Thursday, April 3, 2008

Dan Simmons's Hyperion Sci-Fi Series Being Adapted by Warner Bros

Hyperion Cantos

We're in dire need of some new sci-fi movies that involve space battles, alien creatures, universal heroes, everything. Thankfully Warner Brothers seems to up to the task, recently approving an adaptation of the Hyperion Cantos book series. Dan Simmons' award-winning science fiction series features a frame story structure and numerous smaller short stories all set around a planet named Hyperion. If you're unfamiliar with the popular series, then you're in for a treat - it's a very imaginative sci-fi collection that definitely seems like it could adapted into a wonderful sci-fi flick. Now we just hope Warner Brothers brings on a director that won't turn this into a pile of mush.

The Hyperion Cantos includes four individual books in total: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, The Rise of Endymion (published from 1989 to 1997). The first book, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award for best novel in 1990 and the second, The Fall of Hyperion, was nominated for a Nebula Award for best novel. You can find the first two individually on for pretty dang cheap. An article on the internet praises the series: "It is rare to find a series of books as imaginative, adventurous, and thought provoking as the Hyperion Cantos Series by Dan Simmons."

Hyperion deals with a space war, with most of the action taking place on a planet named Hyperion, known not only for its electricity-spewing trees but also for the Time Tombs, large artifacts that can move through time. The tombs are guarded by a monster called the Shrike, which impales people on metal trees. The series is inspired heavily by Giovanni Boccaccio's Decameron and Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. The cantos is highly complex, featuring multiple time-lines and characters whose behavior changes dramatically, which was a challenge to adapt and the biggest issue that was overcome before Warner Brothers picked it up.

Newcomer Trevor Sands has been hired to adapt the first two books, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, as one feature film with Graham King (The Departed, Blood Diamond, Bangkok Dangerous) producing. Apparently Sands won over the Warner Brothers execs by taking a selective approach to the two novels' multiple points of view in a way that managed to coherently and unconfusingly tell the story.

As was certainly apparent from the start, I'm looking forward to this primarily based on the fact that I'm desperate for some good science fiction movies. The Fifth Element is still one of the only good sci-fi flicks in recent years that had a grand scale and big budget and was still great. I've been waiting anxiously for another good sci-fi flick that I can pop in late on a Wednesday night when I'm in the mood to jump into the future. Dan Simmons' world in Hyperion seems grand enough to fulfill my desires, it will just come down to who they get as a director and whether Sands' script is any good.


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