Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hyperion Cantos & Endymion

By far some of the best books I have ever read!! Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion by Dan Simmons take place from 2700 AD - 3100 AD following those members of the "Shrike Pilgrimage" in the first two, and Aenea and Endymion in the last two. The story is intriguing and original on so many levels and will leave the reader with a sense of wonder, horror and amazement. It is a series you don't want to end!!

A brief overview:


Hyperion has the structure of a frame story, similar to Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and especially to Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron. The story weaves the interlocking tales of a diverse group of travelers sent on a pilgrimage to the Time Tombs on Hyperion. The travelers have been sent by the Shrike Church and the Hegemony (the government of the human star systems) to make a request of the Shrike. As they progress in their journey, each of the pilgrims tells their tale.
*Winner of the Hugo & Nebula Awards.

The Fall of Hyperion

This book concludes the story begun in Hyperion. It abandons the frame structure of the first novel, instead using a more conventional chronological narrative (although several jumps in time take place).


The story commences 272 years after the events in the previous novel. Few main characters from the first two books are present in the later two. The main character is Raul Endymion, an ex-soldier who receives a death sentence after an unfair trial. He is rescued by Martin Silenus and asked to perform a series of rather extraordinarily difficult tasks. The main task is to rescue and protect Aenea, a messiah coming from the distant past via time travel. The Catholic Church has become a dominant force in the human universe and views Aenea as a potential threat to their power. The group of Aenea, Endymion, and A. Bettik (an android) evades the Church's forces on several worlds, ending the story on Earth.

The Rise of Endymion

This final novel in the series finishes the story begun in Endymion, expanding on the themes in Endymion as Raul and Aenea battle the church and meet their respective destinies.

There are heavy literature references throughout the books, touching on Keats, Crane, and many others. The titles of the books taken from poems by John Keats. (Hyperion being an unfinished poem, The Fall of Hyperion, Keats second attempt in writing about Hyperion the Titan-God of the Sun. Endymion based on the myth of Endymion, the Shepard beloved by Selene, the Moon Goddess).

The inventiveness of the tales show a massive future that is complex in technology, politics, religion and many other themes. The three main groups of beings being The Hegemony, The Ousters, and the Technocore, (The Hegenomy being replaced by the PAX in the last two books).

Much of the appeal of the series stems from its extensive use of references and allusions from a wide array of thinkers such as Teilhard de Chardin, John Muir, Norbert Wiener, and to the poetry of John Keats, a famous English Romantic poet of the 19th century, and the monk Ummon.

Heavy themes include empathy's power in the universe, what it means to truly die as well as live, Gods purpose and what constitutes God.

A wonderful read!!! A series that will be read over and over again!!

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