An American science fiction author, he is best known for his Hyperion Cantos series and his Ilium/Olympos book cycle. Many of his books take their themes and/or titles from works of classic literature.
He attended Wabash College and Washington University in St. Louis. He worked as an elementary school teacher before publishing his first novel, Song of Kali, in 1986.
He won the 1990 Hugo Award in the Best Novel category for his book, Hyperion.
He was born in Peoria, Illinois. With his wife, Karen, he had a daughter named Jane.
His novel, Summer of Night, was praised by Stephen King.