Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Worlds Enough And Time
Dan Simmons
HarperCollins Eos, 272 pages

Worlds Enough And Time
Dan Simmons
Dan Simmons has won the Hugo Award, the Nebula Award, the World Fantasy Award and a number of others. He is the author of Song of Kali, the Hyperion books, Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion, the Endymion books, Endymion and The Rise of Endymion, and a number of other terrific novels.

Dan Simmons Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: The Crook Factory
SF Site: Dan Simmons Reading List
SF Site Review: Rise of Endymion
SF Site Review: Song of Kali
Dan Simmons Tribute Site

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

News of a new Dan Simmons project always provoke the same simultaneous response: "Oh, goody!" and "Where does he find the time?" Personally, I have read between the lines (and some of the lines, too) and am convinced Simmons has uncovered the secret to controlling time flow. Hardly surprising, really; given his imagination, we all knew he'd uncover it sooner or later. Now he's using it for the greater good by bringing us more of his fantastic work.

Many readers who experienced the brilliant A Winter Haunting find themselves experiencing it still. The sight of a tractor takes me right back to that chilling, dark time. That's the power of Simmons's prose; even if you might want to forget, it stays with you.

The stories in Worlds Enough And Time are no exception, even if the comparative brevity of the five novellas doesn't allow readers to become quite as attached to the characters. See if that's any protection from the empathy you feel for Norman Roth as he finds the watermarks of his past returning to occupy his dreams in a present set against the backdrop of the history of the Soviet space program. Roth's weariness and the tired remains of a hit-or-miss reach for the stars -- who else would have paired these seemingly disparate elements, or done it to such heartbreaking effect?

Certainly, if anyone else approached an editor with an idea for a story about an alien "bug" that wants to join a human party's attack on K2, it would sound slightly silly. Under Simmons' care though, it becomes a thing of grace and profound emotional connection. If there is so much that separates us, there will always be some things which are truly universal.

In his own universe, Simmons returns to Hyperion in a tale that will delight those who hunger for more books in this world. For those who haven't read any of the Hyperion novels there are some subtle elements that will go unseen, or, at least, misunderstood. "Orphans of the Helix" comes as close to space opera as Simmons is every likely to venture, but he could never produce a piece that lacks the intensity of "human" struggle and the pain of consequences. He's simply not that kind of writer. "The Ninth of Av" is likely to be the most controversial piece in the collection -- give it a few years and it will appear in the bibliography of theses around the world. Like that elusive, intangible that may connect us with life forms from other worlds, there is a seed of fear and distrust that will always form a barrier that prevents us from truly joining. On the eve of a monumental departure for humanity, some ponder that characteristic we have not overcome and how we will inevitably pass this dark side along.

That leaves only the first novella in the collection to address, but seems fitting to save "Looking For Kelly Dahl" for a spot of honour, for this is Simmons at his harrowing best. Chances missed and mistakes made that shade the rest of our lives -- Simmons knows this territory, knows the treacherous terrain. A struggle for survival and a chance at redemption are the landmarks on this deadly journey. Shifting realities and the chain of events that follow every action or inaction come painfully into focus in Jakes' mission through time and realities and forgiveness.

Ordinary novellas? Nothing poured out from the depths of Dan Simmons will ever be ordinary. Here's five chances to realise how truly extraordinary his words can be; don't let it slip by. Regret is a very human thing, remember.

Copyright © 2002 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide