Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fall of Hyperion

Dan Simmons
Bantam Spectra, 1990 (my copy is from 1995)
Size: Average (my copy has 517 pages)
Theme: Futuristic space opera
Narrative: third-person
Main character: Several (the Shrike pilgrims)
Recommended minimum age: Young adult
Would purchase as a gift to any sci-fi reader: YES

This book continues the plot of Hyperion, being #2 in a series of 4 books. The Shrike pilgrims continue on their quest to the Time Tombs. The book mostly deals with the end of the pilgrimage and its effect on the future of the universe, while simultaneously on the massive events taking place on the Hegemony, that will change the future of the Human race and its relationship to the Core (artificial intelligence beings spawned from early Human AI experiments). In this story, we accompany in great length the CEO of the Hegemony as she resorts to an AI cybrid to keep updated on the pilgrimage, and the universe-shattering decision she is faced with. New characters are introduced, such as Moneta, a mysterious woman, whose fate we will know of in subsequent books of the series.

The action is now even more fast-paced than the first book, with conflicts and fights arising both on a personal level in Hyperion and on a global scale in the Hegemony. The book manages to offer a very good quasi-end, which allows you both to continue to books #3 and #4 or simply stop here (although I cannot imagine why someone would do that).

The characters, explored in depth in the first book, continue to be appealing, and the book manages to slowly and progressively explain some of the mysteries raised, while still creating a few new ones for the sequels. The author was able to provide very satisfactory basis for the advanced technologies that appear in this novel, and further details about character motivations provide continuity from the first book.

Spoilers (warning: the following text contains information that may hamper/ruin how much you enjoy the book):
The pilgrims face the Shrike, but in various different ways. The Hegemony discovers what they believe is an Ouster attack on multiple worlds simultaneously, and which they will be unable to stop (giving rise to chaos and panic in the populations). At the end of the book, CEO Gladstone has set in motion the destruction of the entire farcaster network and the fatline channel, hoping this would destroy the Core. Moneta is found to be Sol’s baby daughter, who starts aging normally again. Sol takes his baby daughter into the time tombs to the future from where Moneta has come.

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