28 May 2010

Dan Simmons - Endymion (Hyperion Cantos Book 3)

  • Author: Dan Simmons
  • Title: Endymion
  • Publisher: Gollancz 1996
Book 3 of the Hyperion Cantos.  I didn't realise that this book was part of a series until after I was half way through, but it's OK, since it stands alone quite well.  The story of Raul Endymion and  his adventures with an android partner and Aenea, being a young girl who has travelled through time and will one day be the messiah, or something.  And there's a pseudo-Catholic galactic government that controls resurrection technology, except that they seem to actually be controlled by the AIs that were supposedly destroyed in the fall of the WorldWeb, which is part of the previous stories. Basically, civilisation has kind of collapsed fairly recently in a war between some guys, some other guys, some computers and the other faction of computers.  And there is another faction of computers as well.  And maybe a computer god, although that might be in the future.  And an alien thing, but it might not be real.  I don't really get the overarching plot parts of this story, since there is a sequel and there were two prequels that I haven't read, but it was a fantastic read.

I think my favourite thing in this book was The Shrike, which seems to be some kind of alien monster made of razor wire, steel blades and scary evilness that can travel in time, move faster than light in real space and doesn't communicate in anyway except that it keeps killing any people who try to stop Aenea from reaching her goal. Which might be Earth, although that is not clear.  And Raul seems to be in prison while telling this story, but how he got there is not clear either. He's in a thing called a Schrodinger Cat Box, which is basically the Schrodinger Cat experiment as a means of execution.  So he might not even really be alive.

I would have a better idea of the story if I had read the others, but that will have to wait (I have ordered them, now just waiting for the library to deliver...) Which does not even begin to affect the fact that this is one of the best books I have read this month. (Ha)

Oh, and this rich asshole kills Rauls dog, then gets pissy when Raul kicks his ass for it, and tries to kill Raul with a flechette pistol, but Raul manages to turn it on him and mince the guys head off his body. I mean, he gets a death sentence for it, and the guy gets resurrected (a technology restricted to Born Again Christians, typically) but it was most satisfying in response to the dog.  Oh, that has nothing to do with the Cat Box though, that is the start of the story, and the Cat Box seems to happen later but wasn't explained.  Far Out!!

This kind of thing would really piss me off if it were badly written, but it isn't, because it's Dan Simmons.  Who is great.  If you do read this, make sure you also read "On K2 with Kanakaredes".  When I read the book World Enough and Time, I wrote the following:

I was expecting a lot more from this book. Maybe that is a bit unreasonable. I have to say that I was fairly disappointed overall. I really thought this was going to be massively awesome. It was just OK. I probably won't go hunting for more books by this guy, although I would still read a story if it was in an anthology.
OK, I take it back.  I was wrong.  Maybe I was in the wrong kind of mood.  This NOVEL is outstanding, and I would like to now formally retract my earlier statement about not looking for more work  by Dan Simmons. 

Recommended with muy muy humility and a Jar Jar Binks reference.