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Ilium (Simmons, Dan) [Hardcover]

Dan Simmons
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jun 2003 Simmons, Dan
Taking the events and characters of the Iliad as his jumping off point Dan Simmons has created an epic of time travel and savage warfare. Travellers from 40,000 years in the future return to Homer's Greece and rewrite history forever, their technology impacting on the population in a godlike fashion. This is broad scope space opera rich in classical and literary allusion from one of the key figures in 1990s world SF and marks a return to the genre for one of its greats.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager; 1 edition (Jun 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380978938
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380978939
  • Product Dimensions: 4.4 x 13.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 197,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dan Simmons was born in Peoria, Illinois, in 1948, and grew up in various cities and small towns in the Midwest, including Brimfield, Illinois, which was the source of his fictional "Elm Haven" in 1991's SUMMER OF NIGHT and 2002's A WINTER HAUNTING. Dan received a B.A. in English from Wabash College in 1970, winning a national Phi Beta Kappa Award during his senior year for excellence in fiction, journalism and art.

Dan received his Masters in Education from Washington University in St. Louis in 1971. He then worked in elementary education for 18 years -- 2 years in Missouri, 2 years in Buffalo, New York -- one year as a specially trained BOCES "resource teacher" and another as a sixth-grade teacher -- and 14 years in Colorado.

His last four years in teaching were spent creating, coordinating, and teaching in APEX, an extensive gifted/talented program serving 19 elementary schools and some 15,000 potential students. During his years of teaching, he won awards from the Colorado Education Association and was a finalist for the Colorado Teacher of the Year. He also worked as a national language-arts consultant, sharing his own "Writing Well" curriculum which he had created for his own classroom. Eleven and twelve-year-old students in Simmons' regular 6th-grade class averaged junior-year in high school writing ability according to annual standardized and holistic writing assessments. Whenever someone says "writing can't be taught," Dan begs to differ and has the track record to prove it. Since becoming a full-time writer, Dan likes to visit college writing classes, has taught in New Hampshire's Odyssey writing program for adults, and is considering hosting his own Windwalker Writers' Workshop.

Dan's first published story appeared on Feb. 15, 1982, the day his daughter, Jane Kathryn, was born. He's always attributed that coincidence to "helping in keeping things in perspective when it comes to the relative importance of writing and life."

Dan has been a full-time writer since 1987 and lives along the Front Range of Colorado -- in the same town where he taught for 14 years -- with his wife, Karen. He sometimes writes at Windwalker -- their mountain property and cabin at 8,400 feet of altitude at the base of the Continental Divide, just south of Rocky Mountain National Park. An 8-ft.-tall sculpture of the Shrike -- a thorned and frightening character from the four Hyperion/Endymion novels -- was sculpted by an ex-student and friend, Clee Richeson, and the sculpture now stands guard near the isolated cabin.

Dan is one of the few novelists whose work spans the genres of fantasy, science fiction, horror, suspense, historical fiction, noir crime fiction, and mainstream literary fiction . His books are published in 27 foreign counties as well as the U.S. and Canada.

Many of Dan's books and stories have been optioned for film, including SONG OF KALI, DROOD, THE CROOK FACTORY, and others. Some, such as the four HYPERION novels and single Hyperion-universe novella "Orphans of the Helix", and CARRION COMFORT have been purchased (the Hyperion books by Warner Brothers and Graham King Films, CARRION COMFORT by European filmmaker Casta Gavras's company) and are in pre-production. Director Scott Derrickson ("The Day the Earth Stood Stood Still") has been announced as the director for the Hyperion movie and Casta Gavras's son has been put at the helm of the French production of Carrion Comfort. Current discussions for other possible options include THE TERROR. Dan's hardboiled Joe Kurtz novels are currently being looked as the basis for a possible cable TV series.

In 1995, Dan's alma mater, Wabash College, awarded him an honorary doctorate for his contributions in education and writing.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Genre-hopping Dan Simmons returns to science fiction with the vast and intricate masterpiece Ilium. Within, Simmons weaves three astounding story lines into one Earth, Mars and Jupiter-shattering cliffhanger that will leave readers aching for the sequel.

On Earth, a post-technological group of humans, pampered by servant machines and easy travel via "faxing," begins to question its beginnings. Meanwhile, a team of sentient and Shakespeare-quoting robots from Jupiter's lunar system embark on a mission to Mars to investigate an increase in dangerous quantum fluctuations. On the Red Planet, they'll find a race of metahumans living out existence as the pantheon of classic Greek gods. These "gods" have recreated the Trojan War with reconstituted Greeks and Trojans and staffed it with scholars from throughout Earth's history who observe the events and report on the accuracy of Homer's Iliad. One of these scholars, Thomas Hockenberry, finds himself tangled in the midst of interplay between the gods and their playthings and sends the war reeling in a direction the blind poet could have never imagined.

Simmons creates an exciting and thrilling tale set in the thick of the Trojan War as seen through Hockenberry's 20th-century eyes. At the same time, Simmons's robots study Shakespeare and Proust and the origin-seeking Earthlings find themselves caught in a murderous retelling of The Tempest. Reading this highly literate novel does take more than a passing familiarity with at least The Iliad but readers who can dive into these heady waters and swim with the current will be amply rewarded. --Jeremy Pugh,

Book Description

A compelling melding of ancient Greek mythology and space opera from one of SF's masters. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
Rage. Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles, of Peleus' son, murderous, mankiller, fated to die, sing of the rage that cost the Achaeans so many good men and sent so many vital, hearty souls down to the dreary House of Death. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
By Lawrance M. Bernabo HALL OF FAME VINE VOICE
I reached the point long ago where I became rather fiercely committed to the idea of reading a novel without knowing too much about the story. Book covers are immediately discarded upon purchase (sometimes not to be found for months later when they surface again all crumpled and wrinkled), and I passionately avoid reading the back covers of paperbacks until after the book is read, at which point I am usually grossly offended. Consequently, I picked up Dan Simmons' "Ilium" simply because I heard it was a retelling of the Trojan War in general and Homer's "Iliad" in particular. Since I teach that epic poem in my Classical Mythology class and have always considered myself to be an "Iliad" person rather than an "Odyssey" person, that was enough to get me to pack this book away for a recent trip when I could commit myself to some serious continuous reading. So I was rather surprised to learn that a retelling of the "Iliad," after a fashion, is but one of three story threads that start to come together over the course of this 576 page novel, which is itself but the first half of a the saga envisioned by Simmons.
The Trojan War is being reenacted on Mars by a race of metahumans who have assumed the roles of the Greek gods of classical mythology. Our vantage point to this exercise is Thomas Hockenberry, a scholar who is pretty sure he is dead and remembers little of his life on earth, but knows Homer's epic poem chapter and verse, and along with the rest of his colleagues is cataloguing where the action diverges from the "Iliad.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
You have heard the hype: a modern day retelling of Homer's The Iliad, set in a science fiction context. Your reaction: if he pulls it off, then Dan Simmons is an absolute legend. The result? Not only does Simmons pull it off, he delivers more than we deserve. You see, Dan Simmons is spoiling our socks off with his genius.
The gods of Greek Mythology have chosen to exist on a newly terraformed Mars. To pass the time, they have brought Homer's Iliad to life, featuring real warring Trojan and Greek armies. As a side-project, the gods have brought back scholars who specialise in Homer's epic poem, with the aim of recording how accurate Homer's account was to the real thing. Thomas Hockenberry is one such scholar, and he's been in the thick of it for nearly 9 years. Tired and jaded with the constant witnesses to carnage, along with the very real threat of being killed by his Muse at a whim, Hockenberry is close to throwing it in. But the gods have another plan for him, one which will throw Mount Olympos into utter chaos.
At the same time we have a consortium of 5 robots who are about to leave Jupiter for Mars. They are on a mission to investigate the strange happenings on Mars - the recent terraformation of the once red planet, and a disturbingly high number of quantum teleportation which might just tear a big enough hole in space to swallow the whole universe.
Having just finished the novel, I am still unable to get over the sheer ambitious act of creating a world where Greek Mythology walks hand in hand with quantum/nano-technology. But it is not just the originality of the idea that makes it so great; it is Simmons' delivery that adds to the "wow" factor. Simmons avoids "showing off" and making the myth/technology idea into a one-trick pony.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a standalone novel 2 Oct 2004
By A Customer
This is a wonderfully literate novel. The literary references are enjoyable while the characters (particularly the moravecs) are well defined. Sadly, the three stories are not fully meshed at the end of the book. The ending felt rushed - as if the author was not sure whether he was setting up a sequel. It appears a sequel is planned, though. I hope the next volume is as good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, but wait for sequel 14 Jun 2005
By A Customer
Like Hyperion, this is only the first part of the story. Wait for the sequel (Olympos) and read them back to back. The cliff hanger ending leaves you impatient for more. Otherwise it is a stunning piece of space opera - a myriad of sub plots interwoven with some classic Dan Simmons imagination that make these books such a pleasure to read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I shall be reading it again... 23 April 2004
and not because I didn't understand it the first time around. I loved theuse of the Illiad, although some licence has been taken. It's the sort ofbook where more can be gained with each reading. Some of the story seemsvery unlikley, but then the whole scenerio is somewhat unlikley. Ihappily disabled my reality chip and dove right into the story.
My onlycritiscm was the ending which seemed somewhat rushed, almost as though hehad run out of pages.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dan Brown, THIS is how it's done... 16 Oct 2005
By coatgal
Have just finished reading this and it's sequel, Olympos. Both books are engaging, entertaining and well written; I ran the gamut of human emotions whilst reading them. I laughed a lot, was genuinely surprised by myriad twists and turns, had to put the book down at one point because I was crying so much that I could not see to read and, most importantly, was made to think and made to question.
Both books read as though they were written by a man who has learnt about and thought about the subjects and themes he has adapted and in addition has skillfully created fantasic yet believable individuals and situations using recognisable stories and characters.
Dan Brown, with his painfully flat characterisation, half-baked concepts and uninspired plotlines should read and learn: If you are going to use something familiar at the centre of your tale, do it in an intelligent, informed way.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Second time around
Second time for me, because I once had this book, and it wandered off. So I had to buy it again when I wanted to read it again. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Sheena
5.0 out of 5 stars Best SF read in ages
Really good story on so many levels. Great style of writing. Equal to Iain M Banks' Culture series. Couldn't put it down.
Published 5 months ago by Mr. R. K. Brown
3.0 out of 5 stars Ilium
Although a relatively well written book, I was a little disappointed in it. Firstly is was not even remotely as well written and thought out as Hyperion or Endymion, you almost... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Steve
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Quite an Odyssey
This is an entertaining story. It's not as well written as the Hyperion novels, but it's still far better than the vast majority of books out there. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kublai
2.0 out of 5 stars Well-written, disappointing mess
Ilium/Olympos by Dan Simmons

There's no point reviewing these two books as anything other than one, long (1400+ page) story. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Philtrum
2.0 out of 5 stars not memorable
I have read Hyperion, the fall of Hyperion, Endymion and The rise of Endymion and I was in awe. The scope, beautiful ideas of future technology, the interesting characters, the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Clovix
4.0 out of 5 stars My head's spinning!
This is a space opera with a difference! It is a page turning and exciting epic that I read so rapidly that I now realise that I have failed to understand all the subtleties! Read more
Published 10 months ago by G G S COLLINS
5.0 out of 5 stars The Illiad with robots!
This was fun! The Illiad with Shakespeare and Proust quoting robots, this is an addition which has been overlong in coming. I never understood why Homer didn't think of it. Read more
Published 14 months ago by martymonster
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome (in the true sense of the word)
I am simply in awe of this book.

I picked it up thinking it sounded like fun (a retelling of the Iliad, set on Mars) but discovered it's so much more. Read more
Published 14 months ago by A-Canadian-in-London
5.0 out of 5 stars Ilium
Excellent. why do I need to say more about this book. It was excellent excellent excellent excellent excellent excellent excellent.
Published 15 months ago by Opiumh Hall
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