The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It's nearly impossible to give this novel the praise it deserves.
It's also a mystery wrapped within an enigma, the conclusion to the grand tale set up in the first book, and it's an amazingly smart ride.
I mean, sure, I could just point at all the great SF goodies packed in here, from black holes eating planets to AI gods creating Ultimate AI gods to an enormous war hitting the known universe for reasons that are delightfully complex and even more delightfully mysterious until the reasons blow us over with those wonderful "aaaah, COOL" moments.
But I won't.
Instead, I'll just point at how smart this book is on a theme and character level. Poetry and the poet is still as important as the first book, but rather than rest on the laurels of such amazing worldbuilding and structure and genre-hopping of the first book, we get into the real meat of the characters and the REASON for it all.
The Shrike. Why all these kinds of peoples from all kinds of planets and walks of life have all come to Hyperion, and why it is the fulcrum on which the fate of humanity and AI life hinges. And let's not forget the amazingly complex discussion about What Is God. Or our place in it. Or the AI's place in it.
There is nothing trite about this novel. The writing is absolutely fantastic. So are all the characters. The plot is twisty enough to give thrillers a scare. And the themes, the structure, and the layout put even modern classics in the traditional literature categories to shame.
In short, these two books are modern classics and remain so for very, very good reasons, and not least because they're wildly entertaining.
Honestly? I put these up there in my top ten books of all time. It's near Dune and Requiem for Homo Sapiens in my mind. As rich, as beautiful, as complex.
I'm recommending these for everyone who likes SF. Period. And those who don't, as well. See what can REALLY be accomplished first before making any judgments.
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