Book Review: Endymion

Endymion (Hyperion)

This is the the third book in the series, check out my reviews for the first two books – Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion.

My Rating – Put it on your list

Level – Easy, long (just over 500 pages)

Summary
Almost 300 years after the Fall of  Hyperion, we do not know the fate of the Pilgrims, and apparently never will. This story focuses in a young man, Rual Endymion, who, after being convicted of murder, is sent on a quest to rescue a young girl from the Time Tombs, destroy the Pax, stop the TechnoCore, find Earth, and then reunite the old man with the girl to see Earth again.

The story is written from the perspective of Rual, who has already been caught, tried, and sentenced by the Pax. He recounts the story from his imprisonment. The memoir style adventure includes rescuing the girl, escaping Hyperion, and running from the Pax by sailing down the old Hegemony river through multiple worlds, before the book ends half way through their journey.

My Thoughts
The opening page starts with the statement of reasons why not to read this book. Included among them was to find out what happened to the Pilgrims, that is to say, if you want to read a sequel to Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion. My first thought was, what the hell? that is exactly why I bought this book, and its sequel. In many ways, this is not really a sequel to those previous books. It is more a completely new story, but that is built in the same world as the prior, but only relates in that the world(galaxy) has changed and it was all due to what happened in the prior books. So, in that way, it is a little frustrating.

However, it is still a great story, once you sift your mind away from the previous books in the Cantos. Like the previous books, it is written with quick, engaging action and solid, relatable characters. While the prior books were an ensemble cast, this one is mostly on Endymion, especially as he serves as the narrator, but there are several other characters on which the book focuses, that are not directly in his orbit. Again, Simmons uses varies story threads, one chapter focusing on Endymion, then the next one of their pursuers, then the next yet another antagonist, then back to him in the next.

Overall, if you like sci-fi you are going to enjoy this book. If you have read the previous two, you could probably pick it up. Simmons writes the book with references to the prior books, but has Endymion or other characters explain bits (or expand and create new aspects that didn’t exist), almost as if they are trying to remember. Even without reading the Cantos so far, this book is one to put on your list, but if you’ve already read them and are familiar with the universe, it is a must read. This particular book leaves too much hanging, leaving feeling a little wanting, but the final book in the series ties (to some extent) it all back together. So, read this one, then finish the Cantos and you’ll have gone through one of the great, especially for how little known, works of far future science fiction out there.

 

 

Book Review: The Fall of Hyperion

The Fall of Hyperion

This is the second book in a series, check out my review of the first book – Hyperion.

My Rating – Must Read

Level – Quick, easy read; fairly long at over 500 pages.

Summary
This is a continuation of the first book, Hyperion, so the story line of the Pilgrims in continued, but there is also the introduction of another main character story line. To avoid spoilers (if that is a think for a book published over 20 years ago), I’ll say the Pilgrims all meet the Shrike, all have their stories (more or less) meet a resolution, and find out that their stories are even more intertwined than they knew.

The additional character is Joseph Severn, a Cybrid for the personality/memory of John Keats. Much of the book takes place from his vantage point. Not only his own story, but he is inexplicably tied to the Pilgrims and view what is happening to them in his dreams. CEO Gladstone puts him up in TC2, so that he can keep her apprised of the Pilgrims.

Severn/Keats and the Pilgrims stories also mix together, as does the Ousters, for a few twist and turns you don’t expect coming, including a few new back stories.

My Thoughts
One quick thought, that I didn’t put together form the first book, but become more apparent in this one, why does the cover art show the Shrike with only two arms?

As for the actual content of the book, as much as I enjoyed it, I have to admit, it wasn’t as good as the first. However, if you’ve read the first, this is still a must read. If you haven’t read the first, go read it, then come read this one. This is still a great work of fiction. He is writing during the early days of the internet, but his future thoughts on what it could be come are frightening and a little ephemeral, and in some parts could best be described as ‘trippy’. Smart phones were more than a decade away when the book was published, but the equivalent he uses, sure sounds like them, especially if we were to lose them now; from page 480

“After seven centuries of existence and at least four centuries where few citizens existed without it, the datasphere…simple ceased to be. Hundreds of thousands of citizens went insane at the moment – shocked into catatonia by the disappearance of senses which had become more important to them than sight or hearing.”

The Pilgrim story conclusions are interesting, though some are unsatisfying, and at Severn is not an interesting character. However, the book touches on some of the wildest ideas of AI and has so many intertwined stories and crazy new back stories, it is well worth the read.

Book Review: Hyperion

Hyperion

My Rating: Must Read

Level: Fairly easy read, long (almost 500 pages) but reads quickly

Summary
This is the first book the the Hyperion Cantos series and centers around the stories of seven ‘pilgrims’ as the travel to the distant world Hyperion and a voyage to meet the Shrike. The story take place 700 years in the future, where we have left Earth after it’s accidental destruction and colonized multiple planets throughout the galaxy.  On the ship, each pilgrim – the priest, the soldier, the poet, the scholar, the starship captain, the detective, and the consul – tales their story.

Each mini-story is incredible and interesting in it’s own right. But it is nothing less than impressive they way Simmons weaves the stories together with histories, biologies, geographies, ecologies, and political back stories of a dozens worlds and scores of peoples. It is an amazing, sprawling, interwoven, epic fantasy.

My Thoughts
I’m not a huge sci-fi fan, but I was impressed with this book and honestly shocked that it ins’t more famous. The shear volume and intricacies of the stories and back stories are impressive. I actually found myself staying up late to read and being excited to come back to the book to see what would happen next. I ordered the next book in the series as soon as I was wrapping this one up.

I don’t know how much I should concern myself with spoilers for a nearly 30 year old book, but I’ll just say the pilgrim stories for the priest and scholar were so fascinating to me, that they are worth the price of the book alone. Either one could be it’s own novel, and the concepts Simmons put are great thought experiments.

Of course, the book being so old, there are interesting parts that are oddly anachronistic now, which make them especially funny being projected in the future. For instance, one of the top technologies is the personal fax machine. But his concept of the ‘all-thing’ is basically our modern internet with smart phones, so that was interesting to see. Overall, a great, fun book that is a must read for anyone who likes sci-fi or fantasy, but also for anyone who enjoys thoughtful fiction.

Book Review: Atlantis Trilogy

The Origin Mystery (3 Book Series) by A.G. Riddle 

My Rating –  Must Read for Sci-Fi or historical fictions fans. Put It On The List for everyone else.

Level – Fairly easy and medium length, reads quickly.

Summary
So, this is actually three books, but you knew that, because… ‘Trilogy’: The Atlantis Gene, The Atlantis Plague and The Atlantis World . I’m not really sure how to summarize this. Starts out with some spies, then a bunch of attacks across the world, then you get everything for the rest of the series – global plaques, ancient history, Nazis, aliens, cool Tibetan Monks, long (very long) running timelines and conspiracies. Just go buy it.

My Thoughts
I actually found the first book on the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library on one of the rare cases that it worked. I ended up reading the rest of the series through it as well. I found myself driving home after work thinking about the story and wondering what would happen next, looking forward to getting home and reading for an hour or so before Mrs. MMT and Sprout got home.

The story kind of bounces around different categories, as mentioned above, but I suspect, that overall if you don’t like some nerdy things, you may not like it. If you have any interest at all, the book will be great. I have to admit, towards the end of the third book, it winds down as if he (the author) isn’t sure how to ended, and it was just kind of done. You begin to see the ending coming anyway, so I don’t think it detracts too much, but it does end with a fizzle.

Still, go buy all three in paperback and knock them out at the beach or lake over the summer.