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Simmons, Dan. Hyperion. New York: Doubleday-Foundation, 1989.

Part I, actually, of a two-volume novel; see The Fall of Hyperion for complete story. Far-future (28th c.) SF variation on Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (written 1387-1400), but with a complex overplot: the main characters are on a pilgrimage, but more is at stake than their personal salvation (or an entertaining journey)—there is a space war beginning, and the threat of machine-takeover, apparently involving the possible triumph of one faction or another of AI's in the "TechnoCore" (see esp. 466 f., Epilog to "The Consul's Tale: Remembering Siri" in § 6).

For developed human/machine interface issues, see esp. "The Detective's Tale: The Long Good-Bye" (326-410, §5): a love story between a woman and a "cybrid"—the avatar of an AI—who becomes fully human, as a kind of reincarnation of John Keats (cf. R. Zelazny's "For a Breath I Tarry," cited in Clockworks [1] under fiction, and R. Reilly's "How Machines Become Human," Clockworks [1], LitCrit).

A number of relevant motifs are handled more casually.

     (1) The "treeship" Yggdrasill (ch. 1), a spacecraft formed like a tree and with at least some wooden parts; cf. and contrast organic spaceships in B. Aldiss's The Dark Light Years and B. Shaw's Wooden Spaceships, cited under Fiction in Clockworks [1]. 
     (2) The OCS:HTN simulations—VR in the Olympus Command School Historical Tactical Network—that are "more than mere simulations. The OCS:HTN was part of the Worldweb of the All Thing, the real-time network which governed Hegemony politics, fed information to tens of billions of data-hungry citizens, and had evolved a form of autonomy and consciousness on its own." An AI expert tells a story narrator, and us, that "The HTN stuff doesn't simulate […], "it dreams," e.g., scenes from the Battle of Agincourt, 1415, including an interactive sex scene after a fight somewhat off-stage of the battle (129-32; ch. 2, §2 of "The Soldier's Tale"), presenting, perhaps, an "alternative reality" ([138]; Cf. and contrast tactical VR simulations in J. Haldeman's Forever War series; the Matrix in W. Gibson's Neuromancer series, THE MATRIX films (and other descendents). 
     (3) For military technology, add to Haldeman's works the R. A. Heinleinian "mobile infantry" with "powered exoskeletons" ([142]; 2.2 [see RAH's Starship Troopers, and the final battle in the film ALIENS, plus a number of lethal gadgets handled passim and without thematic development. 
     (4) Virtual movement through a W. Gibsonian cyberspace, here called "datumplane" (347-48), and implants allowing human/computer/AI (etc.) communication and download (408-410 and passim in "Detective's Tale"). 
     (5) Instantaneous teleportation among worlds via "farcaster," with political implications in a human-dominated space called in bono "the Worldweb" and, somewhat ominously, "the Hegemony of Man," in their full forms, more usually just "the Web" and, more ominously, "the Hegemony." 
     (6) "Time Tombs," the goal of the pilgrimage, moving backwards in time and/hence protected by "anti-entropic fields" called "the time tides"—and housing the Shrike, a largely-metallic monster. 
     (7) Hints—to be developed in the sequel—of a search by AIs for "the Ultimate Intelligence" (372 f., 390): cf. and contrast A. C. Clarke's Against the Fall of Night and, its revision, The City and the Stars (Clockworks [1], Fiction). 

Reviewed by Michael M. Levy, SF&FBR Annual 1990: esp. 444.

(RDE, 28/08/06, 02/09/06, 7June17)