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Litany of the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun #1-2)

4.22  ·  Rating Details ·  1,781 Ratings  ·  88 Reviews
Litany of the Long Sun contains the full texts of Nightside the Long Sun and Lake of the Long Sun, that together make up the first half of The Book of the Long Sun. This great work is set on a huge generation starship in the same future as the classic Book of the New Sun (also available in two volumes from Orb).

Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun tetralogy ranks as one of th
Paperback, 543 pages
Published April 1st 2000 by Orb Books (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

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Mar 16, 2012 Whitaker rated it did not like it
That’s it! I’ve had it. I think having forced my way through the first three books of the Book of the Long Sun, I am entitled to say that I’ve given it a fair shake. Indeed, having also slogged through The Wizard Knight series and Soldier of Sidon , I think I can say that I’ve given Gene Wolfe a fair shake. And the upshot is that he and I don’t get along. I find that his works suffer from flat writing, flat characters, and flat plot(1).

Here’s an extract. This is a main character just before an
Feb 12, 2013 Liviu rated it it was amazing
Shelves: genre-sf, read_2013
a complete reread of the Long Sun which is even more satisfying than on first read

want to add a few more words about the books - while the New Sun books are considered GW's masterpieces, I think that if this long novel that is The Long Sun had appeared first, it would have had a good argument at that too; the style is different much closer to the recent books of the author - you can say it is a "modern" GW vs a more fantasy-traditional GW in the New Sun (which whatever its sf underpinnings, is m
Aaron Singleton
May 02, 2010 Aaron Singleton rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf, gene-wolfe
If you are reading this review then you've probably already read Wolfe's Book of the New Sun quartet. If not, then I would suggest doing so first, because the two series (New Sun and Long Sun) are linked and reading one will enrich the other.

Litany of the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun, books 1 and 2)

OK. This volume makes up the first half of The Book of the Long Sun. This series is in many ways the exact opposite of the New Sun series. In New Sun, the main character was Severian, a torturer
Jan 16, 2013 Palmyrah rated it liked it
I had read that the Long Sun books are, superficially at least, less tricksy than Gene Wolfe's work usually turns out to be. I found this to be true, on a first reading. Indeed, I'm not sure I missed anything of significance; but then, I'm a veteran Wolfie.

A reviewer on Amazon complained that the first of the two books compiled here, Nightside the Long Sun, was slow and tedious - that the hero, Silk, spends a hundred pages failing to sacrifice a crow and breaking into a house. Those two events,
Aug 09, 2008 Adam rated it really liked it
For those of use who wanted Exodus written with generation ships, robot tanks, vampires(not what your thinking), a girl who can possess people, a Chesterton style detective, cyborg nuns, gods who are uploaded mad children of a lunatic (he is in Book of the New Sun), alongside other wonders and puzzles. Puzzle is definitely a good term as while this book is written in a clear third person as opposed to the baroque first person of the Severian books it is still filled with enigmas. Characters only ...more
Michael Gratton
Feb 10, 2008 Michael Gratton rated it it was amazing
The Long Sun books are fantastic.

Read on their own, they're a pulpy and fun fantasy universe. In fact, they're one of the most accessible Gene Wolfe stories out there. Above all else, it's actually funny. I never thought of Wolfe as capable of humor, but it's all over the place here. The science fiction is interesting, but takes a back seat. As usual there are bizarre and dark ideas about sociology from Wolfe where I can't be sure if the author believes them or not, but they are a backdrop that
Steve McCann
Dec 29, 2011 Steve McCann rated it it was amazing
These books (this is a collection of two novels, themselves the first of four) explore the tension that exists between the unknown and the unknowable. What does it mean for the unknowable as the unknown is slowly (or suddenly) revealed? The main character, Silk, cherishes the unknowable: the energy exchanged at first glance between soon-to-be life-long lovers; the soul leaving in death, characterized here as a great vulture emerging from the storm to snatch away the life from a tortured body; th ...more
May 10, 2012 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Comprising the first two books in Gene Wolfe's four-book "Long Sun" series, Litany of the Long Sun covers a great deal of ground in a relatively short period of time. The first two books cover little more than four days or so, and yet Wolfe creates not only a compelling drama, but one that exists fully in its own world. As such, the terminology is difficult to wade through in the book's early chapters, and rightfully so. Disorientation should come with entering a new world for the first time wit ...more
Aug 01, 2012 Mark rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sci-fi, fiction
Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is the best sci-fi/fantasy book I've ever read--and I say this as a deeply devoted fan of both Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick. So I had high hopes for The Book of the Long Sun, despite having read opinions, seemingly universal among its readers, that it's OK but "not nearly as good as The Book of the New Sun."

I'm only halfway through the Long Sun (Litany is the first half, Epiphany, which I'm reading now, the second), but I have to disagree with those opini
Althea Ann
Sep 27, 2013 Althea Ann rated it liked it
Having read this series out of order (I read the followup novels of the Book of the Short Sun first) gave me an interesting perspective on it, I think.
Some things, I was like, "ah, I wish I had known that" but just as often I thought, "ah, now knowing that makes this more interesting..."

The books tell the story of a young priest in a poor community who, in his efforts to save his church from the development plans of a wealthy crimelord, finds himself reluctantly on the path to greatness...
It's s
Oct 29, 2015 Charles rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
A compelling and original science fantasy tale, with bits of mystery, hints of romance, and scenes of pulpy action stirred into the mix. The world that Wolfe uses as his backdrop is painted for the reader in scattered strokes of its constituent elements: a pantheon of gods and goddesses that are unified by a religion resembling Catholisism; a seedy world of thievery and prostitution, replete with its own cant; a world referred to as "the whorl", which may very well be more of a spaceship than a ...more
Dec 14, 2008 Eric rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Eric by: Levi
Litany of the Long Sun is an excellent piece of fiction. It combines genres in a way that could be confusing, but Wolfe pulls it off with considerable grace.

Like the "New Sun" trilogy, the setting here is a combination of high- and low-tech. The characters live in a world where there are aircars, electric lights, and advanced communication equipment. At the same time, archaic weapons, wood burning stoves, and other low-tech trappings are the norm.

The main character is a priest, Patera Silk. As t
Jan 05, 2014 Stuart rated it it was ok
The Calde's New Clothes: Have you even been to a coctail party, surrounded by attractive, witty, sophisticated and charming people having a lovely conversation about something utterly boring and irrelevant to you? Or been at the art gallery where all the hipsters are marveling at how deep and profound that crack in the wall is? This is kind of how I view the hype that surrounds many of Gene Wolfe's later novels, and how his fan's tend to fawn over his clever subterfuge and sleight-of-hand storie ...more
Richard Gogarty
Feb 04, 2013 Richard Gogarty rated it it was amazing
Despite the similar name, and the recurrence of one (sort of) character from the dark brilliance of The Book Of The New Sun, the Long Sun books bear little resemblance to their better-known predecessor. Stylistically and tonally they owe more to Wolfe's Latro sequence than to the labyrinthine complexities of BOTNS - they are lighter, airier, and filled with a gentle pastoral beauty that makes the darker undertones of the text feel far more arresting and powerful when they occasionally burst thro ...more
Aug 18, 2010 Kyle rated it it was amazing
Back when i was a boy, i daydreamed of writing the Great Science Fiction/Fantasy Masterpiece.

Little did i know that it had been written, and was being published, while i sat boyishly daydreaming.

Wolfe weaves a complex tapestry of characters, locations, technology, and magic, all bound up in a mature rumination on the eternal nature of human existence.

Wolfe is the antithesis of Bruce Sterling: bittersweet, ancient, and skeptical, even as he embraces the full potential of technology, and the chaot
Fantasy Literature
Aug 24, 2013 Fantasy Literature rated it it was amazing
Though not essential, it wouldn’t hurt to do some homework before reading Litany of the Long Sun, Gene Wolfe’s omnibus edition of two novels: Nightside the Long Sun and Lake of the Long Sun. Litany and its companion omnibus Epiphany of the Long Sun make up the Book of the Long Sun series, which is itself an independent part of Gene Wolfe’s Solar Cycle.

There’s more.

Wolfe’s “Solar” novels are all set in a universe where the earth’s sun is dying. For humanity to survive this astronomical apocalypse
Nov 25, 2015 Douglas rated it really liked it
Gene Wolfe remains one of my favorite authors and this book is just another reason why. Like the Urth of the New Sun series (of which this series takes place in the same universe), Wolfe not only successfully narrates science fiction dressed up in fantasy trappings, but creates something compelling as well.

Much has to do with his treatment of his characters. Patera Silk is our protagonist here, a priest of a small chapel and grounds. He is given a vision from one of the gods that he is to work t
Matt Hlinak
Aug 15, 2014 Matt Hlinak rated it really liked it
Litany of the Long Sun is a sequel of sorts to Gene Wolfe’s groundbreaking, four-volume The Book of the New Sun (1980-83) and its coda, Urth of the New Sun (1987). Litany collects two short novels, Nightside the Long Sun (1993) and Lake of the Long Sun (1994), of the four that comprise The Book of the Long Sun series. The exact relationship between the New Sun and Long Sun series is made clear toward the end of Litany, and I won’t give it away here.

The Book of the New Sun is the story of Severia
Jun 27, 2015 Kafka rated it really liked it
There's a belief that science fiction, ironically enough, is religious in intent. I've always held this to be true, without necessarily being conscious of it, but I was surprised to find that Adam Roberts, (a science fiction author himself, as well as a Professor of English Literature at the University of London) considers science fiction to be a branching off from Fantasy along Protestant lines, as opposed to Catholicism. Regardless of said belief, it wouldn't be too presumptuous to suggest tha ...more
Jul 02, 2007 Katie rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
Sweet. Certainly reccommended after the Book of the New Sun (etc). If you liked that, you'll like this.
I really enjoy reading Wolfe because I get so involved in his worlds and I start using his made-up words in my head. Yeah.
May 28, 2010 Track_eye rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Track_eye by: G_Riv
Excellent! I love how Wolfe employs a narrator who knows no more than the characters do, and often appears to be the subject of narration itself though presented in third person. Also, Oreb is adorable. I want one! :)
Apr 25, 2009 Forrest rated it it was amazing
Better even than the Severian series. The literary quality here is amazingly high. Go to the bookstore and move this from the Science Fiction to the Literature shelves. My favorite series of science fiction, bar none.
Jun 01, 2012 Joel rated it it was amazing
I couldn't put this one down. The more Wolfe you read, the more sense it all makes, because his series occur in the same universe and tie together.
Sep 19, 2014 Robert rated it it was ok
It has been a long time since I read this book but I definitely recall that I wasn't too enthused with it. I have a habit, probably bad, that I usually finish a book I start. I really slogged through this one and just found it tedious and boring and never really developed much interest in the story. I know Wolfe is a good writer but after reading this I don't know if I will read anything else from him. Just my thoughts and obviously not too many others feel this way about the book. I'd be curiou ...more
Jan 22, 2011 John rated it it was amazing
The good things about Gene Wolfe:

He relies upon, and builds the reader's intuition. When characters interact especially when strong emotions are at play, Wolfe doesn't underline anything. There are no expository emotional statements. We're expected to intuit from the tone of the conversation and the physical manifestations the emotional charge of a conversation. At first, this can leave you feeling quite lost. In fact I missed some moments for sure. In the beginning, when something of import occ
Oct 09, 2011 Gary rated it really liked it
This book lives in the same Universe as developed in Book of the New Sun, but has very little to do with it. Sometime in Earth's timeline, a colonizing ship, the Whorl, a hollowed out cylindrical asteroid was sent on its way to a new star system (blue world/green world). This book takes up near the end of that ship's journey. As usual in Gene Wolfe's science fiction, technology and the ship itself has decayed into a sort of Medieval society mixed with high tech artifacts and AI's who run the shi ...more
Aaron Jansen
A while ago I decided I wanted to read some good fantasy and Wolfe's name popped up a lot in my research. The Book of the Long Sun and The Book of the New Sun were the two works mentioned most frequently, with the New Sun usually regarded as the "masterpiece" and the Long Sun as the "more accessible but not quite as good but still pretty great series." I decided to initiate myself with the supposedly more accessible series.

I haven't read any science fiction or fantasy in a long time and I'm not
Dec 23, 2012 Davis rated it really liked it
The Book of the Long Sun is really one long multi-volume work. This review of only the first half of the multi-volume “book” will therefore be inadequate. However, this is one of Wolfe’s easiest to read, making the journey much less confusing and difficult when compared to some of his other work.
Before starting the review proper, there is another disclaimer. Viewing this book as a sequel series to the Book of the New Sun is misleading. Aside from the obvious tie in with the series’ title, there
Jan 11, 2011 Collin rated it liked it
My thoughts on this book are scatter-brained, possibly because I still have 20-50 pages left. --shrugs--

Contains the first 2 books of a 4-book series.

Slow going at first. Reminded me a lot of Neal Stephenson's Anathem (that's not a good thing): shitloads of made-up terms to describe the fantasy setting of a monk-like, very Catholic-esque religious cloister, minus the pages-long, lecture-style explanations. Fortunately Wolfe isn't nearly so proud of the world he's created as Stephenson seemed to
Snehal Bhagat
Jul 09, 2011 Snehal Bhagat rated it liked it
He promised himself a celebratory supper when he returned. The tomatoes that had dropped green from his vines were still not ripe, but he would slice them and fry them in a little oil. There was bread too, he reminded himself, and the hot oil might be poured over it afterward to flavour and soften it. His mouth watered. He would scrape out the grounds he had reused so long, scrub the pot, and brew fresh coffee. Finish with an apple and the last of the cheese. A feast! He wiped his lips on his s
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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 about Gene Wolfe...

Other Books in the Series

The Book of the Long Sun (4 books)
  • Nightside the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun #1)
  • Lake of the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun #2)
  • Caldé of the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun #3)
  • Exodus from the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun #4)

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