As noted in "The Books That Blew My Mind" post below - Hyperion (by Dan Simmons) is one of my favorite books of all time. It is structurally based on The Canterbury Tales in that the book tells six independant stories (each of which can stand on its own as a great short story) and connects them all together via the main (but separate) plot line.
In Hyperion six pilgrims travel to a far away planet to meet THE SHRIKE. If the Shrike is not the coolest horror/villian/monster ever written I'm not sure what is. It is pretty much guarenteed that they all will die horrible horrible deaths at the hands of The Shrike and there is only a small chance that one of them might survive and have a wish granted. Yet, they all go. Why you ask? What would compel a person to do such a thing? Well that's what the short stories are for. To reveal the motivations behind the Pilgrims' suicide mission.
Each of the short stories are fantastic. But some are better than others and some are truly exceptional. I asked SLYBC members and friends to nominate their favorite Pilgrim Tale:
Elle Ewok: The Priest's Tale - "The Man who Cried God" (Part 1)
Elle Ewok: "This is the best short story I ever read. EVER. Horrifying and deeply imaginative."
Spudbabe: The Priest's Tale - "The Man who Cried God" (Part 1)
Spudbabe: "I hate picking the same thing as Elle Ewok."
Trixie Beldon: The Scholar's Tale - "The River Lethe's Taste is Bitter" (Part 4)
Trixie Beldon: "So good!!! And sad!!!"
Spudbabe's Fiance: The Scholar's Tale - "The River Lethe's Taste is Bitter" (Part 4)
Spudbabe's Fiance: "Um I forget. Probably the dude with the baby."
Cock-eyed Bobby Eff: The Soldier's Tale - "The War Lovers" (Part 2)
Cock-eyed Bobby Eff: "Very tough question. I could spend an hour discussing each. I'll go with the colonel. I always dig stories of warriors who get the girl. But the Keets story is right up there."