I finished this amazing sci fi story a few weeks back, and am still thinking about parts of it.
I thought I had read this before, because I had owned it as a teenager, but after the first few chapters I didn’t remember any of it, and I think I may not have finished it because the parts I do remember have always stuck with me, and I think the later parts of the book, had I read them, I would have remembered them.
The story is about a group of strangers taking an interstellar voyage to the strange planet of Hyperion, each of them with their own reason and history with the planet, and the mysterious creature ‘the shrike’ that lives there. Deciding to get to know each other during the voyage, they decide to each tell their story, taking turns each night.
So the book is really six stories in one, each one is self contained, but since they are based in the same universe, and all relate to the same planet, they can’t help but be relevant to each other.
Each story is uniquely interesting and captivating. And some scenes are so vivid and visceral that I was cringing and gasping while listening. I’ve been inspired to write after listening to this, and I imagine this series has been incredibly influential in the sci fi world.
I was also very interested by the relationship this novel has with the poet, Keats, who I have not read. Hyperion is named after an unfinished epic poem by Keats, and there is more than a few references, and even major plot points, that have to do with the poet. I feel I may be missing some of the story by not having read him.
I found the end to be frustrating, as nothing is really resolved, and we leave our group of travelers right as they are reaching their destination. But I have the sequel ready to go and am eager to find out what happens next.
This is definitely a landmark for science fiction. It feels ‘thicker’ than most sci fi, even though it is not hard science fiction. It is thoughtful and beautiful and complicated and deep and intricate.
Check it out!