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Olympos

A book by Dan Simmons

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Review of Olympos by Dan Simmons

  • Mar 14, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+4
Olympos by Dan Simmons is the sequel to Ilium. It is a sprawling and adventurous science fiction novel set in the far future. Olympos literally picks up right where Ilium left off. I strongly advise readers interested in these two entertaining novels to read Ilium first before launching into Olympos. Ilium sets up all the characters and the storyline.

Olympos has several plotlines going at once but like the previous novel they come together in the end. As readers of Ilium will know, the novel is set in a future where "post-humans" have transformed themselves into the Greek gods and are playing out the Trojan war with a human population they seem to have created from remnant DNA in what turns out to be an alternate universe. But in the previous novel the Trojan war suddenly no longer follows its due course as laid out in the Illiad because of the meddling of one, Thomas Hockenberry, a 20th century classics professor whose DNA has been recombined by the post-humans so he can follow the war and report on its progress to them. As the novel progresses, the so called gods war among themselves and Hockenberry, already out of favor with them, is a free agent.

Meanwhile, back on our earth, the "old style" humans who have been genetically modified for longevity are fighting for their very existence as creatures from another universe are trying to wipe them out. Much of the novel, in fact, focuses on Harman, one of the wiser and more learned humans, and his cadre of friends who are trying save themselves and the rest of the human population from obliteration.

And finally we have the moravecs from Jupiter who are basically cyborgs of various shapes and sizes. Originally created by humans to mine resources from Jupiter and its moons, they have become self-aware and are on a mission to find out what is causing the quantum fluxes around Mars and stop it before it destroys the universe.

Olympos is well written and entertaining science fiction. While there are a lot of different things going on in Olympos Simmons does a fabulous job of keeping the story moving at a brisk and exciting pace and he makes it easy for the reader to follow the big picture as the plotlines converge toward a conclusion. Further, the main characters are very well drawn, including the two key moravecs who are the focal point of that plotline. And despite the gruesome nature of what is going on through most of the novel, Simmons has a deft sense of humor that is peppered throughout the story. Finally, the zipping around through quantum teleportation in Olympos seems more like a natural part of this story than it did in Ilium, where it appeared to be a lazy plot device simply to wrap up difficulties.

Olympos also answers most of the questions left hanging in Ilium and are better viewed as one long novel than separate works. While I wouldn't place this in a pantheon of classic science fiction, its unique and clever story line and entertainment value should keep these books in print for a long, long time.

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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Drawing from Homer's Iliad, Shakespeare's Tempest and the work of several 19th-century poets, Simmons achieves another triumph in this majestic, if convoluted, sequel to his much-praised Ilium (2003). Posthumans masquerading as the Greek gods and living on Mars travel back and forth through time and alternate universes to interfere in the real Trojan War, employing a resurrected late 20th-century classics professor, Thomas Hockenberry, as their tool. Meanwhile, the last remaining old-style human beings on a far-future Earth must struggle for survival against a variety of hostile forces. Superhuman entities with names like Prospero, Caliban and Ariel lay complex plots, using human beings as game pieces. From the outer solar system, an advanced race of semiorganic Artificial Intelligences, called moravecs, observe Earth and Mars in consternation, trying to make sense of the situation, hoping to shift the balance of power before out-of-control quantum forces destroy everything. This is powerful stuff, rich in both high-tech sense of wonder and literary allusions, but Simmons is in complete control of his material as half a dozen baroque plot lines smoothly converge on a rousing and highly satisfying conclusion.
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Books, Dan Simmons, Sceience Fiction

Details

ISBN-10: 0380978946
ISBN-13: 978-0380978946
Author: Dan Simmons
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy
Publisher: Eos (June 28, 2005)
First to Review
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