Hyperion (1989) by Dan Simmons is an engrossing science fiction novel that has space travel, singularity travel, hackers, an AI society, empires and time travel. It also has a well structured story, interesting characters and a fascinating monster. So, as far as science fiction goes it really has it all, and when you include the characters really a little more than a lot of science fiction has.
The book is about a pilgrimage to the world of Hyperion and the Time Tombs that contain the shrike. Seven pilgrims, a priest, a ‘tree-ship’ captain, a soldier, an academic, a detective and a diplomat venture to Hyperion. Each has a reason to travel to Hyperion and the tales of how and why they are on the pilgrimage make up the bulk of the book.
The technique works well. Each story is interesting and they contribute to the knowledge the reader has about Hyperion, the Shrike and the universe of the book. There’s sex, love, violence and cleverly constructed universe that each story navigates through. It’s really very well done.
It’s good to read sophisticated science fiction like this. It shows what science fiction can be at its best.