Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Rise Of Endymion, Dan Simmons

The Rise Of Endymion
Dan Simmons

Well, I'm done with the Hyperion series now, and I'm glad.

The Rise Of Endymion wraps up the Hyperion books for good, or so I hope. It's not that it's a bad book, but it could have been so much better.

Slow to the point of plodding at times, we're told about character development rather than seeing it, and quite a few things are very predictable.

I've called this book "OK" purely because if you've gotten through the first three in the series you'll probably want to read this one to learn the bits of the ending that you don't already know. That said, it's not all that well written.

A major problem that inhabits all four volumes is that Simmons lets his imagination run way ahead of what he's already written. He created a particular universe in Hyperion, changed a couple of the fundamentals in The Fall Of Hyperion, changed a lot of the fundamentals in Endymion, and a few more in The Rise Of Endymion. Effectively he's rewriting the rules of the game - his laws of physics and rules of behavior - on the fly. Changing even one rule like that in the middle of a series is difficult to do well. Your readers tend to lose their willing suspension of disbelief when you pull that stunt. Simmons does it so many times you just start to give up. There are no touchstones you can return to here.

In summary, I think the original Hyperion is a pretty good book, but it has no ending, and the three that follow it get progressively less well written. It's a shame, really. Hyperion has such promise.