[[quoteright:190:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Dan_Simmons_Ilium_2433.jpg]]

''Ilium'' is a SpeculativeFiction novel by writer Creator/DanSimmons. It's a sprawling epic story that is conveyed through three seemingly disconnected but intertwining narratives. Though it touches on many topics, the story is perhaps best described as a [[RecycledInSpace high-tech reenactment]] of UsefulNotes/TheTrojanWar.

Professor Thomas Hockenberry, a Homeric scholar [[FishOutOfTemporalWater from the 20th century]], finds himself resurrected in the far future by [[Myth/ClassicalMythology the Greek Gods]]... [[MaybeMagicMaybeMundane except not really]]. In fact they're post-humans ''pretending'' to be the Greek gods, and they're [[CosmicChessGame amusing themselves]] by re-enacting the entire Trojan War on a terraformed Mars. And it's Thomas's job to compare the events of the re-enactment to actual history.

Meanwhile, on Earth, humanity seems to be hugely reduced in population; the few societies that exist [[{{Utopia}} have everything they could ever want]], due to instantaneous teleportation and advanced technology, but they [[CrapsaccharineWorld live in relative ignorance of the past]]. A young man named Daeman struggles to make his cousin Ada [[KissingCousins notice him]], but she only has eyes for an older man named Harman. Along with Ada's friend Hannah, the four are set off on a journey to figure out what's wrong with the world... why are there [[WorldHalfEmpty so few people]]? And why is there a [[AlienSky giant ring in the sky]]?

At the same time, near Jupiter, two "[[StarfishRobot moravecs]]" named Mahnmut and Orphu spend their time, when not mining the seas of Europa or flying around the Jupiter system, [[ConversationalTroping discussing ancient literature]], [[AuthorAppeal the likes of Shakespeare and Proust]]. Eventually, they notice [[ReadingsAreOffTheScale strange readings emanating]] from Mars, and determine that something there is [[RealityWarper warping reality]] to a degree which [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt could destroy the universe]]. Mahnmut and Orphu begin to journey towards Mars with a small team to investigate, unaware of the dangers that lurk on the mysterious Red Planet...

The sequel, ''Olympos'', continues the story.

!''Ilium'' and its sequel ''Olympos'' contain examples of the following tropes:

* AIIsACrapshoot: The "Allnet", which expanded out of control and took over, resulting in humanity reverting back into a satiated, indolent, [[Literature/TheTimeMachine Eloi]]-like state.
* AchillesInHisTent: Hockenberry subverts this trope deliberately in-story, motivating Achilles to rouse himself against the gods by disguising himself as Athena and abducting Patroclus.
** Ironically in the second book it's Hector of Troy who confines himself to his quarters in morning. [[spoiler: He snaps out of it when the Greeks breach the walls of Troy and kills Diomedes and Ajax.]]
* ActionGirl: Savi. Also Hannah, to a lesser extent.
* AGodAmI: The Greek Gods, of course -- but they are just little-g gods. [[spoiler: Later on Zeus goes on to delude himself into thinking he is the capital-G God, usurping Nix, the Fates, and possibly the actual capital-G God (referred to as The Quiet in-story). His comeuppance comes extremely swiftly at the hands of his son Achilles, leaving Hephaestus as the new lord of Olympos.]]
* AlternateUniverse: These exist and can be traveled to and from.
* AnAesop: Several, one being "There has '''got''' to be more to life" along with the heavy AuthorAppeal of "Literature is amazing, and we should learn all we can from this people of the past" and "Everything happens for a reason."
* AuthorTract: The second half of Olympos is home to several dozen pages of the author expounding on how awesome writing is - fictional writing, non-fictional writing, etc. Taken as a whole with his comparisons of pre- and post-literate societies, can become somewhat {{Anvilicious}} after awhile.
* BashBrothers: Ajax and Teucer, as well as Agamemnon and Menelaus, just like in Literature/TheIliad.
* BigBad: Caliban for the Old-Style Human's story arc, the Gods of "Olympos" for the scholics trapped in the Iliad. [[spoiler: By the time ''Olympos'' has come around, Setebos has taken over as the primary big bad in both stories.]]
* TheBigGuy: Big Ajax serves this role for the Greeks, being the biggest and strongest of them.
* BigGuyFatalitySyndrome: [[spoiler: Ajax is killed by Hector halfway through the second book.]]
* BilingualBonus: Savi mutters a phrase in Hebrew in the first novel that is not translated, thus causing readers to wonder what it is, although some can guess.
* {{Bookworm}}: Harman, the only man on earth who knows how to read, and who admits to carrying around a bag of books. The scholics by default. Hell, they have the ''Iliad'' memorized and know what happens next as they watch it unfold before their eyes.
* BrainUploading: One of the defining attributes of the post-humans, who are described as "wearing" bodies. [[spoiler: The so-called "old style" humans also use a variation of this - the million plus satellites in the rings around Earth are dedicated storage devices for their bodies and memories, and let them freely teleport all over the world when they feel like it.]]
* TheCasanova: Daeman believes himself to be this at the beginning of ''Illium.''
* CharacterDevelopment: Daeman, Daeman, Daeman. [[spoiler: Averted with almost all of the heroes inhabiting the ancient Greek setting.]]
* CoolOldLady: Savi.
* CoolOldGuy: Harman and Odysseus.
* {{Cliffhanger}}: The ending of ''Ilium.''
* CulturedBadass: Odysseus, who at one point recites a portion of his namesake poem that is perfectly apt to the circumstances.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: Savi's story and Helen's own retelling of her life to Hockenberry.
* DidNotGetTheGirl: Daeman ends up with neither prominent female character (ie, Ada, Hannah), but he doesn't seem to mind. On the other hand, Hannah does not get the guy - she does not end up with Odysseus, however much she wants to.
* DistractedByTheSexy: Hockenberry when he sees Helen at her bath.
* {{Doorstopper}}: The novel clocks in at 573 pages, which is fair, as it is really two stories cut in half for readability. The continuation of the story happens in ''Olympos'', and that companion novel takes the {{Doorstopper}} element of the books UpToEleven - it clocks in at '''690''' pages.
* DoomedHometown: [[spoiler: Ardis Hall for Ada. It survives the first book, but halfway through the second, it is burned to the ground by the Voynix.]]
** [[spoiler:Ilium (a.k.a. Troy) may also count, having received its fair share of damage from the Greek armies, wrathful gods, and quantum teleportation fields to the point that it is almost in ruins by the end, despite its ''Iliad'' -ordained fate being avoided.]]
* DoubleStandardRapeSciFi: Hockenberry takes the form of Paris and sleeps with Helen. When she discovers her partner is not Paris, she doesn't mind and asks for more.
* EldritchAbomination: Setebos
* EmpoweredBadassNormal: Just like in the Iliad, the Greek hero Diomedes gets some augmentations from Athena that allow him to go into a rampage and defeat Aphrodite and Ares as well as dozens of Trojan heroes.
* {{Expy}}: Savi [=/=] [[spoiler: Moira]] is essentially [[spoiler: Rachel Wintraub of the ''Literature/HyperionCantos'']] placed into a new setting. Much like [[spoiler: Rachel, she can travel back and forth in time and her death brings rebirth for herself as "Moira" and the others of humankind. Heck, once Prospero even refers to her playfully as "Moneta", Rachel's nickname in the ''Cantos'']]. It is, however, explicitly stated that [[spoiler: Moira is a post-human who took over Savi's appearance, and is not actually Savi.]]
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Loads upon loads of it! Especially prominent in ''Ilium.''
* GeniusLoci: The Earth's biosphere combines with the Internet to give rise to a basically sentient noosphere or something, which takes on the avatar of [[spoiler:Ariel from Shakespeare's Tempest]].
* GreekChorus: [[InvokedTrope Invoked]] by Thomas at the very beginning of the, since he is supposed to ''be'' the GreekChorus to the Gods who resurrected him. [[PlayingWithTropes Played with]], since the intro stylistically hews close to actual actual Greek Choruses ("Sing, O Muse..."), but then he actually lampshades the trope:
-->If I am to be the unwilling Chorus of this talk, then I can start the story anywhere I choose. I choose to start it here. [''And the plot begins'']
* HandicappedBadass: Orphu gets blinded and immobilized by a god's plasma blast early in the first book, and spends the rest of the book and the entire second book blind due to permanent damage to his optic nerves, but that doesn't seem to slow him down. Even in his weakened state at the end of the first book, he still manages to take command of the rockvecs with the authority of a five-star general without question, and in the second book, he manages to figure out ''the entire background'' of the story using nothing but conjecture, observations, and his own knowledge of old world history.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: Koros III is simultaneously an ActionHero, GuileHero, and ScienceHero and is definitely a badass but he isn't a main character and his adventures are only alluded to by other characters.
* HeterosexualLifePartners: Mahnmut and Orphu. Well, as HeterosexualLifePartners as two sentient robots--one a miniature humanoid and the other a truck-sized horseshoe crab--can be...
* IHaveManyNames: Savi, who by the novel's end is [[spoiler: also known as Moira, Miranda or [[ShoutOut Moneta]]]]
* {{Jerkass}}: Daeman starts off like this, but thanks to CharacterDevelopment, he grows out of it by the story's end. He's even happy for Ada and Harman, an attitude he would not have shown at the novel's beginning.
* JerkassGods: almost all of them, except for The Quiet. If they're not playing toy soldiers with actual people, they're plotting and scheming among themselves, or in some cases, doing both.
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Daeman, after CharacterDevelopment.
* LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters: This is what happens when the entire cast of ''Literature/TheIliad'', a resurrected scholar from the 21st century, several sentient robot creatures, and a band of five old style humans on earth in one story. It's no wonder that the novels are ''huge.''
* LudicrousGibs: [[spoiler:A vengeful Zeus invokes this after realizing Hera drugged him to take him out of the picture while she tried to restore status quo on Ilium-earth. Helen, when later recounting the scene to Hockenberry, explicitly uses the word ''destroyed'' to describe Hera's fate, and mentions that the [[ChunkySalsaRule pieces of Hera and her chariot that fell from the sky]] continued burning and sizzling for days.]]
* MagicFeather: [[spoiler: Hockenberry's QT Medallion is revealed to be this by Hephaestus. As it turns out, Hockenberry was specifically rebuilt with the ability to QT, with the medallion serving to give him the impression that he cannot QT without it.]]
* MagicFromTechnology: The Olympian Gods, [[spoiler: actually post-humans doing a little live-action role-playing]], use technology that to all practical intents and purposes is magic.
* ManOnFire: The deaths of [[spoiler: Dionysus and Oenone.]]
* MassiveMultiplayerCrossover: Let's see... we have a re-enaction of the epic poem of Homer, two sci-fi robot creatures, and the people of an Earth that no longer remembers how to live (as they have essentially become [[ShoutOut Eloi]]) and [[spoiler: the Reveal that another time traveller shares the same name as one from another continuity; the ''Literature/HyperionCantos''. However, when you put the two together the facts match up: Moira is Jewish, as is Rachel, and they both are described as having dark hair and being able to travel through time, having a small romance of some sort.]] Put 'em all together and you get a work like this one.
** To elaborate: Most of the major players from ''Literature/TheIliad'' show up, including Odysseus and Achilles. Characters from Theatre/TheTempest appear, such as Prospero and Caliban. ''Literature/TheAeneid'' and the ''Posthomerica'' also get a few cameos.
* MayDecemberRomance: Ada and Harman. Also Hannah and Odysseus.
** [[PlayingWithTropes Played with]] in that these characters might not literally be from those stories, but simply are high-tech MaybeMagicMaybeMundane ClarkesThirdLaw versions of them. But they sure as heck ''act'' like them.
* MentorOccupationalHazard: [[spoiler: Savi]]
* MiddleEasternCoalition: The now defunct Global Caliphate, which was responsible for the loss of much of the world's population.
* NeuralImplanting: The Sharing Function.
* NewNeoCity: [[spoiler:New Ilium]].
* NoBisexuals: Hockenberry almost blue screens when he sees Achilles and Patroclus snuggle up together after they have just had sex with women. Apparently he somehow missed the part about them being from AncientGreece.
* NobleDemon: Hephaestus, who is far more likable than the rest of the Olympians.
* OmnicidalManiac: The Global Caliphate, as well as Setebos and Caliban.
* OnlySaneMan: Hephaestus is the only Greek god who remembers being a human, as a result he is much more stable than the others.
* PregnantBadass: Ada in ''Olympos.''
* ParentalAbandonment: Of a sort - none of the Old Style Humans living on Earth have any idea who their fathers are, though relationships with mothers remain important. Thus, when [[spoiler:Harman]] tells [[spoiler:Ada]] that he desires to stay alive beyond his "[[YourDaysAreNumbered fifth twenty]]" (the maximum age a human is usually allowed to be, and also when most people choose to die) to be a father to their child, the idea is foreign and shocking to her, and she is actually ''angry'' at him for suggesting it at first.
* ThePlague: The Rubicon Virus, which was really a SyntheticPlague created by [[spoiler: the Global Caliphate to kill the Jews, but which ended up spreading to most of humanity - ironically, the Jews were the only ones to survive it]].
* PrecisionFStrike: Used occasionally as a means of showing how scared or nonplussed the characters are.
* QuantumMechanicsCanDoAnything: Seriously, ''anything''.
* RageAgainstTheHeavens: The alliance between the Achaeans, the Trojans, and the moravecs going to war against the Olympians.
* ReallySevenHundredYearsOld: All of the old-style humans living on Earth. They can (and in most cases, do) live up to 100 years, all the while looking youthful.
** Orphu of Io offhandedly mentions in the second book that he's ''1200 years old.'' Moravecs themselves live up to two or three centuries, which is impressive on its own, but considering that the TheSingularity happened 1400 years ago, that means Orphu was built a mere ''two'' centuries after it occurred.
* RidiculouslyHumanRobots: An interesting version in the case of Moravecs and Rockvecs. They are not modified humans, being designed and built for their life tasks, but they do utilize pieces of organic matter and BioTech in their designs. On top of that, they're fully sentient, to the point of many taking interest in Old World human literature as a hobby of sort. Physically, few if any look even remotely human, ranging from small, only vaguely humanoid robots to enormous armored crabs the size of an SUV.
* ShoutOut: It's a Creator/DanSimmons novel, who did you expect? A Moravec General in Olympos suggests nuking something from orbit, as it is the only way to be sure, along with other subtler shout outs to both modern pop culture.
* TheSingularity: The post-humans blew right through this centuries before the story begins. Subsequently feeling rather bored after unraveling the secrets of the universe they [[spoiler: decide to go out and play god, Greek gods to be specific]]. It could also be said the other powerful forces at work in the story come through the singularity as well - [[spoiler: writers of sufficient genius such as Homer and Shakespeare actually created or somehow glimpsed parallel universes in which their stories were true. This allows the post-humans to pull elements or entire planets from these other universes into our main one.]]
* StrawFeminist: The post-humans apparently, since when they bothered to put on human bodies at all they chose female ones exclusively. Moira, the only stock post-human still running loose, expresses disdain towards her fellows who ran off to become "gods", most especially the ''male'' "gods", which she says she considers a "demotion".
* TeleportersAndTransporters: The fax nodes used by the old-style humans, [[spoiler: who later learn to "free-fax" to and from anywhere on Earth using direct access to the orbital systems that run the fax nodes]]. Post-humans had more powerful and self-contained quantum teleportation.
* ThirdLineSomeWaiting: Balancing ''three'' different storylines at once that will eventually intersect causes this trope to happen. The story further fragments in Olympos, leading to occasional FourLinesAllWaiting.
* TimeTravel: The French once developed a version that only allowed things to be sent into the future. The Global Caliphate of course tried to weaponize it. The post-humans have a more flexible kind, which allows travel into the past as well as [[AlternateUniverse alternate universes]].
* TomboyAndGirlyGirl: Ada, who is demure, quiet, and in love with Harman, in contrast with Hannah, who makes her own furnace, wields Odysseus' sword, and in general is more of an ActionGirl than Ada.
* {{Transhuman}}: The post-humans/[[spoiler: Olympian Gods]]. Even so-called "old-style" humans have some shades of this, as implanted cybernetics give them access to "functions", most of which invoke networked technology to provide information and sensory enhancements, and as they later discover, [[spoiler: the ability to teleport without having to use the fax nodes]].
* UnrealisticBlackHole: Really badly abused in one of the more ridiculous side plots in the novels. [[spoiler: The Global Caliphate, having finally become so crazed as to want to destroy the world, somehow find the mass to create bowling ball sized black holes, then load them onto missiles somehow, and plan to launch them from a submarine. The plot fails of course]]. The [[ArtisticLicensePhysics bad science]] here is just so extreme that it breaks right through the boundaries that have already been pushed in the storyline.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: One can only fully understand every reference after studying Homer's ''Literature/TheIliad'', ''Literature/TheOdyssey'', and Shakespeare's ''Theatre/TheTempest'', Browning's 'Caliban upon Setebos' and also have some familiarity with ''Literature/TheTimeMachine'', the complete works of Marcel Proust, Shakespeare's sonnets, and Hans Moravec's writings. They should know a decent amount about quantum physics, the Voynich manuscript, terraforming, transhumanism, and biosphere theory. Even then... no guarantees you'll get everything.
** It helps that there are characters who love talking about Proust and ''Literature/TheIliad'' while much of the rest can be taken as [[TechnoBabble "awesome magic stuff"]], but you won't really understand Noman-Odysseus's story arc at all unless you are up on a very large body of classical literature.
* WorldOfBadass: Even characters like Daeman and Hockenberry get their moments.
* WorthyOpponent: Paris and Apollo have a mutual respect for each other, despite being enemies. [[spoiler: When Paris is mortally wounded Apollo even tries to save his life.]]
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