Hyperionby Dan Simmons
On the world called Hyperion, beyond the law of the Hegemony of Man, there waits the creature called the Shrike. There are those who worship it. There are those who fear it. And there are those who have vowed to destroy it. In the Valley of the Time Tombs, where huge, brooding structures move backward through time, the Shrike waits for them all. On the eve of Armageddon, with the entire galaxy at war, seven pilgrims set forth on a final voyage to Hyperion seeking the answers to the unsolved riddles of their lives. Each carries a desperate hope--and a terrible secret. And one may hold the fate of humanity in his hands.
Read an Excerpt
The Hegemony Consul sat on the balcony of his ebony spaceship and played Rachmaninoff's
Prelude in C-sharp Minor on an ancient but well-maintained Steinway while great, green,
saurian things surged and bellowed in the swamps below. A thunderstorm was brewing to the
north. Bruise-black clouds silhouetted a forest 0f giant gymnosperms while stratocumulus
towered nine kilometers high in a violent sky. Lightning rippled along the horizon. Closer to the
ship, occasional vague, reptilian shapes would blunder into the interdiction field, cry out, and
then brash away through indigo mists. The Consul concentrated on a difficult section of the
Prelude and ignored the approach of storm and nightfall.
The fatline receiver chimed.
The Consul stopped, fingers hovering above the keyboard, and listened. Thunder rumbled
through the heavy air. From the direction of the gymnosperm forest there came the mournful
ululation of a carrion-breed pack. Somewhere in the darkness below, a smallbrained beast
trumpeted its answering challenge and fell quiet. The interdiction field added its sonic
undertones to the sudden silence. The fatline chimed again.
"Damn," said the Consul and went in to answer it.
While the computer took a few seconds to convert and decode the burst of decaying tachyons, the
Consul poured himself a glass of Scotch. He settled into the cushions of the projection pit just as
the diskey blinked green. "Play," he said.
'You have been chosen to return to Hyperion," came a woman's husky voice. Full visuals had not
yet formed; the air remained empty except for the pulse of transmission codes which told the
Consul that this fatline squirt had originated on the Hegemony administralive world of Tau Ceti Center.
The Consul did not need the transmission coordinates to know this. The aged but still beautiful
voice of Meina Gladstone was unmistakable. "You have been chosen to return to Hyperion as a
member of the Shrike Pilgrimage," contin-ued the voice.
The hell you say, thought the Consul and rose to leave the pit.
"You and six others have been selected by the Church of the Shrike and confirmed by the All
Thing," said Meina Gladstone. "It is in the interest of the Hegemony that you accept."
The consul stood motionless in the pit, his back to the flickering transmission codes. Without
turning, he raised his glass and drained the last of the Scotch.
"The situation is very confused," said Meina Gladstone. Her voice was weary. "The consulate and
Home Rule Council fàtlined us three standard weeks ago with the news that the Time Tombs
showed signs of opening. The anti-entropic fields around them were expanding rapidly and the
Shrike has begun ranging as far south as the Bridle Range."
The Consul turned and dropped into the cushions. A holo had formed of Meina Gladstone's ancient
face. Her eyes looked as tired as her voice sounded.
"A FORCE:space task force was immediately dispatched from Parvati to evacuate the Hegemony
citizens on Hyperion before the Time Tombs open. Their time-debt will be a lithe more than
three 1-lyperion years." Meina Gladstone paused. The Consul thought he had never seen the
Senate CEO look so grim. "We do not know if the evacuation fleet will arrive in time," she said,
"but the situation is even more complicated. An Ouster migration cluster of at least four
thousand . . . units ... has been detected approaching the Hyperion system. Our evacuation task
force should arrive only a short while before the Ousters."
The Consul understood Gladstone's hesitation. An Ouster migration cluster might consist of ships ranging in size from single-person ramscouts to can cities and comet forts holding tens of thousands of the interstellar barbarians.
"The FORCE joint chiefs believe that this is the Ousters' big push," said Meina Gladstone. The
ship's computer had positioned the holo so that the woman's sad brown eyes seemed to be staring
directly at the Consul. "Whether they seek to control just I-Iyperion for the Time Tombs or
whether this is an all-out attack on the Woridweb remains to be seen. In the meantime, a full
FORCE:space battle fleet complete with a farcaster construction battalion has spun up from the
Camn System to join the evacuation task force, but this fleet may be recalled depending upon
The Consul nodded and absently raised the Scotch to his lips. He frowned at the empty glass and
dropped it onto the thick carpeting of the holopit. Even with no military training he understood
the difficult tactical decision Gladstone and the joint chiefs were faced with. Unless a military
farcaster were hurriedly constructed in the Hyperion system-at staggering expense-there
would be no way to resist the Ouster invasion. Whatever secrets the Time Tombs might hold
would go to the Hegemony's enemy. If the fleet did construct a farcaster in time and the
Hegemony committed the total resources of FORCE to defending the single, distant, colonial world
of Hyperion, the Worldweb ran the terrible risk of suffering an Ouster attack elsewhere on the
perimeter, or-in a worst-case scenariohaving the barbarians actually seizing the farcaster and
penetrating the Web itself. The Consul fried to imagine the reality of armored Ouster troops
stepping through farcaster portals into the undefended home cities on a hundred worlds.
The Consul walked through the holo of Meina Gladstone, retrieved his glass, and went to pour
"You have been chosen to join the pilgrimage to the Shrike," said the image of the old CEO whom
the press loved to compare to Lincoln or Churchill or Alvarez-Temp or whatever other
preHegira legend was in historical vogue at the time. "The Templars are sending their treeship
Ydrasi1I," said Gladstone, "and the evacuation task force commander has instructions to let it
pass. With a three-week time-debt, you can rendezvous with the Yggdrasill before it goes
quantum from the Parvati system. The six other pilgrims chosen by the Shrike Church will be
aboard the treeship. Our intelligence reports suggest that at least one of the seven pilgrims is an agent of the Ousters. We
do not . at this time - . have any way of knowing which one it is"
The Consul had to smile. Among all the other risks Gladstone was taking, the 01d woman had to
consider the possibility that he was the spy and that she was fatlining crucial information to an
Ouster agent. Or had she given him any crucial information? The fleet movements were
detectable as soon as the ships used their Hawking drives, and if the Consul were the spy, the
CEO's revelation might be a way to scare him off. The Consul's smile faded and he drank his
"Sol Weintraub and Fedmahn Kassad are among the seven pilgrims chosen," said Gladstone.
The Consul's frown deepened. He stared at the cloud of digits flickering like dust motes around
the 01d woman's image. Fifteen seconds of fatline transmission time remained.
"We need your help," said Meina Gladstone. "It is essential that the secrets of the Time Tombs
and the Shrike be uncovered. This pilgrimage may be our last chance. If the Ousters conquer
Hyperion, their agent must be eliminated and the Time Tombs sealed at all cost. The fate of the
Hegemony may depend upon it."
The transmission ended except for the pulse of rendezvous coordinates. "Response?" asked the
ship's computer. Despite the tremendous energies involved, the spacecraft was capable of
placing a brief, coded squirt into the incessant babble of FTL bursts which tied the human
portions of the galaxy together.
"No," said the Consul and went outside to lean on the balcony
railing. Night had fallen and the clouds were low. No stars were visible. The darkness would
have been absolute except for the intermittent flash of lightning to the north and a soft
phosphorescence rising from the marshes. The Consul was suddenly very aware that he was, at
that second, the only sentient being on an unnamed world. He listened to the antediluvian night
sounds rising from the
swamps and he thought about morning, about setting out in the
Vikken EMV at first light, about spending the day in sunshine,
about hunting big game in the fern forests to the south and then
returning to the ship in the evening for a good steak and a cold beer.
The Consul thought about the sharp pleasure of the hunt and the equally sharp solace of solitude:
solitude he had earned through the pain and nightmare he had already suffered on l-lyperion.
The Consul went inside, brought the balcony in, and sealed the ship just as the first heavy
raindrops began to fall. He climbed the spiral staircase to his sleeping cabin at the apex of the
ship. The circular room was dark except for silent explosions of lightning which outlined
rivulets of rain coursing the skylight. The Consul stripped, lay back on the firm mattress, and
switched on the sound system and external audio pickups. He listened as the fury of the storm
blended with the violence of Wagner's "Flight of the Valkyries." Hurricane winds buffeted the
ship. The sound of thunderclaps filled the room as the skylight flashed white, leaving
afterimages burning in the Consul's retinas.
Wagner is good only for thunderstorms, he thought. He closed his eyes but the lightning was
visible through closed eyelids. He remembered the glint of ice crystals blowing through the
tumbled ruins on the low hills near the Time Tombs and the colder gleam of steel on the Shrike's
impossible free of metal thorns. He remembered screams in the night and the hundred-facet,
ruby-and-blood gaze of the Shrike itself.
The Consul silently commanded the computer to shut off all speakers and raised his wrist to
cover his eyes. In the sudden silence he lay thinking about how insane it would be to return to
Hyperion' During his eleven years as Consul on that distant and enigmati world, the mysterious
Church of the Shrike had allowed a dozen barges of offworld pilgrims to depart for the windswept barrens, around the Time Tombs, north
of the mountains. No one had returned. And that had been in normal times, when the Shrike had
been prisoner to the tides of time and forces no one understood, and theanti-entropic fields had
been contained to a fewdozen meters" around the Time Tombs. And there had been no threat of air
The Consul thought of the Shrike, free to wander everywhere on, Hyperion, of the millions of
indigenies and thousands of Hegemony citizens helpless before a creature which defied physical laws and which communicated only
through death, and he shivered despite the warmth of the cabin.
The night and storm passed. Another stormfront raced ahead of the approaching dawn.
Gymnosperms two hundred meters tall bent and whipped before the coming torrent. Just before
first light, the Consul's ebony spaceship rose on a tail of blue plasma and punched through
thickening clouds as it climbed toward space and rendezvous.
Meet the Author
Dan Simmon's first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award, his science fiction novel Hyperion received the Hugo, and the Horror Writers of America awarded him its highest honor for his novel Carrion Comfort. Simmons is also the author of Phases of Gravity, Hugo and Nebula Awards finalist The Fall of Hyperion, The Hollow Man, and two collections of short fiction, Prayers to Broken Stones and Lovedeath. He lives in Colorado along the front range of the Rockies.
From the Paperback edition.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Great book, really well written, interesting characters. However, don't be fooled into thinking this book stands on it own, it doesn't. At page 560 you'll realize that nothing will be resolved and apparently you'll need to read the sequel to get some semblance of a complete story.
What a truly fun book to read. Dan Simmons captures the imagination with the 7 pilgrim's tales and keep it riveted to the page the entire time - you'll love and hate each of the pilgrims. Which will get their wish granted by the Shrike?
When Dan Simmons struck out to create the world that is contained in Hyperion, he must have had a grand vision of the future: man spread across the reaches of known space and a symbiosis of man and machine. What the reader takes away from this grand vision is a sense of awe and wonder. Each of the characters, in their own way, contributes to the fluidity of the story and to the environment around them. Simmons gracefully sets up each of the many looming conflicts, and resolves most of them with an ending that is extremely satisfying but leaves the reader ready for the sequel (which is also very, very good). All in all, it is more than just a book. It is a concept which was crafted together masterfully by Simmons and his wonderful writing, plot, characters, and most of all, universe.
I went into reading this book with high expectations, and I came out of it with those expectations shattered. THIS IS AN NCREDIBLE BOOK. The plot is highly original, and all of the character's stories(except Kassad's, I didn't enjoy it that much) were very interesting. Overall this is a great read. I can't wait to read the Fall of Hyperion!
Hyperion is more than the interaction of the 7 pilgrims. It builds a universe of incredible depth and complexity, while also focusing on characters who have had tremendously varied and intense life experiences. Hyperion sets it up, and Fall of delivers.
Wow! I was scanning the booksheleves for actually a good fantasy...when I found Hyperion. I took a look, and I decided to buy it only because it won a Hugo. Then when I brought it home I was so surprised at the depth and greatness of this book. I loove this story so much because it is soooo creative and it never lags. It is completely flawless!! This will go down in the list of science fiction classics. It is an important voice in sci-fi, and it really screams.
The story seems to me to be a repeat of some parts of several classic science fiction and/or fantasy tales, an exercise in showing how great the author's vocabulary is, and how much he knows about so very many areas of science. I also include the second half of the story, The Fall of Hyperion, in the comment above. Smart guy, what?
i read this book and immediately had to purchase the other three books in the series. the plot has all the depth and backstory every sci fi nerd craves to make the entire world seem real. essentially, if you dislike this book, there's something wrong with you.
Amazing sci-fi classic. My only complaint is the eBook format contains TONS of typos. Almost to the point of distraction.
I began to read this book not because it won an award or anything like that but because it was shown in an anime. So I picked it up and soon I was sucked into the world of Hyperion. When I finished the book, I immediately bought the other three books in the series. This is a must read for anybody and everybody.
Most of the what needs to be said about this sensational epic has been said by other reviewers, so I will just add two comments: 1)Was I the only one to notice the parallel, no doubt intentional, to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales? Companions on a pilgrimage tell their stories one by one. 2)Anyone debating whether or not to read this series should read the preface. If you can read the preface to Hyperion and not be instantly hooked, you are not a discerning fan of science fiction.
The breadth of Dan Simmons imagination is a wonder to behold. The man can write, too. Totally different style, but the series is right up there with Dune for me in importance. Mesmerizing
By far....... simply amazing. This book is not a complete story, if you read this you will have to read the sequel. But as a story, probably the best book ive ever read. Character and plot development are, like I said, simply amazing. Also I haven't had to abuse my dictionary so badly and am very thankful for that, new words are always fun. Without spoiling anything, my favorite concept (out of the million dan throws at you) is the idea of man evolving in zero gravity. I always rated the song of ice and fire series the best in my personal book, but this single book alone has put this series to the top. A+ -mikillo
I love to read Stephen King so I googled authors who are similar and Dan Simmons came up. I was going to read his horror novel but I thought hey I've always wanted to step into real sci-fi so why not try it out. I really don't like stepping out of my box but I was intrigued. The story does not disappoint. Although he doesn't have Kings magic touch, th story is captivating. Like king, Simmons is able to build a connection with the characters almost immediately. Give it a try. The stories are very captivating and you won't be disappointed!
Just an FYI this was spilt into two books when it was originally published so you have to read this one and Fall of Hyperion to get the full story. This was a very good book. I enjoyed the characters and the story. It does get tedious at times but I found if I pushed through those things were really good.
I read this series on loan from a roommate in college and immediately went out to buy them for myself. Six years later it's still one of the few series i end up recommending as often as ringworld, foundation and lensman. Well worth the read.
Some sci-fi surprises me, which is one of the reasons I love it so well, but this series blows me away.
What a world Dan has created for our minds to wander in to. I like the idea of the story telling on the way to a pilgrimage but only because I knew the story would be continued in the next book. If I didn't know that I would be a bit upset with the cliffhanger type of ending. Having said that I immediately started readin the second book and thought it is even better. I look forward to reading book #2 so see how that ends before deciding to read #3 and #4.
Hyperion is an enticingly original sci-fi story with parallels to Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and to the life of John Keats. Allusions to the passion-indeed to the life force-of John Keats are seeded throughout the story in the most intricate manner. However, setting aside Simmons' background in English literature, Hyperion is a book that every science fiction lover should read. Enthrall your imagination while 7 pilgrims on a mission to visit the deadly Shrike relate their stories one-by-one. Simmons displays amazing creative talents as he endears each character (even the most annoying of them) to the fascinated readers. The turn of events is completely unexpected. Simmons keeps you guessing until the very end. Unfortunately, he doesn't end the story here, though. In order to find out what happens to the new found friends, the reader must buy the next book in the series: The Fall of Hyperion (which DOES finish the story). Despite the disappointment and frustration I felt at the end when I had to get my boyfriend to fly a copy of the sequel to me from half-way across the country, I understand the reason for Simmons' unsatisfying conclusion-the ending of the story IS another story.
It's been a few years since I read the first two books in Dan Simmon's series, but I can't help taking a few minutes to sing the praises of Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion. They are absolutely terrific, and this is coming from someone who isn't a huge Sci-Fi fan. There is so much scope to Simmons' scientific/futuristic imagination, so much talent in his storytelling abilities, and so much life in his characters, that I'm sure virtually everyone who is a fan of fiction will enjoy these two books. Do yourself a favor and pick them up- you won't regret it. After you've gotten through these fist two books, you'll have to read the last two to see what happens. Unfortunately (in my mind anyway), Simmons isn't quite able to sustain the literary level in Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. They're good, but not great.
I've been going around writing reviews of my top five SciFi novels of all time. If it lends some credibility, the other four are 'Dune' 'Ender's Game' 'Harvest of Stars' and 'The Moon is a Harsh Mistress'. This, in my opinion (and this includes all four books in the series) is the best science fiction novel ever written, even better than Dune. If you read the first one, you HAVE to read the second, and then there are two more after that that complete the epic. This is a huge epic of the human empire, scattered among a hundred worlds, but bound together by the WorldWeb, a series of wormholes that lets you step from world to world as easily as walking down the street. The wormholes are controlled by the TechnoCore, the artificial computer intelligences that removed themselves from human control, and just possibly, have enslaved them. The first book is about some voyagers, chosen to confront the Shrike, a (being? machine?) that apparently ignores the laws of time, and has only one purpose: to kill human beings. The novel is a series of stories about how the voyagers got bound up in politics and mystery, and ended up in such a bad spot. The stories don't overlap, but they expose so much insight about the intricate human society created by such closely linked worlds, both the good, the bad, and the terrifying. The second book, 'Fall of Hyperion' brings it all together, and completes the tale of how these voyagers, and the few who know the secrets about the TechnoCore, fight for the very survival of humanity. It's hard to write about such a vast work in such a short space, but I really believe that this is the best book I have ever read (and I've read a LOT!)
One of my favorites over the years!