Title: The Fall of Hyperion
Author: Dan Simmons
Published: Feb. 1990
Genre(s): sci-fi + every other genre you can think of
Synopsis (via goodreads.com):
In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing--nothing anywhere in the universe--will ever be the same.
That is the most lacklustre synopsis for one of the most epic reads of my entire life (and I'm SUPER old).
My very first reaction after finishing The Fall of Hyperion (Book 2 of the Hyperion Cantos) was to start The Tombs of Hyperion Cult. I feel like we could be called Simmonians and that tens would follow. And this is not an overreaction.
It was so good, in fact, that I'm rating it 5.5 stars because it brings my 4.5 stars for Hyperion up to a fiver. Not only does this "conclusion" make the first book better, but I think I enjoyed it WAY MORE because I read it in e-format. It was easier to look up words I didn't know, and having all 4 books in one bundle lets me search for a character's name in previous pages and the previous BOOK! Don't get me wrong, I loves me some paper books, but trust me on this particular series...
I will admit it's a dense read, and I sadly put it down a few times before feeling like reading science fiction full of such epicness.
"Can God play a significant game with his own creature?
Can any creator, even a limited one, play a significant game with his own creature?"
-Norbert Wiener, God and Golem, Inc. [from TFoH epigraph]
In addition to our usual suspects (Father Lenar Hoyt, Colonel Fedmahn Kassad, poet Martin Silenus, "Jewish academic" and father Sol Weintraub, detective Brawne Lamia, and the Consul) some minor characters from the first novel are given greater exposure:
[Har, mateys: there may be spoilers ahead...]
- The portentous Meina Gladstone: "As Hegemony CEO, she was the symbolic leader of a hundred and fifty billion human souls. She was prepared to betray them all in order to save humanity" (Ch. 18, p. 14).
- the All Thing/ Core: "Everything that's happend ... our pilgrimage, even this war ... was manufactured because of the internal politics of the Core."
- Enigmatic M. Joseph Severn: "I can choose to live and stay a mortal, not a cybrid but human, not Empathy but poet" (Ch. 41, pg. 73).*
- Cybrid John Keats: I've cast him [in my head] as James Franco, mainly because Simmons reminds us that he's 5 feet tall, like eleventeen times! (Franco's apparently 5'9" but comes across shorter, doesn't he?)
- The Shrike*
- The Ousters: Evolved humans, leaving everyone in the Hegemony looking like cavemen by comparison. [My note: Darwinism, fuckers!!] Their covenant is "... to find unity in diversity. To spread the seed of humankind to all worlds, diverse environments, while treating as sacred the diversity of life we find elsewhere" (Ch. 43, pg. 57)
Doesn't that sound nice?!
- Het Masteen & the Templars [awesome new band name?]
- Father Paul Duré: who found trouble with the Catholic Church for proposing "God is a limited being, able to learn and to grow as the world ... the universe ... becomes more complex" (Ch. 20, pg. 7)
- Author Dan Simmons:
"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"
[Sol remembering part of a Keats poem] (Ch. 42, pg. 98)
* I actually still find these 3 characters terribly confusing. Perhaps upon a re-read...
I previously noted that this is a "dense read" and I'm not kidding. I have PTSD-lite in regards to following any poetry due to obtaining a stressful Bachelor of Arts degree (Major: English, of course!) back in the '90's. Consequently whenever there was poetry cited, or a character spoke in verse, my eyes beganith to glaze over. But I reprimanded myself for taking Simmons work in vain, and made a more energetic attempt to decipher meaning from poetry. [Note: you can NOT read this when you're tired. At all. Ever.]
This is why I feel we need The Tombs of Hyperion Cult! I would love to discuss EV-ER-Y-THING about these books! Simmons is a mad-scientist/ genius and pulls it all together.
(Apparently books 3 & 4 of the Hyperion Cantos take place far in the future. According to the internet, Simmons initially wanted Hyperion & The Fall of Hyperion to be a duology, which then evolved into the quartet.)
To the haters: I feel like the quintessential '60's stoner when I say, in all sincerity, "you just don't get it, man!"
Thanks for reading! If you'd like to become a Simmonian, leave a comment!
~ Spinning Jenny
~ The Ousters have come to Hyperion.
"Oh, sweet fuck," Theo whispers reverently (Ch. 35, pg. 49).
~ Simmons' dedication:
To John Keats
Whose Name Was Writ