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Hyperion Cantos #2

The Fall of Hyperion

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In the stunning continuation of the epic adventure begun in Hyperion, Simmons returns us to a far future resplendent with drama and invention. On the world of Hyperion, the mysterious Time Tombs are opening. And the secrets they contain mean that nothing--nothing anywhere in the universe--will ever be the same.

517 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published March 1, 1990

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About the author

Dan Simmons

305 books11.5k followers
Dan Simmons 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.

Biographic Sketch

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, his daughter, Jane, (when she's home from Hamilton College) and their Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Fergie. He does much of his writing 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.

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Profile Image for Kemper.
1,390 reviews6,963 followers
February 26, 2016
"Nurse, this patient’s chart is very confusing.”

“Which patient, Doctor?”

“Uh..Mr. Kemper. He’s the one in the vegetative state.”

“Oh, that’s a very sad and odd case.”

“According to the patient history, he was admitted a few weeks ago with cerebrospinal fluid leaking from his nose and ears, but it seemed like he should recover. But yesterday he was brought in again, barely conscious and then he lapsed into a coma. The really odd thing is that I see no signs of injury or disease.”

“That’s right, Doctor. It was a book that did this to Mr. Kemper.”

“A book? How is that possible?”

“From what we can figure out, the first incident occured after he read Hyperion by a writer named Dan Simmons. I guess it’s one of those sci-fi books and apparently the story is quite elaborate. Anyhow, Mr. Kemper had read Simmons before and knew he likes to put a lot of big ideas in his books. But this time, apparently Simmons broke into his house and managed to directly implant much of the book directly into Mr. Kemper’s brain via some kind of crude funnel device.”

“I find that highly unlikely, Nurse.”

“Most of us did, Doctor. But Mr. Kemper kept insisting that Simmons had some kind of grudge against him. He even had a note he said Simmons had left that said something like ‘Don’t you ever learn? If you keep reading my books, I’ll end you someday.’”

“Assuming that I believed this story, I guess that Kemper’s current state tells us that he didn’t heed the warning?”

“Apparently not, Doctor. His wife said she found him having convulsions and leaking brain matter out his nose and ears again. A copy of the sequel, The Fall of Hyperion was on the floor nearby.”

“I can’t believe that reading a silly sci-fi book could turn an healthy man into a turnip, Nurse.”

“Well, when they brought Kemper in, he was semiconscious and muttering. Someone wrote it down. Let see, he kept repeating words and phrases like: Shrike, Time Tombs, the Core, God, uh…no, two gods actually, farcasters, Ousters, religion, pope, death wand, space battles, interplanetary trees, old Earth, AI, mega sphere, data sphere, The Canterbury Tales, poetry, John Keats, Tree of Thorns, and Lord of Pain.”

“Jesus! What does all that mean?”

“Someone looked it up on the web and all of that is actually in the book.”

“That poor bastard. No wonder his gray matter is fried. No one could absorb all that without permanent damage.”

“Yes, I’d think that book should have some kind of warning sticker or something on it.”

“One thing I still don’t understand, Nurse. If Kemper knew that this book would probably do this to him, why did he still read it?”

“I guess he had told several people that Hyperion was just so good that he had to know how it ended, even if it killed him.”


I think the word ‘epic’ was invented to describe this book.

What Simmons began in Hyperion finishes here with a story so sprawling and massive that it defies description. In the far future, humanity has spread to the stars, and maintains a web of worlds via ‘farcasters’. (Think Stargates.) On the planet Hyperion, mysterious tombs have been moving backwards in time and are guarded by the deadly Shrike.

Seven people were sent to Hyperion on a ‘pilgrimage’ that was almost certainly a suicide mission, but the Ousters, a segment of humanity evolving differently after centuries spent in deep space, are about to invade. The artificial intelligences of the Core that humanity depends on for predictions of future events and management of the farcaster system can’t tell what’s coming with an unknown like the Shrike and Hyperion in play.

Battles rage across space and time and the virtual reality of the data sphere as varying interests with competing agendas maneuver and betray each other as the pilgrims on Hyperion struggle to survive and finally uncover the secrets of the Shrike. But the real reasons behind the war and it’s ultimate goal are bigger and more sinister than anyone involved can imagine.

I can’t say enough good things about the story told in these first two Hyperion books. This is sci-fi at it’s best with a massive story crammed with big unique ideas and believable characters you care about. Any one of the pieces could have made a helluva book, but it takes a talent like Simmons to pull all of it together into one coherent story.
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
805 reviews3,846 followers
March 21, 2021
The series is developing more towards space opera and cosmic conflict range after the first part had played with different humanities, ethics, AI, and many other topics.

A bit away from the characters, towards the meta big sci-fi is notorious for, the story shows how a strong female protagonist and another one, not sure about spoilering, are wandering through the settings of an epic conflict with vast consequences in the third and fourth part.

Time travel and thereby manipulation of human civilization by higher entities is as credible and thrilling as the personal lives of the characters and I guess that that´s what makes Simmons´works so unique and amazing, because he is an author who can handle and masterfully write both. It could, ironically, also be, that that´s the reason why readers, that aren´t used to behemoths of books that switch narrative styles and focus from plot to character and back, can´t handle the style. There is already a very sharp line between the plot, worldbuilding, infodump, hard sci-fi fraction, and the ones focused on characters, interactions, dialogues, and that there is both and Simmons plays with many elements in most of his works, doesn´t really help.

Next to the galactic conflicts and wars, different fractions within humankind, the perfect fusion of plot and characters to offer both epic scale and worldbuilders´ hottest dreams and deep, emotional connection to the characters, the Shrike is one of the ultimate, best ever imagined überbeings. Ever!

Maybe it´s because it´s a bit reserved because it´s a and that´s just how they roll, because it´s integrated into bombastic scenes and an ingenious, always credible Chekhov McGuffin combinations, and its appearances are always well prepared and thereby authentic. Creating Lovecraftian terror just with places, descriptions of the monster, and the emotions it and it´s Time tombs awake in the characters, is a sign of a Flying spaghetti monster given talent.

Tropes show how literature is conceptualized and created and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Baba.
3,616 reviews984 followers
January 23, 2022
Hyperion Cantos #2: It's the end of times? Technology vs humankind vs outlier humans vs fundamentalists vs time travellers oh my!! And somewhere amongst this all, a quest for God?

This startling sequel to Hyperion sees humankind struggle to determine how it became so vulnerable to external attack and so quickly, and most importantly why? In addition the Time Tombs have been opened, setting the Shrike free. Science fiction saga at it's best! A series, I should make clear, that is genius for it's whole, as opposed to the sum of its parts (to paraphrase Aristotle). 8 out of 12.

2017 read
Profile Image for Apatt.
507 reviews805 followers
May 17, 2015
The trouble with reading a book like The Fall of Hyperion is that whatever book I read next will likely seem like a load of ol' crap. In fact, in a Shrike-like manner this book traveled back in time and slashed my opinion of the book I read prior to this one which now looks shabby by comparison.

The first Hyperion book ends on a (musical) cliff hanger, The Fall of Hyperion carries on from there though the first chapter is narrated in the first person by a "new" cybrid protagonist Joseph Severn. While he is not in the previous book he is derived from the same John Keats template as "Johnny", the wavy hair cybrid and lover of the bad-ass Brawne Lamia P.I., one of the seven pilgrims who traveled to confront The Shrike (a real cutting edge guy possibly descended from Freddy Krueger). The wonderful world building from the previous book is further developed in this book, we get more expositions about the Hegemony, the TechnoCore and a little more about The Shrike, not to mention the further adventures of our favorite pilgrims. The Fall of Hyperion is structurally different from its predecessor, it is entirely linear though narrated from several different points of view. While I enjoy the way the first book is structured (The Canterbury Tales style), where the stories are very strong on their own this more conventional structure also works well for me, it is nice and cohesive and a pleasure to follow.

The Hegemony and the TechnoCore remind me of Iain M. Banks Culture society and the AIs that mess about with the poor humans living in these societies. The citizens of the Hegemony are similarly pampered but are not watched over with paternal fondness by the AI like in Banks' books. The Hegemony government is done by human politicians with an AI representative, led by the awesome Meina Gladstone who I picture as resembling actress Maggie Smith at her sternest. The high technology tend to be of the more handwavium variety with FTL travel achieved by "Farcaster" portals, and instant Fatline (FTL) communication, all compliments of the TechnoCore. The social ramification of this technology is very well thought out, the novel is to some extent a cautionary tale about over reliance on technology.

Dan Simmons' prose is deservedly lauded as one of the most literary best in the scifi business, at times lyrical, often witty and evocative. Most of the central characters are already well established in the first book, they are further developed here and the relationship between the pilgrims are much strong stronger. Their loyalty to each other, which slowly developed in the first book, make them much more appealing, even the two that don't get along like Brawne Lamia and Martin Silenus (though the "mouthing off / shut up" running gag gets a little old after a while). The back story of each of the five Pilgrims form plot strands that converge and then beautifully woven together by the epic conclusion. My favorite section of the first book, the poignant story of Sol Weinthrob and his backward aging daughter is particularly well concluded. I am also glad to see my favorite character Brawne Lamia get spend more time on the centre stage.

I love the literary and pop culture references. To be honest what I know about John Keats and poetry can be written on a postage stamp and leave enough room for the Queen's entire head, but things like The Wizard of Oz (movie) references are more my neck of the wood and I find them very amusing.

The Fall of Hyperion is an entirely satisfactory conclusion to the classic Hyperion. I look forward to reading Endymion and The Rise of Endymion in the near future.
Profile Image for Henry Avila.
468 reviews3,254 followers
October 14, 2020
As the pilgrims seek the Shrike the ominous thing in the eerie Valley of the Time Tombs, avoided by the frightened inhabitants here on the planet Hyperion, it does not appear, what to do? Days pass but still the creature has remained hidden, the letdown effects them they expected to be killed... The six seekers, the dying priest Hoyt , disillusioned soldier Kassad, sad scholar Weintraub ( and infant daughter, Rachel, who becomes dangerously younger, daily) unstable poet Silenus, heartbroken detective Lamia, the no name Consul, he is strangely moody, and the little known Starship Captain Masteen, who vanished on the boat coming here, is he alive? But his presence is felt, something is out there is it Masteen or some monster, they become anxious, frustrated, their provisions get low nerves fray, they start to argue with each other violence becomes inevitable their unity is gone. This haunted lonely place in the middle of the arid desert, the sun beats down wind storms bringing sand that cause their skin to turn raw blind their eyes, gross dirt in their mouths they can't breathe. And the universe is about to explode into chaos the barbarian Ousters have invaded the alliance, CEO Meinia Gladstone on Tau Ceti Center (its capital) the legendary head of the 150 billion citizens of the Hegemony, in 200 dispersed worlds believes the key to victory is these few humans. War which began because of this isolated planet both want, threatens to destroy 500 years of progress even the existence of the race of mankind. "Farcasters" portals to the stars, a type of wormhole which instantly transports people and objects, food, merchandise, warships, anything essential to the survival of civilization to distant locations without it darkness. However the powerful artificial intelligence machines control these, are becoming tired of being second to the less intelligent, arrogant, weak, unreliable, silly, corrupt people who call themselves their masters! A widespread secret conspiracy between the Shrike, Ousters the tree loving Templar Brotherhood and evil machines to eliminate the rule of the descendants, of the lost Earth... Some pilgrims begin to disappear the Shrike finally is seen, the eight mysterious Time Tombs light up, explored by the group but they find nothing inside. And the battle for the great prize Hyperion, is observed by the calm pilgrims her cities pulverized, vulnerable residents, slaughtered while the rapid spaceships maneuver above in the night sky, as crew members fight for life a light show of death for the unfortunates ones , yet strangely below, they are quite indifferent to the outcome, welcome to the 28th Century...A cybrid part human and the other machine, the reincarnation of famous English poet John Keats dreams about the outcome on crucial Hyperion, Gladstone needs him to discover the truth what she can do to win, maybe...Dan Simmons again show how talented a writer he is, well educated with a way with words readers will learn too not just magnificent amusement.
Profile Image for Dan Schwent.
3,004 reviews10.6k followers
September 13, 2017
As the pilgrims prepare to enter the Time Tombs, the war between the Ousters and the Hegemony is just hours from breaking out. Can they enter the Time Tombs quickly enough to prevent intergalactic war and the deaths of billions?

Here we are, the second half of the epic Dan Simmons started in Hyperion. Kassad, Brawne, and the other pilgrims introduced in the previous book meet their destinies. However, the bigger story is the war between the Hegemony and its enemies.

During my initial read, I didn't like this one as much as Hyperion, probably because it lacked the Canterbury Tales-like structure of the first book. However, I've softened upon the second read.

Using the dreams of Joseph Severin as a linking device, the story follows the actions of Hegemony CEO Meina Gladstone trying to avert war with the Ousters and frequently cuts to action on Hyperion. As the zero hour nears, the truth behind what is happening unfolds and it has wide reaching consequences.

I'm dancing around the actual events of the story to avoid spoilers but I can't imagine reading and enjoying Hyperion without devouring this one. People throw the word 'epic' around very lightly these days but Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion comprise an epic of galactic scope.

Gene Wolfe once said “My definition of good literature is that which can be read by an educated reader, and reread with increased pleasure.” Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion definitely fall into that category. The text of both books is peppered with literary references and lots of Christian symbolism, as well as thought provoking philosophical ideas. There's also a pro-environment message, as well as warnings of becoming too dependent on technology.

I get the feeling that Dan Simmons thought it might be his last big chance to show what he could do and he pulled out all the stops, combining heady science fiction concepts with things he gleaned from being an English major in college and years of teaching. I understood far more this time around but felt like there were still a lot of things I couldn't quite wrap my head around. I guess I'll schedule a reread for sometime in 2025. I hadn't planned on rereading the Endymion books but a reread of those is probably happening in 2018.

My second journey to the Time Tombs was even more rewarding than the first. Hyperion retains its place next to The Dark Tower as one of my favorite epics of all time. Five out of five stars.
Profile Image for Markus.
476 reviews1,561 followers
December 19, 2014
Buddy read with Athena, Desinka, Gavin & Kaora

"The Final Days are here, priest. The prophecies given to us by the Avatar centuries ago are unfolding before our eyes. What you call riots are the first death throes of a society which deserves to die. The Days of Atonement are upon us and the Lord of Pain soon will walk among us."

The shadow of war has fallen on the Web. The Ousters are initiating a full-scale invasion of the central planets of the Hegemony of Man. Chaos rules in the corridors of power on Tau Ceti Center. Out of reach from the clashing empires, the artificial intelligences of the TechnoCore manipulate everyone and everything. And on Hyperion itself, where battle rages in the skies and the streets alike, the pilgrims fight desperately for their lives in the Valley of the Time Tombs.

The Fall of Hyperion removes itself from the style of the masterpiece Hyperion and instead of a collection of short stories with a frame story, we get something a lot more similar to a traditional novel. The second book has only one real protagonist, a character who was also rather significant in the first. Other than that, there are secondary points of view written in third-person narrative through the protagonists's dreams. While very different from the first, this change in style was performed flawlessly by Dan Simmons, and while I did not, and still don't, find the protagonist particularly endearing, this was not a change for the worse.

The storyline was not as enthralling as that of the first book, unfortunately. This is war, pure and simple. And despite that, there are few actual battle scenes. Most of the time, our story takes places in equal parts on Tau Ceti Center and in the Valley of the Time Tombs. In the beginning, the switches between the two locations were praiseworthily interesting, but after a time, very little happened in either of the places. Except for general panic.

Characterisation is in my opinion not one of Dan Simmons's strengths. Even in the first book, there were no truly memorable characters. In a science fiction series an interesting setting can be just enough to keep the reader captivated for one book, but when you get to the sequels, you need to have strong characters who can hold the series on top. And I actually felt that Simmons managed this to some extent. The protagonist, while not my favourite, is an interesting character, mostly because of who he actually is. The Shrike remains an enigma. And while all three of the major powers; Hegemony, Ousters and Core; are difficult to root for, they are all incredibly to find out more about.

And there is one character who stands out from among the rest. Meina Gladstone, Chief Executive Officer of the Senate of the Hegemony of Man and arguably the most powerful human in the universe. Gladstone was a very minor character in Hyperion, but rose to the centre of the scene here in the second book. Gladstone is a sometimes ruthless political realist, but all her intentions are as noble as they get. It's amazing to watch her try to save a society crumbling in the flames of war, and remain a beacon of hope for billions of Hegemony citizens.

Writing a sequel to Hyperion must have been a difficult job for Dan Simmons, and it shows in the book. The Fall of Hyperion is just not as good as the first book. Both the beginning and the ending were up to it, but there's a rather large part in the middle where there is no plot or character development and it's more or less dreadfully boring. Some of the most important scenes in the book could also have been much more climactic if they had been written better.

Still, this was far from a bad book. The Hyperion Cantos has still got me firmly on the hook, and I am definitely excited to unveil the rest of the mysteries of the universe Simmons has created for us. His writing is extraordinary at times, and as a taste of it I'll leave you with my favourite passage from the series so far, which is very reminiscent of a certain fantasy author I've read a lot of books by this year.

In the dead city, screams echoed for another minute, growing fainter and farther away. Then there was a silence broken only by the doves returning to their nests, dropping into the shattered domes and towers with a soft rustle of wings.

The wind came up, rattling loose Perspex panes and masonry, shifting brittle leaves across dry fountains, finding entrance through the broken panes of the dome and lifting manuscript pages in a gentle whirlwind, some pages escaping to be blown across the silent courtyards and empty walkways and collapsed aqueducts.

After a while, the wind died, and then nothing moved in the City of Poets.

3.5 stars
Profile Image for Brad.
Author 2 books1,710 followers
November 22, 2009
The Fall of Hyperion is a sequel. I swear. It says so right there on the cover of my mass market paperback, right above the cheesy artist’s rendering of Sol Weintraub presenting Rachel to a rather unimpressive Shrike.

But I’ll tell you, it sure doesn’t feel like a sequel. It feels more like the first book, the main book, of a series, and it makes Hyperion feel like a prequel -- a superior prequel, but a prequel nonetheless. And I really wish I had read The Fall of Hyperion before I read its predecessor. I think I would have liked it more.

I did like it, though, despite my negative tone. I even loved some parts of it. The political machinations of Meina Gladstone, the in-fighting between the AIs (Stables, Volatiles and Ultimates), the early battles of Kassad and Moneta, the conversations with Ummon, all of these elements were fascinating, and the radical excision of the Core from all human affairs and the subsequent cost of victory blew my mind. In fact, this latter element may have been my favourite moment in either of the first two installments of Simmons' Cantos.

But these elements don't entirely mitigate my disappointment. I loved the characters from the first book; those who made the Pilgrimage to the Shrike had background stories so rich in detail, emotion, thrills, you name it, that their shift to banal plot devices, players present only to move the action along, disappointed me deeply.

I don't think I'd feel that way, though, if I'd met them in The Fall of Hyperion first. If Simmons had dropped me into the middle of the war between the Hegemony, the Ousters and the Core, if he'd thrown me into the midst of the Time Tombs, if he'd introduced me to the Shrike and the Keats persona and the Pilgrims -- without the baggage of what got them there -- I think I would have cruised through The Fall of Hyperion and loved it with fervor. Then I would have hungered to go back and find out what brought the Pilgrims to Hyperion, and I would have been thrilled by a prequel that was even better than the original.

Sadly, there's no going back now. But if you are someone who's planning to read these books for the first time I beg you to ignore the official order and start with The Fall of Hyperion. I am convinced you'll get more out of it if you've got nothing to compare it to and a healthy sense of wonder and confusion about what you are reading.

I'm really not sure I should continue reading the Cantos, but the temptation of finally understanding the purpose of the Shrike may be too tantalizing to ignore.
Profile Image for Lyn.
1,882 reviews16.6k followers
October 28, 2018
There’s a lot going on here.

Dan Simmons’ wildly popular and successful Hyperion Cantos continues from the first Hyperion to this 1990 publication. While some readers of the first book were a little miffed at that books truncated ending (ahem) word on the street was that Simmons delivered the plus size behemoth in one package and the publisher was the one with the bright idea to split it in half.

Either way, Simmons’ incredibly ambitious tale of the pilgrims on Hyperion continues and his megalithic world building is as impressive as in the first half.

Full to bursting with classical and biblical references, this also reveals inspiration from Frank Herbert, Asimov, Clarke and maybe even Tolkien. Blending elements of science fiction, fantasy and horror, this could also take a page from Bradbury. The numerous allusions to John Keats work also demonstrates Simmons unique ability.

The theological underpinnings and the meaning of the Shrike and his nefarious and mysterious effect on this work will inspire much discussion. The Lord of Pain (I’m a Police fan so I sang King of Pain whenever he took the stage) adds a further depth to this already multifaceted narrative.

A phenomenal work of speculative fiction.

Profile Image for Bradley.
Author 5 books4,099 followers
March 19, 2021
It's nearly impossible to give this novel the praise it deserves.

It's also a mystery wrapped within an enigma, the conclusion to the grand tale set up in the first book, and it's an amazingly smart ride.

I mean, sure, I could just point at all the great SF goodies packed in here, from black holes eating planets to AI gods creating Ultimate AI gods to an enormous war hitting the known universe for reasons that are delightfully complex and even more delightfully mysterious until the reasons blow us over with those wonderful "aaaah, COOL" moments.

But I won't.

Instead, I'll just point at how smart this book is on a theme and character level. Poetry and the poet is still as important as the first book, but rather than rest on the laurels of such amazing worldbuilding and structure and genre-hopping of the first book, we get into the real meat of the characters and the REASON for it all.

The Shrike. Why all these kinds of peoples from all kinds of planets and walks of life have all come to Hyperion, and why it is the fulcrum on which the fate of humanity and AI life hinges. And let's not forget the amazingly complex discussion about What Is God. Or our place in it. Or the AI's place in it.

There is nothing trite about this novel. The writing is absolutely fantastic. So are all the characters. The plot is twisty enough to give thrillers a scare. And the themes, the structure, and the layout put even modern classics in the traditional literature categories to shame.

In short, these two books are modern classics and remain so for very, very good reasons, and not least because they're wildly entertaining.

Honestly? I put these up there in my top ten books of all time. It's near Dune and Requiem for Homo Sapiens in my mind. As rich, as beautiful, as complex.

I'm recommending these for everyone who likes SF. Period. And those who don't, as well. See what can REALLY be accomplished first before making any judgments.
Profile Image for Conor.
148 reviews314 followers
January 9, 2016
While somewhat uneven at the start this book developed into an awesome story with some of the most distinct, memorable and well developed world-building I've ever read, interesting and sympathetic characters, a strong central plot, cool literary references (mostly stemming from Simmons' serious man-crush on John Keats) and some thought provoking philosophy (although Simmons loses marks for incorporating philosophy into the plot and world in an organic and interesting way rather than through a series of forced monologues from every single character as the great Mr. Erikson has shown us is the best, in fact only, way).

The first 1/2 to 2/3 of the book was probably a 3 star read but towards the end the momentum built and everything came together in impressive fashion. If I was an objective, professional reviewer I would probably be obligated to reflect the weak start in my rating, but the conclusion was so powerful and well done and left me with such a positive feeling about this book that I've decided to be generous (note: this could also apply to pretty much every Malazan book). Also since I'm writing this review at 5 p.m. while eating cereal, in my boxers, and in between trying to play "Tears in heaven" on the accoustic guitar, it's probably fair to say that the "professional reviewer" ship has sailed.

The start of this book was kind of hit and miss. I felt that the pilgrims' storyline lacked the focus and tension of the first book. The tension of the lonely journey and the mystery of the pilgrims combined with the vastly different storylines that each further developed a unique aspect of the world and/or plot were replaced by confused, anti-climactic wandering around. However the new plotline following "M. Severn" was interesting, especially in how it elaborated on the conflict and politics that were hinted at in the first book. The introduction of Meina Gladstone was also cool as she became the strongest and most compelling character in the series.

However from about 2/3 of the way through everything that was set up started to come together and made this book un-putdownable (it's a word because I say it's a word, come at me language police). Most of the Pilgrims finally found interesting, relevant storylines after wandering around aimlessly earlier, mysteries began to be unraveled and the stakes of the political game were raised ever higher. The ending was one of the best I've ever read. It wrapped up pretty much all the loose ends satisfyingly and in style and set the stage brilliantly for the next half of the series. I hadn't been planning to read book 3 for a while but now I'm really intrigued to see what the fallout of the events at the end of this one will be.

Overall this was an epic, memorable and thought provoking SFF tale, that despite it's weaknesses has left a massive impression on me. I'm now really interested to see how this story and world will be further developed in the second half of this series.

Profile Image for Wick Welker.
Author 6 books375 followers
February 12, 2023
One of the best sci-fi books I’ve ever read.

I don’t think I’m capable of fully articulating this sheer work of brilliance. From the prose, characterization, back story development, sci-fi world building, plot twists, artificial intelligence, time paradoxes and all the big feelies I had while reading this is too much for my brain to process. The sequel to the stunning classic Hyperion must be read if you’re going to embark on this journey. I can say without a doubt that The Fall of Hyperion is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Period.

Every age fraught with discord and danger seems to spawn a leader meant only for that age, a political giant whose absence, in retrospect, seems inconceivable when the history of that age is written.

As opposed to the first installment which has the structure of Canterbury Tales, The Fall of Hyperion has a little more traditional storytelling spanning an intergalactic hegemony in the far human future and that its faced with its own uncertain future against a hostile alien force, a hostile AI force, a hostile far-future force and also… ghosts and gods? It sounds weird but wow does Simmons stitch all these fantastic concepts together in a sweeping tapestry that is nothing more or less than a literary work of art. Each character and their actions impact the story development.

The Great Change is when humankind accepts its role as part of the natural order of the universe instead of its role as a cancer.

The reason this pairs so nicely with the first book is because it expands on the wonderful back story that was laid down. We know each of the pilgrims—their motivations, their flaws and perhaps the reason they were chosen for this bizarre pilgrimage. The horror, uncertainty and chaos that flows from this story is more personal and it makes everything just that much more frightening. The atmosphere is haunting and incredibly engaging. I could see these images and scenes vividly in my mind.

The enormous intergalactic world is incredibly well done on par with someone like Peter F. Hamilton. From communications, to travel and what an intergalactic culture looks like, this is an immersive and believable version of the future. The impact of AI, the singularity and how it is inseparable and domineering from humanity was incredible and a likely version of the far future. What Simmons does with time is awesome. The arrow of time and hints of the multiverse are a big part of this story. Pitting the future against the present and at the same time not making the plot and resolution feel pre-destined was so well done. Simmons ability to predict futurist trends as someone who wrote this in the 1990s is truly a remarkable feat.

The politics, statecraft and warcraft on an intergalactic scale was not intimidating like other similar worlds like this that I’ve read. The decision making on the intergalactic scale and how it impacts billions of peoples and cultures was felt by the reader with every single decision that was made. The religions, cults, governments and cultures presented are messy, realistic and incredibly compelling to read.

God is the creature, not the creator.

The resolution and plot twists at the end of this second installment were jaw dropping and revealed the depth of Simmons’ careful story crafting. He was cognizant of every development and how character backstory played into the ending. The mysteries presented—like Hyperion, the Shrike, the Core—it’s all explained, at least in part and it is one of the coolest over-aching plot lines I’ve ever seen in a book like this.

Love was as hardwired into the structure of the universe as gravity and matter.

The only issue I can see some having with this book was the pacing. There are many POVs told and some of the plotlanes are frankly stagnant even over several hundred pages. Simmons will freeze a scene for one character while letting other plotlines catch up. This may be jarring for some readers but I didn’t mind it.

I highly, highly recommend this book. It will stay with me for a long time and is a series I will definitely finish and probably re-read. This needs to be made into a movie or a series—I think it’s doable in the right hands.
Profile Image for William.
676 reviews336 followers
December 28, 2019
A chaotic mess sprinkled with rubies...

(The first book, Hyperion, is a masterpiece)

This continuation of the Hyperion saga seems to have been written by Dan Simmon's agent, pushing for more pages, using a neural whip on him for more cash. Ugh.

Very long-winded and dull chapters, repetition, clumsy interaction between the pilgrims and other players, religious claptrap flowing endlessly....

Simmons is clearly very (very) literate, hurray. We know that, and his inclusion of endless references to famous works and people sadly seem to be only a means to extending the page count, much of the time. (Sometimes, the poetry and references are brilliant, to be fair).

And along with all this, some genuine rubies (about half-way through) from the most interesting characters: Sol and Brawne. The Kassad romantic sequences with Moneta are often wonderful, but the battle sequences are tiresomely repetitious.

Of the overlong ending, which somehow seems rushed (strange), the stories of Moneta, Sol and Rachel are the most surprising and enjoyable.

A good editor would have stripped 150 pages from this book, and enforced a more even pacing and style on Simmons (and his agent).

Hyperion was a work of true genius. The Fall of Hyperion is merely a work of commerce.
Profile Image for sologdin.
1,717 reviews640 followers
August 10, 2013
Nutshell: how-to manual that recommends radical luddite social restructuring in order to defeat slave uprising.

Abandons chaucerian structure of first installment and instead alternates between first-person and third person bits. Opening places narration at center of setting (barf) by popping first person narrator adjacent to president. This centralizing of narration is raised to an affirmative law of science fiction here, via repeated quotation of Yeats, and through the proclamation that “right now we have an obligation to be where things are happening” (327).

Love that Simmons catches one of the stupidities of modern science fiction: “Even the spate of recent war [films] showed great fleets battling it out at distances two ground soldiers would find claustrophobic, ships ramming and firing and burning like Greek triremes packed into the straits of Artemisium” (73), which nicely captures how Star Wars and Star Trek are just Napoleonic warfare with rayguns. It’s not like we see a well-described alternative in this story, though when stellar distances regarding combat are noted, it’s usually presented in terms of AU, so the distinction is implicit.

We are given a neo-Marinetti, who avers that “warfare is on the threshold of becoming an art form” (105).

Not sure what the big deal about the Shrike has been the whole time. The resolution of that strand is fairly silly. Conceptually, it’s annoying: apparently it’s part of a far future contest between humans and AIs sent back in time to find something for the human end of the conflict. It’s all very nebulous and juvenile.

As though I weren’t annoyed enough by the ruling class protagonist, when that protagonist receives perspectival chapters, they are coy, such as when “All she had to do to save a hundred billion lives was return to the Senate floor, reveal three decades of deception and duplicity” (153), but without informing the reader what the deception and duplicity happen to be. This is simply unpardonable faux suspense. Why use the rhetorical sleight of popping the narration on the president of the galaxy, and then give ersatz access? It’s just not effective.

Amusing moment when lyrical computer machine explains the entire macroplot, noting that “we constructed your civilization carefully so that like hamsters in a cage like Buddhist prayer wheels each time you turn your little wheels of thought our purposes are served” (282), which is just taking Douglas Adams and playing him straight (Earth-as-computer was destroyed both times, NB).

Still a very cool setting overall, packed with plenty of more crap about poet Keats. Am pleased to have my hypothesis confirmed that AIs as part of story will produce an AI rebellion.

Recommended for those rich in resurrection insurance, readers who desire a cleansing fire when the forest has been stunted and allowed to grow diseased by overplanning, and people who scribble graffiti on outhouse walls.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for J.L.   Sutton.
666 reviews927 followers
May 16, 2022
“I wish we had the technology to fight God on an equal basis. To beard him in his den. To fight back for all of the injustices heaped on humanity. To allow him to alter his smug arrogance or be blown to hell.”

The Long Pilgrimage to Bring Dan Simmons' Hyperion to the Screen - B&N Reads

A fascinating continuation of the powerful first installment, Dan Simmons' The Fall of Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos #2) follows the characters we met in the first book as well as several others, but with a different perspective of the galaxy-wide ramifications of this fateful pilgrimage.

The stories behind those ramifications take a different structure than the pilgrim's story used in the first book. I thought that structure had worked perfectly. Instead, the story bounces back and forth between the Hegemony government and our characters with much of the weight of the storytelling falling on a nearly omniscient narrator/character. This was probably necessary to tell the bigger story and provide closure to all the unanswered questions from the first novel, but it was a bit jarring, especially in the early going. Still, The Fall of Hyperion is an epic novel that addresses how our humanity can evolve even as it faces serious peril. 4.25 stars
Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,630 followers
November 20, 2019
The sequel to Simmons' classic Hyperion is every bit as engaging and mind-blowing as the first book. The book picks up just where Hyperion leaves off, with the pilgrims at the Time Tombs and war with the Ousters imminent. We are presented with a few new characters - a cybrid named Joseph Severn who is far more than he appears and the CEO of the Web Meina Gladstone. Severn is capable of dreaming the dreams of the pilgrims and we follow their adventures primarily through his connection to them. The story is exciting and a page turner - I risk massive spoilers by going into any details or specifics. There are lots of mind-bending concepts here - farcasting, the All Thing, the metasphere, the River Tethys, hawking drive (and an explicit admission of this homage to Stephen Hawking) - all of which add a fantastic technical edge to the book.

Without going into spoiler territory, I thought I would talk about some of the interesting themes that are addressed in the book. The organized religions here - Catholicism, the Shrike Cult and the Templars - are all interesting studies. I suspect that Simmons is himself a Catholic due to the sympathetic treatment they receive. The Templars are environmentalists (another theme I will address in a minute), whereas the Shrike Cult are fanatical pessimists. The default religion is a form of Zen Buddhism. All of the religions take a big hit in the book. I think that Simmons was trying to show how these various ways that organized religion tries to deal with a catastrophe: denying it, embracing it, trying to manipulate it, and fleeing it. The embracing and fleeing techniques seem to have been the ones that were best rewarded.

I mentioned the environmentalist bent earlier. The Templars seem to accept the judgement in the book as payment for mankind's destruction of the environment in the galaxy, going so far as to calling the human presence a cancer. As Simmons took lots of time describing the beauty of the worlds he invented such as Maui-Covenant with its motile islands replete with dolphins and whales, he also condemns harshly the destruction wrought on them by Web tourism (by extension, the destruction of various tropical paradises by mass tourism on Earth). He seems to be a bit pessimistic about our ability to change preferring a reboot.

The theme that is the most striking and perhaps the most visionary for this work of the early pre-Facebook 90s is the Web and the Core, or TechnoCore. At the heart of these two books on Hyperion is a reflection on our endorsement of technology over humanity - our willingness to give away privacy for the convenience of access to data and experiences. There is a massive warning here of the repercussions of this surrender. Given the power that Facebook (and Apple and Google and Amazon, etc) has over nearly everyone on the planet, the lesson is even more relevant now than it was in the 90s. The nightmarish use of human brain power to feed the intelligence of the Core is has been addressed in dozens of sci-fi (The Matrix being one particularly example) movies since 1990 - I wonder if Simmons was at the origin of this trope or not. In any case, it gives me pause when I think about my own personal investment in social media and its possible long-term impact. It is certainly an aspect of the book that resonates 27 years later.

As for the narrative and the writing, it is just as well-written as Hyperion with some great poetry citations from Yeats and Keats (and my favorite character, the irascible Martin Silenas). I thought that there was a moment where the text plodded a bit towards the end (Keats sections), but I cannot really offer an example. Another thing that struck me was how unpredictable the novel seemed, particularly in the middle. In any case, it did not for me take away from the overall impression I had about this book - fascinating, visionary, and entertaining, a sci-fi classic. I wonder if the two Endymion books are as good...
Profile Image for Dave Edmunds.
283 reviews80 followers
April 26, 2021

"In the end--when all else is dust--loyalty to those we love is all we can carry with us to the grave."

The Fall of Hyperion, the second part of the amazing (and I do mean AMAZING) Hyperion Cantos, by the superb Dan Simmons. Why, oh why did I wait so long to read this book? Honestly, I feel like I should be guilty of a criminal offence with a hefty prison sentence.

First things first. You really need to know this book is the second part of a series. Can it be read as a standalone? No! Not under any circumstances. It will make absolutely zero sense if you do. By all accounts the two books were written as one story and the publisher talked Simmons into splitting them up. So you understand why that's the case.

A brief word about Hyperion (the first book) before we move on. That book is sensational. One of the best books I've ever read. An absolutely amazing literary achievement as the author blends six stories into a cohesive storyline, mashing up genres and crafting a unique and vivid landscape. If you in any way can handle sci fi read it now! Then you can read this one pronto.

"Every age fraught with discord and danger seems to spawn a leader meant only for that age, a political giant whose absence, in retrospect, seems inconceivable when the history of that age is written."

So back to the Fall of Hyperion. This one picks up exactly where the last novel left off, on the verge of intergalactic war between the Hegemony and the Ouster swarm. Simmons left the reader on an absolute cliff-hanger with the pilgrims reaching their destination, leaving a myriad of loose ends. What will happen when the Time Tombs open, what will happen to Sol's daughter, what is the Shrike, will Brawne and Silenus have a fight? The author satisfyingly answers all these question, blending together the different story lines to provide a fantastic, emotional conclusion.

The format for this story is a little bit different. There's initially two settings told from two POVs. We have the introduction of a new character in Joseph Severn, who is a cybrid and has been imprinted with the personality of a character from the first book. He's working with the leader of the Hegemony, CEO Gladstone, as they prepare for war. We then have our six pilgrims arriving at the Time Tombs, minus the inconspicuous Het Masteen, whatever happened to him? Simmons incorporates a link between the two parties and it really is brilliantly written as the story bounces between the two perspectives.

"Pain, he discovers, has a structure. It has a floor plan. It has designs more intricate than a chambered nautilus, features more baroque than the most buttressed gothic cathedral. Even as he screams, Martin Silenus studies the structure of this pain. He realizes that it is a poem"

So what has this story got going for it and why should you read it? The action and plot are non-stop. Simmons ramps up the tempo and keeps his foot flat to the floor. It's very exciting and frenetic. This takes place in perhaps the most creative and well thought out world I've ever come across. The level of detail is astonishing. The story is multifaceted and you get horror, comedy, romance along with great, great sci fi. Add to this a fantastic set of characters that you truly care for and you can see why this book gets such high praise. Honestly, my words will not do this story justice so you're just going to have to read it.

I'll finish by saying I did this as part of a buddy read and I thoroughly recommend it as there's so many mindblowing ideas you'll want to talk non-stop about it. Simmons is a top level writer and story teller and I've never been let down by anything I've read of his so far. But this Hyperion series is on another level. This novel is part of a four book series and I'm absolutely going to be continuing with the next one...Endymion. Who wants to join me? Five of the biggest stars out there.
Profile Image for Ashley.
2,766 reviews1,767 followers
May 12, 2015
I’m a visual person. With me, things have to be neat, aesthetically pleasing, and in some sort of discernible order (even if that order is nothing but visually appealing chaos), otherwise I get cranky. I like charts and graphics and brightly colored pictures. This probably has something to do with the fact that I have synesthesia, specifically grapheme → color synesthesia. For me, everything has a color, and in turn, colors provoke emotions. My brain also automatically attempts to visualize intangible ideas and concepts and place them in locations in space. If I can’t visualize them, it’s very frustrating (the best example of this would be the way I visualize the year as months in a rotating oval). This is also why I have trouble with complicated math. Like many people with synesthesia, I didn’t realize this wasn’t something everybody’s brains did until I was around 25, because most people don’t just go around saying, hey don’t you just love the number 5 because it’s so red?? Or, hey, don’t Tuesdays just suck, they’re so barfy yellow. I can only imagine the incomprehending stares I would have gotten.

The point of this seemingly pointless anecdote of mine is that for about half of this book, I felt completely lost and up in the air because I couldn’t find a way to visualize the structure of the story, which made it hard to derive any satisfaction from it, since my brain was so preoccupied with trying to figure this intangible thing into something more concrete, and it just wasn’t happening. But then at about the 60% mark, something just sort of clicked, and my brain goes, it’s a spiral! And the arms are swirling down to the ground and converging as they go, and at the bottom is the denouement, the end of the story. The arms of the spiral, of course, are the pilgrims and their stories, with the addition of a new POV in the cybrid (a cloned human with the consciousness of an A.I., who also simultaneously exists in the physical world and the datasphere), and the stories of the Ousters and the AI’s, which we touched on in the first book in various pilgrims’ stories. They start out separate, and the swirl of the story pulls them together little by little. It looks confusing as it’s happening, but it all works out in the end.

I’m telling you this because I think the book might be just as disorienting for you as it was for me–though probably not in quite the same way–and I want to reassure you that everything’s going to be okay. I promise that it all makes sense, and all the various threads that don’t seem to have any connection to one another at all–the constant literary allusions, the various characters, the musings on artificial intelligences and religion, the Shrike and its Tree of Pain, the time travel, Colonel Kassad’s half-real sex goddess Moneta, and most of all, Keats and Hyperion, in all their forms–come together in the end. It gave me that feeling that all book addicts are always chasing, that elusive elation that comes only once every hundred books or so (if we’re lucky), where it seems like the universe has converged on us just to give us this wonderful story.

The Fall of Hyperion picks up directly where Hyperion left off, with our pilgrims finally approaching the Time Tombs and ready for an imminent meeting with the Shrike. Only, it doesn’t quite pick up there, because we’re all of a sudden seeing the pilgrims through the eyes of another character, who is having dreams (and waking dreams) concerning everything that is happening to the pilgrims, who are light years away from him. Why he would be having these dreams would be a spoiler, but his identity isn’t. SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T READ HYPERION: The other characters know him as Joseph Severn, but he’s really another genetic double of John Keats, a resurrected artificially intelligent poet/human. He’s a sort of brother cybrid to Johnny, the cybrid of Keats we met in the last book, who is now hitching a ride in Lamia’s skull back on Hyperion. And since John Keat’s famous unfinished poem “Hyperion” is the namesake of this series, you bet it’s important. The narrative shuffles back and forth from Keat’s waking life to his dreams of the pilgrims, and little by little we get all the pieces to the puzzle END SPOILERS. The result, at least for me, was satisfying on a narrative level, but also on that extra level that really gives you the reader-buzz, the level your subconscious lives on, that just keeps giving the longer you think about it.

I’m really, really glad I read this series, and I’m super excited to read the second duology that with this one makes up the Hyperion Cantos later this year.
Profile Image for Kevin Kelsey.
411 reviews2,223 followers
October 7, 2022
Lots of recapping in the first quarter, but eventually it gets going. Very different in structure than Hyperion, but what it lacks in unique structure it makes up for in fascinating ideas. There are so many other works that have remixed these ideas conceptually, or visually: The Matrix, Doctor Who (new who), The Expanse, The Interdependency etc. Whether they originated here or Hyperion just falls somewhere in the middle of the SF idea lineage (almost everything goes back to Asimov and Heinlein, and filtered through Niven, etc) I don't know.

This was a very satisfying conclusion, with just enough bait to get me to read the sequel series.
Profile Image for Clouds.
228 reviews633 followers
November 8, 2013

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became a father. As such these stories became imprinted on my memory as the soundtrack to the happiest period in my life (so far).

The Fall of Hyperion was one of the six award winners I had read before starting my Glorious Locus Quest (along with 3 other Simmons books, an Asimov and a May).

Occasionally another reviewer sums up your opinion so perfectly; there seems little point in repeating the sentiment.

I felt the same way as Kemper about Fall :
“Mr. Kemper had read Simmons before and knew he likes to put a lot of big ideas in his books. But this time, apparently Simmons broke into his house and managed to directly implant much of the book directly into Mr. Kemper’s brain via some kind of crude funnel device.”

“His wife said she found him having convulsions and leaking brain matter out his nose and ears.”

“He had told several people that Hyperion was just so good that he had to know how it ended, even if it killed him.”
But Fall of Hyperion is so Shrike-damned good that I must, out of overwhelming respect, at least try to express my admiration and awe at this accomplishment.

It’s a bit of cliché to describe a complex plot in terms of a circus ‘plate-spinning’ act but it’s the most appropriate metaphor that’s coming to my sleep-deprived mind this morning. It’s the familiar slack-jawed feeling of hypnotic wonder at an artist who knows exactly how long he’s got left on each plate before it starts to wobble, exactly how to stabilise that wobble, and exactly how much impetus to impart to allow him to work his way around all the plates before returning again. It’s the skill of a juggler with all the balls in the air, but with more calm-control and less frantic energy.

To stretch the analogy even further, Simmons seems to work with plates of different sizes, colours, materials and shape – on sticks of different heights and widths. He takes a difficult job, integrating an intergalactic multidimensional time-travelling space-opera narrative, and makes it even more difficult by populating his universe with intelligent, diverse and contrary characters.

Some of his ideas articulate my deepest held ideals about far-future hi-tech becoming indistinguishable (to us, now) from magic – much as modern tech would be incomprehensible to early man. I already mentioned the awesomeness incarnate that is the Shrike, the Poet and the Cruciform in my review of the first book, but here I’m particularly referring to the Keats cybrids, the treeships and the TechnoCore.

It’s a book I would dearly love to re-read, but it looks like I’m going to have to re-buy first because I leant the whole Cantos to a friend who’s since moved house and taken it to the other side of the country... (I'm looking at you, Mark)

Fall of Hyperion won the Locus Sci-Fi award in 1991. I’m flabbergasted that the Hugo that year went to The Vor Game ! I’ve since read The Vor Game , and I also 5-starred that, but good as that was, this is better. What’s even more peculiar, is that the Nebula that year went to Tehanu – a mid-series fantasy novel? Clearly I'll need to read it to understand that decision! Ah well, at least my trusty Locus Sci-Fi award recognised and rewarded Sir Simmons' creative genius.

After this I read: The Endymion Omnibus
Profile Image for Trish.
2,015 reviews3,433 followers
March 19, 2021
So the Time Tombs are about to open, the process cannot be stopped/reversed, and now we get to see what’s in them or what they are causing. We’re also finally getting some answers (like what/who the Shrike is)!

But before that, we get some much needed background info like what the Ousters are (I was right, they are human to some degree) and how the farcaster portals are created/managed. Thus, you have 3 factions in this universe: the Hegemony (humans), Ousters (genetically altered humans who broke away from the Hegemony before the destruction of Earth) and the TechnoCore (AIs). While there was some kind of peace until now, conflict has been brewing for a while and it all comes to a head now.
Hyperion is an „outback“ planet, meaning it has no forecaster portal and is only sparsely settled.
As we know, Lamia was in a partnership with an AI modeled after John Keats’ consciousness. This AI was killed. In this second book, another AI with that persona has either been created and he (Joseph Severn) dreams of the pilgrims and their progress on Hyperion. For some reason, he reports these dreams to the leader of the Hegemony.
Then the war REALLY gets going. As it turns out (confirming one of my theories), . And that led to the confirmation of another of my theories: . You know, timey-wimey stuff. Though it is far more complex and there is no handwavium here. Instead, the author thought everything through and there isn’t a dust speck out of place or superfluous here.
Every single pilgrim serves a purpose, was needed for the right outcome, and don’t get me started on the mystery of the Shrike or the diabolical plan of !

I was very impressed with how the story changed from book 1 to book 2 - not just how the story is told, but also the various bends and developments. I definitely liked the environmentalist message, but also the warning of the surrender of privacy or personal rights/space in favor of interconnectedness. Considering how long ago this book was written (pre-social-media-era) and what has come to pass in real life since then, this is indeed creepily groundbreaking and visionary.
I might not fully agree with the author’s pessimism (as shown through the Shrike Cult), but he does have a point if you look at humanity.

God(s), political machinations, the influence on information, dependence, manipulation, timey-wimey stuff, lots of violence and bloodshed, really cool fighting scenes … but also mindbending tech and interesting interactions between the pilgrims. The story is very dense and rich and was made even more amazing thanks to the author’s fast-paced writing style which kept me on the edge of my seat, sometimes even yelling at characters. *lol*
And I cried. Yep. Not many books manage to make me cry but this one did. But I also whooped and felt a lot of Schadenfreude at the demise of others. In short: I had the feelz. ;)

The book’s ideas and depth are seriously mind-blowing. But also full of scientifically accurate physics (as far as we know). And I agree with many who say that the two books should actually be one, are actually one and should therefore be read together. One doesn’t really mean much without the other.

I’m more than aware that this review will never manage to do the duology justice. So just know this: I’m in love with Simmons’ work and might even rank it over that of Frank Herbert! Also, I might or might not have sent an e-mail to the Folio Society and might or might not have begged(!) them to do a special edition of these two books.
Profile Image for Emily .
779 reviews79 followers
May 3, 2015
What a crock of shit. I loved the first book and gave it 5 stars. This one... man, I hate it. It's nothing even like the first book. It's just a bunch of political/religious/philosophical non-sense. The Pilgrims from the first book are basically secondary characters here. They aren't really even the focus of the story anymore. I spent almost the entire book just wishing the Shrike would slaughter everyone so this book would be over.

Too much poetry
Too much boring descriptions of people traveling - walking really far, endless descriptions of farcaster travels, really boring descriptions of traveling in the datacore etc.
Too much tedious political backstory details
Profile Image for Aesaan.
132 reviews76 followers
January 2, 2021
If you feel Hyperion is the heart of this series, then The Fall of Hyperion is the megamind. Honestly, I thought I wouldn't like this as it kicks off with 100 or so pages of space battles without much heart to the story, which is expected given the ending of the first book. But Oh my.., did Simmons just wave his magic wand and *boom*, sci-fi wonder.
[We enslaved you
with power/
beads and trinkets
of devices you could neither build
nor understand\\
Yes Mr. Simmons, you got me. My neurons are yours to use.

Mindboggling! Simmons throws big, and I mean BIG ideas to the pages... time paradox, black holes, Shrike - Lord of Pain, interstellar battles, politics, survival, betrayal, religion, God, datasphere, megasphere, poetry, Cybrids, AI, parasite and God knows more.
“The Great Change is when humankind accepts its role as part of the natural order of the universe instead of its role as a cancer”
The Fall of Hyperion is a satisfactory conclusion to a masterpiece. A beast of a different nature even when compared to Hyperion, which is why some prefer one over the other.
Profile Image for Marcos GM.
293 reviews130 followers
July 15, 2023

Antes que nada, aviso a navegantes. La reseña puede contener spoilers del primer libro, ya que es continuación directa del mismo.

- No se equivoque - advirtió – Sabemos quién es usted, qué es usted y a quién representa usted.
- Enhorabuena – mascullé- , porque a estas alturas le aseguro que yo no lo sé.

Esta obra no es una secuela al uso, sino que, como se indica en los prefacios tanto de Hyperion como de esta, la historia era tan grande que se tuvo que partir en dos, por lo que aquí partimos del mismo punto en que quedó todo, a saberse, los peregrinos de camino a las Tumbas de tiempo, la Hegemonía enfrentada a una guerra con los éxters, y nosotros sin saber por dónde puede salir la cosa.

Hay que decir que la primera parte estaba narrada en forma de relatos de cada peregrino, algo que aquí por necesidad se pierde y tenemos una narración más al uso, y un narrador principal que nos servirá de guía en una gran parte de la historia. Ambas cosas me supusieron un pequeño bajón, pero poco a poco les he ido cogiendo el gusto, y tanto narrador como narrativa han acabado siendo muy de mi agrado. Sobre todo porque no es algo lineal, sino que va dando saltos y te mantiene pendiente para saber qué está pasando, dónde y cúando. Aquí sí tendremos respuestas, muchas y muy buenas en mi opinión. Todo lo que estaba en duda en la primera parte queda resuelto, y lo que se plantea aquí casi todo queda resuelto también (algo queda pero hay dos partes más, pinta a que se hizo así para dar pie a esos libros)

En ese caso, Dios es la criatura, no el creador. Tal vez un dios deba crear a los seres inferiores que están en contacto con él para sentir alguna responsabilidad por ellos.

Este libro tiene mucho de filosofía, e incluso teología, para dar forma a los personajes y sus acciones. A veces demasiado, pero no es difícil seguir la trama, a pesar de todos sus términos de ciencia ficción. De lo que más me ha gustado es todo lo que tiene que ver con las Tumbas de tiempo, su origen y propósito, y ese Alcaudón desatado. Hay ciertos pasajes que son sobrecogedores, como pueden ser los que tienen lugar en El árbol de espinas, o cierto momento en los laberintos que recorren Hyperion.

Hay mucho misterio detrás del origen de la guerra en Hyperion, y ver cómo poco a poco se va desvelando todo es muy satisfactorio, así como la resolución del conflicto, que es para mí totalmente inesperado, además de ser apoteósico. El libro está escrito en tres partes, y la tercera es sin duda la más frenética, tanto en acción como en respuestas. Y todas me han gustado, no le pongo un pero a nada (bueno, sí, Silenus me sigue pareciendo un petardo)

¿Qué se puede opinar de la guerra? La guerra no pide reflexión, solo supervivencia.

Aquí dejaré un batiburrillo de cosas que me apetece reflejar, pero habrá spoilers gordos:

En resumidas cuentas, una lectura obligatoria para fans de la ciencia ficción, pero asequible también para lectores con menor bagaje. Y si has leído el primero, este es necesario para resolver lo planteado allí.


First of all, notice to navigators. The review may contain spoilers from the first book, since it is a direct continuation of it.

- Make no mistake - he warned – We know who you are, what you are and who you represent.
- Congratulations - I mumbled -, because at this point I assure you that I don't know.

This work is not a typical sequel, but, as indicated in the prefaces of both Hyperion and this one, the story was so big that it had to be split in two, so here we start from the same point where everything ended, namely, the pilgrims on their way to the Time Tombs, the Hegemony facing a war with the Ousters, and us not knowing how it will end.

It must be said that the first part was narrated in the form of stories from each pilgrim, something that is lost here out of necessity and we have a more traditional narration, and a main narrator who will guide us through a large part of the story. Both things were a little down for me, but little by little I have been taking a liking to them, and both narrator and narrative have ended up being very much to my liking. Above all because it is not something linear, but it rather jumps and keeps you pending to know what is happening, where and when. Here we will have answers, many and very good in my opinion. Everything that was settled in the first part is resolved, and what is raised here almost everything is also resolved (something remains but there are two more parts, it looks like it was done that way to give rise to those books)

In that case, God is the creature, not the creator. Perhaps a god must create the lower beings that are in contact with him in order to feel any responsibility for them.

This book has a lot of philosophy, and even theology, to shape the characters and their actions. Sometimes too much, but it's not hard to follow the plot, despite all its sci-fi terms. What I liked the most is everything that has to do with the Time Tombs, their origin and purpose, and that Shrike unleashed. There are certain passages that are overwhelming, such as those that take place in The Tree of Pain, or a certain moment in the labyrinths that run through Hyperion.

There is a lot of mystery behind the origin of the war in Hyperion, and seeing how little by little everything is revealed is very satisfying, as well as the resolution of the conflict, which is totally unexpected for me, as well as being tremendous. The book is written in three parts, and the third is arguably the most frenetic, both in action and in responses. And I liked all of them, I can't say anything bad about it (well, yes, Silenus still looks like an idiot to me)

What can you say about the war? War does not ask for reflection, only survival.

Here I will leave some things that I want to reflect, but there will be major spoilers:

In short, a must read for science fiction fans, but also affordable for readers with less background. And if you have read the first one, this is necessary to solve what was raised there.
Profile Image for Kaora.
585 reviews283 followers
December 21, 2014
The Fall of Hyperion, a sequel to Hyperion, although it doesn't feel like it. The first book was mainly about the history of the pilgrims, and this one has a new protagonist named Joseph Severn, who dreams of the pilgrims. As a result I struggled to get into this one, as I was more interested in the fates of the pilgrims than this new character. There were long sections of dialogue as Joseph sits in on war briefings, which I found uninteresting.

However I feel about halfway through the tides changed and I became completely invested in the fates of this world and the people within it as I got to know the amazing character that is Meina Gladstone, CEO of Hegimony, and a woman that holds the fates of billions in her hands.

You ask, what is our policy? I say to you: It is to wage war, in space, on land, in the air, by sea, wage war with all our might and with all the strength justice and right can give us. That is our policy.

Dan Simmons is again at the top of his game, and had me with his beautiful prose even when I wasn't completely interested in what was going on. But unfortunately I can't say I liked this as much as the first, even after the strong conclusion.
Profile Image for Algernon (Darth Anyan).
1,525 reviews979 followers
June 4, 2019

Pain and darkness have been our lot since the Fall of Man. But there must be some hope that we can rise to a higher level ... that consciousness can evolve to a plane more benevolent than its counterpoint of a universe hardwired to indifference.

The words of Father Dure, a Jesuit priest of the future Hegemony of Man, are for me the most concise and the most precise synopsis of the story. 'The Fall of Hyperion' is not a separate novel, it's the second half of the opening volume, commencing bare minutes after the final events in 'Hyperion'. And it is huge and messy, but what a glorious mess it is! Nothing short of the Fate of Mankind will satisfy its ambitions to be the ultimate epic science-fiction novel.

"The Imagination may be compared to Adam's dream – he awoke and found it truth"

John Keats launches the opening salvo of the hostilities, an obscure quote that will become clear only in the final pages of the story. Keats is not only the inspiration for Dan Simmons to rewrite the tale of the battle between the old Gods (Titans) and the new Gods (Zeus and his clique) as a science-fiction novel. John Keats is actually a character in the novel, first in Hyperion and now in his version 2.0 incarnation as Joseph Severn, an artist assigned as an impromptu attache to the leader of the Hegemony, CEO Meina Gladstone, just as the war with the Ousters is about to begin.

"You are part of both worlds, no? Humanity and TechnoCore?"
"I'm part of neither world. A cybrid monster here, a research project there."
"Yes, but whose research? And for what ends?"

TC2, or TauCeti 2, is the seat of Governemnt for the Hegemony, controlling more than 200 colonized worlds. It is a place of power and a place of wonder, thanks to the technological gadgets supplied by the AI known as the Technocore.

Like River Tethys, the Grand Concourse flowed between military-sized farcaster portals two hundred meters high. With wraparound, the effect was of an infinite main street, a hundred-kilometer torus of material delights.

Farcasters of different sizes have become essential to the economy of the Hegemony, allowing instant teleportation between light-years. The other technological wonder offered by the AI is a sort of internet on steroids, with everybody and their uncle permanently jacked in:

Nothing could be done about it – every human above the lowest Dregs' Hive poverty class had a comlog with biomonitor, many had implants, and each of these was tuned to the music of the datasphere, monitored by elements of the datasphere, dependent upon functions in the datasphere – so humans accepted their lack of privacy. An artist on Esperance had once said to me, "Having sex or a domestic quarrel with the house monitors on is like undressing in front of a dog or a cat ... it gives you pause the first time, and then you forget about it."

Note: Dan Simmons wrote this decades before the coming of Siri, Alexa and other 'smart' appliances.

Few places lie outside this datasphere, but the one where all the eyes are drawn to is Hyperion, the fringe planet where an anomaly in the space-time continuum known as the Time Tombs exists. In the first book, eight pilgrims journey to the Tombs despite countless adversities, there to petition a terrible steel monster known as the Shrike for their deepest desire. You might think they will ask for world peace, what with the two big military fleets about to do battle in the space above the planet. But each of them has a more personal agenda, revealed in the stories they tell along the pilgrimage.

The 'deus ex machina'. What we were talking about earlier. I suspect that this is precisely the reason each of us is here. Poor Lenar with his deus in the machina of the cruciform. Brawne with her resurrected poet trapped in a Schron loop, seeking the machine to release her personal deus. You, Sol, waiting for the dark deus to solve your daughter's terrible problem. The Core, machina spawned, seeking to build their own deus.

So I return to my opening quote, and the search for God in his or her future incarnation. The quest continues as the war with the Ousters begins in earnest and as the Tombs themselves begin to open after centuries of traveling back in time, while CEO Gladstone relies on the hybrid Joseph Severn to keep her up to date with events in the distant valley of the Tombs. Because Severn / Keats, with his half human/half machine brain is dreaming real dreams of what goes on with our old friends Martin Silenus, Sol Weintraub, the Consul, Brawne Lamia, Fedmahn Kassad and Lenar Hoyt. He is Adam, and his Imagination is Truth.


This is as far as I can go with my synopsis without giving out major spoilers, so tread carefully from here on, please


The first book was all about characters and their backstories. Now its time for that build-up to be put to use, but the developments create almost as many new mysteries as revelations. The Time Tombs and the Shrike still defy logic and continuity. The pilgrims are as much in the dark among the Tombs as they were on the voyage. But the monster is real and it is hunting them. I would advise patience, because all the classical references and the endless philosophical discussions do have a point, although it will become clear mostly in the last chapters.

Instead of looking at individual destinies (this will come later), this second volume takes a step back to consider the big factions.
The Hegemony is in a position of power, with technological superiority over the Ousters, yet its CEO Gladstone is aware that the stakes are much higher than the imminent Ouster attack.

The future branches only two directions. War and total uncertainty, or peace and total certain annihilation. I chose war.

Meina Gladstone is well aware of what she calls the Faustian pact humanity has done with the TechnoCore. The AI furnished the Hegemony with its high end toys, but its has resulted in complacency and total dependency on rogue and independent overlords (' It is hard to create mob passion when people are separated by kilometers and light-years, connected only by comm lines and fatline threads'). She wants to break the connection, even if the cost would rise into billions of lives. Otherwise humanity is doomed.

The Ousters are invading Hyperion, and also launching attacks against other systems in the Hegemony, their reasons remain obscure, except to the Consul, who has served as the go-between from Gladstone to the rebel fleet.

Their obsession with Hyperion is real. They think that this will be the birthplace of a new hope for humankind.

The TechnoCore, the assembly of emancipated AIs, is split into factions as far as humanity is concerned. The Stables want to preserve humanity for future study. The Volatiles claim that the AI no longer needs humanity in order to function in the universe. And the Ultimates are concerned with creating GOD, the final intelligence. Which of the factions will triumph remains to be seen, but probably not by human eyes.

The secretive order of the Templars, the ones whose motives remained secret in the first book as their representative disappeared during the journey, are given their chance now to explain their views. I kind of see why it was left for later, in order not to give the game away too early.

"The Great Change is when humankind accepts its role as part of the natural order of the universe instead of its role as a cancer."
"It is an ancient disease which – "
"Yes, I know what cancer is. How is it like humankind?"
"We have spread out through the galaxy like cancer cells through a living body, Dure. We multiply without thought to the countless life forms that must die or be pushed aside so that we may breed and flourish. We eradicate competing forms of intelligent life."

So, is humanity doomed or not? Is the Shrike the Avatar of Destruction announcing Armageddon? The pilgrims chose to defy him and what he stands for, and whatever hope is left to us is in their hands.

Kassad is a soldier, so he fights with the weapons he knows, his mysterious companion Moneta once again by his side.
Martin Silenus returns to his true vocation as a poet, feeling all the suffering of mankind literally as he is forced by the Shrike to re-experience the Crucifixion and all it signifies.

We thought we were special, opening our perceptions, honing our empathy, spilling that cauldron of shared pain onto the dance floor of language and then trying to make a minuet out of all that chaotic hurt. It doesn't matter a damn bit. We're no avatars, no sons of god or man. We're only us, scribbling our conceits alone, reading alone, and dying alone.

Note: Lama, Lama Sabachthani!

The Jesuits argue for keeping the Faith alive. The Templars argue that we do not deserve the Galaxy. Sol Weintraub the humanist argues that a God has no right to demand obedience from his followers, but he must follow his heart as the days left to his daughter dwindle down to nothing.

In the end, when all else is dust – loyalty to those we love is all we can carry with us to the grave. Faith – true faith – was trusting in that love.

If God evolved, and Sol was sure that evolution was towards empathy – it was towards a shared sense of suffering rather than power and dominion.

Lamia and her cybrid lover petition the Technocore itself for redemption, but the immense intelligences have plans of their own, all except one Ummon who appears to be the TechnoCore version of a poet.

Not a watchmaker
but a sort of Feinman gardener
tidying up a no-boundary universe
with his crude sum-over-histories rake /
idly keeping track of every sparrow fall
and electron spin
while allowing each particle
to follow every possible track
in space-time
and each particle of humankind
to explore every possible crack
of cosmic irony

And the Consul, you may ask? What about the traitor to both the Hegemony and the Ousters? His punishment is to go back to work, towards a better union, one based not on subservience to machines, or to a fickle God, but on a 'covenant of life', such as the one once signed on his home planet Maui Covenant, such as the one the Ousters and the Templars envision.

"Not merely to preserve a few species from Old Earth, but to find unity in diversity. To spread the seed of humankind to all worlds, diverse environments, while treating as sacred the diversity of life we find elsewhere."

Hyperion will fall in the end, as all things eventually do, but I believe it will rise again from the ashes of war. (After all, there are two more sequels to the epic). The search for God is never ending, and your guess is as good as mine as to what form the future one will take. Will it be a machine one, like the Shrike, created to bring about the dominance of AI? Will it be one of consumerism and will to power like the government of the Hegemony? Will it be an Ousters New Age of diversity and tolerance? Or a poet's dream turned into reality?

Sometimes, dreams are all that separate us from the machines.

Until I start on the next book in order to find out, I will leave you in the company of the hardy pilgrims who stroll into the sunset singing yet another classic song: "Somewhere Over the Rainbow"
Profile Image for Stephen.
1,516 reviews11.2k followers
February 3, 2010
6.0 stars. On my list of All Time Favorites. Viewed as one novel, the Hyperion Cantos (including Hyperion, this novel and the two subsequent novels) comprise, in my opinion, one of the GREATEST works of Science Fiction EVER WRITTEN. Space Opera on a epic scale. Detailed, original and incredibly imaginative world building and a dense, mind-blowing plot. Oh yeah, and it has one of the coolest characters/creatures ever devised...THE SHRIKE!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Winner: British Science Fiction Award for Best Novel (1992)
Winner: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1991)
Nominee: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1991)
Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel (1991)
Profile Image for Iloveplacebo.
384 reviews210 followers
March 1, 2023
¿Es un mal libro? Ni de broma, pero...
No ha sido el momento adecuado para leerlo. Y lo se porque me ha parecido algo confuso, porque tenía que releer algunas partes, porque no me enteraba de lo que estaba leyendo, había días que no me apetecía coger el libro, etc.
Quizás en un futuro lo relea y cambie mi percepción de esta historia -ojalá sea así, porque siento que me he perdido algo muy bueno por no leerlo cuando debía.
Profile Image for Dirk Grobbelaar.
554 reviews1,091 followers
January 18, 2022
[He] noted the distortion, the bulk of mass above and too-long legs, the play of starlight on carapace and thorn, the shadow of arms under arms, and especially the ruby glow of hell-lighted crystals where the eyes should be.

Fall of Hyperion is the second half of the story started in Hyperion. Where the latter introduced us to the seven pilgrims and told us their back stories, this book tells us what happens to them during their pilgrimage on Hyperion. You absolutely can not read this book if you have not read Hyperion, and by the same token, if you have read the first book, you absolutely have to read this one.

Apparently, it was written as a single book, but the publisher had it divided into two parts. It does make the page count more manageable, I suppose, but it also detracts from the overall experience (I am fairly sure there are lots of people out there who have read Hyperion but who haven’t read Fall of Hyperion, and it’s a crime).

Now, enough of that and back to the review.

[He] found himself standing upon a vast lunar plain where a terrible tree of thorns rose five kilometers high into a blood-red sky. Human figures writhed on the many branches and spikes: the closer forms recognizably human and in pain, the farther ones dwarfed by distance until they resembled clusters of pale grapes.

It is a challenging story, not just because of the grim imagery, but because of the nature of the plot. What is real? What is simulated? What is metaphor? Nothing about this story is simple. The plot has a number of significant twists and “oh hell” moments. Also, any book with time travel elements can quickly turn into a headache, what with possible causal loops and bootstrap paradoxes (et al). Of course, most is revealed at the end, and the author quite deftly weaves a tale of far future interstellar drama on a grand scale. Fall of Hyperion is a very literary Science Fiction novel (in more ways than one) and masterfully written.

[He] looked up, and the viewing filters of his skinsuit polarized to deal with terrible energies that filled the sky with bands of blood red and blossoms of fierce white light.

The backdrop, of course, is war. But there is more to it than meets the eye, and events taking place on the planet of Hyperion (and in the Hyperion system) will determine the fate of humankind.

Hyperion / Fall of Hyperion deserves every accolade, award, award nomination and five-star review that have been thrown at it. It is quite an achievement, albeit a bit intimidating. If you are a serious Science Fiction buff you should read this, even if it is just to sate your curiosity or to earn the right to criticize, but chances are you will really, really like it. There are some pretty big ideas here, but the drama mostly takes place on a human scale. There are some strong philosophical and religious undercurrents that are central to the plot (in many ways), pertaining to the nature of God, or the Ultimate Intelligence.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
- William Butler Yeats, The Second Coming, Excerpt

Saturn is fallen, am I too to fall?
Am I to leave this haven of my rest,
This cradle of my glory, this soft clime,
This calm luxuriance of blissful light,
These crystalline pavilions, and pure fanes,
Of all my lucent empire? It is left
Deserted, void, nor any haunt of mine.
The blaze, the splendour, and the symmetry,
I cannot see—but darkness, death and darkness.
- John Keats, Hyperion (a fragment), Excerpt

5 stars
Added to Favourites
Profile Image for Krell75.
299 reviews28 followers
October 4, 2022
Completamente differente in struttura narrativa dal primo romanzo, la Caduta di Hyperion analizza, amplia e caratterizza a fondo l'universo immaginato da Simmons.
Le vicende trovano una loro chiave di lettura, i dubbi e i misteri che predominano i 4/5 del romanzo, e iniziati nel primo, concludono il loro percorso con trovate mirabolanti e colpi di scena.
Onirico, poetico, a volte troppo lento ma sempre coinvolgente e stupefacente.

Si tratta di una lettura tra le più complesse da seguire, Simmons mostra la sua infinita cultura su numerosi aspetti del sapere e una morbosa ossessione per John Keats. La sua visione del futuro è impressionante, dalle numerose e incredibili tecnologie alle ristagnanti passioni umane.

Da leggere per completare i retroscena presentati in Hyperion. Assoluto capolavoro.
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