Review: Hyperion By Dan Simmons


THE PILGRIMS PROGRESS

Seven strangers embark on a once in a lifetime mission, each with a strange tale to tell.

 
Book CoverHyperion
(Hyperion Cantos, Book 1)

Dan Simmons

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback, 496 Pages
Date: 12th May 2011 (First Published 1989)

ISBN-10: 0575099437
ISBN-13: 978-0575099432

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

It’s difficult deciding how best to describe Dan Simmons’ Hugo Award winning novel, Hyperion. Though it is a full-length novel it is structurally more like a collection of short stories loosely connected by an overarching conceit; a narrative choice acknowledged to have been directly inspired by Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. Also, though Hyperion is a book that is ostensibly science fiction, stripping away the copious amounts of technobabble leaves a story that reads very much like a work of literary fiction. This is perhaps not surprising given the author’s known fondness for classical literature, which is very much in evidence throughout Simmons’ narrative.

In spite of the numerous classical literary influences that can be found littered all the way through the book, Hyperion should in no way be construed as being inherently derivative. It is unquestionably an original, unique work of fiction; it’s hard to think of another novel quite like it. And leaving aside Simmons’ literary pretensions (or perhaps snobbery) it is obvious that he put a great deal of creative effort into the science fiction aspect of the backdrop for the novel. The detail in which he writes about the technology, history and culture of his futuristic setting is instrumental in conveying just how well constructed and deeply thought out it all is. Which is all the more impressive given that not all of these elements are necessarily vital to the plot, which could work just as well without them.

Continue reading

Review: Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick


ANDYS ARE PEOPLE TOO…RIGHT?

Attention Rick Deckard, I find your lack of empathy disturbing.

 

Book CoverDo Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?

Philip K. Dick
 

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback, 208 Pages
Date: 29th March 2010 (First Published 1968)

ISBN-10: 0575094184
ISBN-13: 978-0575094185

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

If you have seen the film Blade Runner you may think that you know what the book it is based upon, Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? is all about. But you would be only partially correct in that assumption, as the film is a rather loose adaptation of the source material, focussing primarily on one aspect of the story while downplaying or completely ignoring much of the rest of the book’s ideas and themes. Anyone who reads the novel after having seen the movie first should not be surprised to discover that there are more differences than similarities; so don’t expect to stumble upon the terms Replicant or Blade Runner in the text, for example.

Continue reading

Review: Double Star By Robert A. Heinlein


GET YOUR ASS TO MARS!!!

In a career defining role, a down on his luck actor finds himself while impersonating someone else.

 

Book CoverDouble Star

Robert A. Heinlein
 

Genre: Science Fiction
Publisher: Gollancz
Format: Paperback, 224 Pages
Date: 12th September 2013 (First Published 1956)

ISBN-10: 057512203X
ISBN-13: 978-0575122031

 
Purchase From: Amazon | Book Depository
 

Anyone who reads a Robert A. Heinlein novel today will likely find it next to impossible not to come to the conclusion that his work hasn’t aged very well. But in many ways this sense of “out-datedness” is invariably tied, one way or another, to either the characterisation or the setting within which Heinlein tells his story rather than the narrative itself. This is very much the case with regard to his Hugo Award winning novel, Double Star.

Continue reading