Dan Simmons
Hyperion Cover

Literary SF


Hyperion is one of the most literary SF novels I've ever come across. When I say literary I don't just mean quality, although this book is certainly well-crafted, but I'm referring to it's literary consciousness as well. Simmons draws from many literary and SF tropes like noir detective stories, biblical parables, horror, and cyberpunk to name a few, all held together by a frame adapted from the Canterbury tales. And it works, without being heavy handed with cliches and forced symbolism. Seven pilgrims are chosen to make a trip to Hyperion, the home of a mysterious, bladed monster known as the Shrike. None of them are members of the church of the Shrike, but all are after the potential prize gained by a successful audience with this monster--if the Shrike doesn't kill them first, that is. Each pilgrim tells his/her story in turn, and each story introduces us to new and interesting facets of the universe Simmons has crafted. All of that said, it's not dense reading, so it's accessible, imaginative SF that just about anyone should be able to appreciate. It's been some time since I read this book, and I'm still mentally chewing on the striking images and intertextuality of the book