March 27, 2016
I admit that I get around to reading certain influential, well-regarded, even seminal books rather late. Given finite time, the truth is many of them I’ll give a miss entirely. Better late than never, goes the axiom, a truism that’s probably circumstantial in application. In the circumstance at issue, it holds up.
“What are you babbling about,” you ask? Fair question. I’m on the cusp of sickness, and feeling a bit loopy, so it’s likely I’m meandering. This is what I’m babbling about:
I finally got around to reading Dan Simmons’ Hyperion. Man, have I been missing out all these years. Hyperionis a staggering achievement. It is dense, layered, moving, funny, even scholarly. Normally when I read a book like this, unaware that it is followed by sequels, I feel irritated at an ending that doesn’t provide answers, doesn’t tie up the loose ends. I did not feel that when I reached the end of Hyperion. That in itself is a credit to the book. I imagine the follow-ups will be disappointing. How could anything live up to this masterpiece? But Mr. Simmons has earned the benefit of the doubt.
Charles Yu’s How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe is another worthy read, though quite a different animal. It is funny and insightful. I can’t declare it in the same literary league as Hyperion, though. Not due to any particular inferiority, but because the book leans entirely upon a gimmick. It is a good gimmick, no question, but it sets it in a slightly different category than Hyperion. Additionally, it is a slight read, less than half the length of Hyperion. You could breeze through it in an afternoon. Though I recommend taking it slow, appreciating the puzzle box Mr. Yu has constructed.
So, a little late. But I got to them. I recommend both.
On another note, my wedding anniversary is tomorrow. I know My Beautiful Wife doesn’t read these scribblings of mine, but nonetheless, Happy Anniversary, Isa. I love you.