Science Fiction Book Review


Olympos

(2005) Dan Simmons, Gollancz, 10.99, pbk, 690pp, ISBN 0-575-07262-8

Olympos picks up eight months after the events of Ilium, at the end of which the Trojan Hector and the Greek Achilles call a truce and, with the aid of their new moravec (cyborg) allies, assualt the gods of Olympos through a Brane Hole between Ilium-Earth and the terraformed Mars. Meanwhile on 'real'-Earth Odysseus, Harman and the others at Ardis Hall are coming to terms with the fact that, since Prospero's satellite was crashed into the Firmary in order to kill Caliban, their servitors have stopped functioning and the voynix have started slaughtering humans. If you're not keeping up then you really need to go and read the brilliant Ilium. Anyway... Hera drugs Zeus in order to restart the Trojan War and the Brane Hole collapses stranding Achilles on Mars. Odysseus is kidnapped by the moravecs who are going to investigate the source of the quantum disturbances in the solar system in orbit around Earth. And Setebos escapes from Prospero's prison and also heads for Earth, covering certain sites with an eerie blue ice. Harman is kidnapped by Ariel and Prospero in order to awaken Miranda (Moira), the last of the post-humans. Meanwhile Achilles conspires with Hephaestus and the goddess Nyx to release the Titans and the Demogorgan... And that's just for starters!

Dan Simmons is well worth reading in any genre, but it's his science fiction that is truly staggering. Obviously best-known, at least until now, for the Hyperion quartet, some might have thought his finest hour was passed, but not so. Ilium and Olympos are every bit as fascinating and full of sensawonder. There is, by the way, plenty of room for further volumes, since not all loose ends are tied up at the end of Olympos. Having 'done' the Iliad it wouldn't be surprising if Simmons went on to do the Odyssey; and why not? Needless to say, this is highly recommended.

Tony Chester


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