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The Hyperion Cantos is a series of four science fiction novels written by Dan Simmons. In order, they are: Hyperion, The Fall of Hyperion, Endymion, and The Rise of Endymion. There is also a short story called "Orphans of the Helix", serving as kind of a Distant Finale.

Eight hundred years into the future, humanity has fled the Earth's accidental destruction at the hands of an artificial black hole and has established the WorldWeb, a society of many planets connected through the Farcaster network. With the help of its allies in the TechnoCore (a group of A.I.s), mankind lives in peace... until the mysterious "Ousters", a splinter race of humanity adapted to living in deep space, attack.

As the war becomes desperate, a group of seven pilgrims are sent to the planet Hyperion, a colony world guarded by the inscrutable killing machine known as the Shrike. They hope their desperate appeal to the Shrike will persuade it to give them some of its alien technology that can save humanity. During the journey, the pilgrims, each of whom has a personal link to Hyperion, begin to tell each other their stories, and realize that things are much more complicated than they thought.


Overall, the series is inspired by the unfinished epic poem Hyperion by John Keats. The first book is modeled after The Canterbury Tales, especially in how each of the pilgrims has an opportunity to tell an individual story.

This series provides examples Of:

  • Agri World: Renaissance Minor is an agricultural world that provides food to the City Planet Renaissance Vector.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The TechnoCore is composed of artifical intelligences who seceded from human control several centuries ago and peacefully coexist with humanity. This looks like a subversion until we learn the inner politics of the core, with the AIs falling into three political factions. Of the three, one wants to continue peaceful coexistence with humanity, one wants to wipe humanity out, and the third wants to keep humanity around—at least until it finishes its goal of creating the Ultimate Intelligence, of which humanity could be a useful component, and then they can let the Ultimate Intelligence decide what to do with humanity.. This stalemate of "spare," "kill," and "don't kill right now," is what leads to the Core's nominally symbiotic relationship with the Hegemony. This trope is played much straighter in The Fall of Hyperion.
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  • Artificial Human: Androids in the series are nearly identical to regular humans, and "cybrids" are androids that act as biological terminals for the TechnoCore.
  • All Hail the Great God Mickey!: The Templars and the Voice of the Tree appear to worship John Muir, a major proponent for the preservation of American forests in the early 19th Century. A book by Muir is found among Het Masteen's possessions after he is apparently killed by the Shrike. The Templars' devotion to Muir vaguely resembles that of Brave New World's adulation of Henry Ford as a god-figure in the future.
  • The Alternet: The dataspheres and the megasphere are successors to the Internet. One character even comments that "the Internet" was the name of the first crude datasphere on Old Earth.
  • And I Must Scream: Features prominently a number of times. Makes sense, since in Real Life Dan Simmons is actually good friends with Harlan Ellison.
    • The Shrike's victims on the Tree of Pain.
    • Father Duré, who was crucified on a "Tesla Tree" but was not able to die due to parasitic "cruciform" that continually revived him.
    • Martin Silenus the poet suffers brain damage from cryosleep and is temporarily left unable to talk or use language for a period of time. Though torturous, the experience taught him real poetry and led him to begin his magnum opus, The Hyperion Cantos.
  • Awesome Mc Coolname / Names to Run Away from Really Fast:
    • Rhadamanth Nemes, and her three siblings Scylla, Gyges, and Briareus.
    • The Shrike.
  • Author Appeal: Simmons is a former English teacher, so it amuses him to stuff his genre fiction with as many literary references as he can get away with. The first novel in the series, Hyperion, is a Whole Plot Reference to Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales. The works of John Keats also factors heavily into the series.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: Brawne and Johnny visit one in one of Lusus's seedier Hives.
  • Bait-and-Switch: The Broad Strokes of his motivation are revealed in The Fall of Hyperion, but the audience never gets to hear the Templar's tale.
  • Been There, Shaped History: The Consul has been involved, almost always in a peripheral or behind-the-scenes role, in virtually ever major foreign policy escapade of the Hegemony government for the last hundred years. He also reveals himself to have been present for and, in the case of Sol Weintraub, the cause of three of the other pilgrims' previous misfortunes.
  • Best Served Cold: The Ouster operative among the pilgrims has been plotting his revenge on the Hegemony for many decades.
  • BFG: The "FORCE:GROUND multipurpose assault rifle", which can split a boulders in a single one shot and on higher power settings carve long holes through mountains. It has a range measured in thousands of kilometers.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • The cruciform in Hyperion and The Fall of Hyperion is a cross-shaped parasite that grants its hosts a powerful Healing Factor — but slowly transforms them, physically and mentally, into neutered caricatures of humanity.
    • In Endymion and The Rise of Endymion, the cruciform also makes you dependent on the Pax and gives your mind over to the Core. It also functions as built in shock collar.
  • Body Horror: The cruciforms are embedded in the flesh of their hosts.
  • The Butcher: Colonel Kassad. The "backhanded compliment" version, at least to some. The colonel is an adherent of the strict rules of engagement the Hegemony gives but also a Blood Knight who will use ruthless tactics if the enemy breaks the rules first, which leads to innovative and horrifying victories.
  • Casual Time Travel: In the future, it seems to be employed quite literally by the Core and humanity.
  • Cessation of Existence: What happens after death, according to Aenea.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: Military Power Armor works this way.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Both played straight and subverted in Endymion, where it is established early on that resurrection (which normally takes three days) can be rushed to completion in six hours at the risk of some major Body Horror. Separately subverted with a literal "Chekhov's gun" — huge plasma rifle which the narrator mentions and plays up for quite some time - but never is used for to significant effect.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Martin Silenus's "demonic" satyr's grin.
  • Cloning Body Parts: Mentioned as possible but too expensive for wide use.
  • Corrupt Church: Very much so in the latter two books with the "Pax", a descendant of the Vatican that controls nearly all of mankind. While individual members (along with the occasional pope) may be good, the church overall acts as one of the main villain organizations in Endymion and Rise of Endymion.
  • Curbstomp Battle:
    • Pretty much any time the TechnoCore is involved. Prominent in the second two books, with "Archangel-class" warships unceremoniously laying waste to almost everything they come up against. The attack on the Startree is particularly heart-breaking, with millions of Ousters mobilizing to defend what is possibly mankind's greatest achievement in the setting being put to the sword by just a few dozen ships. There is not even a Hope Spot, just endless death and destruction.
    • Pretty much any time the Shrike goes up against an opponent without phase shifting.
  • Colonel Badass: Kassad. He's called "the Butcher of South Bressia" for a reason.
  • Cool Old Guy: Oh, boy.
    • Father Paul Duré is a charismatic old priest who fights to bring back his church from extinction, Crucifies himself with electric rods for over a decade to eradicate his cruciform, then comes back from the dead to help the pilgrims stand against the Shrike.
    • Sol Weintraub is a quiet, extremely intelligent old professor who would go up against the Shrike and his own God to heal his daughter.
    • The Consul is a cultured, suave old diplomat who, when not traveling across the known universe in his personal spaceship, shapes history and plots his vengeance against the Hegemonyfor what they did to come to power.
    • Martin Silenus is a foul mouthed, wisecracking, cynical, and, when it comes down to it, honorable old poet who is quite mad, knows this, and doesn't give a single fuck about it.
  • Cool Old Lady: Meina Gladstone is the dignified and powerful leader of the Hegemony who doesn't take crap from critics or the Technocore.
    Technocore Representative: Declaring war against the core would be like… like a fish declaring war on water. Like a driver attacking his EMV because of disturbing news of an accident elsewhere.
    Gladstone: I once had a grandfather on Patawpha… who put six slugs from a pulse rifle into the family EMV when it did not start one morning. You are dismissed, Councilor.
  • Cool Starship: Archangels. Fleet destroying super-battleships with instant-anywhere FTL.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Martin Silenus, though Brawne Lamia has her moments as well, usually directed back towards Martin.
  • Deader Than Dead: The Bikuras are burned to ashes and their camp is bombed with nuclear warhead so the Cruciform can't bring them back.
  • Death Ray: The oft-mentioned Deathwand. Point it at something and turn it on and it dies. Cause of death, "They died."
  • Debate and Switch: Immortal life at a spiritual cost, or harmony with the universe for a fleeting moment? Just kidding, immortality means being a slave to the machines. Also, it's damaging to the universe. Also, they constantly need you to die. Also, the life-restoring cruciforms are actually neural parasites. Wait, why is your hand still up?
  • Deus Est Machina: The goal of the Ultimates faction of the TechnoCore is to create the ultimate intelligence. This is compared many times to the creation of God. Additonally, Father Dure gives a brief monologue about the various Deus and Machinas those in the setting are pursuing midway through The Fall of Hyperion.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Aenea is a messiah, who trains as a architect and shares her blood and lets herself be killed to liberate mankind.
  • Doing In the Wizard: In the first two books the Shrike has an air of mystery heightening its scariness. In the later two book its origins are fully explained and retconned in a way that rather diminishes its badassness.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: The Consul is working for the Hegemony, but is also a double agent for the Ousters. The Hegemony knows this, and believe him to also be a triple-agent for them. The Ousters also know that, but are sure he's really a quadruple agent for them. In reality, he's only in it for bloody revenge, and turns on the Ousters as soon as their hesitancy to launch a galactic war imperils his plan.
  • Drama-Preserving Handicap: In the fourth novel when Raul takes on Nemes barehanded it's worth noting that, for the duration of the fight, the Powers That Be have taken away her ability to move in Bullet Time, making it just slightly more of an "even fight" (she still has bones made of metal, long claws, shark teeth, feels no pain, etc).
  • Dyson Sphere: Well, Dyson Tree: an Ouster structure is composed of millions of trees grown/interwoven together in zero-g around a star.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Kassad dies defeating the Shrike in hand-to-hand combat.
  • Earth That Was: Earth was destroyed by an errant experiment involving micro-black holes. It gets better: it's revealed that the Lions and Tigers and Bears moved it to the Magellanic Cloud before the TechnoCore could destroy it. They also give it back.
  • Ensemble Cast:
    • The first book features seven main characters, six taking the time to tell their own tale.
    • The audiobook of Hyperion is performed as a radio play, with each of the pilgrims having their own voice actor who narrates their tale and reads their dialogue in the framing story. This is, unfortunately, not continued into The Fall of Hyperion, with the abandonment of the Canterbury Tales story structure.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Consul.
  • Extreme Libido: Martin Silenus, at some point in his life, underwent extensive body modifications into a satyr. Changes to his sexual apparatus were included. He stated that he "learned what "priapic" and "satyriasis" really mean" during that time.
  • Famous, Famous, Fictional: Meina Gladstone is likened to Lincoln, Churchill or "Alvarez-Temp" as a leader, and Adolf Hitler is frequently mentioned in the same breath as "Horace Glennon-Height".
  • Fate Worse than Death:
  • The Tree of Pain is this. The Shrike leaves its victim on trees like its bird counterpart and due to how time works around the Time Tombs they are stuck to suffer through time.
  • Father Dure regards the fate of those infected by the Cruciform parasite the same way. Being the victim of it at its rawest form he knows how painful and mind numbing the parasite can be to the host.
  • Face–Heel Turn: It's revealed in Endymion that Hoyt murders Duré and becomes the Pope. By spreading the cruciform to all of humanity, he enslaves it to the Core.
  • Fallout Shelter Fail: In the second book, the leader of one religion builds a shelter for himself deep inside a mountain to live in comfort until the end of the world his church expects. He gets a massive Oh, Crap! moment when the end of the world doesn't come... but the collapse of the Portal Network does. To explain, the portals were the only way to get in air out of the shelter... or to let air in.
  • Fauns and Satyrs: Martin Silenus undergoes body modifications in order to turn himself into a satyric figure.
  • Fantastic Religious Weirdness: A very heavy theme throughout the series. In the first two books, religions have gone through some changes. The Roman Catholic Church, for example, is almost dead, and have made Jesuit philosopher Teilhard de Chardin a saint, integrating his teachings heavily into the Catechism. Judaism, with Israel destroyed, has "lost its significance". And while many communities exist, the whole practice has become like a theme park, according to Sol at least. A syncretic religion called "Zen Gnosticism", created in part by Martin Silenus, has evolved out of what were Christianity and Buddhism, and is apparently the most followed faith in the Hegemony. And Islam has become something called "High Islam".
  • Franchise Zombie: An in-universe example in "The Poet's Tale" section of Hyperion: Martin Silenus becomes famous for his "Dying Earth" series but eventually becomes forced to keep writing it just to make a living.
  • Future Badass: Rachel becomes Moneta, who is quite capable of taking down Kassad.
  • Gambit Pileup: Pretty much what caused the Ouster invasion. The Core provokes Bressia to attack the Ouster Swarm secretly, so the Swarm's massive retaliation looks like unprovoked barbaric aggression to the Hegemony. Said massive retaliation is actually not the Ousters, but instead the Core making sure the Web is freaked out about how genocidal and tough the Ousters are. Meanwhile the Core plants more fake Swarms around the Web so they can manufacture an invasion on demand. When Gladstone brings Hyperion into the Web, the real Ousters invade there to keep the Core from taking the Time Tombs. The Core sends their fake invasion against the Web and hands the Hegemony the deathwand bomb, urging them to point it at the real Ousters.
  • Gasp of Life: When Paul Duré writes about the Resurrective Immortality of the Bikura, he describes the first breath of a reborn tribe member as "a rasp like water being poured into a leather pouch".
  • Genre Roulette: Within the Framing Device of a science-fiction epic, each of the stories is written in a different style and belongs to a completely different genre:
    • "The Man who Cried God" is written as a diary and is an exploratory mystery in the style of 19th century adventure books, complete with a remote jungle tribe whose exotic customs the protagonist tries to figure out, and a horror twist in the end.
    • "The War Lovers" is a military sci-fi story, complete with detailed descriptions of brilliant combat tactics, cool futuristic weapon technology and exploding spaceships, told in flashback format in the no-nonsense, dispassionate tone that can be expected from a veteran soldier.
    • "Hyperion Cantos" is a meta-rich tragicomedy about the pains of a poet struggling to produce meaningful art in a cynical future, written in a humorous, anecdotal, rambling singsong as can be expected from an experienced storyteller.
    • "The River Lethe's Taste is Bitter" is a slow-paced, sombre family tragedy about a man's attempt to reconnect with God as he's forced to watch his beloved daughter slowly dying from an incurable illness. The narration, befitting an old scholar, focuses more on the emotional resonances and philosophical ramifications of the little details of day-to-day life as it sweeps over decades gone.
    • "The Long Good-Bye" is a cyberpunk-noir detective story, down to opening with the detective describing in the first person what a normal day it was as they were sitting in their office drinking whisky when a handsome stranger walked in with an unusual request.
    • "Remembering Siri" is a love story between a poor kid from the big, wide galaxy and naive noble girl from a beautiful, backwards planet. It's the most narratively complex of the tales, being told in a non-chronological fashion, shifting back and forth between time periods and narrators and ultimately revealing that the teller wasn't even whom the reader assumed they were - befitting a story told by a triple agent.
  • Genre Savvy: Many of the characters quip various lampshades in archetypal situtations (i. e. Father Duré wondering at first if the Bikura hadn't mistakened him for a deity, remarking that something like that is worthy of clichéd holonovels).
  • Glorified Sperm Donor: Martin's father takes this trope Up to Eleven.
  • God Was My Copilot: Bettik is the Observer for the Lions and Tigers and Bears.
  • Heavy Worlder: Brawne Lamia (and all other Lusans, by extension), as well as the (not often seen) folks from Sol Draconi Septem.
  • Heel–Face Turn: De Soya, and (most) the crew of both his Archangel ships.
  • Held Gaze: One happens between Kassad and Moneta when they are lying on the forest floor after they have just met.
  • Hero of Another Story: Rachel's adventures are hinted at in a few tantalizing scenes in first, second and fourth books.
  • Hijacked by Ganon: Did you think Endymion was just about a Corrupt Church? Nope, they're just puppets of the TechnoCore.
  • Homage: The first book is written in the style of The Canterbury Tales and the series is inspired by the work of John Keats. In addition, several of the individual tales are homages to other SF works or genres.
  • Honor Before Reason: How Raul Endymion rolls. Of course it nearly gets him killed.
  • Hollywood Tactics: An intentional example. Hegemony ground wars before the Ouster invasion were fought with organized battles on open fields as it was considered more honorable and less harmful to civilians. While they wise up pretty quickly, their ground forces are initially devastated by the much more competent Ouster troops. It's explained during Kassad's tale that the public opinion of the military was so bad only the word could lead to riots and lynching which lead to those tactics being installed under the new Bushido. Even Kassad taking out a terrorist without any hostages killed or his counter-attack on Bressia are viewed in-universe as controversial solely because of how brutal he was.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Two extra arms aside, the Shrike has an otherwise vaguely humanish shape, but it is for all intents an Eldritch Abomination. It is a creature of horror that communicates only in fear and pain, and seemingly breaks rules of reality at will, being completely indestructible, able to disappear from one spot and instantly appear in another at will, eerily silent, and follows a set of motives that seem inscrutable and almost arbitrary from our point of view.
  • Human Popsicle: Used for interstellar travel. Silenus uses this to extend his life, and the Core does this to billions of humans in the second half of the series to use them as massive parallel processors.
  • Hyperspace Is a Scary Place: The "Gideon drive" is described as being terrifying to use, possibly killing you in incredibly painful ways.
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: Many immortals in the latter two books are vaporized, devoured, or melted, resulting in "true death". Archangel-class ships are designed with the crew's gruesome and repeated deaths in mind. Considering the excruciating details of the original Archangel's introduction, this doubles as horrific.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The Shrike gets its name from its habit of doing this.
  • Infant Immortality: Averted. An entire maternity ward filled with babies gets blown up by Pax troops in The Rise Of Endymion.
  • Informed Ability: Rise of Endymion is full of references to the independent nature, critical thinking tendencies and, at one point, a vast mob of "intelligent, questioning, alert" Aenea's followers. Needless to say, they all obey their leader's every word without question, never hesitate, never second-guess and rarely show any personality beyond total obedience. Aenea's paradigm-shifting revelations are more often than not taken at face value.
  • Interplay of Sex and Violence: A central theme of Kassad's tale. The Shrike also shows up during two different sex scenes.
  • Invisibility Flicker: The Shrike, with its super-speed and time manipulation abilities, can (and sometimes does) kill without ever being seen. However, owing perhaps to sadism, it normally appears in front of its victims in full view for the maximum amount of terror. Being Nigh-Invulnerable means it's not much of a risk.
  • Instant Expert: Averted. When Kassad commandeers an Ouster transport ship, he's only able to get a vague idea of how to use it after randomly pressing buttons and comparing the cockpit to that of Hegemony ships, and the ship still blows up in reentry. Lampshaded when Kassad notes that characters in fiction somehow always know how to use any vehicle they get into.
  • It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY": Raul Endymion. Normally pronounced like the spanish "Raúl" (rhymes with "cool") but early on he specifies that it actually rhymes with "Paul".
  • Jerkass: Silenus is definitely seen as one throughout much of the first two books, with some of his fellow pilgrims assaulting and threatening to kill him due to his behavior.
  • Koan: Ummon has quite a few of these. Not surprising, given that he's named after the great Chinese Zen master Yunmen Wenyan, known in Japanese (and from there English) as Ummon. Some of them may or may not have the Ice-Cream Koan nature, depending on how firmly you believe the A.I.s are really in control of things.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The Core in the first two books are behind everything from the Ouster invasion to the motherfucking Shrike!
  • May–December Romance:
    • Raul and Aenea are a rather extreme example. They first meet when he is twenty-seven and she's twelve. Their ages are drawn closer together by the effects of relativistic travel before they actually become a couple.
    • The Consul's grandfather's romance turns into this because she's following The Slow Path.
  • Meaningful Name: Dan Simmons is quite fond of literary references
    • Brawne Lamia (Brawne being the last name of John Keats' Real Life sweetheart, and Brawne herself falls in love with a retrieved from the past John Keats in the form of a cybrid).
    • Rachel Weintraub. Rachel means "Lamb" and at the midpoint of the Fall of Hyperion she becomes the Sacrificial Lamb when Sol, her father, re-enacts the Sacrifice of Abraham.
  • Meat-Sack Robot: The Cybrids in this series are human bodies remotely controlled by an AI.
  • Merlin Sickness: The Trope Namer. A "disease" in Hyperion that Rachel Weintraub contracts after contact with the Time Tombs causes her to age backwards (as well as progressively lose her memory).
  • Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The Shrike has four arms with fingers like knives.
  • Multiple Narrative Modes: Depends on who is telling their story. For example, Kassad's story is told in third-person, and immediately after that, Silenus' is entirely in first-person.
  • Nanomachines: A ubiquitous part of the setting.
  • Nay-Theist: Sol after his daughter's illness, before he was not much of a believer but after what is for all purpose a curse he started having conversation with God and try to force the choice of Abraham on Him.
  • Nigh-Invulnerability:
    • The cruciform allows for regeneration from From a Single Cell, albeit with the consequence of repeated revivals slowly transforming one into a retarded and genderless being.
    • The Shrike is seemingly indestructible and with its natural Time Travel abilities, can come back after appearing to be destroyed.
    • Nemes, when phase shifted, shows invulnerability second only to the Shrike. Even a laser measured in the gigawatts (stated to be the full energy output of a warship at Tim Taylor Technology levels) does little more than seal her in.
  • Non-Linear Character: Moneta, a character Kassad meets who seemingly is meeting him backward in time (his first time meeting her is her last time seing him, and vice versa). Later revealed that she's actually Rachel Weintraub, whose experience in the Time Tombs has enabled her to move backwards and forwards in time, thus allowing her Time-Travel Romance with Kassad. She ends up as one of Aenea's disciples and ultimately saves her younger self when her father tries to sacrifices her to the Shrike.
  • No Name Given: The Consul.
  • Offing the Offspring: Sol Weintraub attempts to reenact the Sacrifice of Abraham, only with his time-reversed infant daughter as the sacrifice and the Shrike instead of God. Considering she was only seconds away from non-existence anyway, this might have been the only way to save her.
  • Oh, Crap!: When Kassad is in a simulation of the Battle of Agincourt he notices that, while he may be trained with virtually every kind of weaponry there is, from futuristic guns to the longbow, he doesn't have any of those things on hand... and he's just unthinkingly charged alone after a heavily armed knight. His reaction: "Ah shit."
  • One-Man Army:
    • The Shrike can, and does, kill thousands of people and destroys dozens of vehicles in less then a picosecond. Literally.
    • Nemes and her "siblings" are each capable of tearing through an army as well.
    • Individual Pax Swiss Guard troopers can easily defeat thousands of regular Pax troopers (each of whom carries enough firepower to level mountains).
  • Organic Technology: Fairly common in the universe. The largest example being the Templars "tree ships", which are giant, space-travelling trees protected by force fields generated from living things. Many forms of AI are apparently DNA based, whatever that means. The Core utilizes humans as vast parallel processors, first by using people travelling through farcasters, and then using the cruciforms.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Kassad's conquest and defense of the Solar System are largely off-camera.
  • Our Gods Are Different: They're called "Ultimate Intelligences". At least some are computers, and humans create them, not the other way around.
  • Person of Mass Destruction: Depending on your definition of "person", the Shrike. It is effectively invulnerable, and with his time manipulation it can kill thousands in less than a second.
  • Physical God: The Shrike can freely manipulate time and space, and is for all intents and purposes invulnerable. Appropriately enough, he has a church devoted to him.
  • Planet of Hats: There's the planet of the Jews (which suffers implied genocide), the planet of the Muslims (a backward, desert world also genocide), the planet of the tree-worshipping Asians which gets nuked, the planet of the Palestinians (in a permanent state of rebellion; also, the planet in question is Mars — yes, the one you know), the planet of the slums, the planet of the bureaucrats, the planet of the Catholics and so on. To be fair, some of these are justified as being self-selected. For example Mars as home to the Palestinians is explicitly mentioned as their second stage of refugeedom, while many other planets were expressly established with some religious or ideological agenda e.g. Maui-Covenant (environmentalist Hawaiians playing nice with dolphins), Hebron (a Replacement Goldfish for Israel, with its capital New Jerusalem standing in the place of the cosmopolitan urban Israel, and the rest of the planet largely taken up by scattered kibbutzim), MadredeDios (Latin American Catholic pioneers), Asquith (Brits, to the point of keeping The House of Windsor on the throne), and Madhya (a Hindu haven).
  • Powered Armor:
    • The combat armor worn by FORCE troops in the first two books. It lets Kassad chop his hand faster than the speed of sound to decapitate an opponent; it also has a ton of specialized defensive capacities (absorbing concussions from explosions as well as bullet/frag impacts, radiating off heat energy from laser beams, etc).
    • The Swiss Guard's armor in the latter two books. Raul was worried that shooting them would accomplish nothing except to piss them off, which would only make the situation worse for all concerned.
    • The "skinsuits" Kassad and Moneta utilize, which give wearers incredible strength, speed, and durability, and as a defense against light/laser-based attacks makes the wearer into a Chrome Champion.
  • Power of Love: The Void That Binds. Allows for time travel and a form of telepathy/psychometry with all living things.
  • Powers That Be: The Lions and Tigers and Bears. Not to mention the various Ultimate Intelligences.
  • Pregnant Badass: Brawne Lamia.
  • Profane Last Words: At the end of The Fall Of Hyperion, when the Portal Network is destroyed, one rich woman is stuck on a skyscraper a few kilometers high. When she (misunderstanding the instructions of the people attempting to rescue her) turns off the force field windows, she gets blown out. The fall took four minutes, and the rescuers claimed she followed the trope all the way through.
  • Psychic Glimpse of Death: The climax of The Rise of Endymion is Aenea broadcasting her torture and death to the whole of humanity (well, except for the tormentors themselves).
  • Rage Against the Heavens: Sol Weintraub gets a few of these moments in the form of mental arguments with God.
    You use Nazis as your instruments. Madmen. Monsters. You're a goddamn monster yourself.
    Listen! There will be no more offerings, neither child nor parent. There will be no more sacrifices for anyone but our fellow human. The time of obedience and atonement has passed. That's all! Now either leave us alone or join us as a father, rather than a receiver of sacrifices. You have the choice of Abraham!
  • Really 700 Years Old: Courtesy of spending over a century as a Human Popsicle on a slower-than-light ship, time debt from relativistic travel, and liberal application of anti-aging treatments, Martin Silenus is much older than he looks. The physical signs of Pulson treatments make him look around 150, but he was born on a planet that was destroyed 400 years before the start of the series.
    • His former editor and current fashion maven intentionally goes into cryogenic fugue every so often, and is even older.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Shrike has red Glowing Eyes of Doom.
  • Reformed, but Rejected: No one ever remembers that Kassad resigned his commission and became an anti-war activist - once you earn a nickname like "The Butcher of South Bressia", you're not going to be remembered for anything else.
  • Retcon: The second two books revise and reinterpret many of the events of the first two. See Doing In the Wizard above.
  • Retro Rocket: The Consul's starship is designed to look like one. His intent was to make it fit the Platonic ideal of "space ship".
  • River of Insanity : Father Duré's expedition to the mysterious Bikura tribe on Hyperion, retold by Hoyt in "The Priest's Tale".
  • Robot Religion: The TechnoCore's Ultimate Intelligence project is referenced using religious language. The UI is frequently equated with and even referred to as God.
  • Rubber-Forehead Aliens: Averted. Several sapient species described in Hyperion are incredibly different. Even the Ousters, who are genetically altered humans, look radically different from normal humans.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: There is mention of intelligent telepathic dolphins. Unfortunately they are noted to have been hunted nearly to extinction two hundred years prio...because they were sentient.
  • Sapient Ship: The Consul's "singleship" is piloted by an AI (and lacks obvious manual controls).
  • Scenery Gorn: In the second book the invasion of Hyperion. Also when the "Ouster" swarms destroy Heaven's Gate and God's Grove.
  • Schizo Tech: Hyperion (the planet) has a fair bit of this going on, owing to being a backwater outback world of limited importance. The most glaring example is the barge the pilgrims use to traverse the Hooley River. Originally intended to hover above the ground (and unable to in Hyperion's weak magnetic field), the narration notes that it has burns on the ceiling caused by oil lamps.
  • No Sense of Energy: Certain starships are depicted as capable of devastating entire planets and blowing up stars. However, any time actual firepower is described, it is kiloton level beams and megaton-level missiles, delivered in single-digit salvos. You'd have to spend a long time destroying anything as big as a planet (or a trillion square kilometers of forcefield-protected tree) that way.
    • Could be because all explicitly noted firepower yields were for Ouster and TechnoCore masquerading as Ouster ships, which are generally inferior to Hegemony/Pax ships and fight using Zerg Rush tactics.
    • Also, even the best ships seem to have real problems when entering the upper layers of red giants.Red giants are relatively cool and really low density. You'll be hard pressed to absorb more than a couple megatons per hour inside one.
  • Series Continuity Error: Father Dure's cruciform is removed by the Shrike at the end of the second book after it shows him the Labyrinth filled with corpses, leaving only Lenar Hoyt's. In the third book, both of them still exist, and when one dies the other revives.
  • Seven Dirty Words: Brain damage reduces Martin Silenus' vocabulary to these, for a time.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: More like attempted murder, brutal rape, begrudging consent. Jarringly, Moneta is never held accountable for this and is an otherwise sympathetic character.
  • The Slow Path: In the Consul's tale, his grandfather has a romance with a girl he meets between space trips. Each time he returns, she has aged many years, while only a short time has passed for him.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Martin Silenus' entire Modus Operandi.
  • Space Cossacks: The Ousters are seen as barbarians by the Hegemony who altered their body to inhuman degree so they could live in zero gravity society.
  • Space Is Noisy: Colonel Fedmahn Kassad spends an extended scene fighting Ousters in the vacuum of a derelict ship using a sonic gun. (It was his only weapon, he was in a heavily damaged space suit, and the ship wasn't totally in vacuum.)
  • Space Marine: The Swiss Guard in the second two books. For bonus points, they are foot soldiers of an evil Catholic empire, fighting alien heresy with Powered Armor and Latin. Yeah, they're that kind of Space Marines.
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Shrike is covered head-to-toe in (or maybe is just made of) vicious looking metallic thorns.
  • Stable Time Loop:
    • The entirety of the plot of the series seems to suggest one.
    • A more benign example is that Rachel Weintraub gives her name to Kassad as "Moneta", as she moves through time backwards (meaning each of them knows the other best when the other has just met them). When he meets her furthest into her past and his future, he calls her "Moneta", and she adopts the name.
  • Swiss Army Gun: The multipurpose FORCE assault rifle. A laser-shooting flechette-grenade-launching Disintegrator Ray particle cannon fully-automatic sniper rifle. It noted that the only thing it was not designed to do is cook the troops food...but with its energy output set to its lowest setting, it could probably do that too.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: "Farcasting" allows for instantaneous travel through two connected points. At the end of the series, anyone can teleport anywhere using the "Void That Binds".
  • Terminator Twosome: The Core sends the Shrike into the past to kill humanity's Ultimate Intelligence, and Moneta/Rachel follows it to help set the plot into motion.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: Kassad considers himself the only one who can kill the Shrike. The Rise of Endymion reveals that he is only one allowed to do so because part of his soul actually resides in the Shrike, thus he is paradoxically killing himself. That same paradox ensures that by killing the Shrike (and himself) he will live into the future and becomes Moneta's lover and one of the heroes of the Hyperion Cantos saga.
  • Time Stands Still: The Shrike, thanks to its ability to manipulate time.
  • Time Travel: Used very frequently throughout the series.

  • Tomato in the Mirror: Kassad is the Shrike. Or, more accurately, the Shrike comes from him.
  • Torch the Franchise and Run: Done in-universe. The poet Martin Silenus, finally realizing that his profitable Dying Earth series of booksnote  has become a brain-dead Cliché Storm, decides to just kill the thing off completely and utterly so that he can search for his lost muse and work on real poetry.
  • Torn Apart by the Mob: Meina Gladstone dies this way after giving the order to destroy the interstellar Portal Network, and the civilization with it.
  • Tree Vessel: The Ouster "Treeships".
  • Underground City: The planet Lusus contains several, unflatteringly called "Hives" by the locals.
  • The Unfettered: The Consul, who has spent literally his entire life doing whatever is required (and sacrificing whatever is necessary) to get into a position to bring down the Hegemony.
  • Unreliable Illustrator: The Shrike is depicted on the covers of all four books, but has only two arms on the covers of the first three. The Rise of Endymion portrays it with its full set of four arms.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Raul in Endymion, such as when he claims initially not to know Aenea's fate. He admits it later, and proceeds to dump us (the readers) with a gruesome torture scene followed by Aenea burning to death. Who knows what else he hid from us?
  • Universal Driver's License: Raul contemplates this in Endymion as he considers stealing an "ornithopter". He realizes he can't fly one, and muses that a fictional hero should be able to pilot ''any'' vehicle.
  • Wetware CPU: The TechnCore AIs use human brains as processors, courtesy of commlog implants.
  • We Will Use WikiWords in the Future: Where to begin? The "TechnoCore", the "WorldWeb", and the "AllThing" are all staples of the series. Some examples are particularly egregious, such as the enigmatic "TangleWebs" and the somewhat redundant "DeathBomb" (To be fair, that last was an area-of-effect modification of a single-target weapon, the deathwand). As a rule of thumb, if a device or technology is not named after a person, this is how it's referred to.
  • The Whites Of Their Eyes: Averted and Lampshaded. Spacebattles in the series take places at ranges of millions of kilometers, and it's noted that modern infantry would find the ranges that most fictional starships engage at to be claustrophobic
  • Whodunnit to Me?: The plot to Brawne Lamia's tale revolves around her trying to find the killer of A resurrected persona of John Keats
  • Whole Plot Reference: Most of the first volume, to The Canterbury Tales. Also the final part of Endymion, to the second Terminator.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: The cruciform keeps you from dying no matter how much you might want to - and also keeps you from leaving a small geographic area. In the latter books, the technology has been harnessed to keep humanity virtually immortal but at a hefty spiritual price.
  • The Worf Effect: Nemmes actually manages to go something resembling even with the Shrike, which previously engaged and summarily defeated a combined ground-air-space task force of tens of thousands in seconds. Later, her boss remarks that Nemes cheated. Later encounters have Shrike easily defeating her clone and the other two clones being sacrificed to take it out.
  • Wretched Hive: These abound, although the most prominent is the one on Lusus.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Het and Kassad are both destined to die, Rachel is destined to become Moneta, and the Shrike will always be created in the future. However, the existence of alternate futures seems to open the possibility that fate isn't set in stone.
  • Zero-G Spot: Raul and Aenea's weightless consummation of their relationship in the Ouster Startree is described in great... detail.

Alternative Title(s): Hyperion, Endymion


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