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by Dan Simmons

Literature and Writing Theme

Books. You know what they are. They look like ice cream sandwiches (mmm... ice cream) with stories inside them (mmm... stories). Even if you're reading Hyperion on an e-reader, you've seen a book. But what about people 700 years from now? They're sure to still have stories, but will they know what a book is? Whether they have physical books or not, they'll definitely still have writers. Just as Father Lenar Hoyt is of the cruciform, Martin Silenus is of the Word, with all the pain and benefits that comes with. Reading about writing in a novel is always a strange experience, and it's hard to separate the character's opinions from the author's… especially when he's talking about how ridiculous the plot of his own book is.

Questions About Literature and Writing

  1. Why does Martin Silenus need the Shrike, and the resulting bloodshed, to be inspired to write?
  2. Can literature summon evil, like the Shrike? Does literature actually bring the world into being, the way a lot of Romantic poets thought?
  3. Will humanity ever lose its literacy?
  4. Are literary merit and popularity mutually exclusive?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Inspired writing comes from another plane of existence.

The character of Martin Silenus satirizes the process of poetry, writing popular fiction, and even the very novel he's in.

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