View Full Version : Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons

10-26-2009, 09:33 PM

After the heavy, funny, and ultimately depressing book The Information by Martin Amis, I decided to read something a little lighter. And so last Tuesday I started reading this book. It consists of both the original Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. In five days, I completed the first book and am about to start the sequel.

I have to say that the structure of the first work Hyperion, which borrows from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, was very well done. The first book presents a mystery; seven individuals are called on a pilgrimage to go and visit the Shrike, an invincible and time-altering killing machine, to present their requests- one will survive and have his/her request granted and the rest will be impaled on a gigantic metal thorn tree.

I am by no means a science fiction fan. Most of the genre seems so convoluted and dreamy that I simply cannot relate to it, but this book presents the story in a very reachable fashion--by not focusing on the technology and instead focusing on the humanity of both the people and the artificially intelligent.

Tonight I will start the second part, but I wanted to start a thread and recommend it for those who haven't read it. I'll follow up with my impressions on the conclusion.

11-03-2009, 06:58 PM
I finished the 900 page work last night. The second part takes place through the dreams of a "cybrid" or a cybernetic hybrid (like a terminator but with all human tissue except a data uplink to the AI "headquarters").

The conclusion was satisfying to say the least. I liked how the author explored the relationship and varying degrees of symbiosis between machine and man. Just when you start to think that mankind is completely enslaved to the AIs, dependent for transportation and data transfer at faster-than-light rates, the whole story kind of gets flipped on its head.

I also liked how the AI's camp was not unified, there were different factions. Some wanted to continue the relationship with mankind (some of these were apparently formed during this present information age) and some wanted to obliterate mankind. In the middle there was a third camp, the Stables, that mediated and took a wait-and-see approach.

As kind of a spoiler, the Artificial Intelligences are left to their own devises after being granted independence from mankind. This leaves them searching for a way to perfect Artificial Intelligence, to make a "god" machine. Apparently they succeed far into the future; they built a machine that uses quasars for energy with unlimited computation potential, and this Ultimate Intelligence reports back through time. At the same time the machine "god" finds out that there is indeed a god of mankind. Of course, it follows that the machine god would seek to destroy the god of mankind.

At the conclusion they end up at a kind of stalemate, probably as a springboard into the other three works by the author. Good read if you have the time; definitely worth it.

11-22-2009, 07:56 PM
Sounds interesting... I also normally dislike science fiction, but there is a set of young adult books by Orson Scott Card that i love... they start with Ender's Game... really good... I think I recommended them when this thread was first started... I like them for the same reason.. they focus on the humanity, not the technology...