Tag: Reminiscent

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.

 


Oli Jacobs – Wilthaven | Review

Title: Wilthaven

Author: Oli Jacobs

Type: Fiction

Page Count: 396

Rating: 4.25/5

I’ve read about a dozen of Jacobs’ books by this point, and all of them have been worth reading. This one is cool because you can read it as a standalone but it also still functions as part of a wider realm. It’s almost King-like in that respect, and indeed I think King would approve of it because it lives up to his saying that “there are other worlds than these”.

Wilthaven follows the BPD, the Bureau of Paranormal Detectives, and essentially documents their investigation into this strange, eldritch, Lovecraftian town called Wilthaven where nothing is quite as it seems. It’s almost reminiscent of Jay Kristoff’s Illuminae series in the way that it plays with layout, except I didn’t finish Illuminae while I tore through this one and had a blast while I was at it.

What’s quite cool here is that there’s a nice little range of genres, with a lot of Lovecraftian creepiness, some dark humour and some honest-to-goodness horror. One of my favourite bits was when a bunch of limbs just appeared out of nowhere. That was actually pretty brutal and not for the faint-hearted, but at this point I’m pretty sure there’s nothing I can read that will properly shock me. I’m immune.

There was also a pretty cool little subsection in it which was kind of a book within a book, and I think that it worked really well in context here. Because the book itself is presented as a dossier of documents, it makes sense that there’d be a book within a book. It worked better than Paul Sheldon’s book in Misery, in any case.

So would I recommend this one? Oh, absolutely, especially if you’re looking to read some more indie authors and to help to support the ecosystem. I’ve always enjoyed Oli’s stuff and this is him at his best, at least in my opinion. I’d take this over Kirk Sandblaster any day, and probably over another installment in the Filmic Cuts short stories series.

Oh, and did I mention that there’s a photo of yours truly in there? Oli was looking for volunteers to be featured in the Wilthaven files, and I of course jumped at the opportunity. Even though it’s a super old photograph. At least it’s heavily stylised though.

Learn more about Wilthaven.

 


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