Fall of Hyperion, The

by Dan Simmons (1990)

7/10

I’m strangely relieved that I won’t have to see the word “lapis” anymore. We get it Simmons — the Hyperion sky is lapis-colored. I had never heard the word and didn’t know it was an actual color until I read these books, but now I got it, I promise. Can we just check that off and move on?

This resolved the frustrating cliffhanger to Part I in a satisfying way. The ending was impressively constructed and altogether fulfilling (but for that little bit about Love being the strongest force in the universe — having one of your characters call the idea banal does not cure its banality!).

It just felt so padded to me, both of these books, with so many setting descriptions and needless drama. I can’t get over the feeling that if both of them had been combined into a 6-700 page single volume it would have been one of the greatest standalone SF novels ever written. Up there with Dune.

I know that’s not considered “fair” by certain people when reviewing a book, but it’s like, my opinion, man. As it is, the first volume can’t be considered on its own because of one of the giant-est of cliffhangers, and the 2nd volume, while better, just feels like it’s there to wrap things up (while taking frustratingly long to do so). Both suffer from mediocre writing characterized by stilted dialogue and oddly bland action scenes.

So yeah: solid and impressively original, but it would have been oh-so-much-better had each of the “short story” episodes from Vol. I been significantly condensed and much of the filler from Vol. 2 be simply excised. I don’t feel compelled to read the next volumes due to the frustrating writing I feel I can expect, but I like the story enough to at least check out the synopses on wikipedia.

 

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