I am halfway through Hyperion! This is closer to finishing a book without pictures than I've come in months. Readers always read!
The story revolves around a being called The Shrike, a nine-foot-tall, four-armed time traveler with thousand-faceted ruby eyes and a body covered in ever-flowing chromed thorns. It is said that he and his time tombs are traveling backwards in time while killing everybody, which is fine because the colonized galaxy is on the brink of an interstellar, sun killing war. If you're gonna buy the farm, you might as well do it in style. In this case that means being impaled on the Shrike's giant metal-thorned tree of woe. At least this is the belief of the Shrike Church's cult.
Hyperion is structured through the tales of seven main characters who have been chosen to make a final pilgrimage to the time tombs to try to get the Shrike to stop killing everyone or stop the coming war with space barbarians or stop 90's music from playing at every function I attend for the rest of my life. If you bring the Thorn-Dog something nice enough, he will grant one wish and kill everybody else. The seven pilgrims have been chosen even though they are not believers in the Shrike Church and have decided that they'll try to solve this mystery of while killing time by taking turns telling their stories, which broaden the novel's riddles about the nature of the Shrike and (capital-T) Time.
Among the pilgrims are a soldier, poet, lawyer, detective, scholar and priests representing the Catholic Church and a futuristic religion of tree-spaceship-riding druids. Simmons delivers lots of far-out science fiction concepts that examine the fates of the three Abrahamic world religions, warfare and publishing, each of which have been represented so far in the three tales I've completed. Science fiction looks ahead and that's what this book is doing a good job of so far.
AGAIN, if you've read Hyperion and it was bad, tell me ASAP so I can pull the plug before it's too late!!