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(Ilium #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  22,880 Ratings  ·  974 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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Dave I've never read either, other than kid's versions when I was a kid. Knowing the gist of the fall of Troy is enough to read this book. I'm sure I…moreI've never read either, other than kid's versions when I was a kid. Knowing the gist of the fall of Troy is enough to read this book. I'm sure I missed a lot of literary references, but it didn't hurt my enjoyment.(less)

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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

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

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

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
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
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
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
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
Cathy (cathepsut)
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
May 03, 2012 rated it liked it
My review of Ilium in a nutshell:
“I liked it?”


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

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

Dan Simmons is smoking a pipe (made from the bones of an aurochs), deep in the bowels of Stately Simmons Manor. Inspiration
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Dec 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dan-simmons, 2018
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
Dec 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-on-podcast
Ilium defies description. It's epic sci-fi with huge twists, characters tempting fate, some fickle and furious Greek gods, Achilles and Hector from Homer's Iliad, Shakespeare-spouting robots from Jupiter, oh, and some trippy worm holes. It's good stuff. Video thoughts at
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.
Ivan Lutz
Feb 03, 2015 rated it liked it
ZApravo puno lošije nego sam očekivao. Opet, Simmons piše kao nitko, precizan je i pjevan; ritmičan i bogat.. No, priča kao priča me malo(krc malo, puno) umorila, eto.
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
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,
Martin Hromada
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bláznivé, epické, vtipné, majstrovské.
"O hněvu Achillea, syna Péleova, zabijáka soucit neznajícího, osudem k smrti předurčeného, nám zpívej, ó Múzo."
V dvojdielnom epose Ílion a Olymp, priamo odkazujúcom na Iliadu a Odyseu, sa preplieta neuveriteľný príbeh starogréckych hrdinov trójskej vojny a rozmarných bohov ("Je snadné být bohem. Když k tomu máte to správné vybavení.") a inteligentných robotických prieskumných sond, ktoré skúmali mesiace Jupitera (keď to Simmons písal, nemohol ešte vedieť o f
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bg, owned, sci-fi
Четиринайсет години след най-популярното си произведение „Хиперион“ Дан Симънс представя на зажаднялата публика своя нов роман „Илион“, в който залага на познатата формула: паралелни и привидно несвързани сюжетни линии плюс загадки. Този път те са комбинирани с литературни анализи for Dummies, и подсладени с описания на жени, за които авторът ни съобщава, че били секси.

Да кажа няколко думи за сюжета, преди да дръпна дявола за опашката и да изразя негативното си отношение към книгата.

Първата и на
May 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: not just sci-fi readers
The plot of this book is to complex to even attempt to go into but it has a dead historian recording events of the Trojan war for the gods, strange humans on a seemingly distant future earth, a machine race of explorers living on the outskirts of the solar system, and Shakespeare. Believe it or not they all go together in not such a surreal way as you might think. The characters are well rounded and evolve with the story. I don't know that it has important moral implications in the world but it ...more
Aurélie Knit & Read
Je crois que j'ai encore plus apprécié ce roman à la 2e lecture. Je gardais un souvenir confus de certains passages (ou certaines destinées), mais des impressions très nettes d'autres scènes, que j'ai revisitées avec plaisir.
A moi Olympos maintenant !
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having recently reread the Iliad of Homer this book is a good follow-up both as a change, in genre, and as renewing my knowledge of the Iliad helps in understanding Simmons' novel. For in his novel Homer's relevance is more than an opening prop or gimmick. It is the Iliad that initially provides a bearing, a compass for the reader upon which the rest of the narrative depends, and without which, it could be argued, the rest, at least during the first third or so of the book, would unravel. This i ...more
I went through a full spectrum of emotions while reading this book. Swinging between laughter, horror, sadness, boredom and confusion. The first half of the book I had no idea really what was going on, who was who and what the main plot of the story was. I mean there are aliens, Greek gods on Mars and a dinosaur! Who puts that lot into one story? I still dont think I can really explain the plot and characters to someone who hasn't read this book without sounding crazy and just rambling.
About 50%
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Science Fiction A...: * Ilium #1-Ilium 1 13 Oct 04, 2018 01:29PM  
Dragons & Jetpacks: Ilium / Overall Discussion / **SPOILERS** 22 54 Dec 07, 2015 07:48PM  
SciFi and Fantasy...: Dan Simmons ? 1 34 Oct 10, 2012 02:51AM  
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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

Other books in the series

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

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.”
“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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