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Review

Endymion - Dan Simmons

Endymion is the third of four books in the Hyperion cantos by Simmons.  Hyperion was the first in the saga and full of ambiguities.  While I think it was always intended to be continued, in many ways I wish Simmons had not, because those ambiguities are slowly cleared up.  This book is the worst so far, but it is still quite solid.  It has the same richness of characterization and language as the other books and the same way with fantastic and surreal technology and landscape.  The Shrike makes an appearance again as does the poet, but most of the characters from the earlier books are long dead, because this book is set nearly 300 years in the future.

The book remains a literate space opera, but there is less experimentation with form.  The journey through the world that Simmons has created is here even more strongly than before as the main characters literally raft between planets.  It's good.  Far better than most Space Opera, but still short of Hyperion.  Simmons is clearly one of the great Science Fiction authors, but I would have preferred for him to have worked more like Banks, and if he was going to set his fiction in the same world, jump off from radically different places.  It's a shame that such a good writer has gotten sucked into the scifi-fantasy disease of endless sequels.

Having said all that, its well worth reading, and it may well be the best science fiction series ever written.  The Catholic church emerges as the villain of the peace which is quite brave.