Study Guide

Hyperion Time

By Dan Simmons

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Time

I, for example, am sixty-eight standard years old, but because of the time-debts my travels could have incurred, I might have spread these threescore and eight years across well more than a century of Hegemony history (1.98)

Thanks to time-debts, it's possible to experience much more in a shorter amount of time (and with fewer wrinkles). It's like a Time-Turner, but more epic.

I am somewhat at a loss as to how to date my new journal. (1.178)

We have a hard enough time writing down the right year in January, and that's without having multiple planets and calendars to take into consideration.

Three months before the teslas become dormant. One hundred twenty of the twenty-six-hour local days. An eternity. (1.289)

Time flies when you're having fun. It drags when you're on another planet where the days are two hours longer and you're just sitting around waiting for certain death.

Even when separated by the inevitable leap years of time-debt, no colonial or independent world could help to match the power of the Hegemony. (2.178)

Distance isn't just measured in miles anymore, it's measured in time. (Someone tell Han Solo.) Is exploration worth it when your children will be older than you when you return?

Mother sent me [...] on a trip that took one hundred and twenty-nine shipboard years, with an objective time-debt of one hundred and sixty-seven standard years! (3.61)

We don't know which would be worse: finishing a long-distance space voyage and having all our friends and family, who we left behind, dead of old age; or being on a spaceship for a century and a half with Martin Silenus.

[Sol and Sarai] knew that [Rachel's] field work in quest of dissertation would soon take her beyond the Web, into the Outback where time-debt ate away at the lives and memories of those left behind. (4.179)

Rachel's education is accruing more than just thousands of dollars in student debt: she's accruing time-debt, which can never be repaid.

During the four years that Rachel was in transit—a few weeks of cryogenic fugue for her—Sol found that he missed his daughter much more than if she had been out of touch but busy somewhere in the Web. (4.195)

Sol has a lot more time to miss his daughter. Those four years will feel just like a few days to Rachel. But isn't that like any exciting experience? It flies by for the person actually in the middle of it.

It was five years ago for me. It was more than sixty-five years ago for us. It seems only yesterday. (6.152)

No matter how many years pass, some memories will always feel fresh: graduation day, wedding day, the day aliens destroyed the planet...

Even if they brought us back [...] the round trip would have cost us eleven years' worth of friends and family. The time-debt was irrevocable. (6.186)

Just like distance being measured in time, time is also measured in the quality time you lose with friends and family. You can never get it back. Maybe the future isn't so different after all.

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