I just finished reading Dan Simmons’ novel Hyperion and my only complaint is that I did not know sooner that the book was going to end with a cliffhanger, necessitating the reading of the sequel, The Fall of Hyperion (which I’ve started reading). I don’t necessarily mind an author doing that – but I do like to know beforehand to expect it!
Be that as it may, the novel is fascinating science fiction with lots of exploration of religion and religious themes in general, and interaction with the Jewish and Christian Biblical traditions in general. The novel manages to incorporate at least some mention of (and in some cases a profound exploration of) such interesting themes at the intersection of science fiction and religion as the future of historic human faiths in a distant interplanetary future, and the religious status of artificial intelligences. What’s more, the book includes a fascinating exploration of the story of Abraham being called upon to sacrifice Isaac – a storyline that I trust will continue in the sequel.
Simmons studied not far from here at Wabash College, and there is an allusion to the college in the novel.
I recommend Hyperion and will probably mention it when I teach my course on Religion and Science Fiction next semester. If I do what I’m currently contemplating and require students to read at least one novel, Hyperion will be on the list of choices.