I have finally completed the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons, all 2300 pages of it. I won't go into details of the story, as there is a thorough synopsis on Wikipedia for anyone who is interested. However, I will say that I enjoyed the first two books, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion more than the last two, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion. Although comprising four books, the Hyperion Cantos is really two novels, each released in two parts. The two novels are separated in narrative time by almost three centuries. I would say that the first pair is pretty near perfect. The characters are deep and compelling and the story is impossible to set aside once you have immersed yourself in it. I simply couldn't put it down.
I can't say the second novel was quite as good. It was almost 300 pages longer than the first and it really felt like it. I confess that I didn't read the second book completely in the order in which it was written. About a third of the way through the second book (which would be the fourth book overall), I was beginning to feel so bogged down by what seemed a rather repetitive and overwritten plot about the messiah-like figure Aenea spreading her message and fleeing her pursuers that I skipped ahead and read the ending first. I did eventually return to where I'd left off and read the entire book, but upon completion, I never felt those initially skipped pages added much more to the narrative. I would suggest the author could have probably dispensed with a couple of hundred pages and not harmed the novel in any way. Having said all that, the entire series was extremely well-written and well-worth reading.
So, next on the agenda, I have the following titles queued up and ready to go:
A Canticle for Leibowitz - Walter M. Miller, Jr. I, Robot - Isaac Asimov (yes, surprisingly, I've never read it) The Book of the New Sun - Gene Wolf A Fire Upon the Deep - Vernor Vinge