Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Club Challenge: "Hyperion" by Dan Simmons

The Hyperion Cantos might be my all time favorite Science Fiction Series, so it was an obvious first choice to suggest to the EM book club. I couldn't help myself and ended up reading all four books in the series before committing to a piece.

Often referred to as a Space Opera, the first book in the series, Hyperion, employs the literary device of the frame story, a secondary story within the story used to provide a framework for connecting a series of unrelated stories. At the start of Hyperion we are presented with 7 individuals setting out on a pilgrimage to confront the Shrike, a lethal enigma moving through time, thought by some to be a myth. The story unfolds as each pilgrim divulges their previous encounters with the creature, the planet on which it resides, or The Shrike Church, as well as their intentions for this assumed final meeting. Simmons successfully creates a reality ripe with political, social, and religious ideologies and dynamic characters. Although it may take the reader a while to emerge themselves in this foreign reality, as Simmons often leaves much to the imagination, the effort expended in visualizing the setting is well worth it.

Beth Cyr

Simmons is an excellent writer and I found very easy to read. It was a little rough at first. Many of the 'other worldly' aspects were given names, but not really described. To start with, it seemed a bit confusing, but very quickly I found myself just accepting these new words or objects and using my own imagination to create the mental landscapes. What better to create a jewelry piece than an author who encourages the reader to use their own imagination so strongly?

Shrike Ring
Shrike Ring

  The Shrike is a legendary "being". From Dan Simmons's description, my own imagination and discussion with the EtsyMetal gals - the idea for my piece was developed. The Shrike is a dangerous and vicious creature - maybe somewhat humanoid - or giant armadillo/sea urchin made out of metal. An entirely metallic being with armored plates and spikes and blades, but still organic in nature. It is mostly a character of legend, not making a direct appearance in the book. And I found it to be wonderfully inspiring - and created the Shrike Ring! Maybe a ring one of it's followers would wear... since I doubt it has anything resembling a finger or any need for a ring...

Erin Austin 

Hyperion is filled with mystery from the Prologue all the way through, and for me one of the most intriguing parts was the juxtaposition of Christianity and the Church of Final Atonement (the Shrike Church). Both are fringe religions at the start of Hyperion and both are presented as equally preposterous, the first being outdated product of an antiquated society and the second focused around "The Lord of Pain", better known as the Shrike, and viewed by the general population as a barbarous cult that sends it's pilgrims to certain doom.

Shrike Brooch: Sterling Silver, Copper, Garnet
 When a character named  Sol Weintrob takes his child, who suffers from an illness that has her aging backward, to the priests of the Church of Final Atonement and asks for guidance in having her be "made well" the bishop states that Sol is speaking of physical well being and that "[The Church of Final Atonement] is the final arbiter of spiritual salvation".

Shrike Brooch: Sterling Silver, Copper, Garnet

What is the Shrike? Should we fear it or revere it? Either way, I hope my piece, meant to be a religious artifact to adorn the robes of the priests from the Church of Final Atonement, does the Shrike a bit of justice.

Victoria Takahashi 

When beginning this book it was a slow start for me, the new solar systems, lands, tools, cultures etc took awhile for me to digest, eventually I just had to not think about it too much and just read so I was not losing my train of imagery (thought) so much. When I finally gave in and just let it flow I was captivated by the seven main character stories merging into one new tale. 

I think my favorite part was the Priest's Story of the strange Bikura peoples and their mysterious rituals. And then there is sad King Billy I think he would of been fun to hang out with! Oh and then there is Rachel's story of course. Which leads me into deciding on getting the sequel "The Fall of Hyperion". I have been going back and forth about reading the next one. I want to know what happened kinda badly because Hyperion completely left me hanging! So I know I will read the whole series I am just not wanting to give into his wicked ways of writing. So in a nutshell, if you read Hyperion, be prepared to just get the whole set so you don't have to stop. 

Shrike Totem: sterling silver, naturally shed deer antler, buckskin
Victoria's Shrike Totem was inspired by the following passages:

"Sol, you must take your daughter, your daughter Rachel whom you love, and offer her there as a burnt offering, Sol you must listen well...."

"...Rachel woke suddenly gasping for air. what was that dream? She grabbed for her totem around her neck, a piece that was still in her tiny hand when they found her, so it was made into a totem for her when she was just a newborn her father told her, to always be worn to keep her safe.
The dream was a feeling of being held high above in the warm desert wind with the soft coolness of steel on her skin. Then the sudden violent ripping of the ground beneath her falling away into nothingness,
she reaches out to hold on to anything solid as her safety disintegrates from around her....
This is why she has this totem she is told. It's what kept her here in this time shift, alive to grow into her second adult life, how much was a dream?"

Coming up next: "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde" by Robert Louis Stevenson

No comments:

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin