Totally awesome sci-fi book about a war which is fought at great distances, such that travel requires many light years. When the soldiers get back...Totally awesome sci-fi book about a war which is fought at great distances, such that travel requires many light years. When the soldiers get back... forty years have passed, a hundred years have passed.
Though this may seem fantastic and it IS the interesting/sci-fi aspect of the story, the author is a war veteran and he was really writing about how war changes a person. A person who goes to war comes back changed; the book only exaggerates this to make it more visible.
The ending was weird though. Had the feeling of a cheap sort of moral lesson, though an interesting psychological claim about differences and peace.
I didn't find this one nearly as enjoyable as the first Dirk Gently. It just seemed a little less focused. Because of this, it gave the impression (unI didn't find this one nearly as enjoyable as the first Dirk Gently. It just seemed a little less focused. Because of this, it gave the impression (unlike the first) that the writer Douglas Adams was a little too amused with his own wittiness. Should've converted some of his whimsicality into some more serious plotting....more
If you liked the movie (by Miyazaki, aka AWESOME ANIMATOR GUY), then you'll probably like this.
If you didn't like the movie but you still like slightlIf you liked the movie (by Miyazaki, aka AWESOME ANIMATOR GUY), then you'll probably like this.
If you didn't like the movie but you still like slightly bizarre fantasy books, then you'll probably like it too.
There's some really trippy stuff in here. Where, basically, people like Howl jump between the real world and the "fantasy world." Definitely adds an extra layer to the story and cleared up quite a few confusing details from the movie (like why in the world were demon/stars raining down from the sky).
Also this is completely unrelated but my new power supply is really bugging the bajeezus out of me. It randomly locks up all the time, bloody PCI-E......more
Same comment with all post-modern literature. Read only with a group. Pointless without group discussion. A hard read that requires a special humor orSame comment with all post-modern literature. Read only with a group. Pointless without group discussion. A hard read that requires a special humor or intellectualism to appreciate....more
The book’s cover offers a blurb from Neil Gaiman: "The best SF novel of the last century."
I took this none too seriously. You can find such hyperbolicThe book’s cover offers a blurb from Neil Gaiman: "The best SF novel of the last century."
I took this none too seriously. You can find such hyperbolic gobbledygook on practically any book cover. It's not bad thing, per se. If I can have FIVE best friends, then why not have FIVE greatest SF novels of the last century? Better than one, eh! The key is to define "best" as "none better" rather than "better than all." And that's true of this book and its sequels. Book of the New Sun belongs in a class all of its own. If there is anything to compare it with, I haven’t read it.
With this quartet, Gene Wolfe does for speculative literature what Raymond Chandler did to detective fiction back in the 50s: He raised it above its humble genre trappings. Chandler opened my eyes to a new type of writing. Prior to cracking open the pages of The Long Goodbye, I perceived literature as a dichotomy: entertaining genre “trash” and high-falutin’ literary tomes. One focuses on the ‘what’ while the other focuses on the ‘how’ but both possess merit and worth. Chandler blurs the lines. Yes, the plot is as entertaining as they come, yet much of my delight in Chandler arises from the sharp style and tremendous wit with which he wrote.
So it is with The Book of the New Sun, though the Wolfe’s style could not be more different than Chandler’s. While Chandler’s Marlowe narrates with simple, forceful prose, Wolfe’s Severian (who begins the adventure as an apprentice torturer) narrates this ‘old earth’ science fantasy blend with meandering complexity and guile, unreliable even in his claim that he’s a liar. Does he lie? Yes – but not in the manner you might think. He lies not by shape, but by texture, giving you the fact plainly enough but hiding its import.
Such subversion exists throughout the novel. It is entirely readable as a straight-forward hero’s journey of the Campbellian variety. It’s an adventure in the same way Chandler’s novels are mysteries. They entertain at the surface level. But they are also so much more than that. In Chandler’s case, his novels are a how-to manual for dealing with a world so reliant on lies, deception, and manipulation that lies have now become truth. In the Book of the New Sun, the adventure masks an allusive labyrinthe, a riddle of time and connectivity, that must be traversed by careful reading.
Which, if we’re being honest, is problematic these days. Most people are not careful readers and don’t want to be. That is their prerogative, though as a writer myself, I find it irritating. The defining trait of modern entertainment is its ease of consumption. Book of the New Sun is not easily consumed. With long, tortured sentences, complex diction, story-telling asides, and more than a few instances of elision, even a superficial reading requires work. To attain any sort of depth requires even more.
But this work does not go unrewarded. The complexity doesn't exist for the sake of complexity, but rather for the sake of a delightfully refreshing subversion and to present a complete picture of a character's mind and life. I also found the book rewarding on a sentence-by-sentence level. It is peppered throughout with insight and interesting turns of phrases.
In short, Book of the New Sun is very much like a trek through a hilly country. More difficult than taking a car to be sure, but not all that challenging, and I never knew what new beauty I'd see rising above the next hill. To be shorter still, I loved this book. It changed the way I thought about speculative literature....more