January 09, 2016

For your winter reading: Two Dan Simmons novels, reviewed by Jon Moss

It's winter--a great time to stay inside and curl up with your favorite means of staying warm, to read great books new and old. 

Here are a pair of "50-Word Reviews" by our prize-winning reviewer Jon Moss (for more of her reviews, see her blog Misty Midwest Mossiness). 

by Dan Simmons (3 stars)

I’m disappointed. Just when I was getting pieces of the puzzle and a few of the questions answered, the story ends. Abruptly. Hyperion is a re-imagining of the literary frame tale, similar to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, but as science fiction space opera.

Seven pilgrims travel to Hyperion to petition the Shrike. Each pilgrim tells their tale in the hope  they will collectively  discover why they were chosen for the pilgrimage.  Between the tales, we eek out what’s really going on in the interstellar love triangle gone bad between the Hegemony (static humanity), the Ousters (evolved humanity) and the TechnoCore (AIs). 

(1989; won Hugo and Locus Awards in 1990)

The Terror (2007)
by Dan Simmons (4 stars)

I started reading this on a February evening, with snowfall predicted to commence after midnight. I sat shivering at the kitchen table while I read the first few chapters, even though my furnace kept my house toasty.  Brrrr..... Great writing by Dan Simmons, atmospherically speaking.

Simmons kept me riveted until the last few chapters, when he decided to take an extreme detour into arctic supernatural spirituality that left me, well, cold. Still, a great read by an outstanding author. I recommend lots of warm tea or hot cocoa and abstinence from long pork.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Wikipedia for the Hyperion cover, and to Amazon for the cover of The Terror.

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