Study Guide

Hyperion Literature and Writing

By Dan Simmons

Literature and Writing

Who orchestrates this s***pot of a plot, anyway? (1.71)

Silenus makes a lot of meta statements, this being one of the first. Here, he's comparing life to a novel. Truth is stranger than fiction, and all that. He's also saying that the plot of this book is absolutely bananas. Hey, he said it. Not us!

In the beginning was the Word. Then came the f***ing word processor. Then came the thought processor. Then came the death of literature. And so it goes. (3.23)

This is a Slaughterhouse-Five reference, where they say "so it goes" when something dies. Even intangible objects, like literacy.

Dislinear plotting and non-contiguous prose have their adherents [...] but in the end, my friends, it is character which wins or loses immortality upon the vellum. (3.34)

The Poet's Tale, told by Silenus, is dislinear, so clearly he's one of those adherents. Only time will tell if his character will achieve immortality, both in the story and in the course of literary history.

Prison always has been a good place for writers, killing, as it does the twin demons of mobility and diversion. (3.75)

Martin Silenus, meet Oscar Wilde, Voltaire, and Cervantes.

To be a true poet is to become God. (3.86)

We would never call Silenus cocky, but that's just because he would probably take it as a compliment.

Poetry is only secondarily about words. Primarily, it is about truth. (3.91)

It's true: so much does depend on a red wheelbarrow. Like truth itself. How's that for a higher calling?

There are more than a hundred billion human beings in the WorldWeb and less than one percent of them bothers to hardfax any printed material, much less read a book (3.133)

With everything going digital, will people lose their desire to read? And does listening to audiobooks count?

The AI loved [your book]. [...] That's when we knew for sure that people were going to hate it (3.176)

Tyrena is pretty much saying that if something is good, the public won't like it. Conversely, if the public loves it, it must be poo. Does that mean that John Carter was actually good?

For those of us who live by the Word, our muses are as real and necessary as the soft clay of language which they help to sculpt. (3.197)

When your muse is the Shrike, at what price inspiration? How many have to die to create to masterpiece?

Rachel was looking at her Winnie-the-Pooh book, and suddenly she said, "I hear a voice in my head" (4.541)

This is an excellent description of the magic of learning to read—and how reading can feel like a voice from another plane of existence. (But if you're actually hearing voices in your head, you should probably gets some help.)

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