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Hyperion

by Dan Simmons

In many ways, this is a story about stories, an science fiction take on the Canterbury Tales. A group of travellers set out together to seek an audience with the terrifying, murderous and mysterious creature known as the Shrike. On the journey, they tell each other the stories of what drove each of them to take the perilous journey. Like a lot of Simmons's fiction, this is highly allusive: numerous tales, from Romeo Juliet, Abraham Isaac and even the Wizard of Oz are referenced, retold and explored in facets of the stories. But this is not simple literary cleverness or soulless SF: the Abraham Isaac story, for example, addresses both the theological relationship between God and Man and the anguish of a father trying, possibly in vain, to save his child. Great stuff: each of the story is slightly different in tone and character, and each draws you in in a slightly different way. Unfortunately, it must be said that Dan Simmons has never been this good again.

Suggested by Sandy Buchanan, Buxton

Tagged with: gripping unexpected

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