Nightside The Long Sun
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Nightside The Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  705 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Enormous in breadth and scope, Wolfe’s ambitious new work opens out into a world of wonders, of gods and humans, aliens and machines, and mysterious adventures far out in space and deep inside the human spirit. It is set on a ship-world whose origins are shrouded in legend, ruled by strange gods who appear infrequently to their worshippers on large screens, and peopled by...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published December 15th 1993 by Tor Books (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,380)
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Frank Smith
I don't think I'll ever be able to read another sci-fi/fantasy book without comparing them to Wolfe. He's one of those authors that you think, "Yes, he is obviously talented" without attaching much emotion to the thought and then comes around your back door with a line or a concept that catapults him into your favorite author bin. After finishing the book of the New Sun, I decided to check out his other books and I hesitated on this series for a while. A world on a giant starship? Do I have time...more
Amanda
This novel is the first book in the Long sun tetralogy. It took me longer to get into than any previous work of Wolfe's that I've read, but ultimately it was well worth it.

I realize, like with all Wolfe books, the writing is not something that will be appreciated by all types of readers. Wolfe does not go to any extreme lengths to explain to the reader what is going on or even disclose many details regarding the world the story takes place in. Rather, he doles out bits of information sparingly...more
David
Young priest enlightened.
Faces demon, criminals.
Jacket has spoilers.
Kyle
So Gene Wolfe isn't for everyone. Starting this book felt a bit like stepping into another culture, with words and histories generally unexplained, sometimes for a long time. (We get a fairly good idea of what the "long sun" looks like in this book, but I don't remember anyone actually describing it clearly until book 2 of the series.)

The thing is, I think that's pretty satisfying (like visiting a new culture, really): eventually there's a sense of satisfaction about the things you understand a...more
Andrew
It is a curious thing how much we credit a book merit based upon expectation and experience of a writer. Wolfe is "the most important writer in the SF field" my book tells me. His achievements and qualities are exposed with exuberance on the outer shell of the book itself. The effect this has on the reader is an intriguing point of research... I wonder if there is the potential of a pressuring into appreciating Wolfe taking place for some readers.

And then my own experience with Wolfe plays into...more
Rafal Jasinski
Wybór "Ciemnej strony Długiego Słońca", jako początku przygody z twórczością Gene Wolfe'a, może wydawać się niezbyt sensownym posunięciem, ponieważ jest to pierwszy tom serii prequeli do najbardziej cenionego przez fanów autora cyklu noszącego tytuł "Księga Nowego Słońca". Na niniejszą książkę padło jednak zupełnym przypadkiem i, chcąc nie chcąc, musiałem się z tym pogodzić.

O dziwo, nie przeszkadzało mi to absolutnie, albowiem jeśli powieść ta odwołuje się - co jest chyba faktem - do wcześniej n...more
JP
It was interesting, but, of course, until I get to the rest of the series a lot of things won't make sense. Wolfe is like that.
Ed Holden
After reading this first Long Sun book, as well as the Book of the New Sun, I can honestly say that no one does twists like Gene Wolfe. They aren't twists in the Matrix/LOST/Usual Suspects sense of that word, where the underlying concept is turned on its head, but merely turns that take the story abruptly in a new direction. (Note: mild spoilers follow.) Just when I think we're going to focus on main character Patera Silk becoming a thief, he spends a morning solving a murder in a brothel.

My onl...more
Neil Fein
If what you hold dear is a thing that helps people by its nature, is it morally correct to steal and perhaps murder evil men to protect it? I'd think not, but it's a dilemma that Patera Silk, the protagonist of the first volume of Gene Wolfe's The Book of the Long Sun.

While many of the same themes that Mr. Wolfe explores in The Book of the New Sun are present here - transformation, religion, government - yet are given new twists. The author's trademarked unreliable narrator is here more self-del...more
Perry Whitford
Patera Silk, an auger and teacher in an unusual world dominated by an Olympian-style family of nine gods receives enlightenment from a different God altogether called the Outsider and sets out to have his church and school saved from closure.
It has been bought from the council of his home city Viron in lieu of owed taxes by an unscrupulous businessman who Silk decides to compel to change his mind, even if that means using theft and coercion to succeed, though the ways of the "nightside" are ana...more
Brandon Ostrom
Anyone looking for a rollicking adventure or a 'mild read' should avoid this book. It would be dry, slow, nonsensical and boring. I don't know if I can categorize this book. Or the type of person that would like it... Yes, it's got a bunch of fantasy and science fiction elements (e.g. artificial intelligences that live in these computer monitor things that some people have in their homes, Gods, though these Gods might just be a very technologically advanced race, the equivalent of cyborg nuns) b...more
Wil
I've read, or tried to read, other Gene Wolf novels and this is the first one I was able to finish. That sounds harsh, but despite his obvious writing talents, I wasn't really able to get into his work. The writing is, or can be, quite dense (not so much in this book though), with at times odd vocabulary (I wasn't quite sure if he was making up words or picking incredibly obscure ones, or both), and plot developments are largely lacking. His main strength is characterization, and the characters...more
Roger N.
Two days. A novel jam-packed with incident, almost three hundred pages in length, and that’s the span of time it covers: two days. We are somewhat prepared for the inexhaustible detail with which it covers those two days after an early shopping trip in which everything in the marketplace is inventoried and categorized, given to us in marvelous lists that set the scene splendidly while delaying the actual meat of the chapter for pages and pages.

It almost feels as if Wolfe is toning down playing w...more
Christopher
NIGHTSIDE THE LONG SUN is the first volume of Gene Wolfe's four-volume work The Book of the Long Sun, which is a story of political intrigue, revolution, and Christian allegory set in a starship sent from Earth to colonize a distant planet.Gene Wolfe rose to fame with his magisterial work The Book of the New Sun, which is one of my most cherished books. The Book of the Long Sun takes place, in fact, in the same universe as Wolfe's masterpiece. However, differences abound. The Book of the New Sun...more
Scott
A good read and much more accesible than some of Wolfe's other books. This one is the first of a 4-book series that follows Patera Silk, a priest in a distant future who, desperate to save his "church" from financial ruin and feeling that he's been visited by one of his faith's gods, decides to resort to crime to save his mission. Whereas the previous series is brilliant, it's extremely dense and requires plenty of concentration. This book shows some of the same fascinating depth, but it's more...more
Robert Beech
The opening salvo in what is probably Gene Wolfe's master work (the seven books comprising "The Book of the Long Sun" and "The Book of the Short Sun"). The main character, Silk, is a priest in the state religion in a world inside a star ship- a ship whose inhabitants have forgotten that they are in a ship or that humans have ever lived anywhere else. The"Gods", Silk worships appear in "magic windows" connected by sacred cables to "mainframe", but have powers that make them seem as God-like as an...more
Bruce
Writing this review after having reread it recently. Wolfe is a VERY rereadable author. There are so many clues to what is going on that one cannot possibly decipher on the first reading, and knowing what is going to happen ahead of time creates vast amounts of pleasurable dramatic irony as you catch the clever hints. Definitely deserving of 5 stars for all the reasons you will read in other reviews, BUT this isn't nearly the top of my list of Wolfe's work.

Most accessible and also probably the b...more
Pan
This book is a perfect example of character development and panoramic setting combined into a balanced tapestry. The storyline is secondary in importance to what happens moment to moment with the primary character, a priest become thief, and those he interacts with. Gene wolfe remains the master of characterization and presents a beautiful, realistic, hard sci-fi setting with notes of fantasy and reverent religious undertones to give it plenty of depth. It feels like a story of future history fu...more
Elgin
I always thoroughly enjoy Gene Wolfe's work. My favorite works of his are slow to develop, intricate in story line, and
peopled with amazing characters. I have read the Books of the Long Sun before and on seeing this one on the shelf
of the library felt I had to read them again. This series is a beautifully written book and story about a generations long
starship voyage in a huge self sustaining environment. The voyage is coming to and end, but nobody in the "whorl"
realizes that they are on a ship...more
Greg
I'm glad to note that this series is starting off as promising as the Severian books. I like the change in writing perspective and I'm looking forward to seeing how the two connect. Gene Wolfe's writing is like a puzzle to unlock, not spelling out much of anything for the reader about the surroundings and society that Silk lives in. He gives away just enough information in his dialogues and descriptions that the reader remains curious without getting frustrated or too terribly lost, and it's not...more
Brigid
This first book is great, but the fascinating and mysterious world and events that it sets up are not developed well, to my view, in the later volumes. Many of the concepts are exciting, but, as in the Book of the New Sun, the promise of the earlier volumes is not carried through. However, while you can read The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator as books in themselves, this one will leave you hanging if you don't read the rest. They're enjoyable enough, but, much like the Ma...more
Jim Nicholson
I found this much more approachable and enjoyable than the New Sun books. Perhaps it's because of the change to third-person narrative (and the ambiguities of Severin's narration in the New Sun books.)

One word of warning: While I read a Kindle Edition of this book, apparently none of the other four books in the series are available in any electronic format. This is a bit disappointing, because the ending of Nightside is rather abrupt, and left me wanting to press on. Guess I'll have to wait for...more
Ted
I have enjoyed reading all the Gene Wolfe books that I've read, and I've read several. However, I have never quite been able to experience them as five star fiction. My guess is that many of the plaudits he has received are so complimentary because his genre is science fiction, and for science fiction, they are outstanding works. They do approach what I would call true literature much closer than the genre in general. But to me they don't quite make it.
Tim
Thoughtful, literary, sci-fi set in a believable world and dealing creatively and even reverentially with religion. Having read Gene Wolfe and not understood him as a teen (that did not stop me from reading all four books of the Book of the New Sun), I decided to redip into him when I found this book. My only complaint is the first volume hardly stands alone (there are three more) - will try and find the second volume at the library.
Matt
More of a long prologue than an independent story. The first of the four-book Long Sun series, Patera Silk is a naïve, but sympathetic guide, through Wolfe’s world of futuristic science and reinvented religion. I’m not sure I was thrilled with the book as a stand alone read, but I’m definitely intrigued with the setting Wolfe creates and how he will build on the characters and plotlines in the following books.
Ryan
This book felt just as much like a mystery as a sci-fi, and was surprisingly compelling considering that it all occurred over two days and didn't seem to move very quickly. Wolfe leaves in a fair bit of strangeness and discovery that made it a bit difficult to start, almost like reading something written in a different era, but that ended up adding to the richness of the world. Interesting book.
Pablo Martinez
A good book. There's something about Wolfe's writing that tires me a little. Maybe its the slowness at which the plot evolves or the amount of detail.

Nevertheless, this is a GREAT sci-fi book. The concept of a generation ship where the passengers lost their technology is very well done. I recommend it, and was teethering between 3 and 4 stars.

I'm certainly picking up the next one.
Dany
What a strange book...not like much I've ever read before. Silk, the main character is very likeable and makes me want to finish the series. Well, this first book isn't a stand alone novel, more like Part I of a larger novel. It left me interested, pleasantly confused, intrigued and with dozens of unanswered questions and now I'm annoyed that I can't get the next book until tomorrow.
Liviu

Great first book in the Long Sun series. I raed parts of it across the years but I plan to read the whole 7 volume series (Long +Short Sun)in the next several months interspersed with other books of course.
Krystal
A friend recommended Gene Wolfe (who I've never read before) and recommended this as the best of his 3 best series. Looking forward to discovering a new favorite (hopefully it lives up to expectations!)
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Gene Wolfe is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He is noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith, to which he converted after marrying a Catholic. He is a prolific short story writer and a novelist, and has won many awards in the field.

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is given by SFWA for ‘lifetime achievement in science fict...more
More about Gene Wolfe...
The Shadow of the Torturer (The Book of the New Sun #1) Shadow and Claw (The Book of the New Sun, #1-2) Sword and Citadel (The Book of the New Sun, #3-4) The Claw of the Conciliator (The Book of the New Sun #2) The Sword of the Lictor (The Book of the New Sun #3)

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