LitStaff Pick: Our Favorite Speculative Fiction

Ilium
Dan Simmons

It’s not easy following three different manifestations of the speculative fiction genre – historical fantasy, future fantasy, and space fantasy – in one novel.  You get absorbed in one story, and the next chapter changes course, forcing you to shrug off where you were and immediately submerge into another.  But Dan Simmons utterly captivates in each story individually, and rewards our utter faith that he will pull them all together in a unified premise at the end.

And the stories?  “Modern day” scholars actively observe a living, literal Trojan War unfolding on Mars (yes, Mars), complete with epic heroes and Olympian gods.  That interludes with a recounting of the future of Earth, where humans are still prominent but highly compromised.  Then there’s the spaceship which sets off from Jupiter with four very different creatures manning it (one a sentient machine with a penchant for Shakespeare) that is derailed by (or perhaps sabotaged by) political maneuverings taking place light years away.  Each story – and their totality – will stay with you a long time.

-Sharon Browning

1 thought on “LitStaff Pick: Our Favorite Speculative Fiction

  1. Elisha I went through the same thing when I first read Dune – very difficult to get into, but soooo worth it!

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