I really liked this book!
The East and West went to war and the population moved underground into living areas called "ant farms" where they have been for 15 years. Unbeknownst to them the war ended after only 2 years and the news they have been receiving all these years is propagandist lies. The surface, though decimated by the war, is perfectly livable but is controlled by a select few.
This premise makes for a great story but it is full of neologisms, many of which are difficult to figure out.
As some reviewers have already mentioned, this book is hard to ascribe to any one genre. I wouldn't call it truly science fiction, but neither would I call it horror, as some have. And it doesn't truly fit the mold for fantasy. I would argue that is has elements of all three. One reviewer described it as speculative fiction.
Either way, to the story itself. This is a story about four college buddies and roomates (a Jew, a jock, a rich kid and a homosexual) on a road trip across the country in hopes of finding immortality. The trip is all based on a manuscript, the Book of Skulls, one of them, Eli, found and translated in the library. They are seeking the Brotherhood of the Skull monastery, which is reportedly located just outside Pheonix, Arizona. The idea is that a group of four is required, but the catch is one must commit suicide and one must be murdered in order for the other two to attain immortality.
The story is told as quick snippets from the viewpoint of each of the four main protagonists. For some reason, I really liked this style of storytelling although the story wasn't what I was expecting. Up until the end the story was all about the soul searching spiritual journey of the four protagonists. There was a surprise ending to the story, at least to me.
It´s been about a week since I finished Hyperion and since I cannot stop thinking about this book I´m changing my initial star rating from 4 stars to 4,5 stars. Because who am I kidding, I absolutely loved this book and it might become a five star read upon a reread (which will happen at some point).
Hyperion tells the story of seven people, who are on a pilgrimage to the planet Hyperion in order to seek out the mysterious time tombs, where the mystical called the Shrike resides. Every pigrim has a wish that he is asking of the Shrike to get fulfilled. But only one wish gets fulfilled, while the other six pilgrims have to die. In order to prepare for the encounter with the Shrike, each pilgrim tell the stories of their lives, not knowing that the fate of humanity might lie in their hands.
The reader basically gets seven different stories wrapped up in one book, six of the pilgrims story and the overall story arc of the pilgrimage and the impending intergalatic war, which is looming on the horizon and probably is the main premise of the second book in the series. And everyone of these stories were really good, some of them were even breathtakingly beautiful, haunting or sad and some of them will stick with me for a very long time. There were only two stories that fell a little bit short for me, but they were by no means bad, they weren´t just as good as the other ones. My personal ranking of the pilgrims stories is:
1. The Priest´s tale
2. The Scholar´s Tale
3. The Detective´s tale
4. The Consul´s tale
5. The Poet´s tale
6. The Soldier´s tale
The thing that strucks me most is how Dan Simmons manages to give every story it´s distinctive style and how he uses the stories to slowly reveal the worldbuildung to the reader. At the beginning you don´t know exactly what going on, but as the story progresses you slowly realise what is happening in the universe of the Hegemony and that there is so much more at stake than the personal grievances of the characters.
It´s my second book by Dan Simmons (I read The Terror years ago) and there is something about his beautiful, haunting and engaging writing style that makes his books compulsively readable.
I cannot wait to read the second book in the series, simply because I want to spend more time with these characters and the fascinating world Simmons has created.
I´ve read this book for the Tomorrowland 33 space and it is tagged as science fiction on GR.
Page count: 473 pages
Money earned: $5.00
This story is a sci-fi epic retelling of the American Revolution, only this time the people of the moon are rebelling against Earth and the Lunar Authority led by a sentient computer and a ragtime group of ice miner and farmers.
Heinlein gives the reader some interesting ideological viewpoints about government, people's rights vs. government, marriage and women's rights and empowerment.
This is classic Heinlein at his best and although the story may be showing it's age a little, it is still a very fun read.