Review: The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons

Title: The Fall of Hyperion

Author: Dan Simmons


Publisher: Spectra

Format: Trade Paperback

Six pilgrims, each with distinct purposes, have landed on the mysterious planet of Hyperion. They come with selfish motivations, but the fate of humanity rests on their shoulders. Hyperion, the first novel of the two-book duology (and part of a four-book Cantos), detailed the stories of the individual pilgrims in the form of a frame story. The Fall of Hyperion leaves where the first novel left off, with the travelers landing at their pilgrimage site.

I must say that I enjoyed the follow up to Hyperion. I found the first book to be brilliant and while this may have not met my fullest expectations, it was engaging and helped tie up the mysteries of the planet Hyperion and the fate of the Hegemony of Man. Much of the story is told through Joseph Severn, the second cybrid of John Keats, who is connected to each of the pilgrims through his dreams. He serves as an informant for the CEO of the Hegemony and later plays a major role in the fate of mankind.

I will admit that I am struggling to write a synopsis of the novel — the plot unfolds like layers of an onion, slowly revealing the secrets of the Shrike, the purpose for the pilgrims, the nature of the TechnoCore,  the true intent of the Ousters, and several other mysteries that were left unresolved in Hyperion. The novel’s framework is often loose, with departures from linear storytelling and is interspersed with poetry and the semi-cryptic language spoken by Ummon of the TechnoCore.

While I did not feel that The Fall of Hyperion reached the brilliance achieved in the first novel, it falls nothing short of excellent. The world-building is astounding and I was left satisfied at its conclusion. There are still some questions, that I hope will be made clearer in subsequent books. My biggest criticism of the work is that some of the rich characters fell a little flat toward the end. Father Dure seemed to suffer little agony, still bound with a cruciform that drove him to self-crucifixion. Martin Silenus, the passionate and often drunk poet, also suffered from apathy after being so driven in the previous novel.

Overall, my criticisms are slight in comparison to what Dan Simmons has achieved. I plan on reading the final two books in the series and perhaps will read them all again. If you enjoyed Hyperion, you need not waste a second reading any reviews and should pick up this title immediately.

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