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An unreliable thread about the Sun - talkin' bout Gene Wolfe

Mokrap of Croton

(he/him/his)
I've read through the Book of the New Sun once, which I realize is not enough times. It *was* a lot easier when I quit trying to look up words every other page and just rolled with what I thought they might mean. Of course, the "author" himself tells you as much partway in.

I am currently about 1/4th of the way through Book of the Long Sun. It is a much easier read than New Sun, but by no means something you can just drag your eyes across. I also have Castle of Days, which is a collection of his essays and short stories, on deck.

Anyone else here a fan? WHO ELSE WANTS TO BE BEWILDERED, FRUSTRATED, AND AWESTRUCK?!?
 

Teaspoon

(They)
Me! Me me me!

....honestly I have little idea what the hell is ever going on and sometimes vaguely wish I was two hundred years on so I could read an annotated version explaining everything.

I do find it curious that you prefer Long Sun tho, having run out of steam by then.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
....honestly I have little idea what the hell is ever going on and sometimes vaguely wish I was two hundred years on so I could read an annotated version explaining everything.
It just so happens that two of our very own who happen to like Mr. Wolfe quite a lot have a Gene Wolfe podcast that has spent considerable time explaining and breaking down New Sun! (And are currently running through Long Sun.)

I'd say more, but posting a thread title with "Gene Wolfe" in it is enough of a bat notule signal that I'm sure they'll be along.
 
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Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
It just so happens that two of our very own who happen to like Mr. Wolfe quite a lot have a Gene Wolfe podcast that has spent considerable time explaining and breaking down New Sun! (And are currently running through Long Sun.)

Slips Jbear a Loonie.

....honestly I have little idea what the hell is ever going on and sometimes vaguely wish I was two hundred years on so I could read an annotated version explaining everything.

If you like podcasts and want to listen to two people who can't stop making bad jokes, one of which is me, have I got a deal for you! We finished our chapter-by-chapter coverage of Book of the New Sun last year, then did Urth of the New Sun, and we literally started Book of the Long Sun this week. I would not say our method is an "exhaustive annotation" by any means, but I do like to think that we help elucidate some of the mysteries of all the Wolfe works that we cover, and I'm a sucker for defining terms.

That said, please don't feel obligated. I think one of the amazing things about Wolfe is that he's fun to re-read and discover on your own.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
Alzabo Soup is a great listen. It helped me pick up on some things that I missed in BOTNS, and it was exciting when you got to things that I had figured out on my own.

I also liked the episodes about The Sorcerer’s House a lot.

Any plans to tackle The Mage Knight series?
 

Bulgakov

Yes, that Russian author.
(He/Him)
Thank you! Glad you enjoyed them.

Any plans to tackle The Mage Knight series?

Yes, but don't ask when :). At our current rate, it will be at least 18 months to 2 years before we get through Long Sun, and we'll probably want to do Short Sun after that!
 

Dracula

Video Nasty
(He/His)
I picked up BotNS a couple of years ago thanks to a certain podcast and I'm glad I did. It's basically a grimdark Adventure Time with an unreliable narrator and lots of obscure vocabulary from Catholicism. What I really like about these books is attempting to suss out what sort of modern or future tech Severian is describing based on his understanding of his world. There's always something new to see and it's always weirder than what you came from.

For example, just from the first book, it's not especially obvious that the Matachin Tower is actually a spaceship unless you read between the lines. I don't think I picked up on that detail until I listened to the podcast about it.
 

Mokrap of Croton

(he/him/his)
@Teaspoon: I didn't say I *preferred* Long Sun, just that it's easier for me to follow. Not sure yet which I prefer.

@Bulgakov: I will absolutely check that pod out, but probably after I've done another pass through the books on my own, for exactly the reason you mention at the end of your post.

@Dracula: I actually figured that one out on my own, and I consider it one of the greatest achievements of my entire life. I probably really got about 5% of everything else.
 

Paul le Fou

AAAAAAAA
(He)
I've been feeling due for a re-read of New Sun; it's been...more than ten years? D:

I am wondering whether to read with the podcast, do the podcast for each book to break it up a bit, or do the whole series then the podcast.

I did start listening to the podcast after I finished The House of Cerberus, but I have trouble sitting down to listen to podcasts enough as it is, much less when I want to be following along in a book.
 

Patrick

Magic-User
(He/Him)
I tried reading each chapter before listening to each episode with The Sorcerer's House, but it didn't fit my reading or listening styles. I kept having to stop reading or stop listening when I was in bed or out for a walk. With BOTNS I just read the whole thing then listened to all of the episodes. It worked better for me and it was still fresh enough.
 

Mokrap of Croton

(he/him/his)
Approaching halfway through the Long Sun. I'll finish all of that, then check out some of the podcast, then at some point go back through New Sun.

I was really worried at one point about Oreb, when Musk whipped his knife at him. However, I see him perched on Silk's shoulder on the cover of the next volume, so I assume he makes it that far haha
 

Wolf

Ancient Nameless Hero
(He/him)
I just got this series for Christmas. Looking forward to diving in once I'm finished with my current read.
 

Mokrap of Croton

(he/him/his)
Ok, so I'm very very near the end of Litany of the Long Sun (which is the first two books of the Long Sun series combined in one volume), and I will post more thoughts in a bit. Just wanted to get this down quickly, though, as the Some Summations chapter really fucked me up in a good way. I do most of my reading while lying down right before sleep, and I had some intensely vivid dreams after reading that portion. Woke up still feeling off balance.

One thing I found particularly intense (and darkly funny, and also sweet, and sad, and and and) was
poor old Maytera Marble breaking down, losing her train of thought and wandering. Seeing the world as lines of code (either because she is breaking down or because IT'S A SIMULATION (don't tell me if I'm right)). And then finally making her way upstairs to Maytera Rose's room. The way I understood what happened here is that Rose has died, and she is a bio. Marble then ripped her chest open and started pulling organs out, out of her general confusion and assuming she could swap parts with her. Her worry about doing so being based on whether it counted as theft, then rationalizing it because Rose was no longer using the "parts" was hilarious, in a way.

UPDATE: Just remembered that Rose had a lot of artificial parts, even though she is a bio. I guess Marble could have been taking those. Still, "opening her chest" is a gloriously clinical/technical way to talk about cracking open a person's chest, and I suppose that gets to the whole question of the humanity/personness of chems and bios and bios with chem parts, etc.
 
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