Read in December 2008
I’m disappointed. Just when I was getting pieces of the puzzle and a few of the questions answered, the story ends. Abruptly. Thank goodness I didn’t read this when it was first published or I would probably also be angry.
This is a re-imagining or a re-working of the literary frame tale, similar to Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales but as science fiction space opera.
Seven pilgrims en route to Hyperion to petition the Shrike, also known as the Lord of Pain and the Avatar of Final Atonement. Each pilgrim tells their tale to the other pilgrims in the hope that they collectively will discover why they were chosen for the final pilgrimage. Each of the tales reveals each pilgrim’s connections to Hyperion and insights into the Shrike and the Time Tombs. And between the tales, we eek out what’s really going on in the love triangle gone nearly to the brink of interstellar war between the Hegemony (static humanity), the Ousters (evolved humanity) and the TechnoCore (AIs).
Along the way, one of the pilgrims is either murdered or fakes his death to disappear. There is some concern that their party is no longer a prime number, a requirement for the Shrike Pilgrimage. After the last tale is told, the pilgrims decide to proceed to the Time Tombs at dawn. And there the novel ends.
I didn’t connect with any of the characters. And I’m left with more questions than answers. I’m not sure I feel compelled to seek the answers. Perhaps time will tell.