24 April 2015

Gene Wolfe and The Book of the New Sun

There is an interesting (and thankfully succinct) piece on Gene Wolfe in the current issue of The New Yorker.

I vividly recall reading The Book of the New Sun fifteen years ago.  It is probably the most difficult fantasy series I've ever read.  Yet I enjoyed it thoroughly, and am grateful that I worked my way through the five books (the original tetralogy plus The Urth of the New Sun).

4 comments:

  1. I read them one at a time as they were published in the early '80s - before I'd ever read Lovecraft, Smith, Vance, Peake, Moorcock or even LOTR. I loved them, but I hated waiting a year for the next one to appear.

    I reread them a few years later, and many pennies dropped. I can think of few books that repay rereading as much as The Book of the New Sun. As the article says, despite his much-vaunted hyperthymesia, Severian is pretty much the poster boy for unreliable narration. Just because he remembers everything doesn't mean he understands everything - or anything. It's very clever writing.

    Also, the books are full of marvellous set-pieces and ideas that can be mined for gaming purposes: the citadel comprised of ancient spacecraft, the duel with alien flowers as weapons, the alzabo, the undines, Father Inire's mirrors, etc., etc.

    Nice little article. Thanks for the link.

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    Replies
    1. Glad to hear from someone who also appreciates Wolfe's masterpiece!
      I do plan on rereading the Book of the New Sun sometime. There are many other books in my queue before it, however.

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    2. Great blog and really appreciate the Gene Wolfe love! I'm re-re-re-reading the series currently. One of my all time favorites!!!

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    3. Thanks for the kind words, Randolph!

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I'm a Canadian political philosopher who divides his time between Milwaukee and Toronto.