Can a science fiction book set in the future, also be an alternate history story at the same time?
Dan Simmons likes to take on some monolithic challenges. Ilium starts off with three separate story-lines. I know they are going to come together, they have to come together, what would be the point if they don’t come together. The true beauty of this story is how they come together.
I went for Ilium based on my love of Homer’s epics. Just tell me you’re going to build your world around that, and I am there with bells on. I was fascinated how Simmons took Homer’s Iliad and built this story around it, bringing in a time traveling scholar, sentient machines from the far reaches of our universe, and a gang of misfits from our own future on Earth.
Ilium provided hours of entertainment for me during my drive to and from work. The characters were well developed and captured my attention. The scenario was constantly moving in unexpected and unanticipated directions.
But this is book one of two. When I reached the end of Ilium, I felt satisfied. The story ended well, I enjoyed my time spent with Simmons’ characters in this impressive world, but I do not need more. I guess some might see this as a fail, the author might see this as a fail; I’m happy with the product received.