Tonawanda News — “Hyperion” isn’t without its flaws, although they aren’t large enough to get in the way of what is otherwise an engrossing, well-conceived story. Simmons, for example, seems to derive a good deal of enjoyment from writing explicit sex scenes, which are expendable at best. Simply put, the scenes do nothing to progress the story, giving the author a means to write somewhat naughty words where he otherwise wouldn’t have been able.
While “Hyperion” is, in a way, a self-contained story, it also leaves readers on one heck of a cliffhanger to end the tale. It’s hard to explain this without spoiling the ending, but realize that you will feel both satisfied, and hungry for more, come the conclusion. Considering that “Hyperion” is more than 400 pages in length, and the sequel is about just as long, consider this a warning that potential readers are in for one long ride if they opt to dive in to the Hyperion story.
It is worth noting Simmons would go on to create a number of spin-offs from his “Hyperion Cantos,” the two books that tell the Hyperion story. The public opinion on these spin offs is iffy at best. For comparison, these spin offs are not unlike the paperback Star Wars stories you can find countless numbers of, in that while they do little to progress or affect the main story’s plot, they can be fun for diehard fans. The majority, of course, chooses to leave those books on the shelf.
While Hyperion will certainly fulfill the science fiction fan’s craving for a futuristic universe they can get lost in, it holds a lot of literary merit as well. Although it isn’t going to challenge the landscape of literature in any significant fashion, it is a detail-rich, thoroughly thought out, complex novel that runs on a number of different levels. “Hyperion” touches on love and war, hope and happiness, pain and despair, the future and the past, all within its 429 pages. It’s a riveting read.
Dean Goranites publishes weekly video book reviews at unleashthis.tumblr.com, and can be reached through Twitter at unleash_this.• WHAT: "Hyperion" • BY: Dan Simmons • GRADE: B