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Ilium

(Ilium #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  25,123 ratings  ·  1,107 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 sentient ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 752 pages
Published June 28th 2005 by HarperTorch (first published 2003)
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Eladir Not necessary but certainly better. Simmons often does this intertextuality, connections with other literary works. In this case, the Iliad is the big…moreNot necessary but certainly better. Simmons often does this intertextuality, connections with other literary works. In this case, the Iliad is the biggest but there are a few key others. Odyssey and in general the more Greek mythology you know the better (eg. Hesiod's Theogony, Aeneid), Shakespeare in general but especially Tempest, Proust's In Search of Lost Time and Nabokov's novel Ada or Ardor. The latter two are harder to go through but having read and understood Iliad-Odyssey-Tempest is rather basic for a western reader and it's a solid basis for going into this duology.(less)

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Average rating 4.03  · 
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J.G. Keely
Jun 15, 2009 rated it it was ok
I love the idea of a throwback, an author who takes cues from classics and puts a new spin on them. Mieville took rollicking pulp and updated it, Susanna Clarke made fairy tales and the Gothic novel sing for a modern audience--but if you're going to adopt a bygone style, take only the best, and leave the dross.

By all means, copy Howard's verve and brooding, but skip the sexist titillation. Copy Lovecraft's cosmic horror, but skip the racist epithets. Dan Simmon's Ilium feels like 50's sci fi fo
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Clouds

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 beca
...more
seak
Oct 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Simona Bartolotta
~ 15/02/17
I've only read one chapter but I can already tell the writing is so unbelievably brilliant. Insta-love for me.

~ 18/03/17
I'm a little past page 100 and the writing is still brilliant, but all the rest isn't doing it for me -sure enough I've only been able to read 100 pages in 30 days. I've no doubt the world-building is complex and thought-out, but nothing is explicitly explained and the reader is supposed to glean all the information from the story itself as it unfolds; normally I wou
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Jonathan
Dec 28, 2010 rated it it was amazing
"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
Cathy
May 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Update: After thinking about the book for three weeks and comparing it with the other books read and ratings given this month AND despite my misgivings about the beginning and not really liking the parts about the Greeks all that much, I decided to upgrade the rating to a full five stars. The scope of the book was just so great, it really deserves the highest rating.

*~*~*~*
I did not enjoy the first 50 pages or so. I was confused and wondering what was going on. I though I would DNF this, before
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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
...more
Chris Berko
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Readers, Assemble! and go get this book and read it. Seriously, this is a book lovers paradise. It is a science fiction/fantasy mash-up of the Iliad and Odyssey but also with two other totally awesome and original story lines that at first seem like they have fuck all to do with one another until all the tiny pieces start to click and you see how vast Simmons' imagination is and how well he plots. A book this length usually would take me about four or five days, I'm a severe insomniac and pretty ...more
Jake
May 03, 2012 rated it liked it
My review of Ilium in a nutshell:
“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
Monica
OK, mad props to Dan Simmons!! Bravo!! This man is brilliant and cheeky. Bold and irreverent. And humor in the oddest of places. I swear if I didn't know better I'd say this book was written on a dare. I mean honestly "What the heck did I just read" (er…listen to)!! This was everything in the kitchen sink of scifi!! The world building was amazing and genre blending? Yes please!! Did you want to read a book about Greek mythology? How about a story about the retelling of The Iliad? Complete with G ...more
Patrick
Feb 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read! Combine the Greeks and Trojans in the Iliad, aliens, space travel, dinosaurs, war, and AI then you've got Ilium! This was such a new and great twist to the story we all know and love!
David
Feb 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Quantum-tunneling gods, orbital Calibans, Shakespeare-loving robots
A fantastic sci-fi epic in the tradition of Simmons's Hyperion Cantos. In Ilium, as in the Hyperion books, Simmons really shows off his knowledge of classical literature. He obviously knows the Iliad and the Odyssey inside and out, but the author (through his characters) also fills this book with literary and historical references to Shakespeare, Proust, and a dozen other sources. It's ingenious and it made me to resolve to finally get around to reading the Iliad myself once I've finished this s ...more
Anthony Ryan
Dec 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Masterly far-future sci-fi epicness from Dan Simmons. Thousands of years into Earth's future the human population has stagnated into a contented form of indulgent immortality; no-one dies and no-one goes hungry, but also no-one really does anything more interesting than take part in the occasional sex party or get eaten by a cloned Allosaur. Meanwhile a present-day historian has been resurrected on Mars, apparently at the whim of the ancient Greek gods in order to act as observer to the siege of ...more
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
HECK. That was intense.
James Williams
Sep 10, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Scott Rhee
Jul 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: science-fiction
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
...more
Mark Tallen
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Stunning, an utterly brilliant novel, this is one of my very favourite novels to date. After reading the Hyperion/Endymion books by Dan Simmons and being blown away by them, I went into reading Ilium with an attitude of, 'well Ilium and the sequel Olympos, both have a lot to live up to'. Well, guess what, Ilium is a masterpiece in my opinion and it did live up to those high expectations. I absolutely loved this book, the pages flew by and I was completely immersed in the novel. The storytelling ...more
Stephanie
Mar 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Kara Babcock
Longtime readers of my reviews will recall I have a tumultuous relationship with Dan Simmons’ books. I didn’t like The Terror or Drood , but I warmed up to Simmons through his epic Hyperion Cantos. In my review for the final book of that cycle, The Rise of Endymion , I commented, “Even if you don’t like the series, it is hard to dispute the scope and style of it.” Simmons lives up to this judgment with Ilium, which does for the Iliad what Hyperion did for Keats and Romantic poetry (alt ...more
Becky
Sep 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
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
Nicholas Armstrong
May 19, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
...more
Mark
Jul 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
Can a science fiction book set in the future, also be an alternate history story at the same time?

Dan Simmons likes to take on some monolithic challenges. Ilium starts off with three separate story-lines. I know they are going to come together, they have to come together, what would be the point if they don’t come together. The true beauty of this story is how they come together.

I went for Ilium based on my love of Homer’s epics. Just tell me you’re going to build your world around that, and I a
...more
SAM
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, high-fantasy
Just like Hyperion you're thrown into the middle of complex plot with no point of reference. There's unfamiliar words, odd sounding places and the live battle of Troy being overseen by a 21st Century teacher. Having prior knowledge of said battle isn't really a requirement. My only insight was the underrated Brad Pitt film, which did me just fine. (yes, i said underrated. I loved it!)

It took around 300-350 pages until i finally started to get into this book. Up until then it just felt clunky and
...more
Ana
Jan 10, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: supernatural, no
Was there ever a more tedious read?? I have been meaning to read Hyperion and Ilium for a while now, and since I am a huge fan of Ancient Greece, I decided to start with Ilium. Perhaps that was a mistake, as I was so disappointed that I don't think I want to read Hyperion or anything else by Simmons ever again.

The story sounded interesting when I read the description, but the book just killed it for me. There are three storylines which will eventually overlap: one with some humans on a post-apo
...more
Mitch
Jun 23, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
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
...more
Jason
Aug 10, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books, read-2009
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.
Katharina
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Gillian Brownlee
May 15, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
I’m still not quite sure what’s going on, but I’ll read the next book.
John Boettcher
Jun 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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,
...more
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Space Opera Fans : June 2019 READER Ilium by Simmons 10 40 Jun 26, 2019 07:21PM  
Science Fiction A...: * Ilium #1-Ilium 1 24 Oct 04, 2018 05:29AM  
Dragons & Jetpacks: Ilium / Overall Discussion / **SPOILERS** 22 60 Dec 07, 2015 11:48AM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: Dan Simmons ? 1 34 Oct 09, 2012 06:51PM  

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8,642 followers
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 Master
...more

Other books in the series

Ilium (2 books)
  • Olympos (Ilium, #2)

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“Rage.

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.”
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“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.”
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