Dan Simmons - The Rise of Endymion (3)
While certainly better than it's two predecessors, this final installment in the Hyperion story still subtracts from the original book. Why do sequels always fall so badly short of truly adding to a work, and why do creators still have the urge too do them? The Shrike was a mythical force, the future a mysterious place, the present hardly comprehensible when Hyperion ended. Now all that is dissolved in an action feast full of explosions, a quaint patchwork of worlds the size of small villages and populated by caricatures of foreign cultures and a badly contrived plot. While it is challenging for an action driven plot to have a practically omniscient character, his solution of "I know but I won't tell you yet" is infuriating. The fall of the Pax at the end is a complete Deus-ex-machina, and the twist ending makes no sense whatsoever. But the biggest failure of all three sequels lies in the delivery of what Hyperion wisely withheld - answers to the philosophical and ethical questions. Simmons goes on at great length about how utterly and fantastically otherworldly the Ousters are, yet their behavior, thinking, language and mores are indistinguishable from today's middle class America. I also find the revelling in violence, torture and death on an enormous scale slightly disturbing. For someone proposing a culture of empathy and universal love, Simmons shows an odd fascination with intense cruelty and suffering.