My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Yes science fiction fans, you can in fact have it all. Far-thinking ideas, imaginative world-building, hard-SF space combat, deep character arcs, compelling portrayal of AI, strong motifs dealing with human questions, beautiful language, an element of horror, and the most essential component: a well-written story. This novel delivers on all of these components.
Hyperion made my to-read list after appearing on NPR’s Top 100 Science-Fiction, Fantasy Books, I saw it on a used shelf in the Huckster’s Room at Boskone 50 for $2 and snagged it. Dan Simmons’ novel becomes, so far, the only science fiction novel to hold a five-star rating in my GoodReads*.
Fans of literary science fiction… read it.
(*Note: Neil Stephenson’s Anathem initially held a five-star rating, but was subsequently demoted. Vernor Vinge’s A Fire Upon the Deep was a contender briefly, but ended up being rated four stars as well. Both of these novels, though far-thinking, enjoyable, and also appearing on the NPR Top SF/F list, fall just short of five stars on the same count: I don’t believe that they are well-written in a literary sense.)