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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 hard to restrain myself and not be overly poetic in my response to this SF masterpiece. This second novel in Simmons' Hyperion Cantos dances between magic and good old fashioned Hard SF. It isn't that I don't have critical issues with the novel. Please, Simmons, please find another way to describe the sky/heavens that doesn't involve Lapis lazuli. However, not many novelests have the skill to allude to epic poetry while dealing with issues like pain, death, time, God, gods, poetry, empathy. Simmons not only kept these threads alive, but wove them beautifully and tied them all off. Just for THAT this novel deserves five stars.
For me the Hyperion novels are on the same level as Lord of the Rings, Dune, the Foundation trilogy, the Book Of The New Sun, etc. Definitely worth the time and effort. Bevine does a great job narrating the second book. I think it made sense to switch from multiple narrators in Hyperion to a single narrator in the Fall of Hyperion (seems to me to fit with the change of narrative structure Simmons intended). Enjoy.
39 of 40 people found this review helpful
I don't write separate reviews for books in a series. Especially here, where Hyperion has been called the prologue to the Fall of Hyperion (FoH), it's been intimated that the former cannot stand on its own and I agree. Some have compared and contrasted the two connoting that there is perhaps a lack of cohesion and that they are very dissimilar. To that end, I disagree. The "prologue" smoothly transitions into the main body of the work and feels completely natural. Taken together, the two seem very much a part of a cohesive whole.
I was skeptical that the stellar cast of narrators of Hyperion could be equaled by a single actor, albeit Victor Bevine in FoH. Mr. Bevine was phenomenal and I never, at any point in the listening, felt like the work was diminished.
It is good that I have listened to this author later in life. Having been brought up reading the classics of all genre of literature, it is often difficult to appreciate lesser works after having experienced the masters. Dan Simmons is a master when compared to authors of any genre. I have heard Simmons compared to Dickens. Truly in his development of characters, the comparison seems a fair one. It would be hard to compare the plot of this work to that of any other.
Often fraught with and characterized by fantastic imagery and incongruous juxtapositions, the work is almost too much to be believed. But somehow Simmons makes it all believable for some time in the future. Unlike some classic, older SciFi which seemed futuristic when it was written but then later became seemingly dated, this piece is fresh, modern or hopefully even timeless. There's religion, technology, philosophy, excitement, a great deal of love and caring among seven pilgrim strangers and funny, now that I think about it, only one real villain in a world that is more vast than I can even imagine. This is truly a magnum opus in every sense of the word.
32 of 36 people found this review helpful
Great book, and well read, but it is a shame that they didn't continue with the full cast recording from Hyperion
9 of 9 people found this review helpful
On the book...
The fall of Hyperion is well named, with each new calamity coming after the last. I've just finished all four audiobooks, so I can't remember the exact details of this one - but I really liked them all!
I didn't really think much of the narrator - it sounded like English wasn't his first language maybe. He pronounced every single word - like 'to' and 'a' - fully, which - when you actually hear it done - is quite strange. He occasionally made little errors in pronunciation - saying the 'chasm' with a soft 'ch' sound - which is a bit weird - or maybe he just did the whole thing in one take without bothering to fix the error. He also pronounced 'Aargh' exactly as it is written, with a clear 'r' and then a hard 'g' sound on the end. No-one really says that when they scream - that's just obvious - again - weird. The thing I disliked the most though was his inability to portray anything other than a small range of emotions. Whenever he took on a woman's voice - there was one set tone - and any emotion - such as anger - was not portrayed at all - it was always just 'the soft woman tone'. The range of accents for the different characters was good - just a bit more attention to tone and emotion was needed.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Fundamental changes to everything. Nothing that I liked from the first book is here. Previously we had a tightly structured work set with interesting characters, and an intriguing supernatural force. Now we have a pathetically non-structured bore, with characters the literary equivalents of limp rags, and a nonsensical sci-fi-based "plot". There needs to be some semblance of plot, a few characters we can identify with, and a few relevant themes we can think about. How this turd of a novel won any awards is beyond me, and quite frankly, makes me think sci-fi is a bit of a joke (even though I love it!)
What could Dan Simmons have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?
For a start, quit the fetish-like jabbering about Dan Keats. I don't give a flying tiddlesquatch about him, his work, or anything that happened to him, and writing the book in a way that assumes we've read his works (or know him) is irritating to the extreme. Next, give your characters some bloody, well, character. Having the leader of humanity respond to questions like a one-word robot is not compelling. It doesn't make them seem smart; it makes them seem boring. Thirdly, decide if you're writing a fantasy novel or a sci-fi novel. Currently, the sci-fi elements comprise of Simmons randomly inserting 3 science-y-sounding words in a row together when a future technology is called for. Ugh. I have complaints about basically everything else - the depressing tone that comes off a boring, the badly-written characters, the non-existent plot, the complete and utter lack of action... do I need to go on..?
What three words best describe Victor Bevine’s voice?
Not great. Does an alriiight job, but varies to much in dynamic range so you have to adjust the volume lots. Also doesn't do characters voices very well, and they come off quite "breathy". He can't do accents either.
What character would you cut from The Fall of Hyperion?
Every. Single. One. (Except maybe for that Poet guy who gets drunk and swears at people - at least created a little drama; pity he was mostly killed off...)
Any additional comments?
Avoid. I cannot think of a single part of this book I enjoyed. After happily listening to about 10 other audiobooks it was an absolute struggle to get to the end of this bore. This is the textbook example of a wildly ambitious novel that has completely and utterly fallen apart at the seams.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
The problem is that I feel like you need to have read John Keets's work to truly enjoy this book. The story from the first book is so well done, and this one glosses over a bit too much of what I would have actually like to have seen. Some things from the book are abandoned or left abstract like why the pilgrims went on the journey in the first place. Still, there are so many threads that nicely got tied together and I did enjoy it.
Probably my biggest complaint is that I wanted the book to hurry up and tie up loose ends and I wasn't actually enjoying it. Still love dan Simmons though.
Also disappointed that there's only one narrator, but it makes sense and he did a fine enough job.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful