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Hyperion

Hyperion

by Dan Simmons

Time Theme

Wouldn't you love to stop time? Put off going to school or work for just a few more hours, or use it to get some more sleep? It's never going to happen. Even 700 years into the future, Hyperion tells us, we can't stop time. In fact, it just gets more complicated. See, as travel approaches the speed of light, time slows down. That means that if you were on a lightspeed spacecraft—say, like Sol Weintraub's daughter, Rachel, traveling to Hyperion for her graduate dissertation—what feels like a month to you might feel like years to your parents waiting back home. Add to that the fact that time is measured differently on other planet because of differences in planet rotation and orbit times around their nearest star, and you'd have no use for a watch or paper calendar anymore. There has to be an app for that.

Questions About Time

  1. How does the way we measure time affect our perception of it?
  2. Does age matter in an era when people live on different planets and light-speed travel slows down time?
  3. Is time really universal, or is it local and specific? Do different cultures have different perceptions of time in Hyperion? How about in real life?
  4. Is it possible for time to move faster for some people than for others, even without the use of light-speed travel?

Chew on This

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

With the universe as large as it is, standard measures of time become impossible.

In a world where grandchildren might be older than their grandparents, age really is just a number.

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