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by Dan Simmons

Hyperion Theme of Old Age

When Joan Rivers gets to be 300 or so (and you know she will), she's going to love these Poulsen treatments depicted in Hyperion. Whatever these things are (Simmons isn't exactly clear what they entail), they seem to be the Botox of the future. Many of Hyperion's characters are, shall we say, approaching their golden years. The Consul hates looking at his face. Father Duré laments old age. Sol Weintraub is approaching a century, and Martin Silenus has exceeded it. But not all of them have resorted to these Poulsen treatments, and not just because of the unfortunate side effect of being turned blue. (Would you want to look like a Smurf even if it were a young Smurf?) So what makes some pursue youth at all costs—and makes some go gently into that good night?

Questions About Old Age

  1. Does Hyperion show any benefits to growing old? Do older people have wisdom, or are they just grumpy and mean?
  2. How has quality of life changed in the 28th century? Is it easier to be old in the 28th century?
  3. With anti-aging treatments readily available, why do you think some people avoid them? Would you take advantage of the Poulsen treatments?

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