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Inherent Vice
Thomas Pynchon, Ron McLarty
The Best Horror of the Year Volume Five
Ellen Datlow, Laird Barron, Conrad Williams, Ramsey Campbell
Locus Solus (Alma Classics)
Raymond Roussel
Blackout (Newsflesh Trilogy, #3)
Mira Grant, Paula Christensen, Michael Goldstrom
The Fall of Hyperion - Dan Simmons Hyperion pretty much ended in a cliffhanger. The Fall of Hyperion picks up where part one left off, and for once, I found the second volume to be better than the first. Simmons doesn't let each character take over an entire section of the book this time, but divides chapters among many different characters, shifting from Hyperion to the homeworlds of the Hegemony and giving us both the big picture of the war against the Ousters (and eventually, the hostile AIs of the TechnoCore) and a resolution for each of the characters we met in book one. Each of the pilgrims who set out to meet the Shrike in Hyperion does meet it. For each of them, the outcome is different, but as we learn the secret of the Shrike, every encounter becomes more important.

This is classic epic space opera, and the chapters with the war and the revelations about the Shrike and the TechnoCore are the best. There were some less interesting chapters (mostly those involving the cybrid "reincarnation" of John Keats) and places where the story dragged while characters moved from place to place and didn't know what was happening with the other characters, and sometimes just when things were getting really interesting, Simmons would end the scene in a cliffhanger and move to a less interesting POV, and not come back to the thread he left dangling for several chapters. So I wasn't always thrilled by the pace of the story and I thought the book was just a little longer than it needed to be, but the payoff was worth it.

Recommended for anyone who likes epic space opera and grand metaplots that end in a bang, but read book one first and be aware that you'll need to read both to get everything out of the story. Unlike Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion does not end with things up in the air -- the story comes to an end, more or less, though obviously the future is uncertain and so there are two more books in the series, which I will get to in due time.

I like this kind of mega-scale SF with epic conflicts when done well. The Hyperion Cantos is not the best I've ever read, but it's definitely in my top ten. I liked book two more than book one, so I give it 4.5 stars, but I just can't quite give it 5 stars.