Ilium (Ilium #1)
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...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
“I liked it?”
AMBISHUN: DAN SIMMONS HAZ 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 ...more
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 ...more
"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 ...more
The science fiction is the good stuff that s ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
I read this book as I had thoroughly enjoyed the author's short story in the 'Songs of the Dying Earth' compilation, and also as it is one of the few fiction stories out there with an ancient greek setting.
It is beautifully written particularly at the beginning - the world is richly described with histories, technologies, scientific concepts and races. Quantum technology, buckycarbon, macromolecular devices and fax nodes; old style humans, post-humans and moravec ...more
First of all, Ilium is just plain bold ...more
The plot lines are so complicated and detailed (indeed, each b ...more
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 ...more
First, Fuck you Dan Simmons. You write long-ass books, that are good, and then you write long-ass sequels to them. With Hyperion, the sequels tended to not be even half the book the original was. Should I read the sequel here? I have no idea.
This book was solid. Good stuff. The only problem is, it sounds completely retarded if you try to explain the ...more
Please see my review of Olympos for my take on both Ilium and Olympos, which are a set.
It was interesting to see elements from multiple sources combined. I liked the virtual reality 'TV' show, the travelling by portal (the portals reminded me of those in Hyperion) and the appearance of the Magician Prospero (Shakespeare's 'the Tempest').
On the downside? I'm not really interested in the blood and guts of ancient battles and the fighting was described in minute det ...more
1- Great beggining
2- Promising characters
3- Fantastic setting
This, as Hyperium, was an ambitious project. And it could have been a really goo ...more
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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.”