Sometimes, a book comes along that seems to redefine the very concepts of fiction. As an author, Dan Simmons was a veritable unknown to me until fairly recently. In the past few months, I’ve read four books that attempt to outline humanity and the nature of the universe itself. Up until now, I would have said my favorite author was Frank Herbert of Dune fame, or possibly George R. R. Martin with his yet unfinished Song of Ice and Fire series. What these two authors have done with politics, religion, and the human condition is almost unparalleled in this day and age. But Mr. Simmons has to be the first to string together a cohesive and finished plot line that ties up all loose ends with emotion and meaning far beyond the simple boundaries of imagination put to paper.
I won’t review the book itself, explain the plot line, or even mention a single character’s name. Doing so is a great disservice to the first three books and the crushing momentum they generate. Those who discovered this series in its infancy must have put a lot of trust into Dan Simmons. The Hyperion cantos is a heavy undertaking rife with dangling threads until the final triumphant conclusion. But books take a long time to write, and there are four of them in this series. The wait must have been truly a horrifying experience. I found the series after it was already finished, and after devouring nearly 2500 pages in many late-night reading sessions, I was struck speechless when I was finally finished.
Why I mention this without actually enclosing a review of the book itself, is because I think all of my friends should read the entire Hyperion series. My many year hiatus from writing has been an unfortunate casualty to a lack of direction and passion for life in general. While I’ve been inspired in part by my recent voracious appetite for reading in the last few months – this series has finally awakened a dormant creative spark I haven’t touched since I graduated from college and feverishly wrote fifty pages of one of my better book ideas in the space of about a week. Lately I’ve been thinking about things I haven’t seriously considered in many years, and now I believe it’s time to finish the story I began so long ago. My goal is to publish what I hope will be a work of philosophy, theology, and insight comparable to the lauded prose of the authors I’ve mentioned here.
I also hope to finish and publish this work before Melanie Rawn finishes either The Diviner or Captal’s Tower, two books that have been highly anticipated now for almost eight years, though even Miss. Rawn admits not having started either. We’ll see. Until then, wish me luck!