cover image Muse of Fire

Muse of Fire

Dan Simmons, . . Subterranean, $35 (105pp) ISBN 978-1-59606-181-1

Hugo winner Simmons (the Hyperion Cantos) combines his fine prose with a well-developed sense of wonder and love for reworked literary and mythological materials. In this far future, Earth is a mausoleum and the far-flung human race occupies the lowest level of a complex interstellar hierarchy. The Earth's Men travel to distant worlds and perform Shakespeare before human servants and slaves, bringing them some moments of pleasure and notions of Earth's lost glory. When aliens take an interest, the Earth's Men find themselves giving command performances of King Lear , Hamlet and “the Scottish play” for a series of increasingly important alien species, with evidence that the fate of all humanity may rest on the quality of their work. This finely crafted novella is a perfect example of Simmons's many strengths. (Dec.)