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The Book of the New Sun is a pretty good book.

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Posts

  • ErchamionErchamion Registered User
    edited July 2008
    I think I'll go with the first. Short stories, while they can be good, just aren't as fulfilling for me as a long novel. Thanks for suggestions.

    Spoiler:
  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Erchamion wrote: »
    I think I'll go with the first. Short stories, while they can be good, just aren't as fulfilling for me as a long novel. Thanks for suggestions.

    Wolfe's prose is awesome, but the Solar cycle storyline never grew on me. I absolutely adore Latro in the Mist though, so even if you aren't impressed with whatever you read first, read something different and you may be surprised.

    Edit; Also guys, didn't we have a Gene Wolfe thread already? I remember reading through it at some point.

  • Mike DangerMike Danger "Diane..." a place both wonderful and strangeRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Bogart wrote: »
    An Evil Guest looks good though - someone with an advance copy described it as Bladerunner meets Lovecraft.

    !

    Also, I think I'd like to see a graphic novel adaptation of Book of the New Sun...there were parts where I couldn't quite visualize what was happening, and I'd really like to see someone try to illustrate this crazy world Wolfe has cooked up.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited July 2008
    Also, I think I'd like to see a graphic novel adaptation of Book of the New Sun...there were parts where I couldn't quite visualize what was happening, and I'd really like to see someone try to illustrate this crazy world Wolfe has cooked up.

    Someone, I think it was Comico, actually started one in the early 80s. It went three or four issues. It had moderately interesting art, but a New Sun book drawn by someone like Mike Mignola or Frank Quitely would rock my world.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited July 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    Edit; Also guys, didn't we have a Gene Wolfe thread already? I remember reading through it at some point.

    There was one at the Writer's Block a while back.

  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    Edit; Also guys, didn't we have a Gene Wolfe thread already? I remember reading through it at some point.

    I'd forgotten that, though I'd contributed more than one post to it. It was in the Writer's Block, though, and it died with few posts, so hopefully this one will last longer.

    EDIT: beat'd, but that's ok, because I think jacob has read The Castle of the Otter and is thus ok.

  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    Edit; Also guys, didn't we have a Gene Wolfe thread already? I remember reading through it at some point.

    There was one at the Writer's Block a while back.


    Naaah, I rarely venture there. That's the one I was thinking of, but this one is better.

    http://forums.penny-arcade.com/showthread.php?t=49524

    Edit: It's in D&D you guys.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Jacobkosh wrote: »
    Also, I think I'd like to see a graphic novel adaptation of Book of the New Sun...there were parts where I couldn't quite visualize what was happening, and I'd really like to see someone try to illustrate this crazy world Wolfe has cooked up.

    Someone, I think it was Comico, actually started one in the early 80s. It went three or four issues. It had moderately interesting art, but a New Sun book drawn by someone like Mike Mignola or Frank Quitely would rock my world.

    I don't know, I think the book would lose something. Alot of BotNS is in what ISN'T said or what is glossed over.

    Like the steady realization that a "charger" is not a horse.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2008
    And that a destrier has fucking cybernetic claws.

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    skyknyt wrote: »
    And that a destrier has fucking cybernetic claws.

    That's what meant. Couldn't remember what he called them.

    I mean seriously, your reading till like book 3, and then it's all:

    "And then the destrier tore his throat out with it's claws"

    and I was like:

    "..... That's not a horse is it?"

  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I remember similar sudden realisations coming over me. I think the first times he mentions mountains he talks of their 'shoulders' and 'laps' and so forth, and you think he's just being all fancy with the descriptions, and then when he reaches the mountains you realise he was being literal.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Bogart wrote: »
    I remember similar sudden realisations coming over me. I think the first times he mentions mountains he talks of their 'shoulders' and 'laps' and so forth, and you think he's just being all fancy with the descriptions, and then when he reaches the mountains you realise he was being literal.

    It's stuff like this that really made the setting for me. It's like he actually thought for awhile about what a planet would actually look like after millions of years of inhabitation by humanity. Every mountain is carved, minirals are almost non-existent, "Mining" is basically "Archeology + Grave Robbing" and so on.

  • skyknytskyknyt Registered User, ClubPA regular
    edited July 2008
    Yeah, exactly. Or that the travelers he keeps meeting are aliens of some kind with a flying saucer.

    Not to mention that his buddy (whose name I've forgotten) is some kind of robot wearing human parts, rather than a man with prosthetics.

    Tycho wrote:
    [skyknyt's writing] is like come kind of code that, when comprehended, unfolds into madness in the mind of the reader.
    PSN: skyknyt, Steam: skyknyt
  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Jonas, and the realisation that he was cybernetic in exactly the opposite way I'd assumed was another duh moment for me.

  • JacobkoshJacobkosh Gamble a stamp. I can show you how to be a real man!Super Moderator, Moderator mod
    edited July 2008
    The relationship between Dr. Talos and Baldanders is another great inversion.

  • Red or AliveRed or Alive Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    The most famous fan of Gene Wolfe in literary circles is probably Neil Gaiman (who regularly praises Wolfe in his blog). Surprised no one has mentioned that. On that note:

    http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/shambles.html

    I like him a great deal. He obviously enjoys playing with language, and respects his audience enough to make them work when reading his novels.

    That, and some of his stuff reminds me of G. K. Chesterton (though it has been argued that Wolfe's Catholicism enriches his fiction while Chesteron's Catholicism diminished his). Anyway, tell me the last chapter of The Man Who was Thursday doesn't read like a missing chapter from The Book of the New Sun, and I'll call you a liar.

    Carpe Diem. By the CROTCH.
  • interceptintercept Registered User
    edited July 2008
    The most famous fan of Gene Wolfe in literary circles is probably Neil Gaiman (who regularly praises Wolfe in his blog). Surprised no one has mentioned that. On that note:

    http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/shambles.html

    I like him a great deal. He obviously enjoys playing with language, and respects his audience enough to make them work when reading his novels.

    That, and some of his stuff reminds me of G. K. Chesterton (though it has been argued that Wolfe's Catholicism enriched his fiction while Chesteron's Catholicism diminished his). Anyway, tell me the last chapter of The Man Who was Thursday doesn't read like a missing chapter from The Book of the New Sun, and I'll call you a liar.

    Who says G.K Chesterton's Catholicism diminished his work?

    He's great.

  • UmaroUmaro Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    How does this compare to A Song of Ice and Fire (one of the few fanstasy works I can stomach)?

    Dogs.jpg
  • Alchemist449Alchemist449 Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Blows it out of the goddamn water. While I may enjoy reading ASOIAF more, when I read this I know I'm reading something that could still be relevant one hundred years from now. But its not really a fair comparison, because the point of the novels are totally different. Martin just wants to give you a good story. Wolfe wants to teach you how to read.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Umaro wrote: »
    How does this compare to A Song of Ice and Fire (one of the few fanstasy works I can stomach)?

    Completely different.

    ASOIAF is a excellent story, told excellently.

    BotNS is a book you think about. It's one of those "Onion books" where every time you go back, you understand more and see more depth you didn't before.

    The first read of ASOIAF leaves you breathless and satisfied, but you know pretty much everything. Maybe you missed a few hints at future plot lines or events, but not much.

    The first read of BotNS leaves you understanding and enjoying the story, but feeling like there's another level you just didn't get yet, because you've only read it once.

  • UmaroUmaro Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Well fuck. I am going to pick this shit up ASAP.

    Dogs.jpg
  • Vincent GraysonVincent Grayson Frederick, MDRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I have been very lax in my Wolfe reading lately. After falling in love with him while reading Shadow & Claw, I picked up every other book in the Solar Cycle, both Latro books, The Knight, The Wizard, Innocents Abroad, Endanger Species, and maybe some others I'm forgetting.

    I haven't decided yet whether I prefer his short stories or the complete novels.

    One thing that definitely stands out about his short stories is his uncanny ability to shove weeks worth of things to think about into a 30 page story.

    Definitely my favorite author these days.

  • AdrenalineAdrenaline Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    One thing that definitely stands out about his short stories is his uncanny ability to shove weeks worth of things to think about into a 30 page story.

    This would literally drive me insane. I already have several notebooks full of notes of things to look up and/or think about. Ah hell, I'll ask anyway. Which short stories? All of them? Can you recommend a book of them, or?

    On another note, I'm glad I noticed this thread. I've had the Book of the New Sun on my shelf for awhile unread, as I'm mired in a backlog of stuff I own, as well as library books. I lucked into finding Urth of the New Sun on sale used too. I'll have to finish those up after I read... well, all the other Dune books after Dune Messiah. Argh, I'm going to be busy.

    I will show you fear in a handful of dust
  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Adrenaline wrote: »
    This would literally drive me insane. I already have several notebooks full of notes of things to look up and/or think about. Ah hell, I'll ask anyway. Which short stories? All of them? Can you recommend a book of them, or?

    He has quite a few collections out there, and all are worth picking up. My favourite is probably The Book of Days (only easily findable these days as part of the collection of three books called Castle of Days, I think), which contains stories that the author recommends you read on specific days of the year (one for Labour Day, one for Easter, etc), and contains my favourite Wolfe short story: The War Beneath the Tree (a Christmas Eve story). Endangered Species contains the most stories, I think, so if you're looking for a hefty introduction that would be the one.

    Other shorts I particularly liked are The Detective of Dreams, Westwind, Seven American Nights, The Hero as Werewolf and When I Was Ming the Merciless.

    The wikipedia link in the OP has links to some of his fiction online, so I'd suggest you give those stories a try, and if you like them, try one of his books.

  • Red or AliveRed or Alive Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    intercept wrote: »
    The most famous fan of Gene Wolfe in literary circles is probably Neil Gaiman (who regularly praises Wolfe in his blog). Surprised no one has mentioned that. On that note:

    http://www.sfsite.com/~silverag/shambles.html

    I like him a great deal. He obviously enjoys playing with language, and respects his audience enough to make them work when reading his novels.

    That, and some of his stuff reminds me of G. K. Chesterton (though it has been argued that Wolfe's Catholicism enriched his fiction while Chesteron's Catholicism diminished his). Anyway, tell me the last chapter of The Man Who was Thursday doesn't read like a missing chapter from The Book of the New Sun, and I'll call you a liar.

    Who says G.K Chesterton's Catholicism diminished his work?

    He's great.

    While non-fiction books like Orthodoxy, which deals with the subject of his faith directly, are well regarded, the later Father Brown books that were written after his conversion aren't especially well thought-of. It's an opinion that tends to be repeated in several introductions to Father Brown collections.

    Anyway, I'm a Catholic and a Chesterton fan, so its not necessarily an opinion I share myself.

    On topic: was anyone else a little disappointed by the Wizard Knight books?

    Carpe Diem. By the CROTCH.
  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Anyway, on topic: was anyone else a little disappointed by the Wizard Knight books?

    I started out feeling that the lead character was much less immediately sympathetic than Severian (who brutally tortures people as a job), which was a barrier to my enjoyment, but then came around later on, and ended up loving them. I thought that in The Book of the New Sun and his other SF/Fantasy stuff he sidestepped cliche and genre tropes (though he has his own unique ones, of course) and creates something utterly new. In the Wizard Knight, however, he takes some of the hoariest of cliches (dragons, knights, trolls, fair maidens, quests, etc) and makes them feel new and exciting and strange again.

  • JohnDoeJohnDoe Registered User
    edited July 2008
    Umaro wrote: »
    How does this compare to A Song of Ice and Fire (one of the few fanstasy works I can stomach)?

    I enjoyed ASOIAF much more than Book of the New Sun.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Anyway, on topic: was anyone else a little disappointed by the Wizard Knight books?

    I didn't find them all that enjoyable.

    The Knight I found slow to start. I put it down for a few months. Then I started up again, and found the end was fairly enthralling.

    The Wizard I had the same problem with, except worse. I just didn't feel like finishing it.

  • Crimson KingCrimson King we need no grave to bury honesty there's not a grain of it the face to sweeten of the whole dungy earthRegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think I'm the only person on this forum who doesn't like Gene Wolfe, like, at all.

    DS: 4742 - 6001 - 2106 add me to your friend safaris
  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 a.k.a. Nubmonger/Antaeus#1352, 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think I'm the only person on this forum who doesn't like Gene Wolfe, like, at all.

    No, you are not alone. The phrase I tend to use when describing Gene Wolfe's works is: an abomination of literary masturbation. Sometimes he gets it right, but frankly the vast majority of the shit he pulls is just bad writing. It's stuff they teach fifth graders not to do when trying to write - i.e. intentionally hiding or being misleading about blatantly obvious facts of the world or plot points just to keep things "mysterious" and keep your audience guessing. This is all, of course, hidden under the guise of an "untrustworthy narrator" and that whole "omg u guyz the author doesn't know that ur not from his spacetimedimension so he dont explain shit lol itz so awesome". To be brutally honest, when people start talking about Gene Wolfe I get this image of a bunch of jocks wearing blindfolds doing a circle jerk. But maybe that's just me.

    I'm sorry, but it's just not fun or entertaining or even intellectually stimulating to have to read through four books just to get an accurate depiction of what a "destrier" is actually supposed to fucking be. It's not leaving things up to the imagination - it's forcing the reader to leave giant vacuous "images" in his/her mind which may or may not be accurate depending upon the final product which is only delivered piecemeal seven years of reading down the road. Which you still might not be able to "trust". And I'm sorry, but using obscure terms and phrases only gets you so far. Especially if you're just using it as another hack literary trick to further the above goals.

    Honestly, the story itself, once you figure it out, is immensly boring. The setting is actually very cool and obviously well-thought-out, but it becomes too much work to figure out exactly what is what. And in the end, as I said, the story isn't worth the bother anyway. But that's what I got from forcing myself to read the first two books twice each, just to see what everyone else was talking about.

    Anyway, to each his (or her) own. What some people find immensly entertaining and gratifying, others will find to be a complete waste of time. I'm just hoping that the whole, "OMG u dont like Wolfe cuz ur too stoopid 2 undarstand him lolz" thing which tends to happen elsewhere doesn't happen here.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
  • JebuJebu Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Wow. Lot of hostility there.

    I actually love the Soldier in the Mist series more than the New Sun series, but that may just be because I'm a huge nerd for ancient mythology. It was fun being able to pick up all the allusions and references from the book without having them spelled out in an obvious way.

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    I think I'm the only person on this forum who doesn't like Gene Wolfe, like, at all.

    It's far more likely that the people who don't like Gene Wolfe just don't even come into this thread.

  • ClevingerClevinger Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    But that's what I got from forcing myself to read the first two books twice each

    Forcing yourself to reread two books you hate is pretty fucking stupid.

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 a.k.a. Nubmonger/Antaeus#1352, 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Clevinger wrote: »
    But that's what I got from forcing myself to read the first two books twice each

    Forcing yourself to reread two books you hate is pretty fucking stupid.


    And...here we go. I guess it would've been better for me to just read the first two pages, not give the books a chance, and drop them entirely? Or would that also be stupid, because these books are so awesome you omghavetoreadthem70timestounderstandthem? Because you know there are people out there who would say that you can't get the full, orgasmic experience that is Gene Wolfe until you read his book 20 times while taking detailed notes with footnote commentary. And I guess the concept of at least giving a book a full chance by reading it through even if you find yourself uninterested or disliking it is completely out of the question.

    And for the record, I didn't hate them until about halfway through the first reading of the second book. The first book started out strong, then I got really, mind-numbingly bored about halfway through that one, too. But like I said, to each his own.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Clevinger wrote: »
    But that's what I got from forcing myself to read the first two books twice each

    Forcing yourself to reread two books you hate is pretty fucking stupid.


    And...here we go. I guess it would've been better for me to just read the first two pages, not give the books a chance, and drop them entirely? Or would that also be stupid, because these books are so awesome you omghavetoreadthem70timestounderstandthem? Because you know there are people out there who would say that you can't get the full, orgasmic experience that is Gene Wolfe until you read his book 20 times while taking detailed notes with footnote commentary. And I guess the concept of at least giving a book a full chance by reading it through even if you find yourself uninterested or disliking it is completely out of the question.

    And for the record, I didn't hate them until about halfway through the first reading of the second book. The first book started out strong, then I got really, mind-numbingly bored about halfway through that one, too. But like I said, to each his own.

    Actually, if you'd read what he wrote, he said REREAD.

    As in, if you hated it the first time, why did you read it again?

  • Inquisitor77Inquisitor77 a.k.a. Nubmonger/Antaeus#1352, 2 x Penny Arcade Fight Club Champion Oakland, CARegistered User regular
    edited July 2008
    shryke wrote: »
    Clevinger wrote: »
    But that's what I got from forcing myself to read the first two books twice each

    Forcing yourself to reread two books you hate is pretty fucking stupid.

    Actually, if you'd read what he wrote, he said REREAD.

    As in, if you hated it the first time, why did you read it again?


    "...Or would that also be stupid, because these books are so awesome you omghavetoreadthem70timestounderstandthem?"

    One of the things that everyone seems to love about Gene Wolfe is the fact that you have to read them over and over again in order to "fully appreciate" them. I believe someone used an onion metaphor earlier? And like I said before, I wanted to give it a fair shake. Not every book I like is immediately gratifying, and if part of Wolfe's deal is that you have to read the books several times to get them, reading the first two books twice seems like a decent way to give it a real chance. At any rate most everyone in this thread seems to love his stuff, so by all means don't let one guy's opinion ruin the conversation. I just wanted to let that other guy know that he's not alone. I'll be leaving this thread now.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA no.
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    shryke wrote: »
    Clevinger wrote: »
    But that's what I got from forcing myself to read the first two books twice each

    Forcing yourself to reread two books you hate is pretty fucking stupid.

    Actually, if you'd read what he wrote, he said REREAD.

    As in, if you hated it the first time, why did you read it again?


    "...Or would that also be stupid, because these books are so awesome you omghavetoreadthem70timestounderstandthem?"

    One of the things that everyone seems to love about Gene Wolfe is the fact that you have to read them over and over again in order to "fully appreciate" them. I believe someone used an onion metaphor earlier? And like I said before, I wanted to give it a fair shake. Not every book I like is immediately gratifying, and if part of Wolfe's deal is that you have to read the books several times to get them, reading the first two books twice seems like a decent way to give it a real chance. At any rate most everyone in this thread seems to love his stuff, so by all means don't let one guy's opinion ruin the conversation. I just wanted to let that other guy know that he's not alone. I'll be leaving this thread now.

    Well, it's more that you get MORE when you reread them. You don't need to read it multiple times to enjoy it, it's just each time you reread you pick up on more and enjoy it more.

    Or, you hate it from the start and nothing will change that.

  • BogartBogart Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Anyway.

    I think someone earlier asked who Gene Wolfe is like, and although my first reaction would be to say 'nobody', I guess I might put up John Crowley as someone whose stuff reminds me of Wolfe. Many-layered, beautifully written and able to repay multiple readings with equal or increased enjoyment.

  • Red or AliveRed or Alive Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Wow. Aggression.

    Incidentally, don't make comments like " ...when people start talking about Gene Wolfe I get this image of a bunch of jocks wearing blindfolds doing a circle jerk. But maybe that's just me." and then issue banalities like "to each his own" to try and appear like you're engaging in discussion instead of trying to pick a fight.

    Carpe Diem. By the CROTCH.
  • ClevingerClevinger Registered User regular
    edited July 2008
    Yeah, he goes:

    "This author is literary wankery. I hate him for a lot of the reasons some of you love him. HULK SMASH. IT'S NOT MY THING, BUT JUST TO LET YOU KNOW, YOUR THING SUCKS! PEOPLE SAY THEY REREAD HIM TO GET MORE ENJOYMENT AND FIND NEW THINGS, BUT I FORCED MYSELF TO REREAD SOMETHING I DISLIKED HOPING I WOULD MAGICALLY COME TO LOVE. JUST TRY TO REFUTE MY ARGUMENT."

    I mean, that's great, he's not your thing. There's no need to get so pissy/whiny about it.

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