Sunday, January 12, 2014

Back to The Hyperion Cantos Again


Oscar Wilde said of reading,
“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, 
there is no use in reading it at all.”

             I so agree!  
             And I'm roaming our galaxy again
             centuries into the future
             through the words of 
             my favorite science fiction writer,
             Dan Simmons.

 The Sun's Location in the Orion Arm
of the Milky Way Galaxy
Source:  Google ~ Richard Powell

Source:  Wikipedia

Some years ago, 
Terry surprised me 
on Christmas morning
with Dan Simmons' 
a book I had never heard of.

Little did I know
I was embarking on
the science fiction adventure
of my lifetime,
as I began to read 
Volume I
of what is now known as
The Hyperion Cantos.

I consider 
the four volumes of
The Hyperion Cantos
the finest 
science fiction
I have ever read.

Now, some readers I have run into
look down on science fiction.

They think that because science fiction 
deals with an imaginary future,
futuristic science and technology,
and such topics as space travel, aliens, 
and parallel universes
it is somehow not literature,
not worthy of being taken seriously.

How mistaken they are!
Excellent science fiction
is much more than shoot 'em up space cowboys
and little green men.

Source:  Wikimedia

Source:  Wikimedia

Science fiction at its best
plumbs the big ideas,
like the consequences of scientific and technological progress,
and it explores philosophy and psychology
to better illuminate humans, their societies, and their ethics.

another sometimes disparaged genre,
does this also.
The difference between the two 
is that fantasy uses magic 
and other supernatural phenomena
while science fiction works largely
within the constraints 
of known physical laws.

But there is always room to speculate
and to push the boundaries beyond the known and proven.
(To read more about science fiction as a genre, visit Wikipedia.)

The very best science fiction asks the BIG questions.
It challenges our thinking,
and forces us to confront the metaphysical.

Dan Simmons tackles the BIG questions
in The Hyperion Cantos  
with an audacious creativity 
and a depth and range of imagination
that amazes and delights me.

The four Hyperion novels grapple with such questions as:
Who or what is God?
What is the relationship between Creator and Created?

Hands of God and Adam
Source:  Wikimedia ~ Michelangelo

What is the fundamental nature of the universe
and in what direction is it evolving?

  Cyclic Progressions of the Universe
Source:  Wikimedia

What is humanity's role in the universe?
What does it mean to be human?

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci
Source:  Wikimedia

Sounds HEAVY indeed ~
but really,
it's all bound up in an interstellar armageddon
with one hell of a scary monster, 
the Shrike or Lord of Pain,
who slays with abandon and gore.
Like the shrike birds of the family Laniidae,
Simmons' Shrike impales its victims
on the thorns of a tree or other sharp objects.
Source:  Wikipedia

The Shrike
Source:  Wikia 

The books are emotional, exciting, 
diverse, and profound;
vivid and terrifying,
bawdy and profane.

I reread them before Christmas,
then turned around and started them again!

I want to know them inside out.
I want to understand more 
about how Simmons 
created and crafted 
his complex and heartbreaking narratives:

                                                             Source                                                   Source                                                   Source       

The Last Three Volumes
of The Hyperion Cantos

Do you like science fiction?
Have you read this series?
If so, what did you think?
I'd love to hear!


  1. That is very true indeed, same when most things, if you can't read once more or watch, forget it at ones shore

    1. Hey Pat! Where you're at! Right on! My favorite books and movies are like best friends, and I love to spend time with them! Have a :) day!

  2. I read most of Robert Heinlein's books back in the early 70's and really liked them.....maybe I ought to read them again and see.
    This series looks to be full of everything to get one's attention and want more.

    1. Hi Jim! It's been a while since I read Heinlein. I used to enjoy him a lot! Maybe I should reread his too! There are so many ways to read a book. The first time is usually page turning plot ~ but then you can read for the beauty and use of language, or for the sources of the author's inspiration, or for structure and craft, or for understanding the struggle between good and evil, or even for an understanding of ones humanity, or for reveling in the setting of some NOT~Home place! I do love to read. I always think that there better be libraries in heaven! Hope you have a chance to read something good today!

  3. I wasn't crazy about The Terror, but I liked it enough I'd be willing to try another book of his. And if I like it, there are more in the series - bonus!

    1. Hi Alex! I love books in a series. Sometimes you want them to never end. Have a good one!

  4. Great blog Louise - and as you know I am a Si-Fi nut - loved this series but Isaac Asimov is my personal favorite! Cheers Barb

    1. Hey Sis! I love Asimov too! And! And! And! So many great books out there! Stay warm!

  5. I'm so jealous! I have not had the time to even get through the second one. I'm still reeling from the first. I can not get over how amazing it was. Hyperion is really 6 of the greatest stories I've ever read (I was going to say 7, but Het Masteen is still a mystery to me). My experience of reading Hyperion was particularly special because I read it while on a geology field trip to Bermuda. I was snorkelling in cup reefs and exploring underground caves, it was already like being on another planet. Reading about the Tesla Trees and the Hyperion jungles while sitting up in the branches of Banyan Tree is probably my all time favourite reading experience. I bought IIium over Christmas, but I thought I should at least get a bit closer to finishing this series before digging in. But I'm so excited to read it. Greek mythology AND scifi?! What more could a girl want.

  6. Hi Lisa! We just got back from the mountains and dinner out yesterday evening. It was a delight to see your comment here this morning! What amazing reading and geological experiences. You must read the rest of the Hyperion Cantos! OMG! My nephew Kevin gave me Ilium when it was first published, and I loved it. It has a second volume called Olympos which is also excellent! I went to see Simmons at the Tattered Cover as I was reading Ilium, and that was a lot of fun ~ although I can't remember a lot of what he said at this point. Maybe I'll come across some cryptic notes of mine somewhere. Sometimes, when driving my car, I pretend I'm Mahnmut the Europan piloting a spacecraft and getting a gravitational slingshot past Jupiter into the outer solar system. I think you've got it all Lisa: geology, ukulele, Greek mythology and scifi! Lots of luck as you whip through your last semester at AU! XO!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.