Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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RIP

Author and Grand Master Gene Wolfe, 1931-2019

Wolfe went on to write over 30 novels, with his best best-known work, The Book of The New Sun, spanning 1980-1983. The series is a tetralogy set in the Vancian Dying Earth subgenre, and follows the journey of Severian, a member of the Guild of Torturers, after he is exiled for the sin of mercy. Over the course of the series the books won British Science Fiction, World Fantasy, British Fantasy, Locus, Nebula, and Campbell Memorial Awards. In 1998 poll, the readers of Locus magazine considered the series as a single entry and ranked it third in a poll of fantasy novels published before 1990, following only The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

I know Wolfe is supposed to be one of the true greats. I could not get into The Book of the New Sun, though granted, that was a long time ago and I’ve probably changed a good deal as a reader since then.

I always put off trying another of Wolfe’s books. I have a couple on my Kindle, though. Maybe this would be a good year to dust them off, open them up, and give them a try.

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4 Comments RIP

  1. Robert

    This is a sad day, indeed.

    I think Book of the New Sun is great, but it can definitely be a challenging read. Fletcher Vredenburgh did a nice reread/review on Black Gate last year. This is his summary post which contains links to a review of each book.

    You might prefer starting with a standalone, The Sorcerer’s House.

  2. Mary Catelli

    Let us have no doubts: Wolfe is challenging to read.

    The only one I really like is Pandora by Holly Hollander which is — atypical.

  3. Rachel

    Yes, that’s one of the ones I have on my TBR pile. Probably because you recommended it sometime or other.

  4. Elaine T.

    I, too, only like an atypical Wolfe, the two KNIGHT books. But I never reread them. I just slid off the rest, whenever I tried them. I could tell he was doing interesting things, it just didn’t work for me.

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