|Submitted by Christopher Ware|
(May 15, 2001)
(The Hyperion Cantos, Book 1)I'm not sure what I was expecting out of this book, but I never would have expected this. Simmons has crafted an interesting book here. Not only interesting story-wise, but in how he told the story as well. This book seems to be six novellas wrapped together by the plot of the book as a whole. Each novella focuses on one of the six main characters in the book. There are two things interesting here. The first is the fact that each story contains one element in common with all the rest. The second is that each novella is written with a different voice. Simmons shows his versatility as an author by giving each story a different feeling. We get a reading of journal entries, a hard boiled detective story, an emotional family story, a tale of debauchery and struggle to survive, a military story, and a story of political intrigue. Each one sounds almost as if it were written by a different author. This was a stroke of brilliance by Simmons. My one real complaint about the book is that it didn't accomplish much as a whole. It was mainly a setup book for the sequel, FALL OF HYPERION. We get expansive character development, an introduction into Simmons' universe, and the main characters go on a journey so that Simmons can truly launch the story in the next book. We don't even find out what the major driving force of the epic is until about 50 pages into the second book. Without reading the second book, this will be a disappointment story-wise. Other than that, it was a very interesting read. I enjoyed the characters...they were all unique and vivid. They had diverse backgrounds and motivations and it was interesting to see them all drawn together by that single common thread. If you're looking for action driven sci-fi with space battles, you won't get much of that here (wait for the second book), but Simmons does provide our imaginations with some interesting technology (although, I do wish he'd explained some of it better at the beginning of the book rather than in the middle of the second book). Just make sure you have the second book handy when you finish this one...you'll want to jump straight into it.