a good follow-up both as a change, in genre, and as renewing my knowledge of the Iliad helps in understanding Simmons' novel. For in his novel Homer's relevance is more than an opening prop or gimmick. It is the Iliad that initially provides a bearing, a compass for the reader upon which the rest of the narrative depends, and without which, it could be argued, the rest, at least during the first third or so of the book, would unravel. This i ...more
Ryan McCormack
Dan Simmons knows how to write a good yarn, one that pulls threads from many different directions. Sometimes they come together to form a beautiful, mind-blowing, shimmering suit of armor, like the Hyperion tetralogy. Other times, you get something that feels warm and fuzzy, but is more like a patchwork sweater that Grandma gave you and you can only wear inside the house. Ilium is somewhere in between: not quite the masterpiece of Hyperion, but something that keeps your interest.

I really enjoyed
I am currently reading the sequel, "Olympos", and I cannot aggree enuogh with everyone here who gave it 5 stars. When you pick it up you don't realize there are 3 story lines, and when I realized this my first reaction was apprehension, because this gets some authers into trouble. But it actually worked quite well. the moravec story is probably the least interesting of the three, but that being said, it was still a far better story than most Sci-Fi out today. All 3 of the plotlines had their slo ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
SciFi and Fantasy...: Dan Simmons ? 1 24 Oct 09, 2012 06:51PM  
  • Chasm City
  • Cosmonaut Keep (Engines Of Light, #1)
  • The Reality Dysfunction (Night's Dawn, #1)
  • The Golden Age (Golden Age #1)
  • Blind Lake
  • The Skinner (Spatterjay, #1)
  • River of Gods (India 2047, #1)
  • Rainbows End
  • Diaspora
  • Stations of the Tide
Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, ...more
More about Dan Simmons...
Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1) The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #2) The Rise of Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #4) Endymion (Hyperion Cantos, #3) The Terror

Share This Book

“Want to talk about Shakespeare's sonnets?" asked Orphu of Io.

Are you shitting me?" The moravecs loved the ancient human colloquial phrases, the more scatological the better.

Yes," said Orphu. "I am most definitely shitting you, my friend.”

Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles, of Peleus’ son, murderous, man-killer, fated to die, sing of the rage that cost the Achaeans so many good men and sent so many vital, hearty souls down to the dreary House of Death. And while you’re at it, Muse, sing of the rage of the gods themselves, so petulant and so powerful here on their new Olympos, and of the rage of the post-humans, dead and gone though they might be, and of the rage of those few true humans left, self-absorbed and useless though they have become. While you are singing, O Muse, sing also of the rage of those thoughtful, sentient, serious but not-so-close-to-human beings out there dreaming under the ice of Europa, dying in the sulfur ash of Io, and being born in the cold folds of Ganymede.

Oh, and sing of me, O Muse, poor born-against-his-will Hockenberry, dead Thomas Hockenberry, Ph.D., Hockenbush to his friends, to friends long since turned to dust on a world long since left behind. Sing of my rage, yes, of my rage, O Muse, small and insignificant though that rage might be when measured against the anger of the immortal gods, or when compared to the wrath of the god-killer Achilles.

On second though, O Muse, sing nothing of me. I know you. I have been bound and servant to you, O Muse, you incomparable bitch. And I do not trust you, O Muse. Not one little bit.”
More quotes…