Review: The Fall of Hyperion

The Fall of Hyperion
The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hyperion had a cliffhanger ending and for a while, I thought Simmons might just be stalling throughout The Fall of Hyperion. He created the captive audience with the first book. What happens to the pilgrims? Will they defeat the Shrike or not? Let me warn you that you are not going to get a quick nor easy answer.

I like these two books, and for very different reasons. Hyperion was almost a series of short stories giving us a rich background on each of the characters. Strangely, Fall turns them into pawns in part of a much larger plot. I enjoyed the second book for it's density, and it is _dense_. There is a lot going on, and while I originally thought that weaving of Severn's wakefulness as a way to provide political overview might be stalling, by the end I'm thinking that if there was any stalling it was his dreaming.

I have no appreciation for poetry. For that reason, I think there may be a lot of nuance or subtlety here that is lost on me. Both books have prose that, for me, did nothing. It was totally opaque. That is probably a fault with me, but it is the one area that I felt could have been trimmed and not reduced the story. I get the sense that Simmons is an enormous fan of Keats and this was his love letter.

Theology plays an even greater role in this second book than it did in the first. I had speculated that each of the pilgrims represented one of the 7 deadly sins in my earlier review. I'm not so sure, now, that each character was intended to play that role, at least not entirely. There are whiffs of The Inferno here, as Severn plays both Virgil and Dante. The Shrike metes out punishment paired to the sin of each character.

Hoyt: Pride - Dies at the hands of the shrike and is resurrected as Paul Dure. Dure later refers directly to his pride bringing about his fall.

Kassad: Lust - Dies in ultimate battle with the Shrike(s).

Silenus: Gluttony - He was a glutton for his poetry. His punishment is to endure constant pain, potentially for eternity, finding only small relief in reciting poetry that the Shrike may be feeding him.

Weintraub: Sloth - Refused to act on the command given him, and is left with nothing he can do after the Shrike takes Rachel from him.

Masteen: Envy? - Still not sure what to make of this character's story, although we do learn a great deal about the Templars and their motives.

Lamia: Greed? - the 7 sins metaphor really starts to fall apart here. Not to fear, Lamia still gets to participate in the biblical references, taking on the role of Divine Mother.

Consul: Wrath? - Yeah, the 7 sins metaphor is completely out the window here. homage to Dante, perhaps, or maybe I'm just not familiar enough with Keats. In any case, I would definitely recommend these first two books of the Hyperion series to my fellow sci-fi fans.

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Jade Mason