Hyperion: Amazing Sci-Fi Pumpple Cake! [Review]

Title: Hyperion
Author: Dan Simmons
Publisher: Bantam Spectra 
Published: 1989 
Genre: Science Fiction



On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope—and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.

A stunning tour de force filled with transcendent awe and wonder, Hyperion is a masterwork of science fiction that resonates with excitement and invention, the first volume in a remarkable new science fiction epic by the multiple-award-winning author of The Hollow Man.


Hyperion: My First Science Fiction Piece of Pumpple Cake

For those of you who live a bon vivant high stakes culinary lifestyle, a definition of "pumpple cake" would be redundant. For the rest of us, a short explanation will be needed for this metaphor to continue...

Pumpple Cake: possibly seen on Rachel Ray, or with Kathy Lee & Hoda on The Today Show, the pumpple cake is the desert equivalent of the turducken; a pumpkin pie is baked in a chocolate cake and covered in buttercream icing. An apple pie is baked in a vanilla cake, placed on the preceding cake, and everything is covered in more icing. My husband heard of this creation from a New York bakery and immediately had to make it. Twice.
If you live in the Calgary area, any pumpple cake requests can be made to @quakerlegend on www.twitter.com ;)
As you newbs could probably guess, this is an all-at-once delicious yet overwhelming creation, which may reach a little too far into the [turducken] universe. JUST LIKE HYPERION!  Stick with me here...

Hyperion is an amazing feat: seven stories told from seven fellow travellers who have just met for a dangerous pilgrimage. Loosely based on The Pilgrim's Progress, each individual story is told in a different writing style because Dan Simmons is amazing. There are journals from a priest questioning religion and faith, international warfare from the perspective of a Muslim soldier, and a mysterious tale told by a Jewish father. There are many allusions to John Keats, a 19th century poet whose unfinished poem "Hyperion" is where the title of our sci-fi pumpple cake is taken from. And this is just the tip of the Hyperion icing!

Many reviewers complain of there being too much happening within this story/series, much like critics of pumpple cake. Is it pie? Is it cake? Is it sci-fi? Or sci-fi/ detective fiction/ environmental ethics/ indigenous rights/ spiritual awakening/ erotica/ alien warfare/ poetry/ literature/ artificial consciousness/ romance? Answer: it's more than meets the eye, friends.

A case could be made for reading Hyperion in e-format, as I personally was overwhelmed by all of the literary allusions, and I was a friggin' English Major in university (many moons ago). Granted I could have kept some sort of wi-fi gadget beside my old-school paperback, but laziness reigned supreme. [I will be continuing the series in e-format, because let's be serious: yes I have the skills to research every literary reference, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't rather click a button for immediate gratification. When our beds can make themselves, I will not be making my bed by hand because it's tradition...] 

On goodreads.com I said I gave Hyperion 4 stars because the book felt smarter than me. It was actually because I sometimes didn't "buy" how the pilgrims were telling their stories in such a polished narrative. All the same, I friggin' loved this book. I think it's amazing for the depths that Simmons is striving for. I can't wait to read The Fall of Hyperion and the rest of the series.

I loves me some pumpple cake. Mmmmm-mm.


 ~ Spinning Jenny

The Casting Couch:

Father Lenar Hoyt: David Tennant

Fedmahn Kassad: Idris Elba

Martin Silenus: Peter Paul Reuben's Two Satyrs

Brawne Lamia: Lucy Lawless

Sol Weintraub: Mandy Patinkin

Het Masteen: Rick Yune
Rachel: Natalie Portman
The Consul: Timothy Olyphant

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