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Hyperion is one of those rare pieces of fiction that transcends mere storytelling. It is epically crafted and its ensemble cast of characters are wonderfully deep, complex people who bare their souls through the journey. It is a saga stretched over space and time yet incredibly personal and intimate.
The future represented in this book is shaped through the personal experiences and histories of the seven main characters (and a fantastic supporting cast), and it’s very effective. We learn about the galaxy through their eyes and it’s easy to digest facts about an alien future and at the same time to care about where each person ends up. And the future is not so very different than the present – humans have taken their same hopes, dreams and fears out into the cosmos. And the book attempts to deal with the repercussions of our actions as a society. We killed earth, do we get a second chance?
But the story leaves many cliffhangers that make you want to jump immediately to the next book, which I’ve heard described as the second part to Hyperion rather than a sequel. The space saga that is the Hyperion universe demands to be expanded (even if the cliffhanger makes you want to scream). After that initial shock you realize you can’t wait to see what happens next. Let the journey continue.
Rating: 5/5 stars
I’m having a little bit of withdrawal already. I miss my fellow travelers and their stories of planet hopping, space battles, the search for eternal life, and the burning forest and sea of grass on Hyperion. I felt like I came a long way with them on this journey. This is one of those stories that rises above the rest and really nails it when it comes to describing the human condition and connects with you in strong and unexpected ways. Hyperion is part of my sci-fi lexicon now and in my opinion some of the characters are as memorable as any in Middle Earth, Star Trek or Star Wars. Hyperion hyperbole? I don’t think so. It’s that good.
SPOILERS: My favorite parts. Peter Dure’s trek through the flaming forest, subsequent discovery of the cruciform and the labyrinths, and his gut-wrenching fate. Colonel Kassad’s many simulated and real military campaigns and the insane survival instinct that lets him outfight the Ousters in zero-gravity. Martin Silenus and his centuries-long story including the Dying Earth, fame, and true literary obsession in the City of Poets. Sol Weintraub’s emotional powerhouse of a tale in watching his daughter become younger and lose her skills and essentially her life. Brawne Lamia’s classic noir tale ripped from Blade Runner and which exposes the true nature of the Technocore. The Consul’s tale of his world of Maui-Covenant being crushed and later his role in keeping the Hegemony secret of the systematic genocide of other species so that mankind would not be challenged. And then he became a double agent many times over, conspiring with the Ousters and potentially destroying mankind by unleashing the Shrike. The whole book makes you think hard about morality, destiny and our choices in life.
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