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Helen of Troy is in mourning for her dead husband, Paris. Killed in single combat with the merciless Apollo, his body is nothing but a scorched and blasted thing. Hockenberry, her lover, still sneaks from her bed after their nights of lovemaking. And the gods still strike out from the besieged Olympos, their single-molecule bomb casings quantum phase-shifting through the moravecs' force shield and laying waste to Ilium. Or so Hockenberry and the amusing little metal creature, Mahnmut, have tried to explain to her. Helen of ...

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Apr 2, 2009

Deep and moving

I thought Dan Simmons had written himself into a corner with "Ilium," his mind-bending, classic literature sampling, time hopping saga of future Earth and Mars, genetically improved humans, post-humans, cyborgs, and alternative universes.
Luckily, it turns out that Mr. Simmons is a nimble author, and he knew what he was doing when he spun himself a narrative web this complicated.
While "Olympos" was in itself an engaging read, with plenty of action, emotion, and tragedy, I was especially pleased to find that the story went beyond these surface pleasures, and the author had a deeper point to make about the power of human creativity and history and consciousness.
I will probably add these two books to my permanent collection.

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