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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Ilium by Dan Simmons. New York: EOS, 2003. ISBN: 0380978938.

Dan Simmons is a fantastical science fiction writer. By that I mean that he writes stories that stretch the imagination in all kinds of directions, and typically take the reader on a wild and incredible ride. If you’re a Sci-Fi buff, and have never read his Hyperion series (Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of Endymion), you’re in for a real treat. The only earlier author I can compare him to is Clifford Simak, who often takes his protagonists on similar hair-raising quests to those dreamed up by Simmons.

In Ilium, we have enough wild ideas to furnish the average writer with half a dozen or more novels. “Post-humans” bio-engineered to be the real-life equivalent of the classical Greek gods, replaying the events of Greek mythology as recounted in the Illiad, with a setting on a terraformed Mars. Intelligent robots, “moravecs,” they’re called, who inhabit the outer reaches of the solar system, sending a team to Mars to find out what’s going on. Meanwhile, back on earth, a limited, complacent population of “original” only slightly modified humans living out their unchallenged lives of entertainment and socialization in a stagnated society. But a few unsatisfied individuals begin a quest to find out what’s really going on.

All of these diverse elements are never quite brought together in a completely satisfying way, but you don’t really care, given the wild ride you’re taken on as your read this book. Highly entertaining.


  • I have to agree with you, Ilium (so far the only Dan Simmons book I've read) is a fantastic ride - one of the best SF books I have ever read actually.

    Nice to find a blog with lots of SF book reviews. I'm trying to do that myself (but my blog is in Norwegian, sorry).

    By Anonymous Torbjørn, at 1:49 AM  

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