Joseph Michael Owens’s Reviews > Shadow and Claw > Status Update

Joseph Michael Owens
Joseph Michael Owens is on page 135 of 409
Jun 27, 2012 08:27PM
Shadow and Claw (The Book of the New Sun, #1-2)

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Shadow and Claw (The Book of the New Sun, #1-2)


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Shadow and Claw (The Book of the New Sun, #1-2)


Joseph Michael Owens
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Just finished Shadow of the Torturer; onto Claw of the Conciliator!!
Jul 04, 2012 07:31AM
Shadow and Claw (The Book of the New Sun, #1-2)


Joseph Michael Owens
Joseph Michael Owens is on page 199 of 409
Jul 03, 2012 05:50PM
Shadow and Claw (The Book of the New Sun, #1-2)


Joseph Michael Owens
Joseph Michael Owens is on page 184 of 409
I plan to finish "book" 1 (of 4) today. Then, I'll need to decide whether to dive right into "book" 2, or jump into another series (I'm planning to read Book of the New Sun, Jack Vance's Tales of The Dying Earth, and Glen Cook's Chronicles of the Black Company concurrently). Decisions, decisions. . . .
Jul 01, 2012 08:03AM
Shadow and Claw (The Book of the New Sun, #1-2)


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message 1: by Matt (new)

Matt How is this treating you? I couldn't get past 100 pages, much to my chagrin, since it's hailed as one of the finest fantasies around.


Joseph Michael Owens I'm digging it though I also felt it slowed somewhat around the 100 page mark. On page 130 now. I think the thing that's weird (or whatever) is that book one is only 210 pages and it doesn't feel like it's gotten moving. . . yet. . . .


Joseph Michael Owens I've also been reading The Difference Engine at the same time and it's also bogged down a little. I never really had that problem with G.R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series.


Edward Rathke These four books are all a continuous story so the end of the first novel isn't really an ending. I actually think it's kind of a cheat to make these four separate novels when they're essentially a single novel in four parts.

They're a great deal different than Song of Ice and Fire, too, because Martin plots the shit out of those novels. They're very different reading experiences. Martin is all about intrigue and the consequences of choice, while Wolfe is much more philosophical. These four books are much more about time and space and reality than they are about cause and effect, to put it a certain way.


message 5: by Matt (new)

Matt Well, Ed, you intrigued me again. You know how some books just have their right time to be read . . . this one might be one of those for me. Thanks.


Joseph Michael Owens Yeah, I just got to the part where Severian is recalling a story about Father Inire dealing with mirrors, speed of light, objects being in two places at once -- ostensibly "quantum non-locality". . . which was enough right there to draw me back in lol!

And I also agree with you, Eddy. They're so short anyway (as standalone books) that they should just get the omnibus treatment. My 2 cents. . . .


message 7: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Muntz Yeah, I'd say New Sun probably lacks the faster pacing of Ice and Fire; it's almost intensely subdued, and generally avoids conflict when it would appear in other novels. I'd say it's more like Borges than Martin, though (probably some people would disagree with me here, even taking into consideration that Borges is a favorite of mine) Wolfe's elaborate metaphysics, the delicate treatment of perspective/experience/memory, and the shape of the narrative as a whole actually strike me as considerably more complex than Borges' short fiction, and possibly better realized as well. Then again, I do remember it becoming less subdued as it goes, especially after Severian enters the "gardens".


Edward Rathke Yeah, Joseph, haha, that mirror stuff. Man, I found myself rereading pages sometimes because, while he makes it digestible, is no easy concept to just immediately comprehend. And that's part of the reason, too. He makes the concept seem simple and so it's easy to miss exactly what he's talking about.

I think the Borges comparison is valid. Wolfe is probably the most lauded writer I'd never heard of, and it seems to be mostly because he writes science fiction/fantasy instead of 'literary' fiction.

And what I love about these books specifically is that they're essentially so far in the future that they're fantasy again. Like the unimaginable future reverts to the past.


message 9: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Muntz Wolfe has an immense reputation, but it seems like he would mainly appeal to people who read literary fiction, sort of like Samuel Delany. In practice, I've rarely met people who've read him--Phillip K Dick has the kind of reputation I would expect Wolfe to have, except ironically PKD probably isn't as polished a writer.


message 10: by Joseph (last edited Jun 29, 2012 05:41PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Joseph Michael Owens I'm with both of you. I can totally see the Borges comparison, though my first thought was Kafka. The stuff he talks about -- like with the mirrors -- makes a whole lot of sense after having read lots of (beginner's) books on quantum mechanics and string-/M-theory. He was way ahead of his time when he was writing this stuff. I'm reading it slow so I don't miss anything.

And I also have to admit a pre-held bias I had before going in: I knew he was a devout Catholic so I wondered/assumed he'd be trying to feed me his ideology under the guise of some well written metaphysics. While the hints are there, he still leaves a lot of it up to the reader's interpretation (from what I've read of "book" 1), which I personally really appreciate.

Also, what both of you said: I think he'd definitely appeal to more lit. fic. readers than the avg. sci/fantasy author (see: R.A. Salvatore). One thing Wolfe might be guilty of is the overly-serious nature of his characters, though within the context of the narrative, it's fitting. I mean, the overarching premise looming over everything is that the sun's friggin' dying, yes? Pretty serious world. . . .


message 11: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Muntz You know, I tend to forget the Catholic thing is even there, and I've convinced myself it didn't have anything to do with the way the book was written. This is probably willful denial on my part.


message 12: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Muntz No: definitely denial.


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