Hyperion - Dan Simmons

It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another

Hyperion is a sci-fi novel written by Dan Simmons, first published in 1989. The story is set on a distant future of spacefaring human civilization called Hegemony of Man and two equally-dominant other factions. When one of these factions, a barbaric race known as the Ousters threatened the peace of Hegemony with an intergalactic war, seven pilgrims were sent to Hyperion, a mysterious world where an even more mysterious creature called the Shrike lives. Each one of the pilgrims had their lives intertwined with the Shrike or Hyperion somehow and they sought to settle their businesses once and for all.

This book is just ridiculously amazing. Within just arguably few hundreds of pages, it takes worldbuilding to a whole new level. I thought Dune was exhaustive in the art, but Hyperion proved me wrong. It's hard not to emphasize this part of the book because it's absolutely massive and constructed magnificently around the story. However, thanks to that, just like Dune, this book is a bit hard to read on the first few chapters, but it gets easier after you get used to it.

More amazingly, it's not the great worldbuilding that I adore the most about the book. It's the characters and the story. Their individual stories around Hyperion and the Shrike are crafted around one single idea or argument on things like religion, technology, philosophy, art, humanity, etc. and the writer managed to beautifully re-packaged those ideas or arguments into distinctly thought-provoking and emotionally engaging journeys for each of the characters.

This book is a two-parter though. So, if you decided to grab this book, you might also want to buy its sequel, The Fall of Hyperion. Even so, despite having no ending, it doesn't diminish even one bit of enjoyment that I had experienced with this first book.

Overall, I can't overstate my amazement of this book. One of science fiction best works of all time, probably!

Dan Simmons
First Published
May 26, 1989