Rob's Reviews > Hyperion

Hyperion by Dan Simmons
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's review
Aug 15, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: own, science-fiction, 2008, 100-paperbacks, 2012
Read from August 01 to 14, 2012 , read count: 2

More like: ★★★⅔

SHORT VERSION: a scifi redux of the Canterbury Tales; six densely packed, interlocked, interwoven tales that create a whole that is epic in scope. Gripping and creative with all the right literary nods. And yet oddly anti-climactic and maybe even a little unsatisfying.

* A strong, engaging (if somewhat vague) opening chapter; but the vague elements seem to be in line w/ some scifi conventions so...
* the pace creatively waxes and wanes; of particular interest are the multiple layers of narration (i.e., excerpts from a priest's journal as read aloud and re-contextualized by another priest as heard by the Counsel...)
** for most of the sections this is very effective (if a bit affected and tedious at times)
* about halfway through: oscillated between whether the multiple voices are effective and authentic or if they're just gimmicky
** ultimate conclusion: we'll grade this effort a B- (that we question whether/not they're distinct is enough to cast that shadow -BUT- that is not a distraction, so they're at least effective)
* "Scholar's Tale" = favorite (DENSE and gut-wrenching)
* NOTE: the lead-in paragraph in "Poet's Tale" is a MASTER STROKE
* SIDE NOTE: OK -- why is it that we fail to call an "AI" anything but "AI"? (disappointed here b/c we have "Hawking drive" and "farcaster" etc. and revert to just plain ol' "AI")
* SIDE NOTE: too much "of ... this" in the dialogue

UPDATED: (8/15/2012) After a second reading, I stick by these original notes (though still no "fully baked" review). There are some real 4- and 5-star moments in the book, but some others that just don't come together. Which isn't a knock against Simmons; what he does here is ambitious, and to try to interleave all these stories, told in all these distinct voices and styles, into one cohesive writ-large-whole... well, that would be a challenge for anyone. Some of these work well (e.g., Priest's Tale, Scholar's Tale), and others do not (e.g., Detective's Tale, Consul's Tale).
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Quotes Rob Liked

Dan Simmons
“In the beginning was the Word. Then came the fucking word processor. Then came the thought processor. Then came the death of literature. And so it goes.”
Dan Simmons, Hyperion

Reading Progress

08/02/2012 page 24
5.0% "read this when H. was new, wanted to read it when E. was new too"
08/04/2012 page 45
9.0% "Tesla tree? Fucking fascinating."
08/05/2012 page 234
49.0% "I think I may have under-rated this book last time around."
08/14/2012 page 472
98.0% "Mere pages to go and I couldn't keep my eyes open last night..."
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Jaimie Teekell Totally agree with this review, and I think it's interesting we liked and disliked the same Tales.

John S Did you ever read the rest second book? Would be curious to hear you take on the two together as they are really one book published in two parts.

Jaimie Teekell John - I started to reply to this before realizing you were addressing Rob. I know it's totally unasked for, but I'll keep what I wrote for the sake of ARTISTIC DISCUSSION or something.

I started to, yes, but I found the quality had degenerated. Specifically with the characters. They seemed like different people than the ones in book 1. I get how trauma changes you, but I'd like, at least, to *see* how the trauma changed them rather than them just acting with seemingly random motivations.

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