The Fall of Hyperion


The Fall of Hyperion

:"The novel should not be confused with John Keats's epic poem fragment, ."infobox Book |
name = The Fall of Hyperion
title_orig =
translator =


image_caption = Cover of first edition (hardcover)
author = Dan Simmons
illustrator =
cover_artist = Gary Ruddell
country = United States
language = English
series = Hyperion Cantos
genre = Science fiction novel
publisher = Doubleday
release_date = March 1990
english_release_date =
media_type = Print (Hardcover & Paperback)
pages = 517 pp
isbn = ISBN 0-385-24950-0 (First edition)
preceded_by = Hyperion
followed_by = Endymion

"The Fall of Hyperion" is the second science fiction novel by Dan Simmons in his Hyperion Cantos fictional universe. It was written in 1990 and was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel that same year. It was also nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1991.

Plot introduction

In 45 chapters and an epilogue, "The Fall of Hyperion" records the fall of the Hegemony of Man. Like the previous novel "Hyperion", it follows a frame structure of sorts, although it is far less explicit: instead of a number of pilgrims telling each other their tales "a la" "The Canterbury Tales", the perspective is that of the reactivated cybrid of John Keats (the poet to whom the novel is dedicated "To John Keats, Whose Name Was Writ in Eternity"), who somehow dreams the adventures of the pilgrims via his twin.

Plot summary

Meina Gladstone has committed to reinforcing the FORCE:Space picket at Hyperion and pushing the Ousters out. Parties all over the Hegemony break out on the day the armada is dispatched; it is at "the" party at Government House on the capital of the Hegemony, Tau Ceti Center, that one Joseph Severn, the technological reincarnation of John Keats, fully of neither the human world nor the TechnoCore where his AI consciousness resides, is invited. He meets with Gladstone and her council of war, to "offer an artist's perspective". His official excuse for being there is that he has been commissioned to do a series of sketches of Gladstone during these historic events. He does do these sketches, but the real reason is that Gladstone needs to stay informed about the crucial events surrounding the pilgrims and the Time Tombs, and Severn's dreams appear to correspond to the events.

His dreams are of an uneventful first day exploring the Time Tombs. The Shrike does not appear and nor does Captain Het Masteen. That night a sandstorm begins. Lenar Hoyt staggers off to the Jade Tomb, driven thence by the pain of the cruciform. Brawne Lamia follows him, and Fedmahn Kassad trails behind both: the two shall serve as bait, he hopes, to draw out either the Shrike or Moneta. In the Jade Tomb, Hoyt discovers a shaft that drops kilometers to a veritable inferno. It would surely kill him permanently and destroy the cruciform. Before he can hurl himself over the precipice, the Shrike appears. It ignores the bullets that Lamia fires at it, and slices Hoyt's throat open. Hoyt dies, but the cruciforms he carries might still resurrect him in three days.

Before Severn's meeting with Gladstone, he attends a military briefing. The defense of Hyperion is not going well; the Ousters have several times the number of combat units FORCE predicted, and each unit is more effective than believed. The two space fleets are deadlocked in a bloody stalemate.

The Consul tries to retrieve his ship so its medical facilities can be used on Father Hoyt, and if need be, the ever-younger Rachel, but FORCE grounds the ship on Gladstone's orders. Carrying the corpse of the now-dead Hoyt, they all head up to the Sphinx for shelter.

Severn confronts Gladstone about her callous abandonment of the pilgrims. She is surprised that anyone else knew about it, since she had just given the order, and is convinced that Severn's dreams are true. She defends her action, saying that it is absolutely crucial that the pilgrims stay at the Time Tombs to work out whatever their destinies may be. She then asks Severn to visit Hyperion for a short time with her close aide, Leigh Hunt - to get a closer view of things. On his trip, he meets Governor Theo Lane and Dr. Melio Arundez; from the former he learns that Hyperion is breaking down as everyone crowds around the spaceport, and from the latter that the Time Tombs are preparing to open at any time.

In Severn's next dreams, Kassad is attacked by Moneta. Their long-distance sniper duel devastates the Crystal Monolith. Kassad catches up with her at the top. After she defeats him in hand-to-hand combat, they make love. She then gives him a suit of armor/weapon from the future, to which the Shrike takes Moneta and Kassad.

The Ousters reveal their master plan when a dozen fleets' fusion drive tails are spotted so close to crucial Web Worlds that when they activate their Hawking drives, they are scant dozens or hundreds of hours travel-time from their target, having previously traveled at speeds below the detection threshold. Simultaneously, the swarm in the Hyperion system presses the FORCE even harder: Gladstone has just committed the strategic reserve to reinforce them, but to little avail.

By this point, Father Duré has been reborn by the cruciform attached by Father Hoyt's remains. Lamia and Silenus leave for Chronos Keep, to resupply. The pilgrims had not brought many supplies with them, as they did not expect to live long enough to exhaust them. Silenus peels off when they pass the Poet's City; he is sick of Lamia, and wants to finish his Cantos, and he had always done his best work in the Poet's City. Lamia leaves him to meet what may come. During the two's absence, they (the Consul, Sol Weintraub, and Duré) find Captain Het Masteen collapsed in the sands, badly burned and dehydrated. He too eventually dies, never telling his tale aside from some confused babbling about the Shrike's Tree of Pain and Masteen's failure to pilot it through the galaxy.

Silenus finds the silence of the city extremely conducive to writing. He makes extraordinary progress - his muse has returned. Silenus's "Hyperion Cantos" is a retread of Keats's two previous failures, attempts to write the great epic of the Titanomachia - the overthrow of the Titans by their more beautiful upstart offspring, the more familiar Olympians of Greek myth, and the Titans' counter-attack: "Hyperion" & "". Silenus's poem is not merely poetic myth, but an obvious allegory for events wracking the stars, the long-running conflict between humanity and its creations, the AIs of the TechnoCore. As the wan light fails, Saturn and Jupiter have concluded their grand debates at the treaty table by expressing fear of some third hostile other force. Unable to see the manuscript, Silenus pauses to find some source of illumination. The Shrike silently appears and commandeers Silenus's arm, writing that "IT IS TIME, MARTIN." Silenus of course refuses to go: the poem is almost done, after all. The Shrike takes him and impales Silenus on his Tree of Pain anyway.

Lamia's mission to retrieve supplies from the Keep is perturbed by odd moving noises and abruptly cut off screams of pain. On her way down, she is nearly killed by dislodged falling rocks. When she returns to the Sphinx agonizing hours and kilometers later, she finds no one except the Shrike. Her bullets are for naught against the metal body, and it stabs a finger into her head behind her ear, knocking her out. Sol and the Consul discover her prone and unconscious - apparently brain-dead - and her head seamlessly connected to the bare rock of the Sphinx by an odd almost-living techno-organic cable. The Consul departs on a Hawking mat (the same one used by Merin and Siri) back to the capital of Hyperion, Keats, to try to free his ship; it has a cryogenic freezing unit that Rachel could be put in before her last birth-day arrives, and tools to help in cutting the cable off Lamia.

Lamia is still alive, but her consciousness has been transferred to the datumplane. She is joined there by Johnny, apparently freed from the Schrön loop by the Shrike. Johnny mentions that he had been dreaming Severn's reality, much as Severn had been dreaming Johnny's reality. The two head into the heart of the TechnoCore to find some answers.

The scene switches back to Kassad. The portal the Shrike led him through leads to the Tree of Pain where all of the Shrike's victims are impaled and still living. Kassad moves to free Martin Silenus from the tree, but the Shrike multiplies to put thousands of them in Kassad's way. Kassad then begins to battle the Shrike.

Kassad's battle with the Shrike takes him and the Shrike through different times and places one of which is a room in the ship the pilgrims rode across the planet in the first book. The blood on the wall that was found, and thought to be that of Het Masteen, ends up being Kassads as they continue to battle.

Back in the Web, there is a state of mass panic, as billions of hegemony citizens attempt to find some way to flee from the imminent invasion. Riots break out on major worlds, some of which are led by the resurgent Shrike church, whose membership has swelled. Gladstone decides to sacrifice some of the "first wave" worlds, hoping to buy time to position fleet defences on worlds that would be attacked later. Hopes that negotiation may be possible are dashed when the first world to be invaded is bombarded with nuclear and plasma weapons. The Technocore, through it's liason Counciler Albedo, may have found a solution, however...

The Consul makes his way over the mountains and the sea of grass, but eventually falls asleep and crash lands near the outskirts of Keats. Meanwhile, Duré decides to go explore while Sol and Rachel wait with Lamia at the Sphinx. As the last seconds to Rachels birth tick away, the Shrike appears, and takes her away, leaving Sol to contemplate, as the Time Tombs open.

Lamia and Johnny make their way through the TechnoCore and then into the Megasphere, a world seemily beyond to Core. There they find Ummon, a powerful and influential A.I., who explains that the Core was indeed responsible for the "destruction" of old earth, and the movement of it to another galaxy. This was due to fear of retribution from "greater beings" hidden in the Megasphere, presumably a future human built Ultimate intellegence. He also reveals that he was behind the murders of both Bryon Lamia and Johnny. He then destroys the residing Johnny persona and expels Lamia from the Megasphere.

Meanwhile, Severn barely escapes from a mob of Shrike Church radicals, and winds up on Pacem, where he finds, of all people, Father Paul Duré. Duré explains that while walking, he found a new entrance in the Shrike palace, which was previously sealed off. Upon entering, he found himself inside Hyperions labyrinthe, which is filled with millions of decaying corpses.Editorial note: This summary is not yet complete and the original plot does not end at this point.


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