Timeless Storytelling

My book club decided to read Hyperion by Dan Simmons for your January book in the science fiction genre. This book was first published in 1989 and won the 1990 Hugo award for best novel. I had it on my to read list, but it just didn’t call to me. I read something that described it as Canterbury Tales in space. Didn’t really appeal to me. But boy am I glad my book club selected it to read.

Though it was written in 1989, it still feels contemporary. There are references to a communication technology called the Web that’s not the same as what we have today but has a similar feel. It speaks to “time debt”, taking into account relativity and how that would affect a space-faring civilization. And the storytelling is superb.

The plot involves seven people making a pilgrimage to the planet Hyperion. The book is essentially a series of related short stories, each chapter being the story of one pilgrim’s reason for making the trip. In the background is the mysterious Shrike who lives on the planet and is the destination of their joint pilgrimage. Their reasons vary from love to religion to family. Each story by itself is worth your time, and together they make a novel that stands the test of time.

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