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Nightside the Long Sun

(The Book of the Long Sun #1)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,280 Ratings  ·  72 Reviews
The first volume of a four-book novel of mystery, war and revolution set in a world existing inside a giant spaceship sent from Urth to colonize a distant planet. Wolfe's new work returns to the world of his acclaimed Book of the New Sun and will captivate readers hungry for the magic of the future.
Paperback, 333 pages
Published December 15th 1993 by Tor Books (first published 1993)
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Andronikos YES! Book of the New Sun is quite literally the best book series I have ever read.... EVER. I've just started Nightside of the Long Sun, but from what…moreYES! Book of the New Sun is quite literally the best book series I have ever read.... EVER. I've just started Nightside of the Long Sun, but from what I know from the original series, Wolfe is (and these aren't my words) "the master of the casual revelation." EVERYTHING is potentially crucial, and there are so many subliminal plots (I wouldn't say sub-plots, because they don't occur in any sort of delineation) that his books resemble more puzzles than linear stories.

So in other words... yes, you'll miss ALOT. Everything, in fact, and not just in terms of failing to comprehend sections of the plot that depend on other sections of the plot you previously thought superfluous: you'll miss the Book of the New Sun itself... which is awesome...

Anyway: if that sounds confusing... it's because it is. But you'll see. I'm not so much a Gene Wolfe fan as a Gene Wolfe addict: if you get into the Severian's world, you will be hooked for life, guaranteed. After I finished The Citadel of the Autarch I thought I'd take a break from Wolfe... here I am three months later, casually passing by Nightside of the Long Sun in my local library, fingers brushing the cover, quivering a little...

You don't know you have Wolfe withdrawal until you understand the symptoms. No: you haven't lost an appreciation for literature, you're just trying to read someone else after reading The Book of the New Sun while you could be reading another Gene Wolfe book... even though you don't WANT to read another Gene Wolfe book because he'll make your head implode...

Anyway, that's my two cents: READ THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN! (less)
Michael Smyth No. *Urth of the New Sun* helps explain *The Book of the New Sun* but you do not need to read *Urth* to enjoy or understand The Long Sun series.

Community Reviews

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Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
This was well written but boring as hell. I should have just DNF-ed it instead of pushing to the end.
Ivan Lutz
Jun 11, 2015 rated it liked it
Zapravo je negdje 2,46 ali kako nemamo zakonsku obavezu zaključivati ocjene po srednjoj vrijednsti, evo trojke samo iz razloga što se nadam da će u ostale 3 knjige radnja biti brža, dinamičnija, zanimljivija i uzbudljivija...
Mar 21, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
3.5 stars

I know this is only book one of a tetralogy, but I feel like I was left hanging a bit more at the end than I would have liked. Still, I like the way of Wolfe's world slowly creating itself in my mind as I'm fed detailed bits slowly throughout the story, and his worlds have an unsettling yet exciting combination of old and new. Definitely looking forward to book two.
Marla  Smith
Apr 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Third read of this series. Still love it.
Oct 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
John Patterson
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
In Nightside the Long Sun begins a four part series of a three part cycle (The Solar Cycle includes the Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun, and The Book of the Short Sun) where Patera (a title for a priest, teacher, and headmaster of a school/temple) Silk receives a revelation from the Outsider. The Outsider, the least well known of the pantheon that Silk preaches about and gives sacrifices to, tasks Silk from saving his manteion from closure (school/temple). This leads to what can on ...more
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: scifi
Young priest enlightened.
Faces demon, criminals.
Jacket has spoilers.
Sep 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Wolfe's gimmick is unreliable narrators. Since this is in third person, I'm curious how it will play out. Certainly the author is parsimonious with details, as though relating the story to someone perfectly familiar with the lifestyle and state of things on the Whorl, the strange O'Neill cylinder environment that forms the entire world to these characters. Part of the joy in reading is sussing out the words between the words, uncovering the meaning of things mentioned in passing. What is a "chem ...more
Feb 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Mr. Wolfe does not make it easy. This book drops you right in the middle of a whole new world without a single word of context. You learn only from experience (or sneaking a peek at wikipedia) what is going on and why, and then only ever partially. On top of this, you start in what must be the least interesting corner of that world mentally shouting at the protagonist to get on with it already. And that protagonist! This guy has Severian's (from the "new sun" series) aloof and tedious nature in ...more
Jan 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit-american, sci-fi
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.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My reread of the "Sun" books continues. Much like the first New Sun book, Wolfe spends much of his time establishing the Long Sun world, not telling you much explicitly, but instead letting you fill in the gaps and leaving many mysteries for later books. The language is a little less rich; having said that, the first taste of this world is very satisfying.
Dec 20, 2009 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have recently been re-reading this series. There is a lot to love about Gene Wolfe's works. If you are familiar with Book of the New Sun, you should know the Long Sun series has nothing to do with the characters and events from those books, apart from a one sentence hint given at the very end of that series. They do, however, take place within the same fictional universe.

The setup is not simple. Wolfe reveals, not through observation of the protagonist we follow, but rather through a series o
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Rafal Jasinski
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Perry Whitford
Jun 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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, then sets out to have his church and school saved from closure.

The mantion has been bought from the council of his home city Viron in lieu of owed taxes by an unscrupulous businessman called Blood whom Silk decides to compel to change his mind, even if that means using theft and coercion to succeed.

That's the simple
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Kate Sherrod
Feb 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: re-reads-2018
Jul 22, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Dec 05, 2009 rated it liked it
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
Neil Fein
Feb 19, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
If it isn't Earth, then why is the religion so similar to the religions in the Hellenistic period? And if it is some far-future Earth, then where are the non-Western influences on the culture? I mean, if you do straight fantasy, high fantasy, whatever, swords and wizards and all that, and it is basically medieval stuff with monsters and magic, okay. But if you make the magic technology, and the monsters were genetically engineered, and the Gods are either post-humans or AIs or something, then do ...more
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: at-home
This review covers the entire Book of the Long Sun, since it's really one long story. You won't want to read one book without going on to the others.

The Book of the Long Sun is excellent. The characterization is superb -- I don't think I've ever read another book where each character has such a distinct personality. The story itself has a fantastical setting, but this book is about the people (one person in particular) and their adventures.

One of the things I like best about the Book of the Lon
Roger N.
Jan 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Ed Holden
Jan 12, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Oct 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, speculative
Please read the rest of this review on Weighing A Pig...


That doesn’t mean Nightside is a very good book. As with all Wolfe I’ve read, the same list of adjectives – bizarre, strange, baffling, different, mythical, mysterious and oddball – springs to mind. And harsh, and deadpan. Nightside is set in a giant generational space ship, of the spinning cylinder Rendezvous With Rama-type. It was sent from a far, far future Earth (or Urth, or the Whorl) to some distant planet. Yet Nightside doesn’t
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 24, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was not what I was expecting. It's labeled sci-fi, and while it takes place in a spaceship, that's really not the focus of the story at all. It's really a story about people, a priest in particular and his adventures in trying to save his parish. I can see how in future books this might become sci-fi, but I really can't call this one that. Regardless, I did enjoy the story.

However, the book ends very abruptly. The story is moving along, and then it's over. There's really no resolution
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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

Other books in the series

The Book of the Long Sun (4 books)
  • 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)
“All beds became deathbeds at last.” 3 likes
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