Ten pages into Hyperion, I got a phone call. “I’m reading this sci-fi classic,” I said. “So far it’s got a lot of made-up words and epic political machinations I know nothing about.”
Several hours later, I was weeping openly on the couch at the raw, poignant backstory of Sol Weintraub and his daughter. And a few hours later than that, when my world had narrowed to the page and my sleep-sandy eyes, I finished the book and sighed.
It’s a triumph. A galactic Canterbury Tales with lasers and intrigue, Hyperion tells of seven pilgrims on their way to visit a ruthless alien god in the attempt to prevent interstellar war. As the main plot progresses, each traveler tells his/her tale, and the real reason for undertaking the pilgrimage. A hardboiled private eye narrates with film noir flair. Journal entries tell an anthropological missionary story about sacrifice, creation, and the agonies of faith. Simmons’ literary love shines throughout, but particularly in the poet’s tale, which represents poetry and muses as the deadly, all-consuming powers that they indeed can be. One story is Romeo and Juliet plus time travel; another takes a gut-wrenching look at degenerative disease.
Oh, this is a breathtaking, inventive, gripping saga, and I’m glad I acquired the sequel in advance.
The 214 in 2014 series chronicles every book I read in 2014. Each review contains exactly 214 words, because 2014 words is too long and 2014 characters is too dang short.