Throughout the first and second books in the cantos, Sol Weintraub was urged to sacrifice his only child, Rachel, and give her willingly to the Shrike.

It was clearly presented as the ultimate act that will save billions of human life and save the whole universe.

My question is: why? The same effect exactly (from the Shrike point of view) could be achieved by taking her by force or just killing her on spot. In the second book it's made clear what is so important about Rachel and I see why eliminating her will indeed have major impact, but the point is why it matters whether she's being sacrificed by her father or just killed as infant?

I still did not read the third and fourth books so in case the answer lies there please just tell that and I will delete this question.


From the Shrike's point of view, it was actually essential for Rachel to survive and be delivered to it on Hyperion. The "willing sacrifice" aspect mainly alludes to the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac which Sol, as a scholar, had studied before. Maybe it was his subconscious interpreting the dream messages by connecting them with something familiar, or maybe the message was intended that way to get his consent for delivering Rachel to her fate, which could mean that he never sees her again, and is thus effectively a sacrifice (although she survives).

  • But unless stopped, the Shrike was going to "take her into a black hole", as I just read yesterday.. anyway that's not the point. So you suggest that making Sol believe it was a religious sacrifice was the only way to make him bring her to Hyperion in the first place and agree to the pilgrimage? – Shadow Wizard Nov 11 '12 at 13:14
  • @Shadow Wizard: that's my interpretation, yes. It may not have been the only way, but the entity that sent the dream (which I think must be the future humanity-god) basically wanted him to do it willingly without deceiving him about the possible consequences or giving out too much information. As for the Shrike, according to the Hyperion wikia, the sequels have conflicting information about who created it, or are even suggesting that different powers controlled it at different times. In any case, you can't expect full logical consistency from any story that has single-universe time travel. – Michael Borgwardt Nov 11 '12 at 13:25
  • Thanks for the valid points, it does give new point of view. As for the Shrikes, in the second book it's mentioned few times that they were sent by both Gods, each with its own reason. I was under the impression the Shrike taking Rachel was sent by the machines god to destroy her but maybe I was wrong. :) – Shadow Wizard Nov 11 '12 at 13:33

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