From the towering heights of Olympos Mons on Mars, the mighty Zeus and his immortal family of gods, goddesses, and demigods look down upon a momentous battle, observing - and often influencing - the legendary exploits of Paris, Achilles, Hector, Odysseus, and the clashing armies of Greece and Troy.
Thomas Hockenberry, former 21st-century professor and Iliad scholar, watches as well. It is Hockenberry's duty to observe and report on the Trojan War's progress to the so-called deities who saw fit to return him from the dead. But the muse he serves has a new assignment for the wary scholic, one dictated by Aphrodite herself.
With the help of 40th-century technology, Hockenberry is to infiltrate Olympos, spy on its divine inhabitants...and ultimately destroy Aphrodite's sister and rival, the goddess Pallas Athena. On an Earth profoundly changed since the departure of the Post-Humans centuries earlier, the great events on the bloody plains of Ilium serve as mere entertainment.
Its scenes of unrivaled heroics and unequaled carnage add excitement to human lives devoid of courage, strife, labor, and purpose. But this eloi-like existence is not enough for Harman, a man in the last year of his last 20. That rarest of post-postmodern men - an "adventurer" - he intends to explore far beyond the boundaries of his world before his allotted time expires, in search of a lost past, a devastating truth, and an escape from his own inevitable "final fax." Meanwhile, from the radiation-swept reaches of Jovian space, four sentient machines race to investigate - and, perhaps, terminate - the potentially catastrophic emissions of unexplained quantum-flux emanating from a mountaintop miles above the terraformed surface of Mars.
Excellent sci-fi fantasy.
I was so thrilled to find this new on iTunes - I think I may have actually chortled. I won’t say I’ve loved everything Simmons has written, but he is one of my favorite authors and “Ilium” is all that I like about his work - with an added dimension of humor, I think he had fun with this one.
“Ilium” is sci-fi/fantasy set in a distant, FUBAR future.. It takes 3 or 4 chapters to set itself up and begin the long process of weaving it all together. Don’t be intimidated by its use of the iliad as the framework for its madness, it isn’t necessary to be familiar with the epic poem to get this story. ( Audiobook Bonus: The narrator reels off those daunting ancient Greek names like butter, you’ll feel smart just listening to him) Also, Simmons seems to truly love classical literature, and his enthusiasm is infectious.
But there’s more to the story than the Iliad schtick. Two more stories, starring respectively, the remnants of the human race and and offshoot race of cyborgs run contemporaneously and slowly coalesce into one, massive Earth, Time & Space Opera.
It’s full of extraordinary visualizations of places and events. The characters are all uniquely engaging, and then there’s the humor i mentioned. I haven’t experienced Simmons as a particularly humorous author, but there’s a definite tongue-in-cheek quality to this book which is very effective. “Ilium” is sophisticated fluff and a Simmons tour de force.
There is one caveat, “Ilium” is only the first part of the story. The next book, “Olympos” is even longer. This is not a problem for me since I was rationing chapters of “Ilium” in order to prolong my pleasure, so I’m even more thrilled to have another 39 hours of bliss to look forward to.. But I think it’s fair to give warning up front about multiple volume stories.
Anyway, I love this book and highly recommend it. Buy it and have fun!