Ok, guys, this month we’re going to be talking about an important entity from Dan Simmons’ Hyperion Cantos series, the Shrike.
So what is the Shrike? Its a being that is typically seen on the world of Hyperion (though it has been seen on other worlds), and drives its name from the Earth bird species of the same name. It’s a three meter (10 foot) tall humaniod-like being, with four arms and a body made of a chrome-steel like metal with many thorns and spikes, razor-sharp bladed fingers on its four arms, multi-faceted red eyes and sharp pointy teeth. Its origin and purpose are unknown, but its suggested its made in the far future, and is a pivotal role in the relations between humans and TechnoCore, a gathering of Artificial Intelligences that had been originally made by man, and has since separated itself from mankind, but remains in contact in some ways.
I’d like to present a few artistic images that help represent my mind’s view of the Shrike- bear in mind that aspects of these depictions are how I see the Shrike. All three of the images from DeviantArt, and I will include links to the original pages at the end of the journal.
My personal mind’s eye sees the Shrike much like the first image, but with the arms, fingers, some spines and the teeth of the second, and the eyes, “crown” of spikes, some of the other thorns and a lesser extent the fingers of the third image.
Now, you might be curious why I find the Shrike so appealing. There some aspects of the Shrike I have to explain. Firstly, the appearance of the Shrike and what it does. Much like its avian namesake, it impales its victims on thorns- in this case, on a Tree of Pain, which is a vast, artificial tree, where people agonize for eternity, imapled on three meter thorns. The Shrike, as you can see in the imagary above, has many thorns and spines on its body, which when combined with its read eyes and four arms, create the image of a terrifying hunter, made all the more potent by the fact that it can travel through space-time via Plack-space, known in the novels as The Void Which Binds. But as fearful as it appears, the Shrike does create a sense of awe and wonder,
Another aspect of appeal is that the Shrike is is its mysterious nature. The Shrike is apart of an interaction between humans, TechnoCore, and a group of beings who live in The Void Which Binds called, as by the AI Ummon, the Lions, Tiger and Bears. Its not known who “controls” the Shrike, but it plays an important part in the battle between the Human Ultimate Intelligence and TechnoCore’s Ultimate Intelligence. Its able use The Void to appear in multiple locations simultaneously, and attack a victim or target before it can even hope to react. So what the Shrike fights for, and for whom, remain unknown. Aenea, one of the protagonists of the later half of the Cantos, seems to have a “limited control” of the Shrike, or more likely, because she has been through time and had experiences with the Shrike, it is being sent to protect her, so that she can ultimately overthrow the Pax
Of course, the there is a religion formed around the for the first two novels of the Cantos, called the Church of the Final Atonement, or the Shrike Church. It foresaw the Shrike as the one to punish mankind for its ills and sins, and that a person- later known as Aenea- would be able to later be able to redeem humanity, as much as the Shrike seeks the payment for sins. Thus, when the Time Tombs- a grouping of structures where time-space behaves rather strangely, and often unpredictably- began to open in the beginning of Hyperion and the Shrike was on the move again, the Shrike Church aimed to pay its tribute and thus, the story of the Cantos’ main events began, with seven pilgrims (each having encountered the Shrike in some way) being sent to the Time Tombs to make a request of the Shrike. Of course... things happened.
As for next month, we’ll discuss a few things on culinary.
The Shrike By FilipeHattori
The Lord and The Colonel By Abiogenisis
The Shrike By Pengono