"Combine The Tempest and The Iliad into a strange well-written speculative fiction"
The Greek Gods prefer human fodder to serve as scribes
rather than wasting energy by doing it. Thus they send Dr.
Thomas Hockenberry and several scholarly peers from the
future into the past to study the war at Troy
that "launched a thousand ships".
Though the years of rebirth were painful, Thomas expects to
have a grand old time of comparing reality to Homer.
However being enslaved to the Greek Gods and a Muse is no
fun, but worse is the reality on the Plains of Ilium. The
romanticism of Homer and others seems out of place as
sees the atrocities of the war and the idiocy of the
legends. In fact he dreams of a B-52 dropping the A-bomb
on these Plains to end the insanity. If that is not
enough, adding to his dismay is that Aphrodite orders him
to help her kill Athena.
While Thomas finds reality monstrously disappointing,
robots research the terra-like created atmosphere of Mars
and selfish people reside on a genetically different future
Earth. Time means nothing in this universe.
Combine The Tempest and The Iliad into a strange well-
written speculative fiction and what you have is ILIUM.
The story line takes some adjustment with the anachronisms
of Thomas and his transplanted peers discussing A-bombs
while the pre BC Trojan War occurs. The cast is a delight
and the three subplots blend together into a tremendous
science fiction novel with fantasy elements that will elate
the audience. However, don't tell your English teacher
about Dan Simmons' chutzpah messing with the classics even
if it is quite entertaining and successfully achieved.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted June 6, 2003