In Fall of Hyperion, when the Shrike comes for Martin, it takes control of his hand, forcing Martin to write out messages from the Shrike (e.g. "It is time.").

How did the Shrike do this? I don't recall any other mention of the Shrike controlling a person's body, nor does it seem like there would ever be a need to, considering its apparent mastery over time and space.

Even Martin was surprised that he was the first and only person that the Shrike was known to have communicated with.

It seemed like the Shrike had the ability to take direct control of a person's fine motor skills, yet that also seems like the only time it has ever used that ability. It certainly didn't seem to do anything like that during its hand-to-hand combat with Kassad, even though it was being hard pressed, and an edge like that would almost certainly have made a significant difference?

I've only read through Fall of Hyperion so far... is this particular ability of the Shrike's explained later? Or are there explanations in the first two books that I may have missed?

  • There is a clear emphasis on its ability to move through time at will and farcast from one location to another regardless of the distance. But there is no hint throughout the series about how the shrike is able to do what it does. Also your question seems to suggest that the shrike might be a sentient being. And again, there is no evidence to this effect in all the series. All that is known about the shrike is that it's sent from the future to alter the course of history. But its allegiance and the direction in which it influences events is not granted to any of the belligerents. May 15 '13 at 2:00
  • I don't see anything in my question suggesting it is sentient. It is clear that there is an intelligence somewhere behind its actions, though. The way it hooked Brawne up to the mechanism; the link between it, Dure, and the cruciform; the way it targeted command units in space in Endymion: there is clearly intelligence there, even if it is external to the Shrike.
    – Beofett
    May 15 '13 at 5:46
  • @ylabidi Actually, there is evidence that the Shrike may be sentient n the books. In Endymion Aenea mentions that the Shrike's role "depends upon who sent it this time. Or it could be acting on its own." Raul responds by saying he thought it was just a machine. She replies with "oh, no. Not just a machine."
    – Beofett
    May 24 '13 at 2:58

The Shrike's ability to enter fast time, farcast, and/or time travel would enable it to easily manipulate Martin's hand directly. The only question then becomes why? And that is a MAJOR SPOILER. Like, do not read this if you have not finished all 4 books.

The Shrike is, at least in part, Colonel Fedmahn Kassad. And my suspicion is that Martin got a nice giggle about this when he learned that fact. The Shrike has a great deal of respect for Martin. It even stands at his grave for weeks or possibly years (the text is unclear which.) And it stands to reason that it would communicate with him if it would communicate with anyone.

  • Excellent point re: why. Regarding how it was physically accomplished... you're saying the Shrike entered fast time and just reached out and moved Martin's hand with its own? That's as good an explanation as I'm likely to get, I guess.
    – Beofett
    Oct 8 '13 at 11:59
  • 2
    @Beofett That's my take. Don't forget that the Shrike is also Martin's muse, so it is also possible that Martin moved his own hand via his connection with the Shrike through the void that binds. Either way, the how is connected to the why deeply.
    – DampeS8N
    Oct 8 '13 at 16:16
  • @Beofett It has been a few years since this question, have you finished the series? Does this answer seem more satisfying today? I've read the series twice now and have a third option: Martin lied about it.
    – DampeS8N
    Sep 29 '15 at 15:23
  • I think the fast time manipulation was certainly possible. It's been long enough since I finished the series that I don't know what I think about the possibility of Martin lying. It never occurred to me to question the narration outside of the explicit perspective of the characters, but it is an intriguing notion. I'll have to reread the series and look at that idea more closely :)
    – Beofett
    Sep 29 '15 at 15:30
  • @Beofett It is repeatedly stated by Aenea that there was a lot that Martin didn't know when creating the Cantos, and that he changed or made up things in the name of better story. Martin is not a reliable narrator, though this fact was probably written into the second half of the series to cover up plot inconsistencies like this one.
    – DampeS8N
    Sep 29 '15 at 16:03

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