Simmons' Hyperion

The life of John Keats the man: his family, his friends, and his contemporaries.

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Simmons' Hyperion

Postby Despondence » Wed Nov 03, 2004 12:06 pm

I just reread Simmons' Hyperion, and yet again I had to marvel at it's scope and grandeur - and how much more I enjoyed it this time with all that I now know of Keats, which I didn't before!

Even if you're not into scifi (posting here, you might run that risk), I would urge everyone to read Simmons' Hyperion. Apart from being an epic Hugo award-winning novel easily on a par with the most celebrated classics from the likes of Asimov or Clarke, it is also replete with poetry and elements from Keats' life, which should undoubtedly appeal to subscribers to this forum.

Has anyone come across a decent analysis of Simmons' Hyperion? I'm tempted to write one myself; there are so many parallels to Keats' own life (by jove - the man's reincarnated here!), things subject to interpretation and speculation. If anybody wrote or read an anlysis, I'd be interested in hearing about it.

Postby Saturn » Wed Nov 03, 2004 10:43 pm

What is this novel?

Is it widely available?

Sounds interesting - Sc-fi and Keats!!!!
"Oh what a misery it is to have an intellect in splints".
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Postby Despondence » Thu Nov 04, 2004 12:52 pm

It's a modern classic, you'll find it anywhere.
Man, you're in for a treat :D

Dan Simmons (, in my humble opinion, is a genius of modern literature. A brilliant researcher and a true innovator.

In the first novel Hyperion of the "Hyperion cantos" (from 1989; there are four related books in total) we follow a group of people travelling together on a pilgrimage to the planet Hyperion. To pass time, they take turns telling their life's story to the company. Does this sound vaguely like Chaucer's Cantebury tales?

It is not possible in a few sentences to sum up the connection to Keats - he is everywhere; in names, persons, places, memories, etc. For instance, one of the pilgrims is a private investigator named Brawne Lamia, who becomes hired to solve the murder of John Keats (-read and find out!); one other of the pilgrims is a poet named Silenus, who is working on a Cantos he believes will kill him, or possibly everyone. People with names like Severn, Hunt, etc make their appearences in the subsequent books - and ultimately, it all comes down to Endymion and Aenea.

I've been wondering if Simmons already here was flirting with the Iliad, in choosing that name - and also in other ways that there are parallels between Simmon's Aenea and Homer's/Virgil's Aeneas (in 2003 Simmons published a novel called "Ilium", "scifying" the Iliad much in the same way as he did Keats in the "Hyperion" cantos..).

Anyway, I hope I didn't give away too many of the details to spoil the reading for you. Always the dilemma of how to make it interesting without giving away the interesting bits..

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