Ilium (novel)

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Ilium is a science fiction novel by Dan Simmons concerning the re-creation of the events in the Iliad (possibly on an alternate-universe Earth) by "post-humans" who dwell on Olympus Mons on Mars, and who have taken on the roles of the Greek gods. Like Simmons' earlier series, the Hyperion Cantos, the novel is a form of "literary science fiction" which relies heavily on intertextuality: in this case with Homer and Shakespeare, as well as periodic references to Marcel Proust and Vladimir Nabokov's novel Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle.

Ilium is also thematically influenced by extropianism, peopled as it is with post-humans of the far future. It therefore continues to explore the theme pioneered by H. G. Wells in The Time Machine, a work which is also referenced several times in Simmons' work. One of the most notable references is when the old woman Savi calls the current people of Earth eloi, using the word as an expression of her disgust of their self-indulgent society, lack of culture and ignorance of their past.

As with most of his science fiction and in particular with one of his previous novels, the Hugo award-winning Hyperion, Ilium demonstrates that Simmons writes in the tradition of soft science fiction like Ray Bradbury and Ursula K. Le Guin. Ilium is based on a literary approach similar to most of Bradbury's work, but describes larger segments of society and broad historical events. As in Le Guin's Hainish series, Simmons places the action of Ilium in a vast and complex universe made of relatively plausible technological and scientific elements. Yet Ilium is different from any of the works of Bradbury and LeGuin in its exploration of the very far future of humanity, and in the extra human or post human themes associated with this. It is among several recent works that look specifically at the notion of a technological singularity where technological change starts to occur beyond the ability of humanity to presently predict or comprehend.

The novel was first published in New York by Eos in 2003 with ISBN 0-380-97893-8.

A sequel entitled Olympos was released on June 28, 2005.

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Ilium (novel)

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