Tag: Novellas

Dan Simmons – Hyperion | Review

Title: Hyperion

Author: Dan Simmons

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 484

Rating: 4/5

To begin with, I wasn’t too sure that I was going to like this one, because it’s one of those books where it sort of throws you straight into the world and if you can’t keep up, that’s your own problem. I usually find that’s quite off-putting, and it comes down to the strength of the story. Here, the story was easily enough to keep me going.

But there’s also the fact that it was extremely well written. It’s one of those books where I would have read to the end regardless of my actual enjoyment just because I wanted to learn what I could from the writing style. I also think this is definitely one that you could re-read and because of the new perspective, you’d get an entirely different experience.

Another thing that I liked was the structure of the book itself. It was reminiscent of The Canterbury Tales, although I haven’t actually read that and so I don’t know how valid the comparison is. When you combine the structure, the worldbuilding and the quality of the writing as a whole, you’re on to a winner.

It’s just a little heavy duty, although I’d argue that it’s easier to read than Dune was. That’s partly because you can break it up into the individual microstories, and also because there’s a pretty constant pace throughout, whereas I found that Dune sometimes felt a bit “stoppy and starty”. I think they’re both must-reads if you’re a serious sci-fi fan, although perhaps not if you’re only a newbie to the genre.

I’m somewhere in between, in that I’ve read my fair share of sci-fi but I don’t particularly enjoy it above any other genres. Horror is much more up my street, and so reading this has made me keen to try out The Terror, although I think I’m going to have a little wait between the two. I’ve also read one of Simmons’ novellas in a collection called Dark Visions that he was in with Stephen King and George R. R. Martin, and I found the same thing then. I need a bit of downtime after reading Simmons.

Still, I’m glad that I picked this up and I will probably continue with the rest of the series, although I have no plans to do it immediately and I might not get to it in time to join in with the readalong that’s happening on BookTube. For me, that’s fine, because it seems as though Simmons is an author who’s like a fine wine that should be savoured and enjoyed every now and again, instead of with every meal. And that’s just fine.

I’d say overall, if you’ve been thinking about giving this book a try, you should. If you haven’t, don’t. It lived up to my expectations, I guess.

Learn more about Hyperion.

 


Stephen King – Hearts in Atlantis | Review

Title: Hearts in Atlantis

Author: Stephen King

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 504

Rating: 3.5/5

This was just okay, but in many ways that’s a good thing because I’d been putting off picking this one up for quite a while. I’m not even sure why, although I suppose it’s because I never really hear anyone talking about it.

It’s essentially five different novellas (or perhaps in Stephen King’s case, short stories) which occur at different points in time but which all interlink. I think the book was published around twenty years ago, which in some ways is when King was at his weakest, but I think it’s worth picking up.

Actually, I think I enjoyed it more than If It Bleeds, perhaps because I’d built that one up in my head so much that when I finally got to it, it couldn’t live up to my expectations. Here, the opposite is true because I wasn’t expecting too much, and overall I think the two are pretty comparable in terms of quality.

What I did like here was the character work, and I thought the pacing was pretty good too because it felt as though something was constantly happening and that the story was constantly developing. I never felt as though it was moving too slowly, although occasionally I did get a little bored and find my attention wandering.

For the most part though, I was pretty happy with this book and while I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re new to King because there’s so much other great stuff out there for you to experience and explore, it’s not bad at all. Not great, and maybe not even good, but definitely pretty good and one that I’m glad that I finally finished.

I would talk about the individual stories here, but I’m going to save that for my YouTube channel. Instead what I will say is that the first piece, Low Men in Yellow Coats, was probably my favourite of the lot, in part because of the subject matters it deals with, including the pitchfork style mentality that some people adopt when they suspect someone of being a paedophile.

The other stories were good too, but that one had the advantage of taking up at least the first third of the book, and so it automatically stuck with me a little more than the others did. I also think that King is pretty good at writing child characters, and that was pretty evident here. And then there’s the added bonus that you get to watch that child as they grow up, which is also pretty cool.

And that’s about all I’ve got for you. I’d say that it’s a mid-tier Stephen King book at best, but that doesn’t make it bad. I’m also looking forward to watching the movie with Anthony Hopkins in it because it’s been sitting in my Netflix watch later” list for weeks. But now I’ve finally ticked it off and so now I can move on.

Learn more about Hearts in Atlantis.

 


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