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Hyperion (Hyperion Cantos, #1)
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Hyperion > Chapter Four: Sacrifice

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aldenoneil | 999 comments In all the stories so far, there is a sacrifice made (if not always willfully), and in all other cases besides Sol's (even Dure's), the sacrifice is the character's own. Sol's is giving up his daughter.

Perhaps his sacrifice is the most potent, as he says, "if anyone had to suffer [the illness] it should be the father, not the child."

For all of the characters, they've already sacrificed much, and yet they're all heading to Hyperion, ostensibly, to offer themselves up as sacrifices.

What's your take on this? Can the characters be expected to give up any more? Is this what visiting the Shrike is like for all pilgrims? Is the journey the important part?


Anne | 335 comments The biggest question is why Sol's story is told by the author and not by Sol. Incompetence or deliberate?


Shannon | 8 comments aldenoneil wrote: "What's your take on this? Can the characters be expected to give up any more? Is this what visiting the Shrike is like for all pilgrims? Is the journey the important part? "

I don't think it's a matter of expectation. The characters are victims (of circumstance, of their own decisions/passions/obsessions, of fate, and ultimately (I'm starting to discover as I begin The Fall of Hyperion), (view spoiler). None of them (in my opinion) are willingly going on this journey to be heroes or to sacrifice their lives for any greater good. They do not feel as though they are being noble, they have no expectation of success, and they make it clear that they don't understand anyone's motivation except their own (hence the need to each tell their personal stories.) They are going on this journey because what else is left for them at this point?

I just can't/don't see this as a heroic journey a la LOTR or some other epic quest. These people aren't actively questing for anything, except for it all to finally be over, one way or the other.


Alterjess | 318 comments Anne wrote: "The biggest question is why Sol's story is told by the author and not by Sol. Incompetence or deliberate?"

I'm curious - were you equally bothered by the 3rd person POV in Kassad's tale?


aldenoneil | 999 comments Shannon wrote: "I just can't/don't see this as a heroic journey a la LOTR or some other epic quest. These people aren't actively questing for anything, except for it all to finally be over, one way or the other. "

I can certainly see that for the Poet, but Kassad and Sol at least have very definite goals in going to see the Shrike. N.B. I'm only up to Lamia's tale, so I don't have the broader view, but it seems to me Kassad and Sol would have readily volunteered (if it turns out they didn't) to go on the pilgrimage.


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aldenoneil | 999 comments Anne wrote: "The biggest question is why Sol's story is told by the author and not by Sol. Incompetence or deliberate?"

That struck me, too, but as Jess mentioned, Sol's isn't the only story that does it. I suppose you could say it's the Consul's retelling of Sol's tale, but I just chalked it up to Simmons deciding that the third person worked best for that particular story. I appreciated the change-up.


Madison E. (MadiEMartin) | 40 comments Anne wrote: "The biggest question is why Sol's story is told by the author and not by Sol. Incompetence or deliberate?"

I was thinking about this as well. Simmons choose to tell some of the stories in first person and some in the third person. I imagined it had to do with what he wanted to accomplish with each tale. For example, the poet's tale being told in first person was very informative about the poet's personality.


Anne | 335 comments Yes, just as perplexed by Kassad's strange voice. Both Kassad and Sol were possessed - maybe delusional? Possessed by what? The author or ????? Is it deliberate on the part of the author or incompetence in the construction of the stories?

So just who is telling the stories of Kassad and Sol?


Peter (Wordcaster) | 25 comments I wondered about the use of first person/third person and even past/present tense in the last chapter.

Is he just trying to be literary or is there a greater purpose for why each story was written that way.

The characters on the pilgrimage strike me more as desparate than noble, so I don't see it as sacrifice, but more a personal necessity.


Anne | 335 comments Yes, Nothing noble about these pilgrims. But then that is similar to the Canterbury pilgims.


Chris Palmer | 61 comments I did notice the changes in POV, but at first I just attributed it to each story being in a different style (and some in basically different genres). Actually, in Sol's tale, on my last re-read, I read it as him distancing himself from the story, like it was too painful to relate in first person. It is told kind of like a parable.


Anne | 335 comments Both Kassad and Sol are dissociative - typical of many persons with strong hallucinations. (Multiple personality disorder is called Dissociative Identity Disorder nowadays. ) It is thought to be caused by trauma.


Alterjess | 318 comments Or, the story we're reading is Silenus' Hyperion Cantos and he chose to tell those two tales in 3rd person for stylistic reasons.

Or, (spoilers for Fall of Hyperion), (view spoiler)


Anne | 335 comments Whatever vol 2 contains this is Hyperion... supposedly valid as a stand alone.

In Hyperion both Sol and Kassad hallucinate and both dissociate as reflected by the way "their" story is told.


Lepton | 176 comments Hmm, I don't really see that most of characters have sacrificed anything. They are largely in a hell of their own choosing or, the actual truth, of the author's own choosing.

Aren't most of them atoning for their own sins or the sins of others in some sense?

It just seems to me that the author can't conceive of a story without making a good deal of people suffer. I don't really call that sacrifice. I call it the author being kind of a judgmental prick.


Christopher (cjoneil) | 4 comments Peter wrote: "I wondered about the use of first person/third person and even past/present tense in the last chapter.

Is he just trying to be literary or is there a greater purpose for why each story was written..."


I assumed that Simmons was just using the voice and perspective that he thought made the most sense for each tale. I was able to overlook it and just enjoy the chapters as they were written, but I have to admit that for me, it did occasionally break the illusion of the framing device and pull me out of the story.


Jessica | 17 comments Perhaps the different POV was to make it sound rather Biblical. I think that it lent a little to the drama of the story. Perhaps too there is just so much going on in Sol's head that Simmons doesn't want to intrude in there. All he has left is the connection to his daughter which is slipping away...maybe that's the sort of sacred story/relationship that we can only handle from a distance.

Or not...just some thoughts :)


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Leesa (leesalogic) | 241 comments By willfully refusing to sacrifice his daughter as a burnt offering, isn't he still sacrificing his daughter one agonizing day at a time?

Heartbreaking, no matter the outcome (as far as the close of this story goes).

It's like which hurts more: ripping the band-aid off all at once or slowly, slowly?


Ryan (datarez) | 7 comments I had some of the same difficulties with this chapter. The POV change seems really weird in both cases. I was thinking maybe the counselor was recounting the story.


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Jlawrence | 797 comments Mod
The third-person voice for Kassad and Sol's Tales were odd in terms of the structure we're given (each pilgrim telling their own tales), but I quickly adjusted to the shift once in them, since I found them gripping enough. Also holding out to see if it's a later-revealed "in-book" author (like Silenus or the counselor, as mentioned above) doing that stylistic tweak.

I am really intrigued by the Shrike's invoking of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac, in the dreams Sol has, as another piece of "What is the Shrike, and what does it want?" puzzle. But, while I could see, for example, Kassad being punished/sacrificing in payment for his sins of violence, and the poet being punished for his vanity/summoning of the Shrike, I don't really see that Sol has a sin to pay for -- unless it's the "sin" of Rachel's investigating the Time Tombs re-bounding onto him, which would be a reversal of the old "sins of the father passing on to the children" - a reversal in keeping with the backward time-flow Rachel undergoes....but, if that's the case, isn't Sol already being punished enough through suffering through Rachel's reversal?

My guess is that the *additional* burden of the Shrike's demand for Rachel's sacrifice is less additional personal punishment and more something that ties in to the Shrike's possible purpose (as we're given hints of later in Hyperion) as (view spoiler). Ie, I'm hoping (close to the end of Hyperion and primed to plunge into the sequel), that the demand ties into the specific plans of the Shrike (more specific plans than 'death for all' that is ;) ).

Each of the pilgrims has been set up as having a close connection to the Shrike despite none of them belonging to the Shrike church, a connection that seems to go deeper than the usual pilgrim's position of willing fodder for the Shrike's blades.

(Also, whenever I think about Shrike/Sol/Rachel - God/Abraham/Isaac, the first verse of Bob Dylan's Highway 61 Revisited starts repeating in my head. ;) )


Jonathon Dez-la-lour (jd2607) | 157 comments I think Simmons used the third person in both Kasssad's and Sol's tales to highlight that they weren't really the subject of their tales, they're just the ones telling them.

I got the feeling that while the majority of those two tales were told about Kassad and Sol respectively, that those parts of the tales are merely back-story to what happens in the latter half of the tales.

I find it quite easy to argue that Kassad's tale is actually about Moneta/Mnemosyne/Whatever-You-Want-To-Call-Her and is primarily there to set up the mystery of what her connection is to the Shrike - it's Kassad's story, but it's his story about her. It's not done quite so overtly that it's all about her, but it is one of the big questions left unanswered at the end of the tale.

And Sol's tale is really all about his daughter, Rachel, and her experiences on Hyperion and the impact that it's had on her. And the fact that it's Sol 'telling' the story is merely a substitute because by this point in the book, Rachel can't tell her own story anymore.


Bradley (FertileSpade) Jonathon, i think you may be on to something there. Very interesting!

From the perspective of a daddy of a little girl i found this chapter to be deeply emotional for me and at the same time i was fascinated by the questions Simmons is generating. My only concern is will he be able to answer all the mysterious questions satisfactorily or will i feel the same as i did at the conclusion of Lost - a little let down?


David Sven (Gorro) | 1551 comments FertileSpade wrote: "My only concern is will he be able to answer all the mysterious questions satisfactorily or will i feel the same as i did at the conclusion of Lost - a little let down? "

Not if you finish book 2 and then there's added bonuses in the next 2 books.

The brilliance of the first book I found was not in the individual stories but in how much the rest of the books interlocks/unlocks those original stories and reveals how they are interwoven. There is so much irony in this first book that you won't fully appreciate if you stop here.
I finished book 4 last night and I have to say I was deeply satisfied with the conclusion to the series and gained a higher appreciation of book 1.


Bradley (FertileSpade) David Sven wrote: "FertileSpade wrote: "My only concern is will he be able to answer all the mysterious questions satisfactorily or will i feel the same as i did at the conclusion of Lost - a little let down? "

Not ..."


I've added the other 3 to the top of my to-read list and can't wait to dig in!


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