[By Nic Lindh on Sunday, 25 September 2005]
Ilium is a truly strange beast. Strap on your oxygen masks, because here’s a plot summary: The Greek Gods (yes, Zeus, Apollo, Athena, that bunch) are staging the Iliad on Mars. They have reincarnated noted scholics (scholars of the Iliad) to take notes and report of any discrepancies between the war taking place and the version in the Iliad.
Sentient robots on the outer planets are noticing a large amount of quantum activity on Mars, and are getting worried that perhaps the post-humans are up to something. These sentient robots have tendencies towards studying human literature to a rather unhealthy degree.
On Earth, the post-humans have left behind a small population of utterly post-literate humans who spend their days—they have exactly 100 years of youth and after that they supposedly go to join the post-humans—with all their whims catered to.
It gets weirder from there.
Obviously, this is not a novel for everyone. Nevertheless, it creeps under your skin and makes you really want to find out what is going to happen. So, if you can set your suspension-of-disbelief meter really high and you enjoy a twisted sense of literary criticism, Ilium will probably give you a lot of enjoyment.
Plus, it makes you want to re-read both the Iliad and Shakespeare, and there’s no planet where that can be wrong.