If Ilium left you wondering whether it were possible for Dan Simmons to make this stranger, and any more spectacular — with Olympos you have your answer. Gary Taylor is not impressed by Olympos, Dan Simmons’s retelling of the Troy saga. I wanted to like it. After Ilium, I was all fired up for the big explanation. I was looking forward to Achilles being a legendary badass, and the.
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Everyone seems to know and love his Hyperion novel which is just exceptional. It is imaginative, interesting, combines several different narrative styles, and has inexplicable central mystery. Simmons wrote three slightly weaker but still interesting books happening in the same universe: Fall of HyperionEdnymion and Rise of Endymion.
They expand upon the original, tie up lose ends and take the story simons different directions.
The entire Hyperion Cantos is essentially a single story — and a very good one at that. I would say that the Illium novels are about the same quality as the three Cantos books. The first one however recaptures a little bit of that Hyperion-esque mystery by purposefully keeping the reader in the dark about certain aspects of this brand new setting.
Let me give you a little taste of what can you expect from this book:. Most major cities llympos empty, crumbling ruins taken over by nature. The entire ecosystem is off its kilter — most niches dominated by wild mutations of genetically engineered animals — ean as dinosaurs and prehistoric birds. Surviving humans less than a million of them live in fully automated compounds, where all their needs are taken care of by swarms of robotic servitors. These mechanical servants prepare their food, mend their clothing, build and maintain their houses, and ferry them around on carts and droshkies.
These remaining humans have no jobs, no art, no science. They are illiterate, shallow and spend most of their time at lavish parties and social gatherings.
No one knows what happened to the millions of people who have once inhabited the planet. There are some stories about plagues, wars and that sort of stuff.
There is also talk about post-humans who have faxed most of the base-line population into the massive orbital rings that surround the planet — or something like that.
Post humans built the rings, the fax nodes, the servitors and pretty much every other advanced technology that is used today. Then they left to live in the rings. Then again, no one has actually seen a post human in centuries and their technology is in a dire need of maintenance slowly starting to fail. As if there was no one up there in the rings anymore.
Unbeknownst to the humans, there is other intelligent life in the solar system. The Jovian space and the asteroid rings are populated by Moravecs — self aware machines which descended from the early space exploration and commercial mining automatons. They are have their own autonomous society and culture and they have long ago lost contact with inhabitants of the Earth.
They are a bit concerned because after few centuries of virtually nothing happening on Earth, they are now picking up intense quantum activity from the vicinity of Mars. Someone or something is essentially ripping holes in the time space continuum.
So they decide to send a team there to investigate.
SF : Olympos / Dan Simmons
What is happening on Mars you ask? Mars has been terraformed almost over night. There are Greek gods residing on Olympus Mons, an authentic city of troy, Agamemnon with his armies, Hector in his crested helmet. The whole nine yards… Why? No one knows — it is just happening there. A lot of people get discouraged by the large amounts of Illiad Simmons essentially copied in this book.
For example, the book starts by quoting the beggining of Wrath of Achilles word for word, until it veers off in a different direction. The amount of research the author had to do for this book is actually quite impressive.
The simmonss of the heroes, the dna of battles, minutiae trivia about famous Greek and Trojan heroes are all there. In fact, sometimes it almost seems like Simmons is showing off his deep knowledge of the Homeric masterpiece by indulging in very olympps descriptions — be it of battles, armor, clothing or back stories of some minor characters.
Those parts of the book can be a little bit on the dry side — especially if you are not a Homeric scholar. Ugh… I got over it pretty quickly though. Even if you are not a big fan of Illiad, these books still have a lot to offer. I would say it is worth to sit through some of the initial Homeric data dump, because soon enough things get really interesting. The action jumps between three main story lines.
One follows a groups of Earth-bound humans who decide to unravel some of the mysteries that surround the post-humans and their current absence.
The third thread follows the Martian edition of the Aimmons which soon enough de-rails and departs from the Homeric script. All these threads slowly converge upon each other, up until the central mysteries of the setting are revealed. Simmons is pretty good with his pacing, and keeps the action going. Sometimes he really abuses the old writing trick of ending each chapter with a mini-cliff-hanger but in this particular setting it works quite well.
It keeps you reading — so you will rip through a chunk of Illiad in no time, because you really want to find out what happened to the human crew, or those adorable Moravecs. These novels are probably not for everyone. In Hyperion, Simmons teased the readers with Keats. In Illium and Olympos he really goes all out.
The book is soaked in literary references. He delves into Shakespeare, analyzing his sonnets, and playing around with The Tempest. He also offers some very deep analysis of Proust. He quotes various poets, and scholars. Personally I love this sort of thing. Your millage may vary. I highly recommend these books — they have action, suspense, some very deep literary discussions and a really awesome dystopic setting.
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