The Fall of Hyperion

Dan Simmons
The Fall of Hyperion Cover

The Fall of Hyperion


Dan Simmons sequel "The Fall of Hyperion" won two awards (Locus, British SF) and was nominated for two more. It also appears on several "top 100" lists, and both this and "Hyperion" are Science Fiction Masterworks.

I read the first book in November of 2011, and my rather sparse five star review of the first book didn't really do it justice. In short, I was disappointed with the ending and the fact that a sequel was required, but other than that a fine book. An even better short review of Hyperion comes from Wil Wheaton - "It's about the journey, it's not about the destination."

The Fall of Hyperion does finish up the first books story, though not quite in the expected way. The political background story marches to the forefront, leaving our characters to encounter the Shrike and deal with major changes. Some words about the mechanics first.

The first half of the book is told through a new character who observes what the Shrike Pilgrims are doing through dreams. Some of this is later explained by his connection to the data sphere or mega sphere, though without a chart I couldn't prove whether this is logical or not. In the latter part of the book, the narrator becomes more omniscient, jumping around the characters and stories. After the wonderful layout and voices of the first book, this is an awkward change.

Without spoilers, the political story arc works very well. Major space battles, planetary invasion and technological revolutions are all handled smoothly and believably. On the other hand, the bogey man of the original book is not fully resolved. Perhaps this leaves a mystery for future books? I am not sure.

As a two book pair, this story deserves five stars. I didn't like the ending of the first, the second seemed less refined. As a pair, the story comes to a convincing end after the second book. If I had to choose just one to read, it would be the first, with perhaps a better stopping point before the second book. I'll stick with five stars for the first book and slot this one in at four. Will I read the pair of sequels? Likely so, but only when I have time to read both together.