This sci-fi version of "The Canterbury Tales" casts a group of supplicants on a pilgrimage to seek salvation from the mysterious, cruel, and godlike creature known as the Shrike. Phenomenal world building. Simmons throws nearly every sci-fi theme imaginable into this sprawling space opera -- from time travel to transhumanism to interstellar war -- making the book feel at times a bit overly ambitious. Simmons uses his Chaucerian narrative frame to good effect, however, organizing and parceling out the many elements of his complex setting in a way that does not overwhelm this reader. Each tale is told in a unique genre, from epistolary to neo-noir. Some of the tales are better than others -- the Priest's tale and the Scholar's tale being particularly poignant. The characters are fleshed out well but sometimes described so clinically in the main narrative that they can seem caricatured. The book's many literary references may strike some as pretentious, but do not distract from what is one of the most compelling space opera stories I've read. The novel ends on a cliffhanger, so if you're hooked by "Hyperion" you'll want to pick up the sequel before you finish.
Hyperion is the tale of seven people who make a pilgrimmage to a terrifying creature called the Shrike in an attempt to save mankind. Stunningly written and beautifully crafted, Simmons's Hyperion resonates with technical achievement and the excitement and wonder found only in the best SF.