This is the first book that I have ever reviewed without first having finished reading the book. I think 44% is enough to make a fair judgment. I made it 44% through Hyperion before asking Amazon for a refund, and thus, with great relief, removing this book entirely from my Kindle library. I wish I could remove it from all existence, but alas, I cannot.
Hyperion was slow.
Seven pilgrims are on a pilgrimage to see the Shrike on planet Hyperion. The Shrike is some kind of immortal entity with spikes coming our of his body, who grants wishes sometimes and slaughters people in bloody fashion at other times. As the pilgrims travel to see the Shrike, each tells his or her story of a previous encounter on Hyperion and with the Shrike. I read two of the stories in full and most of a third story.
As the book proceeds, we hear about the journey to Hyperion, what the surface of the planet looks like, and the transport vehicles that are used to move the pilgrims around the surface. It's all very pretty, but there's nothing actually happening. And each pilgrim's story, while perhaps interesting, just takes us away from the current events. I kept waiting for something to actually happen.
Hyperion was disturbing.
What I learned in the pilgrims' stories that I read is that the Shrike is quite scary. He apparently impales people, body and soul, on some kind of tree when he doesn't grant an asked wish. He slices one lady open from head to toe when she is on the brink of an orgasm. (That was a particularly touching scene.) So he's pretty much all flowers, candy, and rainbows.
Main points of the pilgrims' stories: The first pilgrim's story revolves around some kind of cruciform-shaped parasitic being that forces people to remain alive even when death might be preferred. In the second story, a soldier has frequent sex-capades with a twisted monster. And in the third story, one of the pilgrims travelling to see the Shrike decides that this lovely immortal being with the soul-impaling tree is his muse.
Hyperion was certainly fascinating. Given a different atmosphere or at a different point in my life, perhaps I might have finished this book. But in this time and in this place, I simply could not stomach it.
I could write more about how much I disliked this book, but I'd prefer to just pretend that it does not exist. I did not like this book at all.