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Where was I?
Oh yes, Hyperion by Dan Simmons and my enjoyment of a title that would typically be classified as science fiction.
For the record, I've never had any issues with the science fiction genre; I was just never drawn to it. Starships, planetary exploration, coming in contact with beings from other worlds (unless in a horrific War of the Worlds type of way), mining asteroids and comets . . . none of it appealed to me. Why? I don't know. Instead, I wanted to read about serial killers, haunted houses, vampires (when well done), zombies, and epic fantasies that took place in worlds as seen in Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time, and The Lord of the Rings. What I never seemed to realize, or at least acknowledge, was that, while drawn to the elements that made up those genres, it was the characters and the author's writing ability that enthralled me, and, if either was lacking, it wouldn't have mattered how many elements of the horror, mystery or fantasy the book carried, I wouldn't have enjoyed it.
Enter an author named Dan Simmons. Given my love of horror, I bought one of his novels titled Summer of Night during the my senior year in high school, a period of time that saw me expanding my horror interests beyond the pages of King and Koontz, mostly because . . . well . . . I had read everything by them that was available. A week later, I was hooked. Unfortunately, I couldn't find many of his books, the tiny horror section at the local Borders only carrying Summer of Night, Children of the Night, A Winter's Haunting, and Song of Kali. Once read, I moved on to other authors that I had discovered, ones with names like Clive Barker, Brian Lumley, F. Paul Wilson and Tamara Thorne.
A few years later, while working a security post and reading a book a day while on duty, I found a new Dan Simmons novel titled The Terror at the bookstore, which I loved. Coincidentally, Christmas was right around the corner, so I mentioned to my mom that Dan Simmons was one of the authors that I enjoyed, and, upon her request, wrote down the titles I already owned so that she wouldn't accidentally double me up on any books come Christmas morning. List in hand, she went to the local book store and asked a clerk if they could point her toward any Dan Simmons' titles they had.
By asking a clerk where the titles were, she discovered that Dan Simmons' titles could be found in multiple sections and bought me every title she could find, four of which were Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion.
And then I never read them . . .
I don't know why, because by then I was being really adventurous in my explanation of titles that were beyond the genres I typically enjoyed, so it obviously wasn't any issue with the fact that they fell outside of my comfort range. Instead, I think it was due to that adventurous exploration and because I had gotten so many other titles to read, many being within the fantasy and historical fiction categories, that the Hyperion novels got lost among the stacks. What's odd is that I did read all the other Dan Simmons titles I had been gifted, so why I didn't grab these during that period is a mystery. Whatever the reason, I missed them, and then, as happens when you move frequently and have limited bookshelf space, boxed and buried them.
Until last week . . .
Hungry for something new to read, I contemplated venturing out into the holiday crowds before work one day (I do a 12:30 - 9:00 shift at a roadside help hotline when not writing), but then, realizing that such a setting would drive me mad, decided to see if I could find anything within my boxes of books that have been longing for the days when I will once again have bookshelves (I'm in the process of buying a house with my brother that will hopefully allow for such shelves come mid winter of 2015), and, what do you know, discovered my Hyperion collection.
Intrigued and thinking such a book would fit perfectly into that 'something new' category I had been longing for, I brought it to work and, once the calls died down after my dinner break, began reading, and, with the exception of when calls came in during that evening and the next, and the need for sleep, didn't stop until I was finished with the book. The story was, simply put, amazing. I loved everything about it, the futuristic aspect, the humans that, while having explored and colonized other planets, still felt like people I could meet on the everyday streets of the present world, the mixing of technology old and new, the familiar conflicts between religions that have evolved with time while still harboring the story-lines and myths that remain at their core, and the mystery surrounding the Time Tombs and creature known as the Shrike on a lightly colonized planet known as Hyperion. Most important, I wanted to know why the main characters were all chosen to go on a pilgrimage to the Time Tombs to see the Shrike and what their meeting, if they survived the journey, would mean for future of humanity.
And now, I must dive into the next title, The Fall of Hyperion, which will continue the story began in Hyperion, many of my questions having yet to be answered.
I also must find more books and story-lines with the science fiction world, because, given how fantastic this one was, I now feel as if there are hundreds of worlds and story-lines awaiting my exploration, worlds and story-lines . . .