There's so much good to say about this book, that I could never fit it all in, without completely boring and alienating anyone who may read this review. It simply must be read to be believed. I've personally read it six times, and am planning on reading it again.
Coupled with its' sequel, The Fall of Hyperion, Dan Simmons has created a universe of complexity and wonder, which I enjoy enough to return to again and again.
If you enjoy re-reading books, and find that you learn something new each time, then you'll love this book.
The story takes place in the future, after the Big Mistake has decimated Earth, and driven its' survivors out to the stars. The resulting Community of Man, known as the Hegemony, wages a war with a rouge fleet of humanity, known as the Swarm. Aided by advanced computers,
simply known as AI (Artificial Intelligence), whose computing power is such that they can predict the future with over 99.9999% accuracy, the Hegemony maintains a tenuous grip on its' collection of worlds, known as the Web.
However, the AI's ability to predict the future (and thus assure the continued dominance of the Web) with 100% accuracy is hampered by the existence of the world known as Hyperion. Apparently, Hyperion serves as an unknown variable in any equation that the supercomputers develop. Further, there is the Shrike, a seemingly immortal, unstoppable killing machine whose designers and purpose are unknown, and whose very existence may(or may not)decide the outcome of the Web.
The Hegemony decides to send a group of seven pilgrims to Hyperion, in an effort to solve its mysteries, and in doing so, continue the reign of the Hegemony, at the expense of the Swarm.
Based partially on an unfinished poem by Eighteenth century English poet John Keats(which chronicled the cataclysmic battle between the Greek Gods and their predecessors, the Titans), and Modeled after Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, the story unfolds with each pilgrim stating his/her reasons for going on the very dangerous journey. Along the way, the reader is drawn in to Simmons' world, as the secrets slowly begin to unravel.
Regretfully, this clumsy attempt of mine berely scratches the surface of this wonderful and challenging novel.
You simply must read it, and enjoy.
Filled with metaphor, poetry, action, and intrigue, Hyperion is a fantastic, if difficult read; however, if you're willing to put your mind to work, the effort is very rewarding.