A pilgrimage to a planet to be eternally impaled on a metal tree? Where do I sign up?
On the eve of an invasion of the planet Hyperion, a final pilgrimage has been organised. A select prime number of pilgrims will visit the Hyperion Time Tombs to plead with the Shrike, an immensely powerful being composed of blades. They decide to tell the tale of how they were chosen for the pilgrimage in hopes of understanding their mission.
Hyperion is one of those “classic” sci-fi novels that have the awards and street-cred amongst book nerds such as to make it compulsory reading. And I’m never quite sure what I’ll get with these types of “classics”. Will it be amazing, like Dune or Neuromancer, or will it be a trudge to get through, like any of the Dune sequels?
For me, Hyperion was a Dune sequel. Not so far into the series that you’ve stumbled into Brian Herbert and Kevin J Anderson performing CPR on Frank Herbert. But far enough that you’re not really invested.
This is partly because of the Canterbury Tales style utilised, where each character tells their tale about why they are on the pilgrimage. A format like this can work, if not for the second issue I had with Hyperion. It just ends. Tune in for the next instalment in this series. After ~500 pages the characters don’t even make it to the Time Tombs. So we don’t finish the story, we just get the backstory.
What Hyperion does well is diving us into the characters and world. But Hyperion didn’t make me invested enough to pick up the sequel to see how this story ends.