Hyperion is a grandiose science fiction novel told in an “around the camp-fire” style of story telling by an eccentric group of characters. Each member of the pilgrimage takes turns giving their account of what led them to share this voyage, and through their explanations you discover the mysteries of the planet and the legendary Shrike that guards the time tombs.
The stories told by the cast of characters in Hyperion are among my favorite stories told in any book, some of them being mysterious and most of them being horrific. Due to the way Hyperion is written you don’t just get one flat story about the world, you get several dynamic points of view into the universe and that serves the world-building aspect in a unique way.
I personally felt that the book started off in an intimidating way, almost as if it was meant to weed out anyone who wasn’t ready to make the dive. It doesn’t remain this way throughout, but the start of Hyperion gives you the impression that the whole novel is going to be an enormous volume of science fiction techno babble. Maybe the book was just written at a much higher reading level than I’m used to, but you should mentally prepare yourself to be in a “learning through context” sort of mood before you dive in because before you know it you’re swimming in a sea of terms like “treeship,” “time-tombs,” “time debt,” and more. The daunting opening to Hyperion is where anything critical I have to say for the book ends, and there’s always the chance that the beginning doesn’t feel that way for you at all.
The diverse world of Hyperion is excellent and insane. Age reversing diseases, symbiotes that cause immortality, and time controlling mechanical monsters. The first book seems as if you’re only getting a taste. There are still mysteries to be explored and unraveled in the follow up entries in the series and I’m excited to dive in when the time comes.
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