Assistant Professor of Classics Jesse Weiner recently presented a paper as part of Greek and Roman Myth and Science Fiction, an online “flash conference” organized and hosted by Marian Makins of Temple University and Liv Yarrow of CUNY. The title of the talk was “Gods, Monsters, and Posthumanity in Dan Simmons’ Ilium and Olympos.”
Weiner said that Dan Simmons’ Ilium (2003) and Olympos (2005) are a sprawling pair of science fiction novels based in large part upon Homer and the myths of the Trojan War. Drawing on Isidore’s criteria for monstrosity in the Etymologies, which reach back to Cicero and Varro, Weiner read the Olympian gods (and the classicist protagonist, “who, incidentally, is written to be a Hamilton College alumnus,” Weiner noted) in Simmons’ dyad as monsters.
He also discussed how the futuristic worlds of science fiction can help us think about humanity and posthumanity and, perhaps, implications for how we might approach the gods of ancient myth.