The Hyperion series consists of 4 books: Hyperion, Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, and Rise of Endymion.
The first 2 books are sometimes called the Hyperion Cantos, and it is a brilliant mess, like a Jackson Pollock painting. Take a look at these synopses from Amazon, and you’ll see what I mean: Hyperion and Fall of Hyperion. It’s starts off like a SF version of The Canterbury Tales with a bunch of traveling pilgrims, each one with a story, but then it gets nuts. There is time travel, AIs, political intrigue, religion, evolution, and even poetry. Yes, poetry. It’s like Dune and Neuromancer mashed together with some John Keats poetry. It is worth reading, but be prepared for some craziness.
The last two books are sometimes called the Endymion Omnibus, and it is the odyssey of a Christ-like figure. It is very different from the Cantos and arguably not quite as compelling, but it is still worth reading.
For those that made it through all 4 books, congratulations. That was no small feat. Instead of a cookie, how about two of my favorite ideas from the series?
One of my favorite ideas from the Hyperion Cantos is the conflict between the Hegemony and the Ousters. Is the universe ours to modify as we see fit, or should we adapt to it? This is a dilemma that we ourselves are increasingly facing. The Hegemony uniformly terraformed every planet for comfortable human habitation; as a result, humanity had not evolved in hundreds of years. They also discover later that the technology that made their vast empire possible comes at a steep price. The Ousters rejected this system and opted to live in the harshness of outer space. As a result, they evolved into many incredible forms.
My favorite idea from the Endymion Omnibus is that love is the Void Which Binds. The Void Which Binds is the mysterious force that appears throughout the series that is utilized for faster-than-light transportation and communication. This idea is appealing. Love has a transcendental quality to it, and it does seem to transcend space and time. This idea pushes the Omnibus into the metaphysical realm, which not everyone likes, but it makes an otherwise sedated story (compared to the Cantos) much more memorable.