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Litany of the Long Sun

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

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  2,271 ratings  ·  118 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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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  2,271 ratings  ·  118 reviews

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Start your review of Litany of the Long Sun (The Book of the Long Sun, #1-2)
Jan 25, 2012 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
Feb 27, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
3.5 stars

The year of (re)reading Gene Wolfe, parts six and seven: Back to the Long Sun

So…I’ve had a pretty rocky relationship with Gene Wolfe’s Books of the Long Sun series. It’s no secret that Wolfe can be a ‘difficult’ author and he doesn’t exactly write with clarity or the reader’s ease of comprehension in mind, he rather prefers to compose literary puzzles and often obfuscates more than he clarifies in the text which can often lead to an experience that is more than a little frustrating for
Oct 21, 2010 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 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
Richard S
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Reading Gene Wolfe is a fascinating combination of great science fiction (fantasy?) but also great literature. Although not quite as great as New Sun, Long Sun is fabulous. The book is so rich and sublime - on so many levels - and on multiple levels, it's quite difficult to even describe.

The book is a great unfolding - I wouldn't read the flap of the book or anything about it before starting. It has a lot of greek-derived words like New Sun - not as many - you can survive without the Lexicon Urt
Aug 01, 2012 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
Aug 09, 2008 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
Apr 03, 2013 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
Aug 20, 2009 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,
Apr 25, 2009 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.
Michael Gratton
Feb 10, 2008 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 12, 2007 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
Jan 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
Surprising and delightful. I've found some of Wolfe's other books hard going: this one was more accessible and has a very likable protagonist. Looking forward to the second half. ...more
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
NB: This is the second time I've read The Litany of the Long Sun. The experience is then different, as the book is a journey of discovery for the reader as well as for the main characters in it. I read it a couple of years ago, and began the Epiphany of the Long Sun shortly afterwards, as the books follow closely upon one another, but some way into that volume I lost track of things. So here is my second attempt at the series.

The Litany of the Long Sun is the first book by Gene Wolfe I've read.
Bob B
Jul 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Gene Wolfe is really great. He presents incredibly rich, detailed worlds, and is full of surprises.
This series doesn't really live up to the New Sun series, which is just a masterpiece.

He's for the most part true to form with this series, but there was a pretty cartoonish love story kind of thrown in there which just didn't ring true, and then there was the tendency for the female characters (all super stacked, by the way) to wind up losing their clothes and then just run around naked for long p
Feb 06, 2012 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
Dec 08, 2008 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
Richard Gogarty
Feb 04, 2013 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
Jan 11, 2010 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
Althea Ann
Jun 09, 2010 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
Aug 18, 2010 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
Mar 31, 2012 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
Jun 24, 2007 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 10, 2010 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! :)
Jun 01, 2012 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. ...more
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I always feel like I'll never be able to quite put my finger on whatever it is that makes Gene Wolfe so wonderful. There's a whole host of things that are obviously good about this series, but, like his better known Book of the New Sun series, there simply a vast and pulsing sense of significance which reverberates through it, something that seems to transcend plot, style, technique, characterization, and so on. Wolfe fans will know what I mean. The Book of the New Sun may be a better exemplar, ...more
David Pappas
Jan 02, 2019 rated it did not like it
I was tempted to rate this higher, as I kinda liked the author's style, I kinda liked some of the characters, I kinda liked the perpetual uncertainty as to where the plot may be going, I kinda liked the undeveloped setting, I kinda liked sticking with mostly just the one main character, and I kinda liked that the author seemed to want the audience to connect the dots on their own. Unfortunately the gaps between dots are of such a distance as to render the gist into just so much long winded blath ...more
Feb 12, 2018 rated it liked it
The precise midpoint, in terms of quality, between Wolfe's best work (by far) -- the Book of the New Sun -- and pretty much everything else he wrote.

Working through Wolfe's bibliography after reading Book of the New Sun has legitimately been one of the most disappointing experiences of my life, lol . . . it's like reading Sound and the Fury and then discovering that immediately after completing it, Faulkner came down with a debilitating brain condition that caused him to regress further and fur
Evan Moore
Mar 31, 2021 rated it it was amazing
So here's the sitch, the Solar Cycle is undeniably ostracizing to the vast majority of readers, even the wormiest of book annelids. One would be forgiven for accusing GW of purposely obfuscated his writings to frustrate rather than entertain. I'm here to tell you fine people so courageously that Mr. Wolfe is worth the struggle; the struggle is real and its my favorite breakfast cereal.

All of that being said, The Book of the Long Sun has thus far been a delight to read--not so cryptic as the New
Austin Beeman
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A masterpiece from Wolfe, but not the one you expect. This volume is the first half of the Book of the Long Sun.

The story centers on Patera Silk, a priest of a small and poor manteion, who receives a enlightenment from a mysterious minor god called the outsider and undergoes a series of slowly escalating situations as he attempts to determine the purpose of that blessing.

The setting is slowly revealed to us in ways that might be completely missed by people who aren't familiar with science fictio
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Gene Wolfe was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He was 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 was 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 f

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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