The time of reckoning has arrived. As a final genocidal Crusade threatens to enslave humanity forever, a new messiah has come of age. She is Aenea and she has undergone a strange apprenticeship to those known as the Others. Now her protector, Raul Endymion, one-time shepherd and convicted murderer, must help her deliver her startling message to her growing army of disciples.
But first they must embark on a final spectacular mission to discover the underlying meaning of the universe itself. They have been followed on their journey by the mysterious Shrike--monster, angel, killing machine--who is about to reveal the long-held secret of its origin and purpose. And on the planet of Hyperion, where the story first began, the final revelation will be delivered--an apocalyptic message that unlocks the secrets of existence and the fate of humankind in the galaxy.
Dan Simmons 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, journalism and art.
Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years—2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York—one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher—and 14 years in Colorado.
ABOUT DAN Biographic Sketch
His last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating, and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students. During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year in high school writing ability according to annual standardized and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.
Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."
Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Colorado—in the same town where he taught for 14 years—with his wife, Karen, his daughter, Jane, (when she's home from Hamilton College) and their Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Fergie. He does much of his writing at Windwalker—their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike—a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion novels—was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson, and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.
Two evil fractions, one down to Earth and the physical world with the head in the faithful interstellar clouds and the big surprise one, are the basis of the finale of a bombastic, unforgettable sci-fi wonderwork.
Simmons continues the deconstruction of faith, accelerates the plot, and leaves one afterward with the big questions of how much one didn´t get:
Is it humankind misusing a gift or was the present always poisonous, its intent always negative and destructive? How many innuendos are hidden in the Technocore? What was the plan and motivation of the time manipulating future humans? How many allegories to past and present history are hidden? Etc.
In contrast to the Hyperion series, the a bit stronger focus on mythology and magic makes if more fantasy than science, although whenever the two clash, the old saying that advanced enough technology is indistinguishable from magic is true. There would be even a third way, the often underrepresented biopunk option, that could see much more use in hybrid works, because already simple seemingly fantasy magic vs technology, especially nano, makes incredible plot goals, characters´ motivations, suspense potential, possible, and biotechnological fueled Gaia fraction would be a great extra to see.
Enjoy the finale of the series, maybe try some of Simmons old horror works, but avoid the new ones, because something terrible seems to have happened here if one, just as me, believes in meta rating scores.
When I first read Hyperion, I was a bit sad thinking that it would be completely impossible, dare I say improbable that the rest of the series could keep up to that amazing standard, but on reading this the final installment, I stand in awe, the best sci-fi series I've ever read by a long way! A boom of highs and lows, of laughter and tears, of beginnings and endings! A book of the ages, as we follow the path and stories of Raoul Endymion, Aenea, their friends, the Crusade and mankind itself. Recommendation - simply read this series. An ceiling shattering Five Star read - 11 out of 12!!!
I'm looking forward to rereading this series in a few years, as with all the knowledge I have now, I think the series will read and feel even better! No kidding!
As I’ve reported in my previous reviews of this series there were times where it seemed as if my gray matter was going to be permanently fried by this epic sci-fi story. I finally got through to the end with most of my marbles still in the bag they came in.
It’s almost impossible to give a summary of this without spoiling the previous book so I’ll just say that Aenea and Raul Endymion continue their interstellar journey to fulfill her ultimate destiny as the powerful forces of a corrupted Catholic Church and the artificial intelligences of the TechnoCore try to stop them by increasingly desperate means. Oh, and the mysterious and deadly time-traveling Shrike continues to pop up.
This isn’t just your standard sci-fi space opera about a chosen one saving the galaxy from the Death Star. What Simmons has done here is create a tale that spans time and space in which even Jesus was a player and the ultimate stakes are the fate of evolution of life in the entire universe. As with the other books, he’s done an incredible job of building multiple stories and fusing them all together into a rich and diverse whole. Any one of his concepts could have been the basis for an entire book or series like a planet where the cities have been built high onto the tops of mountain peaks due an acidic ocean at lower altitudes. That’s just one stop along the way for Aenea and Raul.
So how did I live through it? Dan Simmons finally revealed himself to be human and somewhat fallible here in the last book. Don’t get me wrong. It’s still an excellent series and one of the most ambitious sci-fi stories I’ve read. But there were a few things that irked me in this one that took it down from five stars to four and that probably kept my brain pan from overheating.
First is that Simmons goes back and alters some of what we’re previously told in the earlier books. I’m not sure if he originally planned to end it after two books but carried it to four and had to do some changing to fit an ending he came up with later, or if he just discarded some ideas late in the game, but I didn’t like that what we thought happened in the first two books turned out to be untrue. Simmons didn’t commit any crimes against his fans on a George Lucas scale, but it bothered me, particularly the revisions to the Shrike’s origin and ultimate fate.
I also don’t think that Simmons knew when to turn off the creative mode and shift into resolution mode. He kept adding elaborate new settings and characters and events right up until the end game, and it started reminding me of how Lost just kept piling new characters and mysteries into its final season and didn’t do nearly enough wrapping up. Simmons still managed to provide a mostly satisfy ending, but when he added yet another mind blowing new setting in the last quarter of the book, I found myself getting a little impatient.
Still, these are minor quibbles about a sci-fi story that swung for the fences and managed to deliver on almost all of it’s potential.
The scene where Corporal Bassin Kee is undergoing torture at the hands of the Grand Inquisitor , who uses a machine that simulates "crushed testicles" and "hot wire behind right eye" in the victim's brain ... that's a good approximation of the experience I had reading this book. There's Dan Simmons sitting at his desk, finger poised over a computer keyboard. In the place of letters, each key has a different literary torture: "moldy info dump forced down throat", "insufferable protagonist buzzes on face but can't be swatted", "new ideas generate excitement, but take off masks to reveal tired concepts from three books ago", and of course "sex scenes that cause genitals to shrivel". If offered my choice of two options: rereading this garbage or getting impaled of the Tree of Pain, I'd give the Shrike a big bear hug and ask for his sharpest thorn.
Despite all the pain the book itself caused, it was my own mind that broke me in the end. I have to live with the knowledge that my torturer was none other than Dan Simmons, the same man who wrote Hyperion, one of the top sci-fi novels of the last three decades and a personal favorite. Oh, the agony!
THE RISE OF ENDYMION is the fourth and final volume of Dan Simmons' Hyperion saga and the conclusion of the storyline begun in ENDYMION. I only plodded through that book because I wanted to reach the end, and with THE RISE OF ENDYMION even that motivation almost dried up.
The problems are legion. The book is overlong, with huge sections that just serve no legitimate purpose, such as Raul's time in the Temple Hanging in Air. Simmons' extends his work as much as he can to give it an "epic" feel, but it ends up seeming boring and goofy.
Raul's love for Aenea continues to border on pedophilia for the first few hundred pages of the work, and then it graduates to simple obsession, if only because she's grown up. This whole piece of the story, which is in fact a huge chunk of the story, is utterly unconvincing. If Aenea is the messiah, one would think Raul would have better things to do than get jealous over her past and feel all squishy inside whenever she's around.
The resolution of the conflict is given a few scant pages, probably because Simmons spent too much time on high-faultin' philosophy and Raul's sexual tension. The book's structure is simply awful. Plus, Simmons causes the reader to have wasted reading the first two books in the series by dismissing the words of Ummon in THE FALL OF HYPERION as "a lie."
Argh. This book is simply awful. I'd recommend the first two books in the Hyperion saga, but stay well away from ENDYMION and THE RISE OF ENDYMION.
In a galaxy far, far away, (the Large Magellanic Cloud, 160,000 light years from Sol) and over 1,000 years in the future, there lived two fugitives devoted lovers, Raul Endymion of Hyperion and the new messiah Aenea, a product of human and nonhuman parents. The strange thing is they reside on Old Earth somehow our planet has been poached there by AI, artificial intelligence ( some are immensely evil). Still the couple is happy a quiet, peaceful existence after a titanic struggle for survival, but this hiatus of four years will not last an unknown destiny awaits them...Earthlings have long built stupendous spaceships, that can surpass light speed and have scattered throughout the Milky Way, inhabiting hundreds of planets the starry heavens shine down on the bright exotic structures, newly erected modern cities, roads and oceans full of vehicles , boats, people transforming dead worlds into lively lands, bringing animals, plants from home. Yet human nature remains the same greed, the quest for power , glory, wealth can never be completely extinguished however the good will always try to change this...Raul goes away alone on a puzzling mission at Aenea's request, via the Farcaster portal and with just a few detours, one a giant gas planet he falls literally into, mile after mile he descends in an endless atmosphere with only his entirely unsuitable kayak and parachute growing hungry and thirsty, this chilling interminable drop continues days pass, the air becoming not breathable, unwanted clouds a constant companion curious, weird, menacing, transparent creatures appear...no land is observed underneath... He awakes to the mountain world of T'ien Shan his destination, a planet resembling Tibet, Buddhist monks pagodas and a new Dalai Lama, ( a boy of eight) Aenea arrived earlier and the angry, tortured man soon calms , his great love for Aenea will never stop. She an amateur architect is building a structure for the monks high above, in a mountain peak the poisonous clouds lurk below, still they can never stay , the brutal Pax rulers of the galaxy pursue the two wherever they travel, she is dangerous to them, Nemes the machine made to destroy her is here, the fierce unstoppable robot, has brought two siblings nobody can defeat them, a miracle occurs the mighty Shrike monster a mysterious friend, comes and battles these things, a short opportunity to flee arises as the tumultuous brawl goes on. Stepping off the ledge Raul and Aenea glide in the air with their artificial wings high above the never seen ground, many miles under, any mistake will plunge them into the deadly nearby gas clouds or treacherous mountain cliffs, yet the thrill of flying like birds, soaring and diving seeing new sights that are indescribably beautiful , intoxicating pure ecstasy in my humble opinion, maybe I should say in fact, as long as it is possible to remain there, they need to reach a distant village soon in order to escape, time is running out...The last of the enchanting, entertaining and electrifying series for any sci-fi fan... they will enjoy it, I did.
This book could have been half the length and I would have been thrilled.
Too much philosophizing. Too much useless description, too much exposition of the "science" behind why the characters were able to do what they did. The plot "twist," if it was meant to be one, was pretty damned obvious immediately.
Again, de Soya was much more compelling than any of the major characters, and he's relegated to an even less important role in this book. SO DISAPPOINTING. He may be one of my favorite characters encountered in my recent reading adventures.
I am glad I read this just so I could learn how the story ended (Endymion did leave a decent number of loose ends) but again, I would have been so happy if it had been shorter.
If you don't want to waste your time reading this (and parts of it are good, really, but you have to wade through a lot of garbage to get to those parts) but you read Endymion and want to know how it ends, I will gladly spoil the plot for you. Seriously.
Edit 12/20/11: I had to come back and remove another star simply because I remembered how ridiculous the whole thing was. Seriously? I am lucky enough to have never suffered that myself, but you want me to believe that
Aye on the shores of darkness there is light, And precipices show untrodden green; There is a budding morrow in midnight; There's a triple sight in blindness keen...
I don't think I'll be able to review this one properly, and as it's the fourth and last book, I hardly think I'll be able to influence anyone to read the series or not either way.
So all I have to say is that I've really enjoyed this journey Dan Simmons has allowed me to go on, in the countless worlds of his Hyperion Cantos. This book had its downsides, but it was a worthy conclusion to what is now one of my favourite sci-fi series.
"Events are fluid. The future is like smoke from a burning forrest, waiting for the wind of specific events and personal courage to blow the sparks and embers of reality this way or that."
Even though I'm not a die hard sci-fi fan, I'll say without reservation that Dan Simmons' Hyperion Cantos series has been one of the most significant reading experiences of my life. Without doubt one of the best collection of books I've ever read. The first book blew me away like an atomic bomb and the second one captured my imagination like few other books as it developed into an all out intergalactic space opera of epic, and I do mean epic, scale. I really fell in love with these books and the universe created within. I mean I liked them a lot, I'm far too macho for the "L" word!
Simmons then gave me a whole new Hyperion story in Endymion, a sprawling interplanetary adventure, set over two hundred years after the original. The way Simmons is able to blend the two narratives into a cohesive whole was certainly impressive. Although it didn't quite hit the unbelievably high standards set by the first duology it was a damn fine book nonetheless and a hard act for the final installment...The Rise of Endymion...to follow.
Quick recap...in Endymion I was introduced to Raul Endymion, a Hyperion native who is sent on a mission by Martin Silenus to save and protect Aenea, a six year old girl, from the Pax and overthrow them in the process. Turns out Aenea is all set to be the new Messiah so no surprise the ultra religious maniacs would want to put a swift end to her young life.
This installment picks up pretty much where Endymion left off, with Raul and Aenea recovering from that brutal attack from the Pax and making best use of their free time and learning a trade.. In this instance architecture. It's not long before Raul is sent on a perilous solo mission to retrieve the spaceship that they previously ditched on an unknown planet.
In the meantime a new pope has been elected. Actually the old pope has been resurrected and reinstated and he has a whole new direction for the Church in the all out destruction of the Ouster race. In the background there's a deal going on with the Technocore of artificial intelligence. But you know what they say about making deals with the devil.
It's not long before my personal favourite Captain de Soya is given a reprieve and put back in command of the pursuit of Aenea. But after the close of the last novel who knows where his loyalties lie. It all looks set for a scintillating climax.
As an author Dan Simmons has a lot of strengths. He has a phenomenal imagination and is a real wordsmith, which go hand-in-hand in bringing this amazingly realised universe to life. He fleshes this out with history, culture and religion. The level of detail is astonishing. But that's where I had a few problems in this one.
Even if I'm a huge fan of an author I'll be brutally honest and there was a good section of Endymion where I was bored due to the insane amount of exposition. During the section where the group visit the Buddhist world of T'ien Shan Simmons treats us to a geography lesson that goes way over the top in every little aspect of the location, adding absolute zip to the plot. I don't care enough about what those mountains look like to spend a full chapter reading about them! And don't get me started on the endless amounts of character names he threw at me, who weren't remotely fleshed out. I started to feel bogged down as the narrative began to feel clunky.
Then there's the romance that takes place during this section. I'm not someone who looks for romance in a novel and it was starting to get fairly cringe worthy. Every scene involving Raul and Aenea ending with "and then they had sex again." Or something along those lines. Give me a break!
But then the author shifts back into some very well-crafted action sequences which he definitely excels at. Exciting, tense and well executed, they really did have me right on the edge of my toilet seat. Joking of course, I'm not a complete neanderthal. But certainly not joking about the quality of these scenes and Simmons is one of the best in the business when it comes to this. So it's certainly far from all negative and I'd say the positives definitely outweigh them.
"There are no ghosts, my love. Death is final. The soul is that ineffable combination of memory and personality which we carry through life...when life departs, the soul also does. Except for what we leave in the memory of those who loved us."
I'm just going to come out and say it, the lead character of Raul Endymion is a lackluster choice for lead protagonist. Other than his undying love for Aenea, he really doesn't have a lot going on for him. He did come across as pedestrian for a large part of this novel and annoyingly stupid at others. This quote just about sums him up - "Raul Endymion was slow and thick-witted, usually the last to understand anything."
Aenea on the other hand was an interesting character, vibrant and full of energy and life and almost made up for the lack of character in her partner. But too much of her story was mapped out and there wasn't any deviation from it or even an attempt to. She is overly confident in how things will work out and this did kill a lot of interest for me as I could work out how things were going to end.
And there's a load of supporting characters, all from T'ien Shan, that start to blend together. Even if I'd been keeping notes I'd have been struggling to tell them apart. And then my favourite character from the last book Father De Soya takes more of a back seat in this one. He was overtaken in this one by Rhadamanth Nemes a badass assassin from the mysterious Technocore, who likes nothing better than tearing little messiahs to pieces. A frightening character who added maximum tension to every seen she was in.
And I can't finish without mentioning the Shrike. Still one of the greatest antagonists to ever appear in a story. Is he really an antagonist? Well you're going to find out. Again, every scene featuring this interdimensional killing machine is just dynamite.
Look, I know I've just come across as pretty negative on this book. But it's because I expect the best from this series. And out of its seven hundred pages about five hundred pages are really, really good. It's just that one particular section that went on for nearly two hundred bloody pages had me ready to rip the book up. Here you go Dan Simmons, I've edited it for you! But it doesn't prevent it from being a good read overall, even a very good one. Just not mind-blowingly brilliant like the last three.
The ending itself was gripping and tense, although did feel a bit rushed after that slog through Buddaworld. There I go being negative again. But I have finished the Hyperion Cantos and it was an amazing journey. Perhaps the best one I've ever experienced in book format or any other. I love this series! And if you took these four books as a whole they are an absolute epic masterpiece.
If you've finished the other three volumes you would be absolutely bonkers not to read this one as well and finish the saga. But just as a warning, if you haven't gathered by now, if you're thinking of kicking things off with this book it is certainly not a standalone and won't make much sense. So one hundred percent read the other ones, particularly the first as that's the pick of the bunch.
Let's get this straight, the world building and imagination in this book alone elevates it above most other books. Enough to earn it four stars. But I'm old fashioned in my tastes when it comes to a good story. I want great characters and I don't want to be bored reading it...at all! So a fours' all it's getting.
Always a shame to finish on a low but sometimes that's life for you sweethearts. And if I just look at the positives with this book and series overall then it puts a huge smile on my face. So do the right thing and read this series. Well at least the first two books.
You know, I actually PREFER it when I am flummoxed when I have to write a review. It usually means that there is often SO MUCH going on in the pages, or it must be read in context to the full four-book cycle to make TRUE sense, or it means that it just blew my mind.
In this case, all three happened. And then I was told to Choose Again. Great line. Simple. Mysterious. And easily applicable to every single moment of our lives. Ask yourself, "Do you want to be doing this? Well, now's your chance to Choose Again."
Of course, most of us never have the full scope of options available to us as these people eventually get, but in full context to the Big Creatures in the Dark Forest, just assume the scope of it reaches truly awesome epic SF scope. IF you've read Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, you know what I mean. If you've read Endymion, it DOES just turn into a fantastic Heroic Quest, but it also fleshes out so many worlds, ideas, and the whole fate of humanity, putting into question the events of the Crux that was Hyperion.
But this doesn't quite roll out the full blowout that is The Rise of Endymion, the book that should just be considered the part 2 of the second duology in the Hyperion Cantos. Don't read Endymion without reading Rise of Endymion, in other words.
So, some questions that must be asked before they are answered:
Do we find out who/what the Shrike is? What happened to the Earth? How did so much of humanity fall under a religious dictatorship revolving around immortality, and did the quest to topple it come through? Just who are the big animals? Do we get to spend a lot of delicious time with the Ousters and an honest World Tree having the equivalent living space of millions of Earths? And is this love story amazingly heartbreaking?
Let's just cut to the chase and say yes to all the above.
Funnily enough, I really enjoyed the opening with all the architecture and learning/teaching bits. It was nicely gentle until we got to the Dali Lama. After that, however, I was biting my nails for most of the book. Between action sequences that were some of the best I've read in ANY military SF, epic scopes and truly delicious, equally interesting resolutions that are NOT obvious in the context of any military SF, and the admonition to Choose Again, I thought this was one of the better, if not best Hard SFs I've ever read.
That title would still remain with the first two books of this cycle. :)
After four years on Old Earth, Raul Endymion resumes the voyage on the river Tethys to find the Consul's ship. Meanwhile, Aenea leaves Old Earth behind to find her destiny. In addition to hunting for the One Who Teaches, The Pax launches a Crusade to wipe out the Ouster menace once and for all. Will Aenea fulfill her destiny and end the Pax's reign once and for all?
I have to admit, I was skeptical for the first half of this book. It wasn't urination-inducing good like the first two and I actually liked it less than Endymion for at least half of it. Then Raul incurred the time debt and things really kicked into high gear. The plot came togerther and by the end, it surpassed Endymion. Everything ran its course, from Aenea to the cruciforms to farcasting.
Like the other books, there's not a whole lot of the plot I can divulge without spoiling things. However, I will say that I enjoyed the tale's conclusion and loved learning more about the Ousters and their habitat. De Soya continued his development into one of my favorite characters in the Cantos.
While I was bored for a portion of the book and thought it felt padded, the second half more than made up for it. I got a little emotional when Aenea and Raul said their goodbyes to their friends. I saw the ending coming but I still liked it quite a bit.
It's not as great as the first two books of the Cantos but The Rise of Endymion is quite the satisfactory conclusion to the saga.
This review is for both Endymion, book 3 in the Hyperion Cantos tetrology and Rise of Endymion, which is book 4. If you have not read Books 1 and 2, take a look at my review here first. I was a big fan of Books 1 and 2, but I'm split right down the middle on Books 3 and 4. Book 3 was a thrilling sci fi adventure ride, but Book 4 drove me up a wall. Different kind of ride. The following review probably won't make much sense, or be worth reading, unless you are familiar with Books 1 and 2 or my previous review. And I will advise you to stop here if you have any interest in Books 1 & 2 because, while I will avoid spoilers for 3 & 4, I can't help including spoilers from 1 & 2 entirely.
We arrive in Book 3 almost 300 years after the end of Book 2. The story begins on the world of Hyperion but has very little to do with that planet thereafter. By the end of Book 4, we know bits and pieces of the fates of the various characters from Books 1 and 2. Some more than others, but by the end we get enough to feel like their stories are relatively closed. The story primarily centers around two new characters. One is the daughter of Brawne Lamia and the cybrid John Keats, who we've been told is "The One Who Teaches" or...the new messiah. The second character is her protector (when she is young) and then lover (when she is older...she ages faster than him due to some faster-than-light travel sleight of hand), Raul Endymion. They also have an android sidekick named A. Bettick.
In this leap forward in time, the human galaxy is no longer dependent on the Technocore and has rejected the advantages provided by this A.I. community (which had been manipulating human civilization for its own purposes in Books 1 & 2), but as such have lost their ability to essentially "teleport" via farcasters as well as FTL communication systems. We learn that human civilization has now fallen under control of a theocratic dictatorship run by the reinvigorated Catholic Church. The church controls a sprawling military force as well as mercantile corporations. Their control was established by finding a way to provide "eternal life" to all who accept the church--the "cruciform" from Books 1 and 2. Once accepted, the cruciform will rebuild the brain and body even after death. This power to bestow resurrection or take it away, has given the church control of the empire. In Books 1 and 2, the cruciform causes decreased mental acuity with each rebirth until one is barely a living automaton, but the church somehow figured out how to fix that issue so that the rebirth bestows full personality and mind back again.
Aenea, Raul and Bettick are essentially on a mission to break this control over human society and convince humanity to reject the cruciform. They are on the run from the church and its military as well as other sinister forces within the church. There are numerous competing agendas and motives going on behind the scenes to which we are not initially privy.
Book 3 keeps up the frenetic pace of Books 1 & 2. It's a thrilling, suspenseful race to survive and keep moving to the next planet in their journey. Each setting is distinct and provides new challenges. Simmons does a great job keeping up the tension and the reader's fear for the characters' lives.
Book 4 is where it fell apart for me. The forward momentum dies and the story becomes excessively maudlin and self-indulgent. Props for tying together most, if not all, of the loose ends. Yes, bravo on the brilliant plot twists that Simmons has worked in to the narrative and then resolved in Book 4. However, boo for the editing, weak characters and maudlin emotions.
First of all, despite the fact that we have spent roughly 1200 pages with Raul and Aenea, and reveled in Raul's obsession with her hair (light brown with blond highlights if you care to know), I never really saw the connection that made them fall in love. They were together a lot and they were both stubborn and strong willed, but other than that it was basically just appearance and proximity that seemed to bring them together. His mindless devotion to her, certainly, contributed, but they really didn't seem to connect. Simmons just didn't have the writing chops to create the believable illusion of two people falling in love. But that is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to my issues with Book 4.
Some of the qualities that nagged at me in the earlier books became more prominent in the finale and some other annoying aspects grew to really frustrate me. I hated how longwinded his scenic descriptions became. Pages and pages of self-indulgent set dressing. He was in love with his world-building. And worse than the "not quite there" artificiality of the central relationship, there was a kind of sappy quality to the main romance that really drove me off the cliff. How many times can I stand to read "my Beloved?" Ugh. Combined with the sex scenes...which I had disliked in the early books, too. It's extremely difficult to write a sex scene and not come across as pornographic. A writer needs to have a unique voice and a strong, original point of view to pull them off. The weightless sex scene in Book 4...just dreadful. Also, the main character was so obtuse and the delay of communication between him and Aenea drove me nuts. Simmons clearly and intentionally made Raul oblivious and obtuse and, further, invented reasons why Aenea had to withhold information from him to postpone the big reveals until the end. It was incredibly frustrating, especially because several of the big secrets were obvious. I found myself speed-reading through much of the text just to get to the plot points. Not good.
In the end, I'm glad that I read Book 4 in order to find out how the entire story came together. But Simmons really needed an editor to crack the whip on this last installment of an otherwise epic science fiction narrative. 4 out of 5 stars for Book 3, 2 out of 5 stars for Book 4.
I hate this book. I hate the narrator. I hate the main character.
Hyperion I enjoyed. And for the rest of the series, the story, the characters, the drama-- everything just... declined.
When I read Hyperion, I had real investment in the characters-- making it through their quest alive (or not, but that's also a testament to how fantastic the story and character development were-- I had strong opinions about all of them), finding resolution, etc. By The Rise of Endymion, most of those characters are long dead, and the neurotic, whiny moron who took over made reading a chore. And this is coming from somebody who's neurotic. He whines constantly, the other main character who he's in love with is... not engaging. There's nothing wrong with her, she's supposed to be like Christ, but there's little substance for the reader to latch onto. It's not possible to identify with her (or anybody else, really).
What drives me insane is the lack of consistency with the first two books; all the "inconveniences" that might have presented obstacles to this story are dealt with infuriatingly as "things misrepresented by Uncle Martin when he wrote the original Cantos". I've ranted about this a bit in my review of book 3.
Spoiler-ish complaining: Kassad as the Shrike, the cruciforms as creations by the Core and Father Dure never actually dying, Nemes, the invincible creature of hell that kills everything-- Aenea losing the bits of spunk she used to have and constantly handwringing at Raul-- Raul who is constantly questioning people like a 15 year old about who his girlfriend slept with-- it's irritating. The supporting characters are more interesting than the main characters, and less infuriating.
The titular character being hurt and clueless is initially literally his only quality in this book. The variety of planets depicted is more appealing than in the predecessor book, as is the fact that the wider conflict between homogeneity/stability versus diversity/growth/uncertainty finally gets into focus Irritated by all of these puzzles hidden in enigmas hidden in code
Much better than Endymion, but also (again) massively too long. The whole solo quest of Endymion (following the rather well worn pattern of him knowing little of his environment, being seriously injured and miraculously saved due to a connection with messiah Aenea) makes me rate this book 3 stars instead of 4. For good order, Endymion his immature jealousy of parts of Aenea's past and the most bizarre use of a kidney stone as a plot element ever (like wouldn't we have gened that out of people a thousand years in the future, was the water at old earth really so full of minerals, and couldn't have Simmons imagined something that made more sense and gave more agency to the ones who end up helping Endymion) made me consider 2 stars as well. But the conclusion and the Pacem politics definitely made me want to read on.
The variety of planets is nicely done in The Rise of Endymion (Star Wars can learn something from that, with everything being Tatooine nowadays), including a gas giant and a mountain planet. I liked the Pacem politic chapters so much more than the Endymion narrated ones. Also when Aenea finally does teach she gives interesting views on the whole confrontation between homogeneity and stability versus diversity and uncertainty. Also the elephant in the room how the Hegemony and Pax worlds are all just reflections of facets of Old Earth, instead of beings something entirely new, is addressed. Also part of the AI Technocore goals (We’ve always been your masters. You are rotting flesh around chimpanzee brains) are broadly similar to the Matrix machines who wage war with the humans.
What is also well done is how Dan Simmons in this pre 2000's book predicts quite accurately the internet of things. The whole take on diversity does sometimes work less well, someone Asian being called Lapsang and Harujuku makes me wait on a Brit being called Earl Grey or Kensington... Then again the brief allusion that action hero Endymion has had sexual experience with men is interesting.
The overall writing is also more action packed, and follows more interesting points of view than the previous installments. The same fascination with delta-Vs and methods of travelling that Neal Stephenson has in for instance Seveneves does slow down things occasionally. I never think of how my car works, where the power and rare earth mineral comes from, and how the physics of the machine work when doing my morning commute and I can hardly imagine a native of the future doing the same, let alone write whole chapters on their transportation methods. If anything I rather have Endymion explain to me how there is readily available aluminium on a low tech world.
But not to be too sour, the startree concept is fascinating, and I loved how the catacombs under St Peter come back since I visited them, even if it gives a kind of Dan Brown feel to the book. The whole thinking about the increasing of diversity and complexity and the overall resilience of live is interesting.
I even warmed up to Aenea (But I am your morbid little bitch) and needed to steel myself for some of the scenes involving her near the end of the book. Heck, even Endymion saying about himself: Raoul Endymion was slow and dimwitted is not just a fair self assessment but also kind of endearing. And the person who ends up running Pacem system is definitely a justified survivor.
So definitely a satisfying conclusion, with some flaws but also genuine emotions and interesting ideas embedded in it. Aenea says it best and lets conclude with her words: No lifetime is long enough for those who want to create, Raoul, or for those who simply want to understand themselves and their lives. It’s perhaps the curse of being human, but also a blessing.
Very disappointed with the conclusion of the series. Halfway through the book I paused and checked to make sure I wasn't reading Twilight. The evolution into a love story was forced and I felt absolutely none of the chemistry and undying love and loyalty that was supposed to have grown between Raul and Aenea. On top of that, her repeated response of "I'll explain later" to a lot of the plot-hole seeming sections were never actually explained! The sex scenes were unnecessary and just seemed like padding, and I found myself rolling my eyes and skipping as much of them as I could. Perhaps I missed some whispered explanations in the middle of their zero-g lovefests, but I'd rather miss them than have to read some stupid bs like that. I've been holding on to this since Endymion, but Raul does not rhyme with Tall. Should have just named the guy Paul if that's the sound you were going for. And "Aenea" doesn't look like it should sound like Ah-nea. Both of those names made me pause almost every time they cropped up because of the weird pronunciations (and since he took the time to point it out it stuck in my brain). Lucky me, they are the two main characters and the awkward and incorrect pronunciations jolted me out of the book over and over.
I don't care what Dan Simmons says, having a love affair with a younger person that you were responsible for as a child is CREEPY. And the forced "I'd do anything for her", "she's my beloved" etc sections were so nauseating. I wish I hadn't finished the series and had just stopped with The Fall of Hyperion.
The Rise of Endymion is the fourth and last of the full-length Hyperion Cantos novels by Dan Simmons. It is a well-written, exciting, thought-provoking, and wistful conclusion to one of my favorite series. As I finished reading it, memories of watching The Wizard of Oz for the first time on my grandmother's 15" RCA television, the kind set into a wooden cabinet, ran through my mind. Little Mr. Windup Bird, so sad that he couldn't jump into the television and go on an adventure with Dorothy, Toto, The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion, and The Scarecrow. The whole family watched television together in those days. Grandpa sitting in the big armchair smoking cigarettes and drinking whiskey. Grandma sitting on her favorite couch. Me with my eyes glued to the screen. Is that what Aenea meant by "learning the voices of the dead"? She certainly invoked some voices from my past.
Hyperion cantos is a very special series. It has all the wonderous settings, high adventure, and intrigue one would expect from a science fantasy adventure, but it also has the courage to state some very bold opinions on some of life's more profound questions. Simmons is brutally honest in sharing his views on the nature of religion, love, technology, faith, government, closed-mindedness, and many monolithic issues. The opinions he puts forward, in addition to being bold, are well-thought-out and above all empathetic. We are treated to a complex and mature world-view that doesn't rely on binary beliefs or dole out high handed punishment to "the bad guys". Hyperion Cantos is, above all, a triumph of diversity and acceptance. Something we could use a little more of in the real world, I think.
All of the main characters, going back to the first book, are well developed, interesting, and organic. Even in a series that deals so extensively with morality, empathy, and mankind's struggle to evolve, I always felt the characters were doing and saying things I could relate to, and making plausible decisions.
The setting is as vast and diverse as any other I've read. From the razor-sharp sea of grass on Hyperion to the ice caves of Sol Draconi Septem, Simmons's imagination flew high and uninhibited on a Hawking Mat.
The Cantos (story) itself is truly ambitious and succeeds on all counts, and spans multiple genres; adventure, horror, sci-fi, cyberpunk, romance, philosophy. So many that it almost creates its own genre. This is truly a must-read series I would recommend to anyone and everyone.
Just as little Mr. Windup Bird said a tearful farewell to Dorothy at the end of The Wizard of Oz all those years ago, his older self must do the same with Anaea, Raul, Father De Soya, Father Paul Dure, Rachel, and the rest of the friends I made on this wonderful journey.
5 stars - We're off to see The Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!
Simmons dropped the ball on this one. He contradicts himself where he’s not blatantly spamming retcons in an attempt to steer his narrative onto a logical course before it concludes. He kills the wonderful momentum he’s built about halfway through the book by indulging himself in an orgy of mountain-climbing minutiae and introducing sixty fucking new characters who have a questionable reason for existing and contribution to the plot. He wraps up loose ends and provides explanations that are, if not head-scratch-inducing, at the very least unsatisfying. So why did I give this book five stars, you ask?
BECAUSE IT HAS A SCENE WHERE TWO CHARACTERS TOTALLY 69 IN ZERO G.
Just kidding. I give it five stars because despite all of these problems and disappointments, this series is one of the most awe-and-terror-inspiring things I’ve ever read. I will always cherish it and hold it close to my heart. The pure ambition and humanity the author poured into the pages are undeniable. This is clearly a man who’s fucking just going for it and if in the end it’s a failure, it’s a glorious failure that deserves to stand next to brilliant successes. There’s not an interesting idea that you can explore in science fiction that’s not examined here and in a way that’s captivatingly entertaining, moving, and well-written.
I can’t recommend this series enough to people who haven’t tried it. This is glorious stuff. I really struggle to think of another one that was such an emotional roller coaster. I veered from being terrified to laughing out loud (this usually involved scenes with the wonderful Martin Silenus) to being completely awe-struck by the concepts and settings Simmons spins out at a ridiculous rate to feeling like I wanted to fucking cry like a baby. It combines heady, high-concept stuff like time travel and paradoxes or the possible fates and evolutions of humanity with just pure fun stuff like ridiculous potty-mouthed humor and pant-shittingly gnarly space battles. It’s a cliche, but it really does have something for everyone and has cemented my idolization of Simmons as a writer.
These last two books read more like a duology than the third and fourth installations of a series. The Cantos is often discussed in PrintSF, my sci-fi books discussions online community. The second half of the series tend to be quite polarizing. Some people love it, some say it is disappointing, one reader even calls it a bad fan fiction of the first two books. The Goodreads average rating for these last two books, however, indicate that they are quite well liked by the majority. In my opinion, they are well worth reading if you like Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, but they are not sf classics like these earlier books.
This is not one of those series that can be read out of sequence, in fact The Rise of Endymion continues directly from the previous volume Endymion. After narrowly escaping capture by the Pax church state and their secret partner the insidious and malevolent mega AI entity the TechnoCore, our heroes the messianic Aenea and Raul Endymion have settled down on “Old Earth” (just Earth to us) for a few years. That is until one day Aenea instructs Raul to go on an interminable mission to pick up their spaceship which they left on another planet in the previous book and bring it to her at a preprogrammed destination. After finally reuniting with great difficulty they travel to the planet where the Pax run Vatican is located and confront the Pax and the evil AI.
There are quite a few edge of the seat thrilling scenes in this book, especially those involving the killer super cyborgs (T-1000-like) Nemes, Scylla (and the other one). The equally formidable Shrike from all the previous books is also present to challenge these whippersnapper cyborgs. However, the book is not a thrill ride all the way as Raul’s solo adventure to reclaim their “Consul’s Ship” drags at time, though he did get to meet some wonderful characters and cultures on the way. The climax is suitably epic and mystical, and the events that follow wrap up the entire Cantos nicely. I did see the twist at the end from miles away though (if you have read this book I’d love to know if did the same).
Awesome Russian cover. “I have had it with this motherfuckin' Shrike on this motherfuckin' raft!”
Dan Simmons’ prose is always great to read, slipping into lyrical mode from time to time, with the odd (and very odd) poems. The characterization is the main strength of this book, the protagonists and antagonists are all very well drawn. The sci-fi aspect of it is not so mind boggling now as they were mostly featured in the previous books. Some of the new sci-fi elements border on fantasy, such as FTL traveling by foot, through a sort of hyperspace shortcut. Not to mention all the “chosen one” and messianic tropes. In fact, Aenea reminds me a lot of Paul Muad'Dib from Dune. All of the mysteries from the previous books (including the origin and nature of the Shrike) are explained (to the displeasure of some fans who prefer them to be left unexplained). The book is also very romantic, optimistic and yet kind of tragic.
I am glad I have finished the entire series, but the first two books classic Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion remain two of my all-time favorites which I would like to reread some day. I enjoyed Endymion and The Rise of Endymion but I am not likely to reread them.
Holy shitballs. I'm finally done with this book. With this series!
So this shit right here is exactly why I read science fiction. It’s got EVERYTHING YOU COULD POSSIBLY WANT. Well, these last two books have been lacking the humor of the first two, mostly because the foul-mouthed poet Martin Silenus was relegated to a background role, but he was there a little bit at the beginning of the last book and the beginning and end of this one, so there was a little bit of humor there. But seriously EVERYTHING ELSE is here.
You’ve got your hard science to satisfy the deep nerds; you’ve got your mystically enhanced science to satisfy the spiritual mumbo-jumboists like myself; you’ve got fuckin’ giant flying squids and telepathic amoeboids on a planet made entirely of gas; you’ve got religion (both in support of and deconstructing); you’ve got your humanism and socialism and Buddhism and classism (ALL THE ISMS); you’ve got an epic time and space defying romance; you’ve got a fuckin’ SPACE POPE.
I can keep listing things.
Time travel, homages to classic literature and poetry, epic bloody and disgusting fights between men and fearsome artificially intelligent creatures, a biosphere the size of a fuckin' solar system curated by hard vacuum adapted humans, messiahs, daring escapes, discussions of philosophy and economics, teleportation, planets of all shapes and sizes (water planets, gas planets, mountain planets where everyone travels on ziplines, planets where the trees are made of lightning), devices that can bring back people from the dead, nanotech up the wazoo.
THE MOTHERFUCKING SHRIKE!
I will stop listing things now.
Dudes. I’m just so glad I read this series. In all, it’s pretty much a science fiction/space opera masterpiece. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its flaws, particularly in the last two volumes–which take place 300 years after the first two, and feature Raul Endymion as their first person narrator as he fights to complete his mission: to keep Aenea “The One Who Teaches” safe, to end the threat of the Pax (the Roman Catholic church run amok and crazed on power–it’s complicated), to find Old Earth and return it to its former home, and to insure the future of humanity. The way all of it shakes out, on both a story and character level, was really really satisfying. In places, Simmons’ writing creaks and groans under the weight of its own cheese (particularly in his love scenes–and I don’t mean sex here necessarily, although that’s part of it, but seriously when the two main characters talk about or exhibit love it’s generally cheesy as hell). Some of the exposition scenes are deliberately obtuse, but it all works out in the end.
Probably the biggest leap you have to make is that the first two books were so deliberately chock full of characters and criss-crossing storylines, that to have such a simplified narrative arc (relatively, I should say–your average reader will by no means think this book is simple) is a bit of a letdown at first. Raul is a good enough narrator, but as he admits himself, he’s not the brightest guy. In the first book especially, we had six different main characters, six different stories, and the fact that it was a deliberate homage to The Canterbury Tales was an immediate hook. The first two books also had the advantage of presenting us with a galactically sized mystery, which was very alluring. These two books had the task of solving the mystery, which is always a dangerous thing in these kinds of books.
As I wrote about recently in my review of the last Unwritten book, when you solve a mystery as a storyteller, the ideal is to trade in that mystery for enlightenment, for a denouement that should make your readers feel as if a light bulb has gone off over their heads. They should hit that moment and FEEL something. And if you fail at that, the whole story can end up feeling ruined. (This is why so many people hate the Lost finale, because the enlightenment route that show went only works for about half of the people who watched the show–the other half wanted concrete answers.) Luckily, Simmons absolutely nails it. (My only quibble with the “ending” is that he totally telegraphs a major plot point of the ending a little too hard, and I predicted it very early on. I wish it would have been more of a surprise for me.)
So in summation, if you like science fiction READ THIS SERIES. If you are curious about what science fiction can do and it doesn’t sound too intimidating, READ THIS SERIES.
I am already looking forward to my inevitable re-read several years down the road.
This proved to be a satisfying conclusion to the Endymion duology and the Hyperion Cantos series as a whole. The quality of the series remained consistent throughout and Dan Simmons did a fantastic job of wrapping up all the ongoing story arcs and mysteries.
Much like the first Endymion book this one mainly focused on telling the tale of Raul Endymion and his lover, the new Messiah, Aenea as they sought to expose the corruption of the Pax Church and to fight against the corruption of the Void That Binds medium by the TechnoCore. As expected we also had a few other POV scenes from characters such as Father De Soya, Grand Inquisitor Mustafa, and Kenzo Isozaki and their stories helped to add depth to the world and to the story.
The strengths of the Hyperion Cantos series is the complexity of the plot, the depth of the well imagined sci-fi universe, and the quality of Simmon's writing. If the series has a weakness it is that sometimes Simmon's can get a bit too carried away by describing and fleshing out some of his creations and that can slow the pace of the story. My other slight criticism is that although there is a large cast of well realized characters none of them ever managed to to fully resonate with me on an emotional level for any consistent period of time.
All in all I enjoyed this final book in the Hyperion Cantos. I did not love every single development or revelation, but I was happy in a general sense with how things concluded and will happily read more of Dan Simmons books in the future.
Rating: 3.5 stars.
Audio Note: Victor Bevine is a steady performer and again I had no reason to fault his narration.
At first I simply disliked this book. It was retconning it's own canon and ruining the mythos it has in the name of some cheapened extension of the tale. The mysteries and unknowable nature of The Core, the shrike and the history of its characters are abandoned in the name of some hack-kneed messiah tale that fails as both romance and science fiction. It's overly long, riddled with psuedo-philisophical stupidity, and just when you hope it will redeem itself it shits the bed and leaves you no longer mad...just sad that something once so noteworthy could fall to...this.
Read Hyperion. Read Hyperion Falls. Then stop. Stop before cheap, half-assed writing kills what fond memories you have and you are left questioning just what the hell Simmons was thinking when this grotesquely unnecessary addition was over-written and published sans even the most light handed editorial oversight.
I did not like this book. Simmons did with it what he did with fall of Hyperion. We spend entirely too much time focused on characters we don't care about (Cardinal Mustafa, for example -- it was Meina Gladstone in Fall). Rise gets way too explainy, and not actiony enough. The fact that Aenea is an architect doesn't help. Are you ready for chapters full of descriptions of imaginary worlds that serve no purpose but to satisfy Simmons' world-building wankery? Because that's what you're going to get.
Listen, if you want to hook me the best idea is to not front-load the book with Buddhistic death-worshiping philosophy. In fact, you might want to leave out the death-worship entirely. And the philosophy too. See, the big problem here is that Simmons seems to have said to himself, "I'm going to make it all about love and the transience of everything." That's fine, but conflating those two things to the point where the characters are actively opposed to effective immortality simply because people are supposed to die isn't compelling.
If this were only a few pages of the book it would be fine. But it's a problem when the central figure in the book's primary mode of operation is discussion groups she has with her followers, all of whom seem to be religiously-inclined navel-gazers. Where are the atheists in this hyper-futuristic universe? Simmons explains his half-baked moral philosophy and poetry selection in exhaustive detail across hundreds of pages of exposition by the time the novel is complete.
It's also a problem when you retcon the entirety of the Hyperion series by saying that Martin Silenus didn't really see most of it, so Hyperion was just his "interpretation" of events. Examples of things that pissed me off: the Shrike , the Tree of Pain , and Moneta/Rachel Weintrab . Also, what are we to make of the fact that in Hyperion , but Aenea says that ? Let's not forget that .
Also, Simmons can't write sex to save his life. By the end I was sick to death of . Don't read this book.
A wonderful conclusion to a universe-wide saga, dealing with vast themes. The nature of mortality/immortality, the nature of religion, the necessity of freedom of choice, the joy of evolution. Really big stuff that it's difficult to talk about.
I read a lot and I don't often cry, but I cried often during the closing chapters of this novel. After four books, I've become attached to these characters, this universe. But I preferred that to all the panic induced by time spent in the Temple of Hanging Air or in paragliders over the mountains of that planet. I have just enough fear of heights that I nightmare about such things and I got way too involved in those descriptions, causing me to set the book aside frequently to let my heart rate & breathing subside.
I think the biggest idea that I come away from this novel with is that life requires change. We need our finite lifespans in order to appreciate what we have. Just like we need unhappiness to let us enjoy happiness or contentment when we experience them. People need choices to feel fulfilled, choice about religion (or the lack thereof), choice about work, choice about who we spend our time with.
Once again, I am impressed with Simmons' range of knowledge, this time including climbing technique, hang gliding, Buddhism, and poetry, among other things. I know that other Simmons books are going to find their way onto my TBR in the future. In the meantime, let's learn the languages of the living and the dead and hear the music of the spheres.
Book number 379 of my Science Fiction & Fantasy Reading Project.
6.0 stars. On my list of All Time Favorites (along with the other three books of the Hyperion Cantos). In my opinion, along with the Dune series, the Hyperion Cantos is the best SF space opera series ever written and Dan Simmons is one of the best writers working today. Hyperion is a recognized classic in SF, but I believe that the other three books in the Cantos, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion and this novel are equally superb and I think readers are really missing out if they stop at the first novel. SF does not get any better than this. HIGHEST POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATION.
Winner: Locus Award Best SF Novel Nominee: Hugo Award Best Novel Nominee: British SF Award
Boy does this book disappear up its own butthole halfway through. I've always said, if there's one thing I love its pages and pages worth of metaphysical explanation of imaginary science fiction macguffins that in case you were wondering, do not actually exist, and therefore lack any sort of educational value which the reader might obtain from a similarly dry lecture on a real scientific subject. Anyway.
This book starts out as a travelogue (and the places are even more otherworldly and evocative than in the previous book.) There is a good amount of action and some surprising revelations about everyone's favorite spiky killing machine, the Shrike. The conclusion of the book, while bittersweet in the best Sol and Rachel tradition, is nowhere near as clever or unexpected as Simmons seems to think it is, so we are treated to further pages and pages of angst as the book's dimwitted hero, Raul Endymion, tries to muddle through a mystery which the reader will have figured out 800 pages ago. Essentially, this book is way longer than it needs to be, and anyone wanting to know the conclusion to the tale of Hyperion would be well advised to stick to the easily skippable written pages and to stay away from the audiobook version.
Not sure how to rate this one. Combined with the previous book in the series it was one of the longest, slowest, least eventful reads of my life. If I hadn't loved the first 2 books so much I would have gladly cut and run. With that being said I've found that the books in this series are the type of book that grow in my estimation after I've finished reading them. Some books I read are fast-paced and enjoyable but when trying to think of things to talk about in a review a few weeks later I find I've forgotten everything about them (and yet I manage to expertly bluff my way through the review in order to harvest those sweet, sweet likes). However after finishing these books (even the slow third one) I find myself thinking fondly of the characters and setting and contemplating the philosophical and literary themes that play such a major part in this series.
An emotional and epic end to one of the best SF-series of all time (any top 10 SF list that is missing the Cantos is of no interest to me). Yet it stumbled over its own greatness in the end. Since the bar was set so incredibly high with the first Hyperion books I was expecting an ending that would blow me away - which it didn't.
The narration started good and instantly pulled me back into the flow with the very personal voyage of Endymion set against a space church plot invoking a galactic crusade. In times a bit too much explanation in the church plot (but, hey, I'm listening to "Seveneves" at the moment and compared to that the infodumping here is negligible), but exciting to follow. At around half time the narration suddenly pauses due to a chapter long description of mountaineering (I guess this is Simmons' hobby), which felt quite odd and threw me a bit out of the flow. Yet the last 20 percent again were outstanding in pace and the ability to have the reader on the edges of their seats. An absolute worthy overall ending to this epos of galactic proportions.
All this would still have counted for 5 stars - BUT … there is one plotline which the reader already knows some 300 pages ahead and which is still treated like some revelation that needs hinting at and drawing out. This was the point where I decided to subtract a star, cause it started to anger me - if only for the reason that I wanted to have my mindblowing out-of-this-galaxy ending.
It is complaining about first world problems and will not detain me from stating that the Hyperion Cantos is worth every page, every letter, every second I spent in this grandiose world of Dan Simmons.
I watch as Aenea, my darling, my love, the one I've had a nuclear warhead of a hard-on for since she was twelve, leans back from her computer, where she's logged into her Goodreads account.
"Why only 2 stars?" I ask.
"I'll explain later, Raul," she says with a sad smile.
"You keep saying that but never explain anything," I whine.
"You won't understand yet," she says with a sad shake of the head.
"See? Again. It's annoying. You're annoying. Why do you always do this?" I mewl.
Aenea, my love, my darling, makes a hand motion that I understand to mean, 'unask the question'.
"You're pathetic, Raul Endymion," she says with a sad calmness.
"I? I'm pathetic? You ruined an entire series as soon as you appeared! You talk too much, and your put-on 'wise' sadness gets on the readers' nerves!" I shout, annoyed, at my darling, my love, my dollop of vanilla ice cream laced with hallucinogenics. "Just because you read up a few philosophies on Wikipedia gives you no right to be so smug!"
"Maybe if you hadn't narrated the story in that pathetic whiny voice! You're stupid and obsessed with petty trifles!" she shouts back. "You wasted the entire third book narrating a pointless journey! You can't see the most obvious of plot twists even though readers figured it out for themselves chapters ago!"
"And you, you defanged the Shrike, which was one of the coolest things about Hyperion! He's no better than a lapdog now! Might as well sprinkle glitter all over him and name him Tinkerbell! And the retconning- oh the retconning- these readers have stuck with the series through four huge books and then you tell them everything explained before was a lie!"
"Aaargh!" screams Aenea, my darling, my love, my cheesecake made from lampmouth larva milk cream, suddenly and out of nowhere produces a gleaming dagger and jumps at me. I try to leap out of her way but even though I was a Marine on Hyperion she is too fast for me. She is suddenly on top of me, not attacking me with the knife but slicing her own finger inches above my mouth. Warm liquid sprays, Kill Bill-like, over my face and into my mouth, and it tastes like Aenea, my love, my darling, my Unicorn flavored after dinner mints.
"Drink! Drink my blood! DRINK IT BITCH! BE MY BITCH!" she screams, her eyes gleaming with delusional messiah-light. She is beautiful. Oh Aenea!
"You psycho!" I sputter the words though her blood.
"Now that that's taken care of, I've got a better idea. Let's turn off the gravity and fuck," says Aenea, my darling, my love, my pound of space hippo bacon.
"Oh my, such colourful language. You must mean let's make love, to give love to the one who deserves it the most, and all that," I say.
"Yeah Raul, whatever works for ya," she says, rolling her eyes and pulling the sheet away from around her body. "Ship!" she calls out.
My nuclear warhead activates.
From the corner of my eye I see the blue skinned android A Bettik, whistling in an unconvincing attempt at nonchalance, slip out the room to fetch his holocamera.
Why didn't I stop reading, you might wish to know.
If I knew how, I would make a hand gesture that meant, 'unask the question.'
I'll admit I did get a kick out of the faux-Tibetan setting of the planet T'ien Shan, though.
Изключителен фантастично- философски епос. Дан Симънс показва вещина в познанията си на различните философски течения и изгражда всеобхватен свят и атмосфера. Тук отново се срещаме с Енея, която продължава със своята мисия срещу църквата и кръстоидите. Момичето започва да разпространява свое филисофско учение. Овладяла е силата да телепортира хора и обекти. Появява се и Хет Мастийн, който пилотираше дърволета към Хиперион. Из гробниците на времето изскача и Федман Касад, който не само се е помирил вече с Шрайка, но и са съюзници. Ленард Хойт по- добре да не беше възкръсвал, защото успя да сътвори сума ти злини, които продължават да отекват до края на " Триумфът на Ендимион".
Накрая обаче, всичко си идва на мястото там, откъдето и започна.
От началото до края на епоса, динамиката е запазена, всички събития и персонажи са навързани толкова майсторски, че мога най- искрено да се възхитя на гения на автора. Това е една мащабна творба, която не може да се вкара в някакви рамки, нито да се разкаже с няколко изречения. Завършекът на поредицата е забележителен, както и предходните книги, дава финалните щрихи, намества празнините и придава яснота на цялата сага. Уникална поредица, която нареждам по комплексност съвсем близо до Дюн.
P.S: Изключително силно ме докосна филисофията на Теяр дьо Шарден( 1881- 1955) - френски палеонтолог, антрополог, теолог и философ- която Дан Симънс беше вклинил в книгата чрез речите на Енея. Толкова бях впечатлена, че прочетох отделни части от негови трудове и писания. Забележителна личност!
" Да видиш и почувстваш за пръв път любимата си гола е най-чистото житейско просветление. Ако във вселената съществува истинска религия, тя трябва да включва тази истина или завинаги ще остане куха. Да правиш любов с жена, която заслужава тази любов, е една от малкото абсолютни награди да си човешко същество, да уравновесяваш всички болки, загуби, неловкост, самота, безумие и компромиси на човешкия живот. Да правиш любов с такава жена компенсира много грешки. " ( глава 18)