Hyperion - a classic series that finds religion
Dan Simmons won a Hugo award for his book Hyeprion, which is the first of four in a series of the same name. Simmons creates an amazing technological future where humanity's impact on the universe has significant ramifications that put our survival at risk. This first book kicks off the series in fine style as an eclectic cast of characters sets out on a pilgrimage to visit the planet Hyperion. Only one of them will accomplish their goal on Hyperion and the future of humanity will be determined by which of them is successful. As the long journey to Hyperion take place each character tells their personal story to the others and the pieces of a very interesting puzzle start to come together.
The series is actually composed of two pairs of books. Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion form the first pair and I was totally invested in the outcome when the first book abruptly ended in bizarre fashion. I dove right into book 2 and unfortunately by the time it was over I found myself wishing the author had made some different choices.
Despite my reservations I dove into the next pair of books, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion, and found this set to be the reverse of the first, with the second book being the stronger of the two. This second set takes place centuries after the first pair and you get to see the impact of the events that occur in the first two books. Overall i enjoyed the series but I must put forth a word of caution. This series gets heavily into religion and by the time it is over Christianity and technology have merged in a bizarre way that didn't interest me, although I must admit the techno-religious method of high speed space travel is definitely unique.
The audiobook version of the first book, Hyperion, uses an ensemble cast and I definitely think that was a great choice. For the final three books, one of the narrators, Victor Bevine, goes it alone and he does a good job of it.