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    Review of OLYMPOS by Dan Simmons (se his website)

    Eos, July 2005

    Paris is dead. The alliance between Hector and Achilles wobbles as the gods seem unbeatable and Agamemnon brings word that the entire world has been emptied of its people. And on another, far-future earth, semi-alive robotic servants go on a rampage, killing every human they can find. Ironically, a hundred-handed god-like monster and his servants prove to be the only opponents that will face the robotic servants--especially ironic because their aims are every bit as destructive to the human race.

    In a future world where post-humans have gone on to become gods, where only one man has learned the difficult art of reading, and where humanity is on the verge of extinction, a few fight back. Odysseus, now called Noman, has helped train the old-style humans to fight. Harman seeks wisdom and hopes to father the first child born into the new world. A world where even the concept of 'father' has been lost for centuries.

    A long-dead, but resurrected professor, Thomas Hockenberry, flits between the re-created but distorted battle before the walls of Troy (in an impossibly terraformed Mars), the halls of the gods, and a strangely designed spaceship propelled by coke-bottles filled with atomic bombs. The gods themselves war, as they warred in Homer's Iliad. This time, however, Hera sends Zeus into a deep sleep--letting the gods meddle in the battle without constraint.

    Author Dan Simmons (see more reviews of novels by Simmons) combines literary allusions to Homer, Shakespear, Joyce, Proust, and others, archaic and post-futuristic warfare, portable black holes, and a multiverse where quantum worlds are created by powerful authors to deliver an exciting and satisfying story. OLYMPOS is big--both in page-count and in concept. There is a lot of meat here and this beast is not something you want to sit down with for an enjoyable couple of hours. But it repays the readers investment.

    One small caution--although Simmons is highly readable, this work does have plenty of clunky phrasings. Still, the story hooked me and easily propelled me past them.

    Four Stars

    Reviewed 6/24/05

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