25 April 2015

Book of the New Sun: the television series?

I’ve recently posted links to articles on Gene Wolfe and The Game of Thrones television series.  A good friend of mine (this guy), who is a massive fan of Wolfe’s ‘New Sun’ stories, recently explained to me why The Book of the New Sun would make an amazing GoT-style televisions series.  

Here it is:
I really think it would make a great HBO series! Here's why: 
1. It is completely episodic
2. The characters are amazing:
A giant and his fox-faced companion
The most beautiful woman in the world (until the augmentation-magic wears off)
A resurrected woman who coughs up the lead slugs that were forced down her gullet to sink her body(!).
A robot who has repaired himself with found biological human body parts.
And a professional torturer who turns out to be Jesus, but not before he consumes the flesh of his aristocratic girlfriend and absorbs her memories and personality. And then proceeds to have sex with literally every woman he encounters in the story....and then becomes the king. 
3. The settings are amazing:
Buenos Aires in a million years is quite a different place.
The citadel in the middle of the city is actually a spaceship, but no one realizes it.
The city is surrounded by a mile-high wall to protect it from rampaging giant aquatic aliens who are currently quiescent and laying in wait in the oceans deep.
The mountain ranges to the north (the Andes) have been under the rule of this particular civilization so long that every single one of them has been carved into the likeness of one king or another.
Further north the "rotting jungles that circle the waist word' divide our heroes land from the "Ascians", their sworn enemies and Ascia is the ultimate totalitarian state: people may only speak by quoting from a collection of approved texts. 
4. Mysteries abound:
Is the hero's lover really his grandmother?
Is the injured robot actually from North Korea in our era (not kidding)
Is the giant actually a baby version of the giant evil aquatic aliens?
Is the fox-faced guy actually the giant's homonculus-slave? 
5. And finally, like "Lost"...there are no answers!
Fair enough!  (Although I'm not sure about #5.  Years later, I still get annoyed when I think about "Lost".)

I personally would love to see such a television series.  But I’m not holding my breath…


  1. Nice idea. Problem is, it would probably get cancelled after three seasons, leaving everything infuriatingly unresolved.

    Like Deadwood. Bah, grumble, mutter, etc.

    1. I share your bitterness regarding "Deadwood"!

  2. Great idea in theory, but the problem is Wolf's use of archaic and made-up words in the novel that makes reading his books "tortuous." Most TV audiences would change the channel after a few episodes after trying to figure out what fuligin, jelab, and lambrequin mean. The books were so difficult to follow that I picked up the New Sun GURPS 3e sourcebook for crib-notes. Severian is a great character and it might be better suited for a movie(s).


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