Simmons, Dan. Endymion. New York: Bantam Books, 1996.
Reason: I am a glutton for punishment. No, not really (even though I have admitted sci-fi is not my forte). The reason I am reading this is I am continuing the series started in January in honor of Science Fiction month. This is the third in the cantos and so far, my favorite.
Endymion takes place 274 years after The Fall of Hyperion and yet Martin Silenus is still alive, thanks to life extension treatments called Poulsens. In truth, I was kind of glad to see the old bastard. As soon as the nameless character started using profanity I knew the old poet was back! But, let me start from the beginning. Raul Endymion is the first character we meet in Endymion. He is a hunting guide framed for, and convicted of, the murder of a wealthy client. After a ridiculous trial he is ultimately sentenced (read: framed) to die. Only he does not die. He has been “saved” from execution in order to do Martin Silenus a favor. Well, more than a few favors:
- Save this one child, Aenea, from the Swiss Guard and the Pax
- Keep Aenea safe until she becomes old enough to be The One Who Teaches
- Find Earth and bring it back (back from where, I don’t know)
- Stop the TechnoCore from its activities
- Convince the Ousters to give Martin real immortality and not this life support crap
- Destroy the Pax and put an end to the Church’s power
- Stop the Shrike…ah, the Shrike is back!
At the same time Raul is attempting to complete his honeydew list, the resurrection of Father Captain de Soya is also playing out. His story isn’t half as interesting as Raul’s, but he’s also after the future One Who Teaches so their stories run parallel to one another and intersect from time to time. A real cat and mouse thriller, only it’s hard to determine who is the real mouse and who is the cat. And, if I thought all the dying and resurrection in Fall of Hyperion was crazy, that’s nothing compared to how many times Father Captain de Soya is “reborn.” Don’t worry. You get used to it.
Endymion reads much differently than the two previous books in the Cantos. There aren’t any crazy sex scenes (sorry, spoiler alert), and even though the Shrike makes an appearance, it isn’t half as scary as the wraiths or Nemes. I was half expecting a shrike/wraith battle but it didn’t happen, much like the sex.
As an aside, the description of A. Bettik makes him sound like a member of the Blue Man Group. And. And! And, I know the Shrike is supposed to be the scariest thing in the universe but I was pretty unnerved by the description of the wraiths on the Sol Draconi System.
Line I liked, “I suppose one is surprised only when one awakens dead” (p 20). I would have to agree.
Best passage to sum up Endymion: “For years my life had been as calm and predictable as most people’s. This week I had accidentally killed a man, been condemned and executed and had awaken in Grandam’s favorite myth. Why stop there?” (p 45).
Author fact: to date I have told you Dan Simmons wrote five books which are on my Challenge list and he won the Locus Award for Fall of Hyperion. This time I learned he also wrote a book titled The Hollow Man. I won’t be reading it, though. It’s not on my list.
Book trivia: Endymion is the longest Simmons book to date. 578 pages to be exact.
BookLust Twist: again, from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Space Operas” (p 211).