Is the first one good on its own?
They're all good. Hyperion
is written as a frame story, much like Chaucer's Canterbury Tales
, and is the best of the four (though "worst" is still very high quality).
I started reading them when they first came out and bought the next three as soon as they hit paperback (I'm working now on finding reasonably-priced hardcover replacements). I've got a PDF version of the short story Simmons wrote that billowed into the Cantos
. If you want to read it and decide to go further, that story is available here:http://livearchive.org/2010/pdf/dan-sim ... ring-siri/
EDIT: The only other recent author that I consider an "automatic buy" is Alastair Reynolds. Be it in the Revelation Space universe or not, the man knows how to write sci-fi.
Build a man a fire and he's warm for the night. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.