Welcome back to the Trojan War gone round the bend. Hector and Achilles have joined forces against the Olympic Gods. Back on a future Earth, assorted creatures from Shakespeare's The Tempest get ready to rumble in a winner-takes-the-universe battle royale. And amid it all, a group of confused mere mortals with their classically trained robot allies (from Jupiter no less) race across time and space to keep from getting squashed as the various Titans of the Western Canon square off.
Confused? It's all part of Dan Simmons's Olympos, a novel one part fun-with-quantum-physics and two parts through-the-looking-glass survey of Western Literature. Picking up where he left off in the high-wire act Ilium, Simmons doesn't disappoint. Not only is Olympos excellent hard science fiction and grand space opera, it's a riveting and fast-paced book that is alternately shocking, thrilling, and often deftly hilarious as his hapless human creations wrestle the forces of literary history itself. Be sure to read Ilium first though. That and a more-than passing familiarity with The Illiad might come in handy for the journey to Mars, Ilium's far-off shores, and the Earth that might be. --Jeremy Pugh