The Fall of Hyperion by Dan Simmons
, 528 pages.
The second book in Dan Simmons’ Cantos series, first published by Broadway Books in 1990, The Fall of Hyperion serves as a continuation of and ending to Hyperion’s rather abrupt stopping-point.
Note: This review may contain spoilers, but nothing more than you would already have learned from reading the first book, Hyperion. You have been warned.
The Fall of Hyperion opens with the introduction of a new player in the game, one Joseph Severn, a cybrid and Keats retrieval persona. He serves as a consultant to Meina Gladstone in the Hyperion conflict, and it is through his dreams that we are made aware of what is happening to the pilgrims there.
The Hyperion pilgrims (sans M. Masteen) continue both their quest and their personal missions; Fedmahn Kassad to find and kill the Shrike and the woman who betrayed him; Sol Weintraub to save his daughter from the Merlin’s sickness; Brawne Lamia, carrying both her lover and his unborn child, traveling to Hyperion at his request; Martin Silenus, trying to complete his unfinished Cantos; Lenar Hoyt, to find freedom for himself and Father Duré; the Consul, seeking absolution for his actions.
As the pilgrims’ quest stretches into days, Severn and Gladstone are confronted with other problems elsewhere in the Web. On one hand, the fight with the Ousters over Hyperion is not going as planned, necessitating a decision that may put the entire Hegemony at risk. On the other, the ubiquitous presence of the TechnoCore is becoming increasingly ominous, leading some to question where the AIs’ true loyalties lie. Between the two, it is not a good time for the Hegemony.
The webs of intrigue that began in Hyperion are continued here, becoming, if anything, more entangled and convoluted, though the plot seems a little diluted by the introduction of two new major characters into the mix – Joseph Severn and CEO Gladstone. The cliffhanger at the end of nearly every chapter is also rather irritating, but all in all, it is a very good book, on par with Hyperion itself. The conclusion answers a lot of questions, some of which having remained unanswered since the first book, gives a satisfactory ending (something that Hyperion lacked), and set the series up nicely for other avenues of exploration. If you liked Hyperion, you will probably like this book, but be warned that you will be lost if you jump into the series at The Fall of Hyperion without having first read its precursor.
Dan Simmons' Cantos series:
This writeup was written for The Bookworm Turns: An Everything Literary Quest