Book of the Short Sun by Gene Wolfe

October 28, 2004 at 12:00 am | Posted in 5 stars, Book Reviews, Science Fiction | Leave a comment

You should read these books. I won’t tell you to stop reading this and run out and get them, because first you need to read the Book of the Long Sun books at least, and probably the Book of the New Sun books as well as Fifth Head of Cerberus just to be thorough. However, Wolfe’s (for now at least) climax to his “Solar cycle” of books represents–so far as I know–the greatest literary achievement in English-language science fiction, and (lest this sound as though I am damning with faint praise) probably one of the greatest in the modern era. Now that I’ve stuck my neck out, further blathering will just add to the hyperbole. I don’t want to spoil anything, so there’s not much more to say. I will say that, like Book of the Long Sun, this is more accessible than New Sun or Cerberus. The narrative structure is more complex (and to my mind more satisfying) than that of Long Sun as well. As with all Gene Wolfe novels, it has a story and characters that reward careful rereading and study. Whether the reader chooses to make this effort is (for Long Sun and Short Sun) optional, but those who do will find it well worth their while.

Recommended for everyone.

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