Finished Dan Simmons’ “Hyperion”

… The audio frontiers version, with a full cast of characters. Pretty good book, very impressed.

The structure is based off of Canterbury tales, each of a series of pilgrims telling their own story, but it’s much darker and each story is part of a single whole. They are all on a pilgrimage to what is essentially a dark god or avatar of the end times called The Shrike, who may or may not grant their wish (presumably to save the universe).

Of all of them, the Scholar’s Tale was the most affecting. It’s about someone’s grown daughter being cursed with reverse aging, and how she gradually becomes a teenager and then a child and a baby again, forgetting her life and what she has learned as she goes. It was so painful and emotionally intense, I almost had to stop the book at several points. What’s strange is that just a couple of year’s ago, I might have found this tale the most boring — but since I have a daughter of my own now, it hit home hard.

Perhaps one of the most plot-important tales, the Detective’s Tale, was the weakest one of the lot. It was basically a cyberpunk novella, and a pretty good one, but contrasted with the other tales, it felt hollow and empty of resonance.

Of course the problem with Hyperion is that it is a huge book and it is not a complete tale in itself. You have to read another huge book, Fall of Hyperion, to get to the ending — and I don’t know if I’ll be up to that for a while.

4 out of 5 sparkly vampires gone super-nova.

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