Sunday, February 02, 2020
Book review: THE FALL OF HYPERION by Dan Simmons
THE FALL OF HYPERION (1990) by Dan Simmons
I have read and very much enjoyed the author's previous novel HYPERION (see my review). But it ended abruptly - so I had to read this sequel and see what would happen next...
THE FALL OF HYPERION is very long and has many parallel plot threads with different characters. The author uses repeated "reminders" to keep the reader on track, which is helpful in this case.
Even so, this novel is probably longer than it had to be.
The story makes more sense if you bear in mind that HYPERION was inspired by a medieval book (Chaucer's CANTERBURY TALES), and that the medieval worldview was profoundly religious and Christian.
In both Chaucer's medieval universe and in Simmons' future galactic civilization, gods are real - and they are engaged in a kind of cosmic football game where the human (and non-human) characters are merely players (or possibly more?).
Frequently, the text wanders into religious mysticism and metaphysics - but that's inevitable, given the theme of the books.
HYPERION and THE FALL OF HYPERION are, I think, really about the future of Christianity, in a space opera setting. To what degree this "works" for you depends on how much you can mentally keep apart the fictional religions of the story and real-life religion.
(I struggled a bit with that.)
The characters are well written and you care for them. There are some good plot twists (and one that I saw coming). The novel ends with enough plot threads wrapped up to make a satisfying whole.
All in all, THE FALL OF HYPERION is quite enjoyable and well crafted - though "your mileage may vary," as the phrase goes.
Recommended for lovers of epic stories, space opera and metaphysical speculation.
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