Someday I must think carefully and write down why this book appealed to me so strongly. This story deserves it. And this story got me back into scifi over 20 years ago.
I remember that I had just moved to Chicago for work, and I knew no one and had nothing to do one saturday morning. I decided to walk to the local bookstore (remember those?) and peruse. Naturally I checked out the science fiction. I hadn't been reading much scifi since high school, except for rereading the great books I already had. The few times I took a chance and believed the book reviews contained in the books (no internet yet), I was sorely disappointed. But there I was, staring at the Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion, and thinking: it must be good enough for a sequel. I took a chance. And I've been waiting for Dan Simmons to write more books ever since.
I still regard this story (the entire series) as the greatest, most imaginative story telling I ever read.
Warning: do not just buy Hyperion. It is the most unsatisfying ending of any book ever written. You must have the Fall of Hyperion as well. And, you might as well get the Endymion books as well, which are even better (I think). Also, do not read these novel if you are devoutly religious and unable to put that aside for a short while to enjoy good storytelling.