Friday, April 01, 2005

Review: The Fall of Hyperion

As I mentioned earlier, I carried on straight through to the sequel to Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion. More of the story threads were tied up, but much room was left open for more books. Of which, of course, there are a few. To which I say: Bah Humbug.

To be fair, I did feel myself propelled through this one to find out more about the Shrike and what the characters had to do with one another, but it didn't resolve enough for me with respect to the overarching conflict between the humans and the AIs. As mentioned by Gavril in the comments on the last review, it's easy to lose patience with the whole thing.

It also made me wonder how differently I would have viewed the book if I weren't so familiar with Frank Herbert, who is the master of building characters and universes and then setting them on their ears. He was the first author I read (1st book: Dune at age 11 thanks to the David Lynch movie on cable and a crush on Kyle MacLachlan) who actually killed off characters that you didn't expect to see die and orchestrated "plans within plans" that really kept you off-kilter.

Or maybe I just put him at the pinnacle because I was 11 and hadn't yet read a book where people died who weren't technically the bad guys. Anyway, the result was that the twists of Fall were not as twisty because I have been schooled in the Herbert Method of Reader Bewilderment.

Simmons also throws in some religious and political elements for good measure. I'm not saying that he was mimicking Herbert by any means -- there are still enough unusual and inventive elements in the story to make it stand out -- but there are some definite similarities in the effort to be ponderous and deep.

All of that being said, I still have Endymion, the next book in the series, in my rather-large-and-growing pile of books to read next.

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