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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just superb
Although written coming on for twenty years ago, the two novels that make up this omnibus edition, "Hyperion" and "The Fall of Hyperion" are absolutely "must-reads" for all serious lovers of literary SF.
The first book sets out the stories of a disparate group of travellers, brought together to visit the machine entity/deity the Shrike at its "lair" in the Time Tombs...
Published on 26 Feb. 2005 by Alex Fell

versus
1.0 out of 5 stars Not worth the time to read it.
This book comes with a lot of hype (no pun intended). And, after reading the whole thing faithfully, I have to concluded that it is a half decent idea ruined by ridiculous amounts of superfluous text, and I see the word 'pretentious' has already been used, but the ludicrous return time and time again to the poetry leaves me baffled as to the purpose of the marriage of...
Published 1 month ago by S. Hodgson


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49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just superb, 26 Feb. 2005
By 
Alex Fell (Rugby, Warwickshire, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Although written coming on for twenty years ago, the two novels that make up this omnibus edition, "Hyperion" and "The Fall of Hyperion" are absolutely "must-reads" for all serious lovers of literary SF.
The first book sets out the stories of a disparate group of travellers, brought together to visit the machine entity/deity the Shrike at its "lair" in the Time Tombs on the planet of Hyperion. Ostensibly, this is an attempt to avert an invasion of the settled universe by a swarm/fleet of Ousters (humans who have opted out of the mainstream human culture, which is run and regulated by AIs). However, each has a personal reason to visit the Shrike (a normally fatal enterprise) and on the course of the journey, each tells their tale. Thus, the book is a sort of mini-Decameron for the SF crowd, with the author adopting a different tone for each segment. It is supremely written, each segment explaining more of the overall milieau and pushing the plot forward as well as delineating the characters.
The second book focusses less overtly on the characters of the original book, as the action broadens out into the political background of the setting and the action taking place on other worlds, as the Ouster invasion and its ramifactions develop. This is more conventional in its structure, but nevertheless riveting, and building to a highly satisfactory conclusion (though it is one of those books which you don't really want to end, so immersive is the story).
The writing is superb all the way through, brimming with ideas and packing a great deal of "sense of wonder", but also maintaining a high degree of action-packing and also, in parts, very moving emotionally (the last is not often a feature of even the best SF). And while fairly highbrow in places (the poet Keats is quite big in the storyline) it carries along the reader (like myself) who is not expert in these things without being annoying or patronising.
Perhaps the masterstroke of the books is the "character" of the Shrike, a sort of emblem of the mystery at the centre of the books (rather like the black monoliths in 2001). But the Shrike is also horrific and unpredictable, and every encounter with it is memorable.
As stated above, the books are about 20 years old. But they seem hardly dated, and the quality of the writing is some of the highest (maybe the highest) in the genre. Having read a lot of SF, and modern SF too, these really stand out for me as "core texts". I was initially put off reading Dan Simmons because I was only aware of his horror writing - don't be, this is pure, fabulous SF of the highest order.
Everyone raves about these books - there is a reason.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent SF with plenty of gusto, 27 July 2006
By 
Tanstaafl (Wiltshire UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Having been a reader of SF for the best part of 50 years, I was surprised to find I had overlooked these novels for so long. I have to admit I found the first book quite oppressive. The tales of each of the pilgrims are dark and tragic, and I found it quite hard going, although the story becomes more compelling as you try to piece together the connections between them. The latter part heads off into space opera, wilderness adventure, fractal and virtual universes, and moral philosophy.

I suspect that a reader more familiar with the life and works of John Keats would find another layer (or two) in this book, but even on face value it is an entertaining tale with well-drawn characters and which makes you care about the fates of the protagonists. As said somewhere else, the clever twist is that what appears to be a plot device is in fact central to the plot - the loose ends are tied up quite neatly and you don't feel cheated in the final exposition.

Overall I enjoyed this enough that I have immediately purchased the Endymium omnibus, which picks up some of the threads of Hyperion. I don't think that a first-time SF reader would make it past the first hundred pages or so, and would miss out on some stunning word images.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware the Jabberwock, my son! The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!, 31 July 2014
This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Firstly let me state that I really enjoyed this book. Not for one moment did I reach the point where it risked being thrown in the bin, which I mention because it's not uncommon, I'm an intolerant, quickly bored reader easily moved to belligerence. Thus many a book that starts well ends up unceremoniously thrown in the bin if it springs major transgressions on me. Life is just too short to wade through books that are over-paced, predictable, clichéd or too far out of genre.

I prefaced my review with that because there is one point in the book around page 288 where I started to wonder whether it was going to go downhill fast after a brilliant start, i.e. was it going to change to sfi-fantasy from sci-fi? Yes at one point, I half expected it to wander off into Tad Williams 'Otherland' style, which is fine in its place but this book isn't that place.

However it redeemed itself and I continued

On finishing the book I would say despite some slight reservations I did actually very much enjoy it. It managed not (quite) to delve far into fantasy over sci-fi , and the premise behind the story didn't atually seem too far fetched for sci-fi, in my view. In fact flaming clever considering when it was written. The plot alone must (as with all time twisting plots) have taken considerable thought and planning, I'll certainly give him credit for that.

By the end of the book it is clear he's referenced the classics in both characterisations and themes, but he makes no bones about that and ultimately he brings a spiralling sci-fi theme very much back home to human feelings. Towards the end he borders on moralising a little, but what sci-fi doesn't in one way or another, and risks a close shave with schmaltz, but by then because it is an extremely well crafted story, you'll forgive him almost anything?

As I said , I really enjoyed it, despite a slight concern at one point, and so would thouroughly recommend that it be on your reading list.....and the Shrike, so conceived, is a classic malevolent archetype that lurks in your subconscious long after the end..
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So much more than "just" science fiction, 29 Jun. 2006
This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
I'm going to wade in on the side of the superlatives here. This series continues to amaze me after all of the 18 or so years since I first started reading it. Of course all of the classic science fiction themes show themselves: time travel, vast civilisations, cyberspace etc. but there are ideas spanning the whole of literature in here too. We have parental love, the search for redemption, corruption in high places and as a finale the "deus ex machina" plot device turns out to actually be the plot itself.

There are images in here that have stayed with me for the whole of that 18 years: the flame trees, catacombs and of course the Shrike and this is one of the few series that I have willingly loaded into my luggage for another re-read on holiday. (The other being the Night's Dawn books).

Saying that this is not a good book for novice science fiction readers is slightly disingenuous. It certainly may be hard to grasp all of the concepts if you have never seen any of them before but even Mozart was once criticised for having "too many notes". :-) The series has a huge vision and if you like complexity and resolution in your reading, you will not be disappointed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Simply awesome, 15 Aug. 2012
This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
I'm far from a genius when it comes to reading and sometimes these future sci-fi settings can carry a lot of jargon I can't get my head around. The first few pages had plenty of it, I read over it a few times to make sure I could understand what was going on. At that point, I thought 'heck this book in my hands has about 600 plus pages, if it's all like this I'll go nuts' and I was about to sling it at my other-half's direction.

I'm glad the tenacious elements of my personality kicked in and pushed on, because once you invariably accept the writers attempts to bring you up to speed with the places, era, smells and tastes which actually work very well in the long run (although "Tree-Ships" messed my imagination right up). Then go on to enjoy the purposely written mystery surrounding the reasons for the planet Hyperion's involvement in so many peoples lives... you begin to enjoy a truly moving story.

A story of people, from all walks of life and their many motives.

I believe you could easily produce probably a dozen films out of this - or create some kind of Game of Thrones type series from this book and I'm only on the start of the second part of this omnibus!

To try and describe the book in terms of things that other people might know and blend them together... If you get (in no particular order):

Mass Effect
Stargate SG1
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Dick Tracy
The Fifth Element
The Wizard of Oz
Blade Runner
Orwell's 1984

Shove it all in, not a blender - but a well crafted sandwich... and this is the bad boy you're left with.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "truly astonishing", 22 Jun. 2010
By 
S. Checkley (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
this is the most outstanding piece of science fiction writing I have ever read. Previously I had read a lot of the Starwars fiction, star trek, then later most of Arthur C. Clarke and Asimov's work. Hyperion, for me eclipses all of this. Starwars and StarTrek are cheap mindless fiction in comparison (and tales of the bounty hunter was a masterpiece). The 2001 series are literary classics. However, those who have not spent the time voyaging through this epic tale have not truly experienced science fiction. Simmons uses classic literature and elements of Chausers cantebury tales in a futuristic setting but as well as creating huge, rich, living worlds and intricately weaves classic works into them. The character and plot development is deep and emotional creating real and engaging characters that could fit equally in the far future or the classics. Simmons introduces and develops the characters using short stories to tie the travellers together, as done more recently in the likes of Lost but with infinitely more class and sophistication. There are elements of drama, romance, suspense, and intense action sequences as the back stories are knitted together into a final, breathtaking climax.

A sci-fi enthusiast who hasn't read Hyperion is like a fan of fantasy who has never read Tolkein.

Does exactly what it says on the tin: "truly astonishing"

Buy it, (build the strength to lift it!!) and read it! :))
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Up there with Dune as one of the best sci fi novels ever!!!!, 23 Nov. 2004
By 
Damon Doyle "damonde" (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Astounding, life changing, amazing, rollercoaster of a sci fi space opera, that i cannot praise enough as my grasp of the English language is not quite strong enough. I am a very discerning sci fi reader and was blown away by these novels. I have converted friends and family for whom the word "sci fi" conjurs up re-runs of Star Trek to sci fi fans with this novel. Practically every friend or aquantance i have talked to about these books has read the series after much intimidation from me and reported back in full agreement - This is a series you must not miss if you call yourself a "Reader" even if you dont like sci fi. There are so many layers to this book i cant explain here, but its like a great film, you dont want it to end and when it does, it stays with you forever. I have re-visited the story countless times and rank it up there with the greats of the 20th Century, easily as good as the Dune series, Tolkien, Phillip K Dick etc an absolute classic of the genre and defines the "whos" from the "Wannabes" in my opinion. Rumours of a film/s abound, lets hope it ends up a Peter Jackson as opposed to a David Lynch, if they go ahead and make a movie/s of it. Dan, you are truly a great, you deserve all the praise thats been heaped on you for this series. Also read his "Illium" (soon to follow "Odyseus") novel - Illium was also another superb sci fi opera.....thanks Dan Simmons for enriching my life and the life of those I know...stunning!!!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-Fi at its best - possibly better than Dune?, 31 Oct. 2008
By 
John Ferngrove (Hants UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
But that's only after second reading. I don't know how it happened but on the first reading I was left with a very mixed sense. There had been some superb action, amazing far out ideas, touching emotional aspects and some fairly deep moral philosophy, but somewhere I dropped the ball and lost the plot, which is about as complex as a plot can be, and I came to the end, having liked a lot of what I'd read, but feeling that I hadn't understood what it was all about.

The star of the book(s) rather than the ostensible cyber John Keats, who is a beautiful observer throughout, is the amazing Shrike. A terrifying bogeyman to beat all bogeymen. An invincible monstrous machine from the future who can manipulate time so as to be there at one moment and then instantly appear to be here, deadly and silent.

It was finding a meaty but creepy synth sound that made me think of writing a piece of music for the Shrike, which in turn made me think let's read the book again. I've just finished it, and this time I've managed to hang on to the plot lines and see them all come back together, and I have closed the book with complete satisfaction.

While I was reading it I had the constant envious feeling of 'Cripes, this is the sci-fi book I wish I could have written'. Above all, I am in awe of the plot. The skill with which the multiple threads are all bought together to leave nothing untied is quite breathtaking.

Secondly, the characterisation is beautiful. We have a group of people all from very different backgrounds and very different outlooks on life, and each are imagined in superb detail, as are the growing relationships between them. The cyber John Keats, who is one of the characters in the first book and a primary, first-person observer in the second is written with great eloquence and grace. I don't think you would have to know Keats' poetry or life to get more from this book, but it might just make you want to go check him out afterwards. I intend to.

Add to that, amazing technologies, dense political intrigue, human and AI (I think that's where I got lost first time round), and time travel conundra as rival futures fight for the timeline and you have the very best Sci-Fi experience you could ask for.

Possibly better than Dune? I don't know. Dune I've read 4 or 5 times. The last time quite recently, and got a whole different experience out of it again. This I've now read twice. I won't try and decide. What I would say is that these two, along with Samuel Delany's Dhalgren (Vintage), are far and away the most literary works of SF I know of after years of reading, and stand above the rest of the genre as genuine literary art as opposed to mere entertainment.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 19 May 2006
By 
C. G. Whitaker "Cath W" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
The four books in this series are all staggering in their scope and depth. To my mind it is one of the best, if not THE best SF saga.

And unlike much SF, which typically starts well with great ideas but fails to deliver a strong ending, the final few pages are a joy.

Don't miss it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must be read together, 29 Mar. 2013
This review is from: The Hyperion Omnibus: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion (GOLLANCZ S.F.) (Paperback)
Reading the much-praised Hyperion on its own for the first time left me a little baffled. If is of course well-written and full of brilliant ideas and snippets of story - but it ends with no conclusion and feels like an extended scene-setter. It is only when read in conjunction with the excellent sequel that the story becomes a satisfying whole. The Fall Of Hyperion is a much more conventional narrative, which ties together all the strands from the first book into a very entertaining - and ultimately more complete - read. The first two books in the Hyperion Cantos are very much a pair, and do not need the Endymion books to make them whole. I would also recommend the Endymion books, perhaps a little less original than the Hyperion pair but again full of arresting images and situations. Some of the best SF of the last 20 years.
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