Welcome. What you will find here will be my random thoughts and reactions to various books I have read, films I have watched, and music I have listened to. In addition I may (or may not as the spirit moves me) comment about the fantasy world we call reality, which is far stranger than fiction.
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Dan Simmons' Hyperion, Pt. 2, an informal glossary
This informal glossary has two sections. The first is a listing of words, phrases, and names that refer to something outside of the story but which adds depth and connections to the story. The second section contains a list of the pilgrims and some commentary about them, their names, and their tales.
This is by no means a complete and exhaustive listing for I suspect that I've missed many other allusions, either because I just didn't see them or because I was unaware of their significance. If you are aware of any that I have missed, I would appreciate a comment regarding them.
All Thing: the name of the galactic-wide legislative assembly in the novel.
--Norse/Germanic reference: the annual assembly of all communities and free peoples.
--ding, ting, thing: names of local assemblies of the free peoples in small communities.
Amalfi Schwartz: character in the novel.
--Amalfi: significant character found in James Blish's "Cities in Flight" quartet of novels, he is the Mayor of NYC which now travels in space powered by "spindizzies."
Balthazar, a refugee from Alexandria: Balthazar was a tutor for Martin Silenus, one of the pilgrims.
--Balthazar: one of the significant characters in Lawrence Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet" and the title of one of the four novels. Silenus makes a point of mentioning that his tutor was not homosexual whereas in the AQ Balthazar was homosexual.
--In Beowulf, the monster
--In Beowulf, the king whose kingdom is terrorized by Grendel
"He side, 'Syn I shal begynne the game.' " Martin Silenus, one of the pilgrims, recites this as the priest in the novel begins his tale, which is the first told by the pilgrims.
--This quotation comes from the first tale of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales.
Betty's Ford: a location on the river on Hyperion up which the pilgrims must travel on the pilgrimage.
--Betty Ford: possibly a reference to the wife Gerald Ford who became president when President Nixon resigned. This may simply be a coincidence, but the novel is filled with allusions and references, so I thought I would include it anyway.
--John Carter: hero of Edgar Rice Burrough's novels that are set on Mars.
Cat Key: location on Hyperion, major city is named Felix
--The cartoon strip "Felix the Cat"?
--Pre-historic Paleo-Indian culture that appears around 11,500 BP years on the North American continent.
Heremis Denzel: character in novel
--I have no idea of what this may allude to, but it sounds as though it should--so I included it.
Perhaps someone may educate me as to its significance.
Father Dure: a significant character in the Priest's Tale
--Dure: archaic verb that means to sustain or to endure, very appropriate name.
The Dying Earth: first significant long poem published by Martin Silenus, one of the pilgrims.
--Title of SF novel written by Jack Vance.
Endymion: see Simmons' third and fourth novels in the series
--Endymion: Greek mythology, lover of Selene, the moon goddess, also title of unfinished poem by John Keats
Equus, Aquila, Ursa: continents on Hyperion
--Latin for horse, eagle, bear, also constellations
Flame Trees of Tesla: death-dealing trees on Hyperion--they store electricity and electrocute anything that moves in their vicinity.
--Tesla: Thomas Alva Edison's great rival
--Flame Trees: several varieties found on various continents on Earth, named because of their fiery red leaves.
--Flame Trees of Thicka: novel by Elspeth Huxley.
Gisonian Matrix and Cowboy Gibson
--William Gibson: felt by many to be the father of the cyberpunk sub-genre in SF. His novel, Neuromancer, is considered to be the first real cyberpunk novel and the first to develop the concepts of AIs, cyberspace, ICE defense systems, and human/computer interfacing.
--a significant character in Neuromancer is called "Cowboy." "Cowboy Gibson" in Hyperion is obviously an example of confusing/conflating an author with his characters.
Meina Gladstone: one of the most powerful members of the ruling government of the Hegemony.
--William Gladstone: British statesman and prime minister, 19th century.
--Golda Meir: Israeli prime minister, 20th century
--Meina Gladstone--MG and Golda Meir--GM
--Stephen Hawking, 20th and 21st century theoretical physicist and cosmologist.
--Another example of a name that I can't find anything relevant, but feel that there should be something.
Horse who could talk:
--popular Russian folk tale
Hyperion: name of most significant planet in the novel.
--Greek mythology: the Titan who was the Sun God and replaced by Apollo
--title of a long unfinished poem by John Keats
--title of the film based on the novel, expected out in 2013
Hyperion Cantos: in the novel, the title of a long unfinished poem by Martin Silenus.
--the Cantos, parts of which are known as the Pisan Cantos, a long unfinished poem by Ezra Pound.
--the canto: the basic unit of Dante's Divine Comedy, each of the three major books--Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso contains 33 cantos or chapters. The 100th Canto follows the 33 in Paradiso.
John Keats: a cybrid, a flesh-and-blood construct of the AIs, developed to gather information about human society, based on biographical records and poetry of the poet.
--John Keats: 19th century English Romantic Poet, wrote several long, unfinished poems whose titles and Greek mythic background are important elements in Simmons' four novels.
Lycius: character in the novel.
--Lycius: significant character in Keats' poem "Lamia."
Last best hope on earth:
--see President Abraham Lincoln's Annual Address to Congress, Dec. 1, 1862
Moneta: sometime lover of Kassad, one of the pilgrims
--Moneta: goddess in Roman mythology who is associated with Greek goddess Mnemosyne, the mother of the muses and the goddess of memory.
--in Keats' poem Hyperion, Mnemosyne is teaching Apollo and responsible for Apollo's awakening to his true nature, therefore she is indirectly related to the fall of Hyperion, the Titan Sun God.
--Moneta is also a name given to Juno, the chief Roman goddess and consort of Jupiter, also the Latin source for many English words, including money.
Naiad: a river port city in the novel.
--naiad: Greek mythology, nymphs who presided over fountains, wells, springs, streams, and brooks.
Port Romance: a port city in the novel
Ezra Pound: early cybrid, (see entry for John Keats), a failure, reportedly went mad.
--Ezra Pound: during the first half of the 20th century he was an important poet and critic, was important in advising and helping a number of poets become recognized, including T. S. Eliot and Robert Frost.
Sad King Billy: secondary character in the novel, a patron of the arts who created a city for artists, writers, poets, sculptors . . . He had his features carved into a mountainside-
--Ernest Shackleton: Antarctic explorer
Ship of Fools:
--title of poem by D. H. Lawrence, the quotation is from his poem.
Shrike: a murderous creature found on Hyperion. It's 3 meters tall and metallic, covered with spikes and blades. It appears and disappears mysteriously, sometimes leaving a shredded body behind and sometimes abducting the individual. Nothing is known of the creature save that it kills without warning and apparently without any purpose. It is thought to be associated with the time tombs in some fashion. Legend has it that the missing individuals are hung up on the spikes and blades of a metallic tree called the thorn tree.
--Shrikes on earth are medium-sized birds, with hooked beaks. In some places they are known as the butcher bird because of their habit of impaling their prey on thorns to keep them from scavengers.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
--Teilhard's theory is that the universe is evolving, from basic matter to chemicals and elements to life to consciousness to Supreme Consciousness incorporating the entire universe--the Omega Point--at this point the universe has evolved into the Godhead.
The Templars: a quasi-religious order or brotherhood who transport pilgrims to and from Hyperion. Their religious book is called The Writings of Muir.
--Quasi-religious/military order, founded during the Crusades, initially to protect pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem. It became very wealthy and powerful during the 12th and 13th centuries and incurred the displeasure of the French King Philip IV who had the order destroyed.
The Writings of Muir: the most significant book for the Templars.
--John Muir, 20th century naturalist, author, and early advocate of the preservation of wilderness in the US. His numerous letters, essays, and books constituted a powerful force in the protection of the wilderness areas of Yosemite Vally, Sequoia National Park and other wilderness areas. He is the founder of The Sierra Club.
Yggdrasil: a tree ship owned by the Templars. It is the one transporting the pilgrims to Hyperion.
--Norse mythology, a gigantic ash tree, the world tree around which the nine worlds existed. The branches of Yggdrasil are supposed to have extended far into the heavens and the tree is supported by three roots that extend far into other locations.
The Priest's Tale:
Father Lenar Hoyt, a Catholic priest.
--His tale: "The Man Who Cried God"--perhaps an echo of Christ's last words on the cross, very apt if true.
--Father Hoyt tells the story from the journal of his mentor, Father Dure. Fr. Dure discovered a group of people who had become immortal, or perhaps more appropriately, cursed with immortality, for there was a price to be paid.
The Soldier's Tale:
Fedmahn Kassad, retired military officer. Nickname: The Butcher
--His tale: "The War Lovers" which is the title of a war novel buy John Hersey, as well as the title of the film based on the novel.
--It's the story of his encounter with Moneta, a mysterious woman who becomes his occasional lover and his encounter with the Shrike.
--Kassad reminds me of the Fighters found in Frank Herbert's Dune.
The Poet's Tale:
Martin Silenus, a poet, usually has a drink in hand.
--Silenus, Greek mythology. Silenus was a devoted follower of Dionysus or Bacchus, the god of wine. Silenus is frequently pictured as being drunk. He is also depicted as having powers, for in one of the versions of the story of King Midas, Silenus is supposedly the one who gave Midas the golden touch.
--His tale: "The Hyperion Cantos"
--It's a brief autobiography, which includes his encounter with the Shrike.
The Scholar's Tale:
Sol Weintraub, sometimes called The Wandering Jew
--His tale: The River Lethe's Taste is Bitter," the story of his daughter Rachel.
--Rachel, at around age 25, was working on a excavation at the time tombs. She was trapped by the sudden appearance of a time wave and began aging backwards from that point on. She is now less than a month old. Sol occasionally has dreams (visions?) in which a voice speaks to him and commands that Rachel be sacrificed--an echo of the story of Abraham and his son Isaac from the Old Testament.
--The River Lethe: Greek mythology, all those who drank of the River Lethe experienced complete forgetfulness. Lethe is also the name of the Greek spirit of forgetfulness and oblivion who is often associated with the River.
The Detective's Tale:
Brawne Lamia: she is a private investigator.
--Brawne is the last name of the woman John Keats was engaged to -- Fanny Brawne.
--Lamia is the title of a poem written by John Keats. It's based on the Greek myth of a woman turned into a serpent or a serpent who was turned into a woman. She seduces men and then destroys them.
--Her tale: "The Long Good-Bye" It is the account of her last case, involving her client John Keats, the cybrid.
--"The Long Good-Bye" is the title of a mystery novel written by Raymond Chandler, who is considered, along with Dashiell Hammet, to be one of the creators of the hard-boiled detective story. A film of the same name was based on this novel. Another of Chandler's novels, The Big Sleep, was also filmed, starring Humphrey Bogart as Chandler's PI, Philip Marlowe.
The Consul's Tale:
The Consul: an official in the Hegemony.
--The Consul is the POV character, and we don't learn his true identity until the very end of his tale.
--His tale: "Remembering Siri" The title may seem familiar for it was published as an independent novella years before it was incorporated into the Hyperion universe.
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