The main beauty of the literary world is that it gives plenty of opportunities. In fact, the world of fantasy is limitless and can be as diverse as one allows himself to be. The case of Dan Simmons and his novel “Ilium” is the best example of how traditional literary texts can be combined with measureless ideas of science fiction genre. The aim of this essay is to look into a couple of aspects described in the novel and further considerations they have caused in the reader. In this regard, I shall look into two questions. First of all, attention shall be paid to what is Turin in the world of Ilium; its parallels in the real world shall be shown. Secondly, the society Ada and Daemon live in shall be described and compared to the world of Agamemnon and Achilles; the subsequent choice between two worlds shall be explained.
From the first few chapters of the book, one begins to understand that Turin is of particular importance in the world of Ilium. From strictly obvious perspective of the inhabitants of the Earth, the main function of the Turin cloths is in the provision of entertainment through virtual participation and observation of the Troy War which is believed to be a simple show or a complete fiction. In this regard, from the point of eloi, Turin gives them an opportunity to experience new sensations of the fierce conditions of war and struggle, which they do not experience in their world. Thus, it is mainly for fun. On the other hand, Turin makes people addictive to the experience and, so they are more likely to spend their time in the virtual world rather than in the real one. Intelligent and people tend to avoid them because, they tend to make people alike in their sharing of common experience after the Turin-sessions.
Looking on the matter from the practical perspective, Turin provides a certain connection between various dimensions of the described universe. In this context, it also serves as means of gods’ influence on the world of eloi and keeping them in a certain intellectual and public control. Although it is not stated exactly like that but, from my perspective, giving people satisfaction in an artificial way, it keeps them satisfied. I think that is why eloi were so compliant with the life imposed on them, they did not challenge the life order they lived, the number of years they were given and what was happening to them afterwards. On the other hand, Turin also gave people certain opportunity to be unified by common interests and common experiences. In this regard, it also served the purpose of exchanging experiences and being closer to one another.
Comparing Turin with an equivalent in the real life, I think the best example would be virtual video games, imitating actual reality. In this regard, instead of Turin cloths, visual/sound helmets are used. Until a certain extent, even television, as an imitation of reality, might be viewed as parallel of Turin. Although, the main difference between video games and TV is the degree of interactivity, both of them serve the same initial, obvious purpose – entertainment through certain sensation of the experienced events. On the other hand, just as Turin they become a means of uniting people through common experiences and viewed events. In this regard, the connection between authors of the virtual reality and audience aims at a certain exchange of the lessons to be learnt. These lessons might not be about how to love one’s life but rather the nature of human beings and what they are capable of under certain circumstances.
Referring to the second question of this essay, it should be outlined that both worlds are controlled by supreme powers, which should be challenged by an individual, in order to gain oneself and freedom of future. The society of Ada and Deamon is an ideal society, which was built on the remnants of the old world. People know no illnesses or actual death, even resurrection is possible. They do not have to fight or struggle for anything. Their society is about pleasure. They live for about hundred years with constant revitalizing teleportation each twenty years. When the time comes, people believe that they teleport to the outer rings in order to join the post- humans in the valor. The utopia is guarded and protected by machines known as Voynix, which actually control the existing order of human lives. In other words, the utopia has its price that is dependence on the machines, which are not known and whose intentions are quite vague. It can be argued that the price of the ideal society is in ignorance of its faults.
From my personal perspective, I think I would prefer to live in the world of Agamemnon and Achilles, rather than in the world of Ada and Deamon. The main reason is that I would not be able to benefit from the ideal society of not doing anything useful and gaining everything immediately. When the person does not fight/struggle for something, he/she is likely to forget the cost of that thing. In this context, an individual looses perception of real values of life – hard work and reward for struggles. I do not mean that one needs to suffer in order to be happy. I mean that, without efforts, the chosen aim becomes undesired and unappreciated. People begin to imagine the wrong aims and cerate faulty values. For instance, one would want think that seduction of cousin is all what he wants in life. On the other hand, warriors and real humans of Iliad fight for their families, home, dignity and personal valor. I would like to live in the world of Iliad mainly because, even irrespective of gods’ involvement, people still have freedom of choice and they know for sure what they are fighting for. On the first place, they are fighting for themselves and not just look to for the new pleasure to experience through Turin cloths.