gene wolfe's book of the NEWSUN!!!!! reading club

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i'm reading chapter one of shadow of the torturer starting now

the late great, Thursday, 17 May 2012 06:00 (seven years ago) link

i could get behind this, if i can find it for kindle

pet tommy & the barkhaters (darraghmac), Thursday, 17 May 2012 08:20 (seven years ago) link

i'm not ready to read them yet. this year though. definitely.

scott seward, Thursday, 17 May 2012 12:49 (seven years ago) link

i'd do them over the summer, but i'm not sure i'll get past the first one

remy bean, Thursday, 17 May 2012 13:01 (seven years ago) link

i mean the gimmick with them is that they are just a meandering, unreliable narrator a la casanova, right?

remy bean, Thursday, 17 May 2012 13:04 (seven years ago) link

I can't find these, actually. I picked up a short story collection.

poxen, Thursday, 17 May 2012 13:12 (seven years ago) link

remy - nope!

the late great, Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:22 (seven years ago) link

read the first one, kinda stalled on the 2nd one now and taking a break to read a robert b parker novel.
i will be happy to discuss this with you cuz it is... intersting. i think i like it. but somehow i go stalled on the 2nd cuz i felt it was becoming too generic? idk.

one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:26 (seven years ago) link

I'm in for summer, either way

remy bean, Thursday, 17 May 2012 15:27 (seven years ago) link

transient random-noise bursts. . . was in heavy rotation when i first read this and is now forever associated with it in my mind

mookieproof, Thursday, 17 May 2012 23:42 (seven years ago) link

awesome books, I can't commit to a re-read but I'm looking forward to this thread

los blue jeans, Friday, 18 May 2012 00:01 (seven years ago) link

i was going to read 'island of doctor death' and then go to this but island of dr death is triggering both the literary-prose and genre-fiction versions of my 'i just can't be bothered' button, and as such has been parked next to the toilet for something like a week

thomp, Friday, 18 May 2012 09:57 (seven years ago) link

i just noticed this is on the noise board, i forget the noise board exists

thomp, Friday, 18 May 2012 09:57 (seven years ago) link

pardon my cornell notes

"a thousand ages in they sight / are like an evening gone / short as the watch that ends the night / before the rising-sun" <- is this about god? is it about severian and his photographic memory, ruminating on mortality even though his life seems like a thousand ages to him? is it about the experience of reading this book? is it about the resurrection of the righteous? is it about the long decline of man before the destruction of earth?

it is a paraphrase of psalm 90, which in the king james version goes (SPOILER ALERT RE: URTH OF THE NEW SUN)

" For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up."

"resurrection and death" <- why inverted? especially when the first chapter skips the resurrection entirely and begins in the "and" section. is it normal to go swimming on foggy nights? damn, these kids must have had some crazy goosebumps.

why does severian imagine cutting

the late great, Friday, 18 May 2012 17:34 (seven years ago) link

haha actually SPOILER ART RE: corridors of time!!!

the late great, Friday, 18 May 2012 17:35 (seven years ago) link

er SPOILER ALERT

the late great, Friday, 18 May 2012 17:35 (seven years ago) link

whoops that got "cut off" if you will

why does severian imagine cutting off vodalus' head? does he secretly hate vodalus? is he afraid of one day having to betray vodalus?

the late great, Friday, 18 May 2012 17:36 (seven years ago) link

http://butdoesitfloat.com/This-was-the-first-time-that-he-had-ever-looked-into-the-labyrinth-of

^^ this is what i imagine nessus looking like

the late great, Saturday, 19 May 2012 21:45 (seven years ago) link

wow awesome thread! i am almost done with the last book, so very timely for me. these books are amazing.

bene_gesserit, Saturday, 19 May 2012 23:50 (seven years ago) link

I am gonna reread along with this thread.

mick signals, Sunday, 20 May 2012 00:54 (seven years ago) link

actually i guess the resurrection might refer to the grave robbery

the late great, Sunday, 20 May 2012 00:58 (seven years ago) link

book one just arrived to my kindle.

pet tommy & the barkhaters (darraghmac), Sunday, 20 May 2012 01:45 (seven years ago) link

or his exile is the resurrection? but that doesn't make sense, resurrection's not like exile.

the late great, Sunday, 20 May 2012 04:55 (seven years ago) link

xpost with the scifi fantasy thread - here's wayne barlowe's illustration of an alzabo. i pictured them looking far more canine for some reason, but i love this illustration.
http://lcart1.narod.ru/image/fantasy/wayne_barlowe/gtf/Wayne_Barlowe_Alzabo.jpg
i have a lot i want to talk about but you are all just getting started and i don't want to spoil anything! so i'll wait til you're done to join the discussion.

bene_gesserit, Sunday, 20 May 2012 22:49 (seven years ago) link

lol i have read this twice and remember remarkably little of it

mookieproof, Sunday, 20 May 2012 22:53 (seven years ago) link

That thing looks like a fanged rhino crossed with Dumb Donald.

Ian Hunter Is Learning the Game (James Redd and the Blecchs), Monday, 21 May 2012 00:01 (seven years ago) link

I always pictured a large hyena. Are those its eyes in its jowls?

mick signals, Monday, 21 May 2012 02:29 (seven years ago) link

transient random-noise bursts. . . was in heavy rotation when i first read this and is now forever associated with it in my mind

― mookieproof, Thursday, May 17, 2012 7:42 PM (4 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

might do this and this

A Little Princess btw (s1ocki), Monday, 21 May 2012 15:06 (seven years ago) link

picked this up again as i wanted to take a break from the country music bio i was reading. and

SPOILER

the part where they 34t th34cla and he somehow gets her memories is the kind of stuff i like about this series.

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 00:16 (seven years ago) link

finished chapters 2 and 3, not sure what to say about them quite yet ... thinking

the late great, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 15:52 (seven years ago) link

findin this v hard to get into

pet tommy & the barkhaters (darraghmac), Wednesday, 23 May 2012 16:15 (seven years ago) link

why?

the late great, Wednesday, 23 May 2012 17:14 (seven years ago) link

keep fallin asleep after every paragraph, tbh. it's dense.

pet tommy & the barkhaters (darraghmac), Thursday, 24 May 2012 00:55 (seven years ago) link

it is dense. i suggest reading aloud in a foppish voice.

the late great, Thursday, 24 May 2012 03:49 (seven years ago) link

^^^ lol.

i find it a bit of a hard read too, because the action moves a lot slower than a lot of what i have been reading lately, and i also fall asleep reading it. but.. i am keeping on. it's a strangely episodic book and i think some of the episodes are more engaging than others tbh.

one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 24 May 2012 15:29 (seven years ago) link

If you can find the audio version, read by Roy Avers for the National Library Service for the Blind, it's a nice version.

Spent the last 5 minutes looking for an old photo I remember, of Roy Avers in his big glasses, but can't find it.

mick signals, Thursday, 24 May 2012 16:50 (seven years ago) link

read that as Roy Ayers and got excited.

scott seward, Thursday, 24 May 2012 23:57 (seven years ago) link

you should read this book and get excited

the late great, Thursday, 24 May 2012 23:58 (seven years ago) link

i'm gonna. but not now. i have all three in hardcover.

scott seward, Friday, 25 May 2012 00:18 (seven years ago) link

i am on chapter 3 now

remy bean, Friday, 25 May 2012 01:01 (seven years ago) link

Everybody Loves the New Sunshine

mick signals, Friday, 25 May 2012 01:22 (seven years ago) link

lolllllll

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 25 May 2012 01:39 (seven years ago) link

the one thing I completely remember skipping when I read this a long time ago was that lengthy play at the end

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Friday, 25 May 2012 01:39 (seven years ago) link

ah you missed the whole point of the series then

the late great, Friday, 25 May 2012 06:03 (seven years ago) link

i'm glad i'm learning more about jonas.
it seemed like between the end of book 1 and the beginning of book 2 he became severian's best buddy without much explanation. i guess there is a lot that goes unexplained in these books tho.

one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 25 May 2012 15:32 (seven years ago) link

there is a gap of a few weeks or even a couple months between shadow and claw i think

the late great, Friday, 25 May 2012 15:39 (seven years ago) link

i do think severian does explain why he likes jonas so much

the late great, Friday, 25 May 2012 15:41 (seven years ago) link

guys i am reading gene wolfe's wiki and:

After returning to the United States he earned a degree from the University of Houston and became an industrial engineer. He edited the journal Plant Engineering for many years before retiring to write full-time, but his most famous professional engineering achievement is a contribution to the machine used to make Pringles potato chips.[5]

HOLY SHIT!!

bene_gesserit, Monday, 28 May 2012 04:28 (seven years ago) link

you people are lame

i'm not posting again until at least one other person finished chapter one and gets back to me about it

the late great, Monday, 28 May 2012 06:02 (seven years ago) link

lol linds, that is like the most commonly known trivia fact about gene wolfe! that and he's some weird branch of catholic.

i am almost done with book two, and fully back on board with this series btw. finished the play at the end of book two last night, ordered books three/four.
it is VERY strangely paced, that's for sure.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 28 May 2012 17:56 (seven years ago) link

btw i have been getting tons of kinda marginal, vintage SF paperbacks from the dollar rack at a local bookstore--leinster, leigh brackett, some doc smith and the occasional good title. a couple days ago i got a whole box of edgar rice burroughs books--complete tarzan, complete mars & venus stories, nearly complete pelllucidar & a bio & a big stack of one-offs. if anyone wants my doubles and/or stuff i am going to get rid of let me know. interesting trades considered.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 28 May 2012 17:59 (seven years ago) link

i was gonna start a new thread on ILB to give away my crap but i decided this makes as much sense as anywhere.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 28 May 2012 17:59 (seven years ago) link

haha well i didn't know anything about gene wolfe until now and that blew my mind.
if you find any octavia butler let me know. i've been looking for her stuff in used book stores with no luck. or anyone else i might like. also wondering if the book of the long sun or other gene wolfe is worth reading.

bene_gesserit, Monday, 28 May 2012 18:06 (seven years ago) link

i started the book of the long sun a long time ago -- it was both less dense and less interesting iirc

mookieproof, Monday, 28 May 2012 18:09 (seven years ago) link

i have an octavia butler book or two somewhere unless i sold 'em already.
i tried w her but it didn't work. her description of these aliens as masses of hair/tendrils kept grossing me out.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 28 May 2012 19:12 (seven years ago) link

ah you missed the whole point of the series then

― the late great, Thursday, May 24, 2012 11:03 PM (4 days ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

ah fuck

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Monday, 28 May 2012 19:13 (seven years ago) link

V, I've read as far as the greenhouse/garden scenes in the first book. I like it so far! I'm intrigued! My favorite bits are the nested stories, and the very elliptical way that older Sev omits certain pertinent-ish facts. F'rinstnace, I realized after far too long that creepy Dorcas is 'Cas,' the dead wife the older boatman's mourning for a few chapters prior.

nerds being macho (remy bean), Monday, 28 May 2012 20:39 (seven years ago) link

ok here's one of my favorite parts

"it struck me that his face was not only that of a fox but a stuffed fox. i have heard those who dig for their livelihood say there is no land anywhere in which they can trench without turning up the shards of the past. no matter where the spade turns the soil, it uncovers broken pavements and corroding metal; and scholars write that the kind of sand that artists call polychrome (because flecks of every color are mixed with its whiteness) is actually not sand at all, but the glass of the past, now pounded to powder by aeons of tumbling in the clamorous sea. if there are layers of reality beneath the reality we see, even as there are layers of history beneath the ground we walk upon, then in one of those more profound realities, his face was a fox's mask on a wall, and i marveled to see it turn and bend now toward the woman, achieving by those motions, which made expression and thought appear to play across it with the shadows of the nose and brows, an amazing and realistic appearance of vivacity"

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_llugdvAsG31qdkmano1_r2_1280.jpg

the late great, Monday, 28 May 2012 21:23 (seven years ago) link

do we know if book of the newsun directly inspired the boredoms in any way?

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 30 May 2012 18:44 (seven years ago) link

Does Frederik Pohl read this thread? He just blogged the Pringles factoid.

mick signals, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 20:03 (seven years ago) link

frederick pohl if you are reading this thread i <3 u for gateway

the late great, Wednesday, 30 May 2012 20:24 (seven years ago) link

by the way ian, it is absolutely true, in fact the covers of various boredoms albums are actually references to certain characters and places in the books

vision creation newsun depicts book 3, little [ ] touching the [ ] on the [ ] of typhon.

the inside illustrations depict the feast of vodalus when viewed in this manner ... note severian and vodalus seated at left and the food heaped on the right, the lines moving upward depict both the trees in the forest and the elevation of consciousness into visions including the new sun at the top, illustrated in black and white

there are several references in this boxset as well. from the top: 1) the tower of [ ] viewed looking upside down from the very top of the ship of the hierodules. the second image depicts the antechamber of the house absolute. the third cover shows the citadel of nessus or perhaps just one tower.

there are other references as well particularly in the super roots series of releases. onanie bomb depicts a masked severian, while super roots 3 depicts an executed criminal carved into five deaths (representing also severian's five deaths in the series = five caskets in the tomb). super roots five shows a hierogrammate as glimpsed in the house absolute, while super roots 7 shows an avern or perhaps the salamander elemental and super roots 8 depicts apheta's planet from book five. finally there is super are with the story represented schematically (severian and the new sun inside of himself)

the late great, Thursday, 31 May 2012 04:38 (seven years ago) link

iirc there's also an iron-cross shaped one in light greenish-blue that is carved into many radial segments, i believe that is a map of nessus or the house absolute, i forget which release that is though.

i think that's it though, obviously not everything they did was a reference to gene wolfe, especially the side projects

the late great, Thursday, 31 May 2012 04:43 (seven years ago) link

Finished the first book. Liked it a lot. Curious about how he'll bring a 'satisfying' conclusion abt. w/ only 3/4 to go, and very little plot movement thus far. (Or am I a savage for wanting more plot?)

nerds being macho (remy bean), Thursday, 31 May 2012 11:01 (seven years ago) link

how are you liking book two, remy?

one dis leads to another (ian), Tuesday, 5 June 2012 14:36 (seven years ago) link

i want severian's dog to come back :(

one dis leads to another (ian), Tuesday, 5 June 2012 14:37 (seven years ago) link

he does ;-)

the late great, Tuesday, 5 June 2012 15:03 (seven years ago) link

i bought the first three books over the weekend, and started the shadow of the torturer yesterday. this is my second attempt, as i tried many years ago to read the omnibus collection of the first two volumes, but for whatever reason, i find that i now remember only the part about triskele (lol), severian's three-legged dog. at first, wolfe's prose seemed distressingly dense and even somewhat comically pretentious, but the elevated, archaic language becomes familiar quite rapidly, and the initial torrent of obscure terms slows to a trickle after the first few chapters. i'm only a hundred pages deep, but have the hang of it, and don't find it at all oppressive.

i'm moving slowly not because the writing is difficult to decipher, but because i got sidetracked taking notes and compiling a glossary of unfamiliar terms. fifty pages in, i had twelve pages of transcribed passages and a list of nearly 100 terms with definitions. this turned 90 minutes reading time into about six hours of computer work. that was clearly a ridiculous way to go about things, so now i'm limiting myself to the use of a highlighter.

anyway, i'm struck by how comprehensively gothic the novel is. so elevated, enervated, aestheticized and death-obsessed. everything seems turned in on itself, the outward dream of classic science fiction grounded in ruin, wealth straying to poverty, ambition to servitude, sex to cruel fetish, ordered systems to suffocating ritual. severian even seems to make the gothic agenda explicit in suggesting that "our necropolis" was intentionally designed to resemble a mountain forest.

i'm also strongly reminded of michael moorcock's elric novels, which feature a similarly pitiless protagonist, a torturer's guild, a dying kingdom tyrannically ruled by bloodthirsty and long-limbed aristocrats, decadence curling into perversion, and a generally gothic tone.

looking forward to see where this all goes...

contenderizer, Monday, 11 June 2012 22:12 (seven years ago) link

i think parts of it are meant to be comically pretentious, or at least comically high-flown. there is a lot of humor in these books that is not immediately obvious.

it is comprehensively gothic, and yes, similar to elric, but unlike elric characters develop

the late great, Monday, 11 June 2012 22:18 (seven years ago) link

halfway through the second one. w/out spoilering, what I assume to be a PKDish turn (whale?) has got me interested.

indian rope trick (remy bean), Monday, 11 June 2012 22:20 (seven years ago) link

there is a lot of humor in these books that is not immediately obvious.

yeah, it's getting funnier as it goes. i especially enjoyed severian's assessment of master gurloes' failings, "he mispronounced quite common words: urticate, salpinx, bordereau."

and there's something suggestively almost-meta about passages like this: "we have books whose pages are matted of plants from which spring curious alkaloids, so that the reader, in turning their pages, is taken unaware by bizarre fantasies and chimeric dreams."

contenderizer, Monday, 11 June 2012 22:32 (seven years ago) link

some of the commentary on gender is weird (men are to women as clients are to torturers, women are too cruel to make good torturers, etc.), but i'm assuming/hoping that's more a product of severian and his society than of wolfe himself.

contenderizer, Monday, 11 June 2012 22:40 (seven years ago) link

there is a fair amount of meta stuff about writing which i think to some extent springs from broader issues of autobiography and memory, but yeah, if you thought that was something, there are books-within-books to come

i would like to say that it's a product of severian as far as gender goes, but even then things are not particularly great on that front. virgins, whores, mamas, crones and not much in between.

the late great, Monday, 11 June 2012 23:38 (seven years ago) link

SPOILERS UP THROUGH END OF #2.

Finished the second one. I'm reading slowly, and I took a break. I'm loving the twisty-turny narrative, and the meandering exposition w/r/t Sev.'s journeys, but I'm finding a lot of the writing pretty vague and poetic.

As one example, I grew confused about the physical structure of the cell, during the chapters about Sevarian's imprisonment under the autarch's palace. I had been lead to believe in a deep cavelike structure that trailed into Lovecrafty darkness and unlit grottoes. As the chapter progressed, though, he begain detailing neat corridors and metal walls – it seemed more like a military prison, or a submerged battleship. This isn't the first time this has happened – I wonder about the extent to which GW's changing tack is deliberate, and the extent to which it is (/might be) sloppy.

I'm confused about some other things as well:

– The second palace (i.e. are their two palaces coexisiting in the same physical location, linked by tricksy doors,
trompe-l'œil passages, and false walls? Or are there two palaces that /seem/ to exist in the same location, but are remote, a la the greenhouse/gardens with portal to other sides of the planet?).

– The witches. I am very, very confused by their resurrection of the stone city at the end of Claw of the Conciliator. My understanding is: Hildegrin, Jolenta, Dorcas, Sevarian, and some witches help the lead 'sleekly reptilian' witch-lady to commune with somebody on a distant star, who lets them roll back (?) time to resurrect an ancient city. The ancient city's ruler, Apu somebodyorother, spies the witches and attacks Hildegrin. Sevarian comes to Hildegrin's aid and gets conked on the head. When he awakes, he's with Jolenta (revealed as the waitress from book 1), and Dorcas, surrounded by 'wind-lashed grass and tumbled stones.' I assume this means the city was /not/ resurrected?

- The significance of Dr. Talos's play. I assume it is later revealed to be prophetic?

indian rope trick (remy bean), Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:07 (seven years ago) link

it's not vague, the detail is just buried. the place where severian is imprisoned is actually a luxurious converted ballroom or large drawing room of some sort in a versailles style. it might sound ostentatious but the series is really written as much for re-reading as it is for reading and a lot of details jump out at you the second or third time.

the "second house" is a series of hidden rooms and passageways in the house absolute. i think practically every room in the house is connected to the "second house" in some way, so that every room can be spied on or secretly accessed. there are magic mirrors in the second house but no colocated rooms ... that we know of, anyway.

the witches (and the cumean, who is a cacogen) have power over time the same way father inire has power over space. they don't so much travel in time as bring the two times into simultaneous existence. it is a confusing episode and severian spends chunks of three and four and five trying to figure it out. there are clues but the big reveal is at the end of the fourth book. if you want a hint, there is a connection between apu-punchau and the face in the tomb. btw, the cumean actually is a snake-like creature, not a humanoid.

dr talos' play is one of the most complicated parts of the book. it foreshadows the explication of past events, i.e. the history of old urth. it also explains the prophecies and teachings of the conciliator (which otherwise are not really explained) ... in one part of the book it mentions that talos' play is based on a book called "eschatology & genesis" which is the authoritative text on the conciliator.

it also foreshadows events in book 5 (the coming of the new sun) and reflects on the personalities of the main characters, particularly talos, dorcas and jolenta. i don't really think it directly signposts any particular events in books three and four but like i said it is a really deep section of the book and i haven't sussed out all of the threads yet.

the late great, Wednesday, 20 June 2012 17:44 (seven years ago) link

when i say it "foreshadows past events" i mean that it is a metaphorical / allegorical explanation of the history of old urth (for example, what happened before the autarchal system was established. what happened to the sun?) which is then explained in a much more concrete way in the third book (and slightly in the fourth)

the late great, Wednesday, 20 June 2012 18:02 (seven years ago) link

started book three yesterday, will post thoughts as they come to me

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 25 June 2012 13:59 (seven years ago) link

just about to finish book one. afraid to read this thread b/c everyone's ahead of me, but i'm really, really enjoying it. i thought it was a little hard to get into until the interaction between thecla and severian started, but ever since then i've been into it.

karl...arlk...rlka...lkar..., Monday, 25 June 2012 15:41 (seven years ago) link

I've started three, too. It's my favorite so far. Might have spoilered myself on some stuff. Thx for clearing ^ up, late great

indian rope trick (remy bean), Monday, 25 June 2012 20:17 (seven years ago) link

i always forget that severian is running around barechested.. then they mention it. and i lol.

one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 29 June 2012 01:57 (seven years ago) link

just finished book three last night. started book four.

things got pretty weird!
but i still have a problem with some of the filler chapters/adventures. the pace can be very plodding when some of the events recounted by severian seem relatively... inconsequential? idk. i'm sure it will all come together.

one dis leads to another (ian), Tuesday, 10 July 2012 15:10 (seven years ago) link

any events in particular?

the late great, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 18:58 (seven years ago) link

these books would be a lot better with more dragons

Lamp, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 22:06 (seven years ago) link

that's like saying dune would be better with ornithopter dogfights

anyway the undines are the dragons, and this is low fantasy, so no, you can't battle dragons no matter how big your tool is

the late great, Tuesday, 10 July 2012 23:29 (seven years ago) link

gene wolfey knows to reserve his big sword for the ladeez

Lamp, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 00:03 (seven years ago) link

the pace can be very plodding when some of the events recounted by severian seem relatively... inconsequential?

it's been a while but iirc some of the seemingly inconsequential events turn out to not be?

mookieproof, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 00:32 (seven years ago) link

every event relates to the plot though not every event advances the plot, if that makes sense

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 00:43 (seven years ago) link

I've finished book three as well. I was digging the Big Bad of the Mountain Autarch, and his Window-Eyes of Doom and Jodorowskyan Psycho-Fuckwithery, but he was dispensed quickly and nothing really came of it? Same as * spoiler * little Sevarian? I liked the direction in which the plot was moving but then *zap* and kapow and the Giant fell and ... uhh... here I am, in a sick ward in the first third of the fourth book.

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 01:20 (seven years ago) link

I guess I had trouble w/ li'l Sev's death and the ensuing one page of 'ooh, that's sad' before 'back to my quest I go.' I've got to admit, I dislike this book as much as I like it, but I have no desire to stop reading it. It is good? And bad?

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 01:21 (seven years ago) link

what did you expect to happen when he fought baldanders?

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 01:25 (seven years ago) link

It just seems that Baldanders was a weird callback? He wasn't anticipated (to me) as a villain; he didn't figure in my comprehension of the narrative structure of the book. He was a colorful Guildenstern to Talos's Rosencrantz, a B-lister who got called up unexpectedly. I didn't have any investment in him – nor in the continuation of his character. I don't know how much i buy the progression from 'big Queequeg guy who sleeps in S.'s bed and has weird dreams --> guy that acts crazy onstage --> guy who actually goes crazy and attacks an audience at the autarch's palace --> enormous superstrength monster who keeps a foggy castle full of genetic experiments that turn on him, with the aid of extraterrestrial creeps --> guy that appears to die but probably doesn't.

I'll admit how much I'm glad to have read this far, and that the story is a decidedly new type for me. I'm still flummoxed, tho.

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 01:34 (seven years ago) link

kinda gotta agree w Remy in that the baldanders thing at the end of book three was a surprise & seemed to come out of the blue. also the revelation that dr. talos was a homonculus.

the drawn out fight with the alzabo that kills little severian's family seemed a bit unnecessary to me. likewise the incident with the salamander.

i'm sure something is going to happen with dorcas but going through most of Sword of the Lictor without any advancement of her plot (except the explicit statement that she used to be dead) was a bit of a drag. i understand there is only one character given the privilege of narrating the story and so we see things only through his eyes, and of course that is just the consequence of the way Wolfe chose to write the book, but its challenge because if you get bored there is no knowledge that something else is gonna happen? idk. it actually reads a bit like a D&D campaign to me where monsters randomly attack and magical experiences are had in a seemingly endless stream without much rhyme or reason?

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 03:26 (seven years ago) link

i do like that in this book you saw much more of severian as a scheming, cold and self-serving guy instead of just a man beset by trials and tribulations with which he must contend.

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 03:27 (seven years ago) link

tbh i thought the idea of the moving islands of roots was one of the best images i've had in my head in a while. A+

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 03:30 (seven years ago) link

both baldanders and typhon represent the folly of scientific materialism. they are both mountains of men yet both are dependent on leaser beings: baldanders on a physical midget and typhon on a mental midget (contrast to the relationship between severian and little sev). actually they mirror each other: a silent giant with a smaller, more talkative companion. both see things others do not (typhon's eyes, the cloud chambers), both live unnaturally extended lives, both are betrayed by a tool, both seek to bargain with the hierodules and both are betrayed

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 03:36 (seven years ago) link

are they both worth the same # of xps tho?

Lamp, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 03:44 (seven years ago) link

feel like you guys maybe read books for different reasons than i do

maybe that's why i can't watch tv, it's like this never ending stream of *things happening* w/o much reflection

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 03:47 (seven years ago) link

also when you say you "expected something to happen w dorcas" does realizing she's been resurrected and then not only is she not grateful to severian but she literally dumps him and goes back to the city of the dead?

i'd say "something happened"!

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 03:51 (seven years ago) link

the late great why do you read books?

Lamp, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:01 (seven years ago) link

to suspend the flow of time, to meditate, to be places i haven't been, to commune with other minds, to engage w ideas

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:10 (seven years ago) link

i like digressive and atmospheric stuff, things like stanislaw lem and borges

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:11 (seven years ago) link

~hero~

mookieproof, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:12 (seven years ago) link

honestly i mostly read nonfiction history and cultural books though so maybe that's why wolfe appeals to me?

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:13 (seven years ago) link

I dont read nonfiction history but read things like stanislaw lem and borges

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:15 (seven years ago) link

late great have you read the rings of saturn

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:16 (seven years ago) link

read that even lamp wont talk shit about that

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:16 (seven years ago) link

is that sebald? no but i like stuff like that a lot.

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:17 (seven years ago) link

i am going to reread these i think, i want to talk about books but i read these like three maybe four summers ago and found them kinda obscurantist and gross, like there were a lot of words but not very many ideas. and the ideas he does have are the same ugly ones lots of these books have about the solitary male but i dont really remember much except the part where they fight the monsters army that lives in the ocean, ever growing, and how its troops can only communicate in stock phrases, i liked that a lot

Lamp, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:17 (seven years ago) link

yeah read rings of saturn as soon as you can xp

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:17 (seven years ago) link

there are lots of ideas, a lot of them are about christianity though

the army doesn't live in the ocean, but they are allies w/ the creatures in the ocean

i've only read austerlitz and vertigo

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:18 (seven years ago) link

rings of saturn is best imho but that is mho so who knows

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:19 (seven years ago) link

i like sebald but i like thomas bernhard more, that's a different conversation though and probably not related much to wolfe

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:21 (seven years ago) link

read that even lamp wont talk shit about that

sebald is dope it think we talked about this once on ilx? i feel like i tired to get you to read 'memories of the future' and/or 'letter killers club' but maybe that was someone else/another conversation...

the army doesn't live in the ocean, but they are allies w/ the creatures in the ocean

no i know that i thought the creatures controlled them or something? its also p vague but i thought only one of the creatures lived in the ocean and it was always growing or something?

Lamp, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:21 (seven years ago) link

i like sebald but i like thomas bernhard more, that's a different conversation though and probably not related much to wolfe

― the late great, Tuesday, July 10, 2012 9:21 PM (52 seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this is 100% reasonable, I agree w/ this, but rings of saturn is a completely different beast I think, also read war and war by krasznahorkai if you haven't, sorry about hijacking the wolfe thread, I'll back off now

read that even lamp wont talk shit about that

sebald is dope it think we talked about this once on ilx? i feel like i tired to get you to read 'memories of the future' and/or 'letter killers club' but maybe that was someone else/another conversation...

― Lamp, Tuesday, July 10, 2012 9:21 PM (36 seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

nah someone else but I'll check that shit out

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:26 (seven years ago) link

it's very vague and it's never clear if abaia is one creature, many creatures, a culture, a race or what.

the creatures in the ocean make a deal with the army from the north, but the hierodules - and the undines - both make clear that they're not manipulating human events even though they're somewhat involved in them

in the end it turns out that undines and the hierodules want the same thing anyway but i'm not going to spoil that one

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:26 (seven years ago) link

sorry but you guys sound like roman in that one ep of party down

puff puff post (uh oh I'm having a fantasy), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:28 (seven years ago) link

y'all should read p. mckillip's riddlemaster series imo

it is briefer and less convoluted and similarly awesome

mookieproof, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:28 (seven years ago) link

who's roman?? what's party down? what did he sound like?

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:29 (seven years ago) link

i don't actually think this wolfe book is meant to be a mystery, if you read all four carefully i think almost all of the plot threads are pretty clear, it's just the subtle ways in which they're tied together which is obscure

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:30 (seven years ago) link

i think one of my favorite parts of book three is when he's wandering in the mountains after escaping thrax but before finding the cottage in the mountains, and he's delirious and just experiencing looking at the stars in the mountains on a clear night and seeing clouds from above and the sunrise and what not, it's just beautiful and evocative and captures something that i've also felt when looking at mountains and stars and clouds

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:33 (seven years ago) link

oh he looks like a pretty chiil dude

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:39 (seven years ago) link

he bones that chick, right?

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:39 (seven years ago) link

no he forgot to carry around his badass sword

Lamp, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:41 (seven years ago) link

maybe next episode

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 04:44 (seven years ago) link

both baldanders and typhon represent the folly of scientific materialism

y'know i think i hate books where something REPRESENTS something else. or maybe i just hate this book and there's a dozen counterexamples i can't think of.

ledge, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 08:19 (seven years ago) link

late great -- don't get me wrong -- i do not dislike these books, and i will continue to read them and may even read the book of the long sun or w/e.

I do find the structure & flow of these books a bit difficult tho -- I understand that it's written as Sev's memoir and so of course there is a lot Wolfe can do with that and does do quite well w/r/t omission of detail etc but i still find it a bit tough to wade thru some of the less compelling adventures. Whether you want to blame that on Sev's lack of narrative skills or something else is up to the individual i guess.

I read books primarily for entertainment, though I do read a lot of biography as well. I also read books to stimulate my own thoughts and to become engaged in another world or a scenario that otherwise I would be unable to experience. I do not find Wolfe to be all that engaging--there are plenty of episodes in the books that are neat-o (stuff with Jonas I liked a lot, the botanical garden of crazy dimensions, the floating islands, the consumption of Thecla) but I also find long stretches where I am just waiting for something to happen. Idk.

re: Dorcas -- it just seems strange when you build someone up as one of the only other major characters in the book only for her to disappear for almost the entirety of one of the books. I think she was a good foil for Severian and their conversations were good reading, for me.

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 15:07 (seven years ago) link

^ well, wolfe writes in such a way that there are a lot of stubs in sevarian's story. dorcas: she's a savior! she's a lover! she's sickly! she's resentful! she's just ... gone! she was the dead boatman's wife! is a nice little progression of events, but they don't feel like they add up to anything. it seems to me that there's an episodic quality to the novels' structure that undermines the carefulness of the presentation and the cogency of the world-building. what i mean to say is: there's no objective correlative for sevarian's internal issue, whatever it is. there isn't really an internal issue at all, that i can tell. robert penn warren talks eloquently of the 'yearn' at the heart of every great character, the inarticulable, inchoate, desire for some (x) that motivates the character like the virgin mary's immaculately burning heart and is expressed or denied in terms of the outside action in the narrative. but with sevarian....

now, not every story need follow so strict a path as warren says –– but sevarian's story is clearly, one about growth and an expanding understanding of the world, and the slow drip of information about humankind's fall and afterlife. but why? is sevarian especially curious? no – not based on anything i've read. in some chapters, as ian alludes to, he's a hollow shirtless navigator bumbling around and seeing A Thing and engaging The Thing and moving on. But, for many of the chapters, there's no thrill or contribution to the meaning. the village of mages? the fire salamander? the green man? they're interludes, but on the way to what? you can make an argument that together they are all blips in a pointillist painting that will make sense only upon completing the novel, but i'm not buying it. at least not now. many of the incidents don't contribute to the story (i.e. sevarian's journey; education; growth) nor the plot (his physical steps to becoming Whatever He Becomes), which, ideally, are entwined ends. they're just 'a funny thing happened on the way to return the claw'

like ian, i'll continue reading. and i'll continue enjoying. but i'm reserving my right to be critical.

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 17:16 (seven years ago) link

also nobody seems to have a body, a la george martin

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 17:27 (seven years ago) link

you're not reading carefully enough

severian's yearning is to bring things back to life

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 18:46 (seven years ago) link

maybe that becomes clear later on, and he is always 'thinking about trying to use the claw' but tbh a much more motivating factor for him seems to be sex? with thecla and cyriaca especially, his lust causes him all sorts of problems and seems to motivate a lot of the major action in the book.

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 19:26 (seven years ago) link

fwiw i just stumbled upon genewolfebookclub.com and it is pretty neat stuff i guess..

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 19:28 (seven years ago) link

i would say the sex thing is fairly true to life ;-)

but then there's also triskele, and his childhood experiences in the crypt watching nature come to life, and his ambitions as a child to bring the new sun back to life and to restore humanity, etc etc

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 19:33 (seven years ago) link

you're not reading carefully enough

is kind of ridiculous, v.

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 22:55 (seven years ago) link

sorry :-(

the late great, Wednesday, 11 July 2012 23:35 (seven years ago) link

hard to read closely when it's hard to tell what's gonna be relevant and what's just stage dressing imo. also tough to read closely when i am half in the bag and going to sleep.

one dis leads to another (ian), Wednesday, 11 July 2012 23:57 (seven years ago) link

tbf the book does end w/ severian telling you to go back and re-read again

the late great, Thursday, 12 July 2012 00:23 (seven years ago) link

how many times have you read this, TLG?

one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 12 July 2012 14:37 (seven years ago) link

front to back four times over the last year

but i often dip back in and read a few chapters at a time

the late great, Thursday, 12 July 2012 18:10 (seven years ago) link

wow, four times in a year. that is impressive in some way.

one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 12 July 2012 18:54 (seven years ago) link

eh, not really

i tend to get obsessed with a few books and read them over and over again rather than reading a broad range of stuff

some other ones i keep re-reading are engine summer, the cornelius chronicles (moorcock), stars in my pocket like grains of sand (delany), lovecraft's stories, etc

this is probably the first time in my adult life though i've got caught up in a multi-volume epic, it's kind of surprising because i really don't care for like tolkien or george martin

the late great, Thursday, 12 July 2012 20:19 (seven years ago) link

i think maybe i just relate very strongly to severian?

the late great, Thursday, 12 July 2012 20:21 (seven years ago) link

that is true actually, i feel a very strong kinship to severian

severian is kinda bipolar i guess in that he swings from feeling like an outcast, a traitor and a failure and feeling like king of the whole world and jesus' son

i can relate to that

the late great, Thursday, 12 July 2012 20:38 (seven years ago) link

interesting that stars in my pocket is on your reread list, late great. of all the delaney i've read (and i've read all of it except the nevèrÿon stuff, hogg, phallos, and mad men), it is the least fulfilling title in the catalogue. what do you like about it? if i think about it, i can see some tonal/formal similarities b/w it and newsun... and they're kind of evenly sprinkled on the attractor/repulsor matrix.

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Thursday, 12 July 2012 21:17 (seven years ago) link

i think the main character in stars in my pocket (marq dyeth, not rat korga) has a very believable interior voice and i find it easy to relate to his thoughts and feelings ... for example, at the beginning, when he remembers a human hand and alien hand linked together in the dappled sunshine of a tree-shaded playground. i have memories and feelings like that too.

i also found the world (and universe) very believable, it felt three-dimensional and solid to me, like there are all sorts of little idiosyncrasies and bits of alien-ness but they don't feel alien, they just feel like a natural part of an alien world, not like classic sci-fi "oh here's a bit of futurism or theoretical physics and let me explain it to you", something a bit more whole and rounded than that.

i guess lovecraft is the same way? i relate pretty strongly to most of lovecraft's narrators (i guess because i'm an indoors-y neurotic bookworm too?) and the world he sketches is very atmospheric, with the fantastic details more often obscured than explained

i dunno though, none of what i'm writing here feels exactly right or like i'm doing justice to it

the late great, Thursday, 12 July 2012 23:04 (seven years ago) link

i promise i'll get back to this

i read like cookie monster eats (darraghmac), Thursday, 12 July 2012 23:05 (seven years ago) link

front to back four times over the last year

wau

mookieproof, Thursday, 12 July 2012 23:30 (seven years ago) link

late great, have you read any clark ashton smith? king of atmospheric Weird Tales writers

one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 13 July 2012 02:42 (seven years ago) link

a tiny sliver, only "white worm" and "out of space and time"

what else is good?

the late great, Friday, 13 July 2012 03:17 (seven years ago) link

i often confuse august derleth and clark ashton smith. i know i am not crazy about derleth but i am pretty sure that's why i always pass on them, then later i remember he's lovecraft's friend, not his publisher.

the late great, Friday, 13 July 2012 03:20 (seven years ago) link

but didn't he help w/ the dreamlands? and the king in yellow? or am i just super confused?

the late great, Friday, 13 July 2012 03:20 (seven years ago) link

nope that's robert t. chambers

the late great, Friday, 13 July 2012 03:25 (seven years ago) link

er w. chambers

the late great, Friday, 13 July 2012 03:26 (seven years ago) link

maybe we should have a wyrd fiction thread.

ledge, Friday, 13 July 2012 08:08 (seven years ago) link

^ yes

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Friday, 13 July 2012 13:25 (seven years ago) link

awesome

american consumer goods (los blue jeans), Saturday, 14 July 2012 03:03 (seven years ago) link

k so i've been thinking about what you guys said and i am going to make an admission

for awhile the third book was definitely my least favorite and i agree i was also taken aback by the sudden downshifting, so much so that i totally skimmed a lot of the thrax stuff. it was also one of the books that i found most improved by rereading. now i feel kind of silly for being so badly thrown by the transition because the same thing happened at the beginning of the second book.

so here's how i look at the books so far

shadow of the torturer - so the shadow stretches out before severian because it's the beginning of his journey, poisoning the things it falls across (thecla, agia / agilus, nessus, severian himself). at the same time his shadow falls across things more or less by chance. there is also the intimation of a shadow falling across him. there's the story about the angel that alludes to either doom or invincibility, baldanders, the atrium of time, malrubius' ghost, etc.

claw of the conciliator - after having caused so much misfortune in the first book, severian takes up his religious and mystical calling. he gives counsel to agilus, frees the man in green, tames the man-apes, turns the other cheek to agia, takes mass, nurses jonas, meets caesar, glimpses cacogens, nurses jolenta, meets witches and resurrects apu punchau. at this point it becomes clear that carrying the claw is a bit like carrying a cross or a crown of thorns. in contrast to this charity, he's actually abandoned by his companions more than once (jonas and talos)

sword of the lictor - so now the claw has lengthened into a big long sword and he has to learn to deal with the burden (remember the sword is actually described as looking like a cross) of heroism and authority. there's this strong contrast between traditional fantasy heroism and christian heroism. on both levels he is harshly tested. he succumbs to temptation with cyriaca. his faith is tested when he learns humanity is controlled by cacogens. he has another vision of hell. he does manage to resurrect a child but realizes he can't do anything about the squalor. dorcas doesn't accept her rebirth and leaves. he baptises the prisoners but can't save them. he can't save the family from the alzabo. he gets his adopted son killed. typhon is interesting because to defeat typhon he performs a mercy killing of an innocent. he meets the cacogens but barely understands their reassurances that they - the hierodules, anyway - treasure free will. he fights baldanders to a draw.

so i think also part of sword of the lictor is that it reflects a lot on the lengthening story and a lot of these episodes reflect back on the events of the first two books.

thrax is like an inversion of nessus, and now he is in charge of his own citadel. he descends into and back out of thrax as he does nessus. this whole bit reminded me a lot of proust taking the carriage down in the valley, etc etc. unlike severian at the nessus river, dorcas at the river rejects her rebirth. he leaves in exile again after repeating the whole thecla debacle with cyriaca. the alzabo thing is like a meditation on the thecla thing. he duels baldanders as he dueled agilus and again there's a miracle and his opponent flees. again, this is a bit of a debacle. there's a whole lot of mercy-killing going on here too. speaking of which, the baldanders thing completes the story that talos and baldanders have been telling since severian ran into them and severian is left again questioning what exactly being a hero is accomplishing.

anyway i'm kind of losing my train of thought.

the late great, Monday, 16 July 2012 09:59 (seven years ago) link

hey LGG thanx for that post.
midway thru book 4 now and it seems like severian is trying himself to put perspective on all the things that have happened to him which is sort of a 'big moment' in terms of understanding the earlier books.

one dis leads to another (ian), Thursday, 19 July 2012 15:28 (seven years ago) link

oh yeah, did that make sense?

the late great, Thursday, 19 July 2012 16:22 (seven years ago) link

i'm way, way behind because i, uh, lost the shadow of the torturer for a while there. i looked and looked but couldn't find it, so i read other things instead (amelia gray's threats is wonderful, btw, if crushingly sad). turns out it was in an old grocery bag. so...

i'm midway through the claw of the conciliator. i'm not sure i really like these books, tbh, but at least volume two has a bit more momentum than the first. my problem is that i don't find the prose, characters or plotting particularly engaging, and i'm not yet sure what i'm supposed to be reading for. i gather that the ostensible appeal, as the late great says, is that digression and atmosphere, but the writing only occasionally hooks me on that level (despite my love of both borges and lem). for instance, i was giddy with happiness of the suggestion, at the beginning of book two, that nessus' wall divides the world "as the mere line between their covers does two books." easy basket, maybe, but wonderful nonetheless. unfortunately, such moments are rare, at least so far.

have had the suspicion from the beginning that the series will resemble borges' "the approach to al-mu'tasim", attar's "the conference of the birds" and pamuk's the black book, with the seeker eventually becoming the thing he seeks. we'll see...

contenderizer, Thursday, 19 July 2012 18:30 (seven years ago) link

i also like how severian piously warns that if you're looking for gore, death and suffering, you won't find it here. then launches into a bunch more gore, death and suffering than the first book held. that sounds snarky, but i really do enjoy the occasional suggestions of unreliability in his narration.

contenderizer, Friday, 20 July 2012 00:28 (seven years ago) link

oh i don't think it's too similar to lem.

it is similar to some borges, but not other stuff. for example, apu punchau vs circular ruins, sign of the compass vs the whole agia/autarch thing, etc.

the seeker eventually becoming the thing he seeks

no, i don't think so. severian is not the new sun, severian is the "white fountain" (hint hint) that cancels the black worm at the center of the sun.

severian's symbol is not the sun or the cross, it's the rose, the thorn (claw) and the fountain

thy sweet rose survived
while shone the morning sun, then drooped and died.

E. C. B.

now the rose symbolizes blood and martyrdom in a lot of cultures, but i'm going to argue that in christianity it is the thorn that symbolizes sacrifice (no one is martyred by the torturers)

the messianic male leader over every nation, serving as the only suitable replacement sacrifice to God in the place of all humanity, which had been sentenced to eternal death for their disobedience in the Garden of Eden... thus forshadowing the crown of thorns.

note though that he only carries one thorn. the real messianic leaders is ... the one character who gets martyred again and again, the autarch (not the same as severian)

so what about the rose, then?

i would argue it's the rosy cross

"the cross represents the human body and the rose represents the individual's unfolding consciousness ... to prepare a new phase ... to be used during the coming age now at hand, for as the world and man evolve so also must religion change"

severian is a sort of rrosicrrucian

according to eckert rosicrucians are "children of light, are opposed to darkness. They dislike mystification and secrecy; they are open and frank, have nothing to do with secret societies and with external ceremonies. They possess a spiritual temple, in which God is presiding"

from wikipedia

"As regeneration is the key to spiritual existence, they therefore founded their symbolism upon the rose and the cross, which typify the redemption of man through the union of his lower temporal nature with his higher eternal nature ... the rose female and the cross male, both universal phallic [...] As generation is the key to material existence"

albert pike

"But [the cross's] peculiar meaning is that given to it by the Ancient Egyptians ... represented on the oldest monuments ... it is the symbol of Life ... The ROSE, was anciently sacred to Aurora and the Sun. It is a symbol of Dawn, of the resurrection of Light and the renewal of life, and therefore of the dawn of the first day, and more particularly of the resurrection: and the Cross and Rose together are therefore hieroglyphically to be read, the Dawn of Eternal Life which all Nations have hoped for by the advent of a Redeemer."[20]"

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 02:10 (seven years ago) link

severian is tested by four elemental beasts (salamander, slug, notules ... ascians?)

The four arms of the cross belong to the four elements and are colored accordingly. The white portion belongs to the Holy Spirit and the planets.

and this sounds like the magic mirrors of father inire

The petals of the rose refer to the twenty-two paths on the Tree of Life and the Twenty-two letters of the Hebrew alphabet. It is the cross in Tiphareth, the receptacle and the center of the forces of the Sephiroth and the paths. The extreme center of the rose is white, the reflected spiritual brightness of Kether, bearing upon it the Red Rose of Five Petals and the Golden Cross of Six Squares; four green rays issue from around the angles of the cross. Upon the white portion of the lamen, below the rose, is placed the hexagram, with the planets.

five petals = five severians

six squares = oannes, eata, autarch, dorcas, thecla, sun

four green rays = green man, jonas, tzadkiel ... severian?

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 02:18 (seven years ago) link

the planets would be:

- hierodules (barbatus, famulimus, ossipago, cumaen, inire, ?)

- sephirot (tzadkiel)

- undines and abaia (green man?!)

- arioch, scylla and the alzabo (the spice must flow)

- time (hethor, jonas, psychics, witches, torturers, baldanders, man-apes etc)

- mirror universe (where hethor and jonas and malrubius and triskele come back from)

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 02:25 (seven years ago) link

not sure what the cross is, i think there are six caskets in the open tomb?

severian is not jesus, he's jesus' son

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 02:26 (seven years ago) link

i'll take your word for it, i think

mookieproof, Friday, 20 July 2012 02:39 (seven years ago) link

these guys are the six leftover gods

oannes - severian, death, dawn
dorcas - mother, life, moon
thecla - temptress, sex, moon
odilo - father, autarch, sun
the sun - god, life, sun
eata - atheist

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 02:59 (seven years ago) link

i guess the six caskets are the five severians + the open casket of TIME

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 03:00 (seven years ago) link

i like the way you think.
if i had any knowledge of the new testament at all (lol jews) would this stuff seem more apparent to me? because i wouldn't say much of this stuff is obvious on the surface to me.

one dis leads to another (ian), Friday, 20 July 2012 03:36 (seven years ago) link

yeah i have some knowledge of this stuff

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 03:39 (seven years ago) link

there are a lot of hints in lexicon urthus, also remember i've reread it a bunch of times!

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 03:40 (seven years ago) link

finished. sorting thoughts. ending improves sequence significantly. but still doesn't explain away episodic narrative. something about teleology and dr. talos.

baking (soda), Friday, 20 July 2012 04:48 (seven years ago) link

word

now ... reread!

the late great, Friday, 20 July 2012 04:59 (seven years ago) link

oannes - severian, death
atheist - eata, nihilism

just realized that the aspects here are equinox (severian) and eclipse (eata)

a lot of the mystical stuff that's hinted at in the first four books (for example, what happens when the sun comes back and what kind of godz humanity has in the age of new sun) are fully explicated in "urth of the new sun"

the late great, Saturday, 21 July 2012 00:46 (seven years ago) link

actually that's backwards, apu punchau causes the eclipse, the equinox is when they're in eata's boat

the late great, Saturday, 21 July 2012 00:47 (seven years ago) link

*crickets*

who are people's favorite characters?

put me down for palaemon and malrubius, jonas and the archivist

the late great, Sunday, 22 July 2012 05:37 (seven years ago) link

to suspend the flow of time, to meditate, to be places i haven't been, to commune with other minds, to engage w ideas
--the late great

Terabytes of FLACS of screaming (Call the Cops), Sunday, 22 July 2012 06:14 (seven years ago) link

I like Jonas! I didn't realize how much I liked him until he was gone. And I didn't realize the extent to which he was a humanizing influence on Sev (ironically, I guess...). And I liked sad Jolenta. I think I missed some of her story? She was the waitress who served Talos, all glamoured up by the good doctor homunculus. Then she died. In between, she may have been raped by Sevarian. Yes?

uncondensed milky way (remy bean), Sunday, 22 July 2012 12:44 (seven years ago) link

you got it

the late great, Sunday, 22 July 2012 18:38 (seven years ago) link

severian def has sex w passed-out jolenta but it's not clear how she feels about it (i don't recall her bringing it up but when they get back they're embarrassed)

the late great, Sunday, 22 July 2012 18:39 (seven years ago) link

Time to list Father Inire's numerous appearances?

Terabytes of FLACS of screaming (Call the Cops), Monday, 23 July 2012 14:10 (seven years ago) link

no no no wat a few days.
i am almost done.

ultimately glad i read these, not planning on a re-read at least for a few months. i have too much other stuff to read. like the "new" ed sanders book and a stack of charles williams paperbacks and that byrds bio i stalled on 4 months back.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 23 July 2012 16:02 (seven years ago) link

lg: is inire a hierodule?

baking (soda), Monday, 23 July 2012 16:21 (seven years ago) link

yes, as is the cumaean

the late great, Monday, 23 July 2012 19:31 (seven years ago) link

who are people's favorite characters?

there are no characters in this book, thats part of the reason its so annoying

i am trying to reread this but its p stultifying and sort of empty, like i get excited about the book reading the late greats posts but i dont think the novels really bear him out they dont really seem to about anything even while signifying so much, like how much of this stuff matters?

Lamp, Tuesday, 24 July 2012 04:23 (six years ago) link

so what book do you think i'm reading?

the late great, Tuesday, 24 July 2012 04:40 (six years ago) link

in search of lost time?

Lamp, Tuesday, 24 July 2012 04:48 (six years ago) link

needs more elric

the late great, Tuesday, 24 July 2012 05:05 (six years ago) link

finished this last night, finally.
good book.
should re-read. will re-read. but not right now.
picked up in the last four-five chapters, but i still would not consider this to be like, one of the best things i've ever read or anything. gene wolfe must've been real proud of himself for crafting such a fine puzzle so full of references to itself and to science and etc but i still find the structure of the book and its pacing to be v problematic for me personally.

one dis leads to another (ian), Saturday, 4 August 2012 14:03 (six years ago) link

i spent enough time thinking 'maybe i will reread this' that i could probably have read another, smaller book in that time

thomp, Saturday, 4 August 2012 14:05 (six years ago) link

i read three other books during my reading of the book of the new sun. whenever i would get bored or feel like it was going nowhere i would read a nice short detective story full of action and adventure

one dis leads to another (ian), Saturday, 4 August 2012 14:13 (six years ago) link

you know, there is a sort of tradition in writing of "the encyclopedic novel", starting w/ don quixote, where the author attempts to include, well, everything!

i think book of the new sun falls in there

now whenever you feel bored of whatever you're reading though you can dip in to one chapter of book of the new sun

the late great, Saturday, 4 August 2012 17:31 (six years ago) link

:)

one dis leads to another (ian), Saturday, 4 August 2012 17:47 (six years ago) link

have you read book of the long sun/short sun etc? what do you think

one dis leads to another (ian), Saturday, 4 August 2012 17:50 (six years ago) link

i keep starting long sun and i can't get farther than a few chapters. i am not sure if there's problems with the OCR in the ebook i got or if there's just weird language and formatting issues going on. it has a very different feel to book of the new sun, i'll tell you that. much lighter, i think. i guess it seems more like a standard sci-fi story and less of a weird, elegaic meditation on humanity and its executioner

the late great, Saturday, 4 August 2012 17:53 (six years ago) link

also short sun looks like bog-standard sci fi stuff but i still plan to read it

the late great, Saturday, 4 August 2012 17:53 (six years ago) link

i think a major part of the book is just that theme of how much of "everything" is in the particular event. are all events linked? is it all part of god's plan? is the design of the rose, of the whole rosebush, hidden in the thorn? what things are part of severian's destiny and what things are accidents? what details are illuminating, yes in the sense of medieval illuminations?

i think of it actually as a novel of religious and philosophical ideas. my parents have always been into christian history and apologetics and my sister is a prof of medieval art, so i mainly enjoy it on that level rather than the mystery. i think after a few readings this is what the mystery becomes about, not whether that was father inire we glimpsed or just a hunchback in a cowl.

the late great, Saturday, 4 August 2012 17:54 (six years ago) link

i mean the book even includes a book-inside-the-book that purportedly holds the sum of human wisdom (orange catholic bible?) but every time severian opens it's totally obscure what it's getting at and very ambiguous about how it relates to the present i think that's the real mystery of book of the new sun. is oannes a loving god or a cruel god? which characters in tale of frog and fish are human and which are cacogens? what does the parable of fechin represent. what does it say about art and reproduction that the fechin story is the last story dude tells in his life - and then the alzabo shows up!

the late great, Saturday, 4 August 2012 17:56 (six years ago) link

i appreciate your insight into this, i want you to know.

one dis leads to another (ian), Saturday, 4 August 2012 18:32 (six years ago) link

awesome!!!

:-D

the late great, Monday, 6 August 2012 18:36 (six years ago) link

lol

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 6 August 2012 18:36 (six years ago) link

shredding guitar kills ms every time

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 6 August 2012 18:37 (six years ago) link

one month passes...

what does it say about art and reproduction that the fechin story is the last story dude tells in his life - and then the alzabo shows up!

nothing ever really dies, i guess

the late great, Sunday, 16 September 2012 21:15 (six years ago) link

i wonder if i will re-read this.
i want to
but i have so much to read.

one dis leads to another (ian), Monday, 17 September 2012 00:52 (six years ago) link

you have time

the late great, Monday, 17 September 2012 01:02 (six years ago) link

Read Book of the New Sun in chunks over a couple of years, and loved it. One of those books that is too huge to really take in at once, but it wins on language and weirdness and the satisfaction of piecing together some of its mysteries. Now just d/l Shadow and Claw onto my ereader, and after going thru this thread, sorely tempted to have a second go at the series.

also, the late great should totally write a reader's guide to these books, IMO

Mercer Finn, Monday, 17 September 2012 07:27 (six years ago) link

aw thanks but there's already a very good one called "lexicon urthus"

the late great, Monday, 17 September 2012 07:56 (six years ago) link

read 70% of the first of these today (lol kindle measures). i like the style, found it tough to get into a few months back but it's flowing for me now.

Randy Carol (darraghmac), Sunday, 30 September 2012 01:46 (six years ago) link

is the endless war of ascia vs the commonwealth actually a secret plot to depopulate the earth?

the late great, Wednesday, 3 October 2012 18:34 (six years ago) link

woah interesting idea!!!!!

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Wednesday, 3 October 2012 19:15 (six years ago) link

MASSIVE SPOILERS

was thinking about abaia, erebus, scylla and how they apparently control all of the autarchs except the free autarch of the commonwealth (who is in league w/ the hierodules as opposed to "actual" cacogens like abaia, erebus, scylla, undines, etc)

it's clear abaia at least sort of wants severian to be autarch, and at the end sort of revealed that it's because they're working to the same ends as the hierodules all along - finish the old urth, so a new, better one can take its place

severian pretty much accomplishes the depopulation of the earth and the rebirth of the human race and the undines seem happy about it - so perhaps part of the idea is to prepare the old urth for the new earth by creating conditions of endless war and deprivation to clear out space for the undines, pale warriors, etc

the late great, Wednesday, 3 October 2012 19:27 (six years ago) link

This thread has made me revisit the series again, finished Shadow of the Torturer a couple of days ago. Much much much better the second read through. Good value for money, these books...

Mercer Finn, Wednesday, 3 October 2012 20:02 (six years ago) link

cool

the late great, Thursday, 4 October 2012 04:17 (six years ago) link

two months pass...

While Baur was the true inventor of the Pringles crisp, according to the patent, Liepa was the inventor of Pringles.[9] Gene Wolfe, a mechanical engineer-author known for science fiction and fantasy novels, developed the machine that cooks them.[10]

Ward Fowler, Monday, 17 December 2012 15:34 (six years ago) link

six months pass...

well, as usual, i'm sorta with it because i'm reading through these (just finished the citadel of the autarch aka BOOK TWO) and at the same time not with it all, because i'm like a year too late for you all.

so far, i think my favorite part may have been the botanical garden chapters in the first book. honestly, i could read an entire tetralogy based on that concept alone - entering different sections of the building, dripping in and out of time and space. i'm hoping that they return there for some reason during the last half of the book of the newsuuuuuuuuuun.

i was really thrown off at the beginning of the second book (citadel) because gene apparently skipped forward a decent amount of time in the narrative without explaining why. suddenly, jonas is tight with him, and dorcas is his sex porpoise. speaking of, major lols at the part where he's like "i love dorcas. she is the best and i love her so much. she is my porpoise. <3" and then literally 2 paragraphs later he's somehow alone with jolenta and he's like "her breasts were like giant melons that i wanted to slurp left and right, i freed her perfect thighs and steamed up the boat in public. 2 hours later we returned to the campsite with melon juice all over us and for some reason dorcas was angry. i love dorcas so much."

i also enjoyed the weird witch/town resurrection thing at the end of book 2, although i didn't really understand what happened. i started to read the part of this thread that dealt with that but quit because i don't want to ruin anything.

anyone else still in the middle of this thing? are you all reading book of the old sun now? "where are they now?"

Z S, Monday, 15 July 2013 04:13 (six years ago) link

keep reading

the late great, Monday, 15 July 2013 05:30 (six years ago) link

i read "urth of the new sun" (book five) and loved it

then i tried the long sun series, found it boring, abandoned it in the middle of book one

the late great, Monday, 15 July 2013 05:31 (six years ago) link

lol me too

mookieproof, Monday, 15 July 2013 05:41 (six years ago) link

keep reading!
i bought urth of the new sun, but i still haven't read it. it is next to my bad in a pile.

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Monday, 15 July 2013 17:42 (six years ago) link

i finished a book last night so maybe i will read it... now.

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Monday, 15 July 2013 17:44 (six years ago) link

'next to my bad'

;_;

mookieproof, Monday, 15 July 2013 17:50 (six years ago) link

I'm pausing briefly so that I can read Desert Solitaire before my Utah vacation in a couple weeks, but then I will be back in the thick of it. Can't wait!

Z S, Monday, 15 July 2013 17:58 (six years ago) link

it is next to my bad self

i guess i'd just rather listen to canned heat? (ian), Monday, 15 July 2013 18:39 (six years ago) link

urth of the new sun is crammed with so many WTF moments

the late great, Monday, 15 July 2013 18:42 (six years ago) link

you know that bit about sufficiently advanced tech seeming like magic? urth of the new sun pulls off that trick better than any book i've ever read

btw if you really love BoTNS and plan on multiple rereadings I'd highly recommend you pick up "lexicon urthus"

I'm sort of addicted, have done five rereadings and just reread citadel of the autarch again

the late great, Monday, 15 July 2013 18:47 (six years ago) link

I think I'm going to start a religion based on BoTNS, engine summer and delany's triton, i just keep rereading those instead of new books

the late great, Monday, 15 July 2013 18:49 (six years ago) link

I got to echo lamp upthread, i really wish i had found these books as engaging as i find reading late great's summaries and theories of them. Reading them was a grey and flat experience and i cant remember a thing nor even how far i got, two or three books.

But thread makes me want to try again.

dub job deems (darraghmac), Monday, 15 July 2013 21:42 (six years ago) link

The ones i compulsively re-read are the six robin hobb ones, decent thread idea imo

dub job deems (darraghmac), Monday, 15 July 2013 21:43 (six years ago) link

Reading them was a grey and flat experience

i would describe it as morose and dry, but very very funny and genuinely stirring.

the late great, Tuesday, 16 July 2013 00:23 (six years ago) link

No doubt that you're gettin something from it i'm not, i wish tbh.

dub job deems (darraghmac), Tuesday, 16 July 2013 00:53 (six years ago) link

it's because i read it out loud in a comedy voice

the late great, Tuesday, 16 July 2013 01:19 (six years ago) link

ysi?

dub job deems (darraghmac), Tuesday, 16 July 2013 01:20 (six years ago) link

i'm with darragh but want to believe that the fault lies with me and not the text. i mean, i wouldn't describe them as "flat and dry", but the central character and his quest didn't engage my interest. midway through the second novel, i realized that i was reading only for the islands of strangeness (often quite beguiling). also, i became obsessed to a debilitating degree with researching and documenting the definition & etymology of every single unfamiliar word. stopping was a medical intervention basically.

twerking for obvious reasons (contenderizer), Tuesday, 16 July 2013 02:43 (six years ago) link

three weeks pass...

just started reading for second time. enjoying clues to things i know about from first time, e.g. talos. also things that seemed mystifying/tangential -- e.g. jungle hut in botanical gardens - now have a relevance. was expecting to have missed stuff but surprised by exactly what. totally missed that the citadel is like a launch site or space port, and the towers are disused rockets, even though it is explicit said, at least of the torturer's tower. of course, i have as many unanswered new questions as i had first time, if not more.

one thing that i really love above these books is how wolfe uses language that 1) creates a setting both familiar and strange, appropriate to a world we know but far distant in time; 2) dislocates the narrative in time, which is obv important thematically

Roberto Spiralli, Friday, 9 August 2013 13:31 (five years ago) link

what are your thoughts on the jungle hut?

the late great, Saturday, 10 August 2013 01:44 (five years ago) link

i think first time i conceived of the jungle room as an exhibit, artificially constructed. now knowing elements that are introduced later, it is clear that they enter a physical space that exists in the past, early 20th c with the prop plane i guess.

one thing i noticed is that the shaman guy talks like someone from severian's present. i don't know if there is anything that suggests whether that is from exposure to visitors or if he is actually from that present. i had looked up his name and it is a general term for a shaman from south africa. with nessus seemingly located in south america, i don't know if this supports the idea that he is from that present arrived from africa (more likely than he'd traveled from 20th c africa). the africa thing could be a total red herring though, the name could just be one of the translation quirks.

probably the big question to answer is why does the woman not see sev and agia. this has me stumped. are the shaman and the guy just 'sensitive' as suggested? something, maybe the vibrations of the hut, made me think it was more that she was not seeing them for some reason. it feels like there is something more significant to it, but i wonder if part of wolfe's genius isn't just suggesting significance where it doesn't really exist.

and overall there is the question of why, why are the botanic gardens there at all. it seems like a big production on part of inire. do these windows serve a practical purpose for him; is there some resource he is accessing? the idea of people getting trapped in the rooms is intriguing and possibly a clue to their purpose. is there a motivation to trap 'sensitive' people. is there specifically a motivation to waylay sev?

anyway, even as i think and type i feel like i am either missing some key elements revealed later that i haven't connected back, or else i am missing the point by thinking in more practical rather than thematic terms.

so, this is just me muddling through. is there an accepted reading of that scene?

Roberto Spiralli, Saturday, 10 August 2013 02:54 (five years ago) link

five months pass...

good questions!

the late great, Sunday, 19 January 2014 03:33 (five years ago) link

at first, wolfe's prose seemed distressingly dense and even somewhat comically pretentious

i actually think severian is supposed to be somewhat comically pretentious

the late great, Sunday, 19 January 2014 03:35 (five years ago) link

seven months pass...

Almost at the end of a second re-read. Pottering around on the internet I found this, Gene Wolfe on J.R.R. Tolkien: http://www.thenightland.co.uk/MYWEB/wolfemountains.html

Striking especially after reading the final words of the Autarch: "Until the New Sun comes, we have but a choice of evils. All have been tried, and all have failed. Goods in common, the rule of the people... everything. You wish for progress? The Ascians have it. They are deafened by it, crazed by the death of Nature till they are ready to accept Erebus and the rest as gods. We hold humankind stationary... in barbarism. The Autarch protects the people from exultants, and the exultants... shelter them from the Autarch. The religious comfort them. We have closed the roads to paralize the social order... Until the New Sun..."

I'm basically a progressive atheist, and all this stuff rubs me up the wrong way. I love and admire the book a great deal, but am wondering if some of their political / religious content is uncomfortable or troubling for other readers?

Mercer Finn, Sunday, 31 August 2014 14:11 (four years ago) link

i don't mind the words you quote, since they're from a place of great weariness that comes from this ruined palimpsestic world sev+you have been immersed in -- and because there is a sense in some of the scenes w the ascian soldier (iirc?) that the dogmatic ascian language/culture is maybe not as impoverished as it seems to the southerners, even if true communication w them is near-impossible -- and because i do kinda think that our various social utopias require a fundamental change in human conciousness expressed here thru crypto-xtian eschatology (although irl i don't think we'd get to it by waiting around in barbarism) -- but the straightforward feudal nostalgia in that tolkien essay seems p dumb. idk why he thinks other people's wealth was "a spur to ambition" under feudalism, unless he means ambition to go on a crusade. which is what sam does.

anyway i've only read the book once so i am a lil foggy on it, may well be misrepresenting it.

difficult listening hour, Sunday, 31 August 2014 16:18 (four years ago) link

As a child I had been taught a code of conduct: I was to be courteous and considerate, and most courteous and most considerate of those less strong than I -- of girls and women, and of old people especially. Less educated men might hold inferior positions, but that did not mean that they themselves were inferior; they might be (and often would be) wiser, braver, and more honest than I was. They were entitled to respect, and were to be thanked when they befriended me, even in minor matters. Legitimate authority was to be obeyed without shirking and without question. Mere strength (the corrupt coercion Washington calls power and Chicago clout) was to be defied. It might be better to be a slave than to die, but it was better to die than to be a slave who acquiesced in his own slavery. Above all, I was to be honest with everyone. Debts were to be paid, and my word was to be as good as I could make it.

sounds pretty good

the late great, Sunday, 31 August 2014 19:26 (four years ago) link

Does it? Has there ever been a time where "everyone agreed as to what good rule was" and could distinguish between "legitimate authority" and "corrupt coercion"? Very much doubt that was the case in "Christianized barbarian society".

Also, does a desire for progress inevitably lead to the destruction of the planet and Ascian slavery?

Also also, is there something a bit patronizing about his comments on women and the working class?

Mercer Finn, Sunday, 31 August 2014 20:32 (four years ago) link

Might as well have stopped at the second sentence: The king might rule badly, but everyone agreed as to what good rule was.

ORLY.

Whole essay is the worst kind of rose-tinted harking back to the good old days.

ledge, Sunday, 31 August 2014 20:52 (four years ago) link

nah, it's not that bad

the late great, Sunday, 31 August 2014 21:05 (four years ago) link

Best thing in it is that cs Lewis quote which I'd never read.

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 31 August 2014 21:29 (four years ago) link

Did anyone dig The Wizard Knight? I never proceeded to the second half, I just could not get a bead on the thing.

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 31 August 2014 21:31 (four years ago) link

i was so let down by the long sun books that i haven't followed up on anything beyond "5th head of cerberus"

maybe i will give it a shot

the late great, Sunday, 31 August 2014 21:36 (four years ago) link

Yeah the only things I've read that can contend with the new sun are his amazing short stories and novellas. But I've never read the soldier books or a bunch of his standalones.

before you die you see the rink (Jon Lewis), Sunday, 31 August 2014 21:43 (four years ago) link

even if true communication w them is near-impossible

actually iirc at the beginning of "urth of the new sun" severian references making peace with the ascians and living among them for a year

the late great, Sunday, 31 August 2014 22:46 (four years ago) link

actually it is at the end, but i misremembered the quote, he just mentions living among them. i think i filled in the bit about making peace with them. maybe he is referring to the war?

the late great, Monday, 1 September 2014 01:29 (four years ago) link

It was the longest day of my life. If I had been merely awaiting nightfall, I could have wandered in memory, recalling that marvelous evening when I had walked up the Water Way, the tales told in the Pelerines' lazaretto, or the brief holiday that Valeria and I had once enjoyed beside the sea. As it was, I dared not; and whenever I relaxed my guard, I found my mind turned of its own accord to dreadful things. Again I endured my imprisonment in the jungle ziggurat by Vodalus, the year I had spent among the Ascians, my flight from the white wolves in the Secret House; and a thousand similiar terrors, until at last it seemed to me that a demon desired that I surrender my miserable existence to Apu-Punchau, and that the demon was myself.

the late great, Monday, 1 September 2014 01:31 (four years ago) link

Finished it last night, and had to read the Triskele chapter again this morning for the scene in the Atrium of Time. Is the final bit with Valeria when the engines start up and he begins his journey to Yessod?

I'm going to start on Urth of the New Sun later this year (haven't read it before) but giving myself a break to read a bookabout Christianised barbarian society...

Mercer Finn, Monday, 1 September 2014 09:23 (four years ago) link

no he doesn't leave for yesod for 10 years after that

the late great, Monday, 1 September 2014 15:46 (four years ago) link

eleven months pass...

i'd given the copies i read to a friend but the other day i found four matching hardcovers of this in the kona-side location of the bookstore whose hilo-side dvd shelf ought to be named after me, and bought them all with my gargantuan reservoir of store credit; i am rereading them. i am imo in general a poor first reader and an above-average second one, so this has been revelatory not just in the obvious ways (secrets i know, e.g. the nature of talos/baldanders) but in mundane and embarrassing ones (i much more clearly and perceptively visualize everything that happens; i would attribute this to the strangeness of the world [well worse than strangeness, right--uncanniness] and the various apparatus of alienation and occlusion in the text, except that this happens with everything, elmore leonard, robert jordan, everything). an early reverie of severian's (triggered by the sense that dr. talos has the face of a stuffed fox, that on some simultaneous and "more profound" level of reality dr. talos' face is a dead fox's face hanging on a wall) likens the layers of reality to the archeological layers in urth's much-used soil--i'd forgotten this but it's absolutely central, the concept comes up all the time, both for severian (the hut in the botanical gardens, the house in the fog, the house absolute and the second house, the question of whether it is the autarch or father inire who rules, the concealed natures of basically everyone he meets) and for us (the archaic words that have been "translated" from unknown far-future ones, and the gimmick in general of the book's coming on like the past but being the future). there is a sense particularly that stories--the thanksgiving myth that's also about alien contact (or something? memories vague); the mutated theseus legend; the dying angel who echoes the dying sun ("you have observed the wasting of my blood--do you not observe also that it no longer issues in straining spurtings, but only seeps sluggishly?"); the transmuted xtian theology that's everywhere, encrusted by layers of undocumented future history; even the claim of the prostitute to whom severian loses his virginity to be the chatelaine thecla--accrue layers of meaning+truth like the soil accrues history. my memories of most of the series are bad but halfway into a reread of book one this seems to be right up there with severian's agent of death/agent of resurrection dialectic as structuring idea of the story. i once read a definition of history, i forget where (eliot?) as being (paraphrased) "the simultaneous sense of the presence and remoteness of the past"; something like this is all over BOTNS i think, pervades it thematically/structurally/mechanically in that real daunting modernist way.

still understand people who find it frustrating; it's one of the most picaresque books i've ever read. stuff just keeps happening to this guy, and then he moves on to new stuff; he often feels blown about passively, like a leaf (like the dead leaves he dreams as a child of vivifying, with a thorn); and all the stuff is so weird. i mentioned this to my friend i lent the books to, who just finished 3, and he said "well except every now and then he suddenly murders someone." he acts in odd places. from the very beginning, i suppose.

anyway roberto spiralli has kindly provided a tl;dr of this post upthread:

one thing that i really love above these books is how wolfe uses language that 1) creates a setting both familiar and strange, appropriate to a world we know but far distant in time; 2) dislocates the narrative in time, which is obv important thematically

totes!

playlists of pensive swift (difficult listening hour), Thursday, 6 August 2015 08:43 (three years ago) link

it is dense. i suggest reading aloud in a foppish voice.

― the late great, Wednesday, May 23, 2012 8:49 PM (3 years ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

this really does work btw

playlists of pensive swift (difficult listening hour), Thursday, 6 August 2015 08:56 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

i've been rereading these on and off for a few months and i still kind of feel what i felt to begin with -- that they're an impressively constructed exercise in worldbuilding and narrative, but that's all -- but, on the other hand, man they are really good at being that

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 27 October 2015 00:51 (three years ago) link

i'd forgotten most of book four (i remember, broadly speaking, how it ends) and i'm really charmed that as of a third of the way in severian is still sitting around the pelerines' tent with shit-all to do. also, the translation of the ascian's story is pretty virtuoso -- i think he got better at the embedded stories as he went along; the theseus/thesis minotaur/monitor one made me want to throw the book out the window

♛ LIL UNIT ♛ (thomp), Tuesday, 27 October 2015 00:52 (three years ago) link

six months pass...

I'm doing a re-read, and getting close to the end of book 1.
I definitely appreciate and understand wolfe's pacing of the series much better now.
catching a lot of things but still get the feeling i'm missing a lot as well.

hey guys

ian, Tuesday, 24 May 2016 19:05 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

I'm almost finished with Claw of the Conciliator, and this is book has it all. I can't believe I almost missed this, I only discovered it because of this thread.

carpet_kaiser, Wednesday, 21 June 2017 18:11 (two years ago) link

Was just trying to talk my wife into reading this the night before last. She loves Wolfe's short fiction but wasn't feeling the newsun last time she tried it

or at night (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 21 June 2017 18:25 (two years ago) link

How far did she get into it? It took me three attempts before I made it past the first 20 pages. It starts off like a boring medieval fantasy story ... then the fun starts. Glad I pushed through.

carpet_kaiser, Wednesday, 21 June 2017 18:28 (two years ago) link

one year passes...

barelling through a re-read of these, just started Claw of the Conciliator. The transition from the end of Shadow of the Torturer to Claw of the Conciliator is so jarring and disorienting. And then it takes several chapters to get up to speed on where Severian is/how much time has passed.

one random thing that's stuck out at me this last time around - have people terraformed the moon? There's a reference to the moon's "green" glow, and then later a reference to the "fabled emerald forests of the moon". Just one of those weird details thrown in in the background with no further explication, easy to gloss over but curious to ponder.

also really enjoying reading these with the internet handy, cuz now I can look up all the weird words thrown about (most of which, like the thing with the moon, don't seem particularly critical but do add a compelling level of detail).

I can think of few other writers who do such an incredible job of keeping the reader off-balance - you never know what's going to turn out to be significant in the narrative.

Οὖτις, Friday, 10 August 2018 15:53 (eleven months ago) link

yah the moon has been completely forested

wait til you get to the bit abt mountains

the late great, Friday, 10 August 2018 15:55 (eleven months ago) link

And yes I found that transition very jarring too And I’ve never quite been able to figure out what he’s going for

Hopefully I am not spoiling too much if I tell you that there is a similar transition between each book

the late great, Friday, 10 August 2018 15:59 (eleven months ago) link

Does it? Has there ever been a time where "everyone agreed as to what good rule was" and could distinguish between "legitimate authority" and "corrupt coercion"? Very much doubt that was the case in "Christianized barbarian society".

Also, does a desire for progress inevitably lead to the destruction of the planet and Ascian slavery?

Also also, is there something a bit patronizing about his comments on women and the working class?

― Mercer Finn, Sunday, August 31, 2014 1:32 PM (three years ago)

wolfe is a believer. for him "legitmate authority" is authority you feel in your heart, cf the bit where malrubius asks severian about forms of the government. malrubius asks severian to list the types of authority (or something like that, maybe it was types of power) in terms of development. severian starts with personal attachment to a deity, moves on to attachment to a monarch, then attachment to an elected body, then attachment to an abstract set of laws, etc. something like that, i'm paraphrasing here. and he asks severian which is the best and severian cites the last one. and then he asks severian which type triskele (his dog) feels toward him, and whether he thought it was better or worse than attachment to an abstract set of laws. so for wolfe legitimate authority is ultimately with god and everyone has to suss their relationship with god's authority out for themselves, since god (like the hierophants in yesod) is more or less infinitely far away. that's actually a big theme in the books, right? "following your heart" toward some distant goal or whatever rather than the torturer's code?

on the second point, i think you're misreading it. ascians are not "political correctness run amok" or something wingnutty like that. there are many various fallen civilizations on urth beside the ascians and the autarchy, all of them are implied to have sought progress in one form or another and fallen into degeneracy for their own reasons (prodded by ecological disaster). remember wolfe is christian, so this is a resurrection parable. it is about a dying sun (son) so civilization is going to die one way or another (it has to, to reborn). it's not a desire for progress ... there's no way in wolfe's mind a civilization could stop progressing, any more than a person can stop aging. it's about the cycle of life or whatever, not a critique of the direction of civilization.

on the third point yes, but when hasn't a crusty white sci fi writer man been patronizing

the late great, Sunday, 12 August 2018 07:10 (eleven months ago) link

i mean i get as an atheist one might find this stuff to be corny bullshit or whatever but lighten up, it's sci fi literature not a manual for living

the late great, Sunday, 12 August 2018 07:12 (eleven months ago) link

also like a fair number of other sci fi writers you just have to ignore the stuff that isn't sci fi (the tolkien essay)

just like you have to ignore when stephen hawking talks about politics or whatever

the late great, Sunday, 12 August 2018 07:16 (eleven months ago) link

does a desire for progress inevitably lead to the destruction of the planet and Ascian slavery?

to continue w/ this a bit more 1) the planet is not destroyed for another few billion years, when the sun swells up etc and 2) near the beginning of book 2, at the fair at saltus we learn the ultimate fate of the human race and not only is it destruction or turning into ascians or something awful, it's actually pretty fucking cool and utopian

the late great, Sunday, 12 August 2018 07:28 (eleven months ago) link

*not only is it not destruction*

the late great, Sunday, 12 August 2018 07:28 (eleven months ago) link

following your heart" toward some distant goal or whatever rather than the torturer's code?

this is kind of interesting because he takes thecla out from under the authority of the other torturers, and then submits himself for torture in her place. instead he gets exile, and then all this crazy shit happens to him, these epic trials and all this fate and destiny stuff. so he's really being interrogated by god over the course of story, and he willingly submits to it. so i feel like wolfe is saying there are legitimate and illegitimate types of the authority, the legitimate ones being the ones that people are compelled to submit to willingly.

so i mean, if you want, this story about a torturer is literature about submission, not liberation.

As a child I had been taught ... It might be better to be a slave than to die, but it was better to die than to be a slave who acquiesced in his own slavery.

^^ make this ironic, right? because this is a roman-a-clef where severian decides that submitting to god by willingly offering yourself up for punishment is the best way to die

you will spot this theme many places but i don't want to spolier

the late great, Sunday, 12 August 2018 07:50 (eleven months ago) link

"following your heart"

^^ without getting directly into spoilers, this is relates to the claw (the artifact itself)

the late great, Sunday, 12 August 2018 17:36 (eleven months ago) link

is anyone here knowledgable about catholicism? i would love to learn more about how the imagery in these books relates to catholicism (and i guess christianity in general which i don't know *that* much about)

the late great, Sunday, 12 August 2018 17:39 (eleven months ago) link

it's funny, the one episode that really stuck with me from Sword of the Lictor (which I'm about 2/3rds of the way through now) was not the stuff in thrax or the alzabo or little severian or baldanders - it was the Typhon and Paiton chapters on the giant statue. Something about that whole sequence, while not seeming to have much significance in the larger narrative, is so compelling and otherworldly. Maybe it the religious-revelation trappings, scaling a mountain while starving and meeting a god - it has all the rite-of-passage trappings of archetypal mountain myths, mount analogue, holy mountain etc.

Οὖτις, Friday, 24 August 2018 17:48 (ten months ago) link

it is a very significant sequence!

the late great, Saturday, 25 August 2018 04:37 (ten months ago) link

It might be, I just can't tell yet! I'm discovering that I remember very little of the final book besides certain elements of the climax. I just got to the part where he relinquishes the Claw to the Pelerines.

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 August 2018 17:51 (ten months ago) link

one thing I'm appreciating a lot this time around - which maybe didn't register with my first reading over a decade ago - is the way Wolfe incorporates and refracts various myths and archetypes into these strange new shapes. I lol'd when I spotted the Marlowe/Faustus quote in the brown book Severian carries. Wolfe seems way more interested in littering his narrative with this kind of thing than in filling a more standard fantasy framework (a nobody goes on a quest, meets companions, gains a magic weapon, faces a nemesis, learns true nature of self etc. - although obviously all of that is present as well!) There's a very meta/postmodern sensibility at work that's constantly highlighting that this story is literally made up of lots of other, older stories, and yet they often appear strange and unfamiliar because of the way they are presented or because of slight revisions.

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 28 August 2018 17:59 (ten months ago) link

wait - there's a marlowe quote?!?

the late great, Tuesday, 28 August 2018 18:16 (ten months ago) link

I forget where this happens exactly, maybe after he talks to the undine?

Some fragments Severian sees while the wind is turning the pages to dry them: "soulless warrior!" ... "lucid yellow" ... "by noyade" ... "These times are the ancient times, when the world is ancient." ... "Hell has no limits, nor is circumscribed; for where we are is Hell, and where Hell is, there we must be." (Note: The last fragment is from Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe. Noyade is a mode of execution by drowning.)

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 03:39 (ten months ago) link

interesting!

the late great, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 04:00 (ten months ago) link

Apparently Dr. Talos quotes Faustus at one point as well but I’m not sure where that is

Οὖτις, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 14:13 (ten months ago) link

that i recall

the late great, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 14:18 (ten months ago) link

Dicking around with Google books instead of working - "soulless warrior!" looks like it's either from Lucy Larcom's poem Orion or Star Names: Their Lore and Meaning by Richard Hinckley Allen, where the poem is used as an epigraph. Maybe the latter, because "lucid yellow" turns up in William Henry Smyth's Sidereal Chromatics, on star colours. The "ancient times" one is Francis Bacon.

woof, Wednesday, 29 August 2018 14:46 (ten months ago) link

almost to the end, and a couple things sticking in my head a bit

- Malrubius + Triskele are the products of an AI, right? It's kind of implied (esp if one takes a literal interpretation of the "deus ex machina" ref)
- Agia's character (and maybe this gets cleared up towards the end) really doesn't make a whole lot of sense. She's this shopkeeper who initially is enamored of Severian's sword and concocts an elaborate scheme to obtain it, but then it turns out she has this essentially super-powered suitor that can summon extradimensional beings and crazy weapons (so what would she want a big sword for)? And she hounds Severian with them, apparently out of rage-revenge, but instead repeatedly rescues him rather than tortures/kills him? And was also totally unaware of the significance of Vodalus and the Autarch (her murder of Vodalus is referenced but not depicted/described)? You add all those things up they don't form much of a consistent character.

Οὖτις, Friday, 31 August 2018 16:44 (ten months ago) link

Malrubius + Triskele are the products of an AI, right

no, not really. aquastors are much higher-tech than that, to the point that they're basically just magic ghosts reincarnated by the hierogrammate. it's explained a bit more in book 5, but the answer is really just magic.

from paracelsus - AQUASTOR. - A being created by the power of the imagination - i.e., by a concentration of thought upon the A'kasa by which an ethereal form may be created (Elementals, Succubi and Incubi, Vampires, &c.). Such imaginary but nevertheless real forms may obtain life from the person by whose imagination they are created, and under certain circumstances they may even become visible and tangible.

so yr not a million miles off but it's the concentrated thought power of the hierogrammate that reincarnates them, not the concentrated thought of an AI (book 5 goes into hierogrammates in a bit more detail, they are portrayed mostly in vague terms but they possess near-limitless power from our POV, though not from theirs)

the late great, Friday, 31 August 2018 19:05 (ten months ago) link

it turns out she has this essentially super-powered suitor that can summon extradimensional beings and crazy weapons (so what would she want a big sword for)

agia seeks power and doesn't enjoy being beholden to hethor. in fact she really doesn't like hethor at all, because he is a creep.

i think agia represents self-interest, in contrast to severian's sense of duty

the late great, Friday, 31 August 2018 19:12 (ten months ago) link

oh hi, I have read the first two and am gonna get the rest soon, reading the 2-in-1 books that I assume are standard now.

will check back in later

sleeve, Friday, 31 August 2018 19:55 (ten months ago) link

so yr not a million miles off but it's the concentrated thought power of the hierogrammate that reincarnates them, not the concentrated thought of an AI (book 5 goes into hierogrammates in a bit more detail, they are portrayed mostly in vague terms but they possess near-limitless power from our POV, though not from theirs)

this seems like an intentionally obscure way of Gene Wolfe saying "this is me, messing about with the plot". I'm sure there's some literary term for when authors essentially insert themselves into their own work as semi-omnipotent figures, which kind of sounds like what's going on here

Οὖτις, Friday, 31 August 2018 22:53 (ten months ago) link

hierogrammate literally defined as "A sacred scribe; specifically, a writer of hieroglyphics", and akasha as space/sky (I remember that much from hindu mythology) + the "deus ex machina" refs... all seems to be Wolfe getting a little cutesy with the po-mo literary devices

Οὖτις, Friday, 31 August 2018 22:55 (ten months ago) link

i lent out my copy of the first two, but maybe when i get a break from this mystery bender i'll do a re-read of the second half. I love this shit.

ian, Friday, 31 August 2018 23:37 (ten months ago) link

yr definitely on to something shakey, esp considering that the first time we see a hierogrammate it appears when the autarxh opens a book whose pages are made of magic mirror

the late great, Saturday, 1 September 2018 00:29 (ten months ago) link

Ok just finished. So...

Father Inire is the green man, and Dorcas is Severian’s grandmother...?

And Severian’s life is some kind of time loop

Οὖτις, Saturday, 1 September 2018 05:36 (ten months ago) link

no, yes, yes

the late great, Saturday, 1 September 2018 15:15 (ten months ago) link

you still have one more to go

the late great, Saturday, 1 September 2018 15:15 (ten months ago) link

inire is a hierodule, not a human, i think

the late great, Saturday, 1 September 2018 15:17 (ten months ago) link

Which hierodule? Severian says he was with him in the jungle, but the only ppl he was in the jungle with were vodalus and his retinue, agia and the green man

Οὖτις, Saturday, 1 September 2018 15:20 (ten months ago) link

inire is the "savage guide"

from the end of the first section of chapter 28 of citadel of the autarch ("on the march")

"for guides our column had three savages: a pair of young men who might have been brothers or even twins, and a much older one, twisted i thought, by deformities as well as age, who perpetually wore a grotesque mask ... a covered palanquin ... bore the autarch ... and one night when my guards were chattering among themselves ... i saw the old guide (his bent figure and the impression of an immense head conferred by his mask were unmistakable) approach this palanquin and slip beneath it. some time passed before he scuttled awauy. this old man was said to be an uturuncu, a shaman capable of assuming the form of a tiger"

the late great, Saturday, 1 September 2018 15:36 (ten months ago) link

i highly recommend reading "urth of the new sun" btw, it's an excellent coda to the series

the late great, Saturday, 1 September 2018 15:41 (ten months ago) link

Ah thx forgot that paragraph lol

Οὖτις, Saturday, 1 September 2018 16:09 (ten months ago) link

haha yeah these books are so dense!

the late great, Saturday, 1 September 2018 16:12 (ten months ago) link

I truly can’t remember if I read Urth of the New Sun after finishing my first traversal of the four. I definitely didn’t read it after my more recent traversal. I might never have read it.

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Sunday, 2 September 2018 19:03 (ten months ago) link

it’s very good

the late great, Sunday, 2 September 2018 19:04 (ten months ago) link

plot-wise it tells the story of the conciliator, resolves the time loop thing, takes us into the mothership, finishes the baldanders / talos / abaia story by showing what happens when the new sun arrives (spoiler alert - wolfe veers toward hard sci fi here and it’s not pretty)

solid payoff imo

the late great, Sunday, 2 September 2018 19:09 (ten months ago) link

it’s a bit like when you finish an epic d&d campaign and become a living god and then the gm lets you play a few adventures in super high fantasy god mode just for the hell of it

well that and it spelled out a lot of plot points from the first four for me (i am a dummy)

but i don’t mean to imply the tone shifts radically - he’s still exploring the same themes and questions as before, with the same voice and pacing. if anything it’s even more elegaic than the first four, even though it packs in a lot more earth shaking action

the late great, Sunday, 2 September 2018 19:15 (ten months ago) link

hey I just found super cheap old hardbacks of the last two books and Urth in a thrift store! time to get reading.

sleeve, Sunday, 2 September 2018 20:24 (ten months ago) link

Has urth o’ th’ NS gotten kind of swept under the carpet since it came out? Is it included in the reprint schemes that have happened since then? I feel like it doesn’t get mentioned much

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Sunday, 2 September 2018 20:53 (ten months ago) link

for whatever reason it has its own volume, but it’s still in print and i think there’s an ebook bundle w allfive

the late great, Sunday, 2 September 2018 20:59 (ten months ago) link

one month passes...

i mean i get as an atheist one might find this stuff to be corny bullshit or whatever but lighten up, it's sci fi literature not a manual for living

― the late great, Sunday, August 12, 2018 8:12 AM (two months ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Haha fair enough. Looks like the essay has disappeared from the internet so I can't reread it and get angry all over again.

Didn't realise that there are many various fallen civilizations on urth beside the ascians and the autarchy. I thought the two were portrayed as a binary that perhaps unconsciously (?) reflected the cold war division of the world at the time the books were written.

Currently reading Viriconium and enjoying it a lot. Probably not as good as BotNS but working in the same (future fantasy) genre and has some of the same stylistic flair.

Mercer Finn, Tuesday, 23 October 2018 21:23 (nine months ago) link

one month passes...

from a friend, I just got to this part of the 3rd book:

In Wolfe's Solar Cycle, Typhon the two-headed Imperial person is a direct reference to, possibly an intentional gank, of the two-headed president in Douglas Adams' Hithchiker's Guide.

In fact, there are many plot and character aspects of the Solar Cycle that have direct precursors in Adams' work. One wonders if Wolfe expected to be called on it!

sleeve, Monday, 3 December 2018 02:35 (seven months ago) link

one month passes...

there's a podcast called Alzabo Soup who are doing a close reading of the book of the new sun and i've been listening to it while doing my third read-through and i'm enjoying it, even if a lot of what the dudes suggest is fairly obvious or commonly understood.

ian, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 18:33 (six months ago) link

I'm almost done with the fourth one! I can tell I'm gonna need to read them again in a few years.

sleeve, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 18:39 (six months ago) link

i'm midway thru the third i think. there's so much that opens up on re-reads. it's unlike anything else in that way, ime.

ian, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 18:50 (six months ago) link

https://alzabosoup.libsyn.com/

fyi. they're just getting into citadel of the autarch.

ian, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 18:55 (six months ago) link

i'll finish my re-read before they finish their spoiler-lite close reading.

ian, Tuesday, 22 January 2019 18:55 (six months ago) link

there's so much that opens up on re-reads. it's unlike anything else in that way, ime.

― ian

agree! one of a small # of books that are fairly made for re-reading.

the late great, Thursday, 24 January 2019 06:51 (five months ago) link

three weeks pass...

Having recently finished my third reading of the book of the new sun, I started listening to the Alzabo Soup podcast mentioned upthread and am enjoying it a lot. There are definitely many things that are easy to miss even after multiple reads that these guys are pointing out. I liked the part about how Severian is probably hiding the coin he got from Vodalus not so much because he treasures it so much but because it links him to his murder of the person who was trying to stop Vodalus in the first chapter and he doesn't want to get found out.

On the other hand it kind of annoyed me that they keep saying that Severian is obviously lying about his perfect memory because he mentions forgetting about the coin in his pocket or other similar examples, when it seems pretty obvious that when Severian talks about perfect memory he's talking about having perfect recall, not about actually never forgetting anything.

silverfish, Friday, 15 February 2019 18:09 (five months ago) link

I've been listening to Alzabo Soup as I work one of my day jobs (washing LPs & 45s or taking photos of LPs & 45s for 8 hour stretches) -- i just caught up with them last week. sometimes i think they overreach in looking for significance in things, but it's really nice when they explain where certain names come from, and where certain stories come from.

The thing with Severian's memory is tricky because it depends on how the reader chooses to interpret the book. It seems too simple to think that "Severian's a liar so we can't believe his interpretation of things exactly" -- his issue tends to be more sins of omission (Jolenta's rape, probably other things that make him look bad) he mentions a few times saying he sometimes wonders if he's going/gone insane, and he refers to "all you inside me" or something like that, before what he receives as autarch is revealed. I have no concrete answers because I keep thinking about it too hard and confusing myself. Bu the the idea of the Writer Severian relating not only episodes from his life, but also possibly making reference to things that happened not to him, but did happen to other Autarch's, or to Thecla. We know he has Thecla's memories in there -- are there other scenes in which he's disconnected from the rest of his companions that could potentially be recollections by a different person, recast by Severian as "I" for the writing?

sorry i can't think much better than this right now.

ian, Saturday, 16 February 2019 04:10 (five months ago) link

Also how many times did he die.
And what is the relationship of Inire and the Hierodules. if any ?

ian, Saturday, 16 February 2019 04:11 (five months ago) link

man I need a glossary for all the different social classes

still not done with the 4th one, been real busy

sleeve, Saturday, 16 February 2019 04:16 (five months ago) link

inire is a hierodule

the late great, Saturday, 16 February 2019 04:20 (five months ago) link

i figured he is a non-human of some kind, but is he the same being as the hierodules that Sev meets in the castle or one of a different type? He doesn't seem to have the same relationship to time that the hierodules say they have.

ian, Saturday, 16 February 2019 04:39 (five months ago) link

same was my assumption. i thought he didn’t experience time backward because he was stuck on earth and not traveling on tzadkiel’s ship? i don’t know, wolfe half explains and half abandons that idea in book 5.

the late great, Saturday, 16 February 2019 04:44 (five months ago) link

i need to re-read Urth next i guess.

ian, Saturday, 16 February 2019 04:45 (five months ago) link

i never understood the relationship of abaia and erebus to the hierodules, also the cumaean, what’s up w her

the late great, Saturday, 16 February 2019 04:55 (five months ago) link

i think the hierodues are working in opposition to erebus and abaia, who are trying to enslave humanity/control urth for their own nefarious ends. no idea what's up with the cumaean. is she litereally snakelike or is that a metaphor

ian, Saturday, 16 February 2019 15:04 (five months ago) link

one month passes...

rip

mookieproof, Monday, 15 April 2019 16:23 (three months ago) link

dang, just finished the first book of the new sun ... was unfamiliar with this guy, but loving it so far.

tylerw, Monday, 15 April 2019 16:28 (three months ago) link

just saw this, RIP

I literally just found a replacement copy of the 4th New Sun book yesterday, I lost my copy when I was almost done. Looking forward to diving back in.

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Monday, 15 April 2019 16:33 (three months ago) link

RIP big man

the late great, Monday, 15 April 2019 17:08 (three months ago) link

Aw fuck off :(

Roberto Spiralli, Monday, 15 April 2019 17:11 (three months ago) link

is this where i admit i don't care for anything he wrote except "fifth head" and tBotNS?

the late great, Monday, 15 April 2019 17:11 (three months ago) link

Aw man, I just finished a third reading of New Sun. I was really spending a lot of time thinking about this book the last couple of months.

silverfish, Monday, 15 April 2019 17:17 (three months ago) link

xp

book of the long sun is totally worth reading. First book is basically just a heist in a weird setting (I enjoyed it, but I guess not everyone would) but then it really opens up starting with book 2.

silverfish, Monday, 15 April 2019 17:28 (three months ago) link

i started litany of the long sun but couldn't get very far into it

:(

it just felt very "normal sci fi" to me

the late great, Monday, 15 April 2019 17:31 (three months ago) link

i've only read the four orig sun books but i picked up a used urth of the new sun the other day, should get to it soon. rip. good stuff.

difficult listening hour, Monday, 15 April 2019 17:33 (three months ago) link

^^ that one's next up for me

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Monday, 15 April 2019 17:35 (three months ago) link

might kill a can of pringles today in his honor

difficult listening hour, Monday, 15 April 2019 17:37 (three months ago) link

two immense Catholic pinnacles felled in one day

mick signals, Monday, 15 April 2019 22:25 (three months ago) link

it was a bummer. ok, he was 87, but i still wanted to talk about it, and apparently nobody i work with has ever heard of the book of the new sun

i should sometime reread the book of the new sun, i liked it but whenever i read this thread it becomes apparent to me that i have no idea about anything that happens in that book. i thought it was, just, people dueling with leaves and maoists telling stories.

at least i finished it though!

Jaki Liebowitz (rushomancy), Monday, 15 April 2019 23:34 (three months ago) link

well those things do happen

the late great, Monday, 15 April 2019 23:37 (three months ago) link

Urth of the New Sun is kinda blowing my mind right now, I have no idea what's gonna happen next (1/3 of the way through)

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Thursday, 25 April 2019 22:09 (two months ago) link

three weeks pass...

did you finish it yet, sleeve?

the late great, Sunday, 19 May 2019 17:36 (two months ago) link

yes! I'm still a bit confused about what exactly happened at the end, I'll probably re-read it in 6 months or so.

some of the parts in "Urth" where all the puzzle pieces of the time travel fit together were really cool, like the Witch's Tower getting damaged and the origin of the Claw (which seems to be entirely self-referential?)

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Monday, 20 May 2019 13:54 (two months ago) link

yeah the claw is an ouroboros

by the end you mean the *very* last scene? yeah i was always unsure about the significance of that too, except that perhaps it closes the loop (the first novel begins in a graveyard)

the late great, Monday, 20 May 2019 16:58 (two months ago) link

well that scene yeah, with the "gods" that were the 4 survivors on the raft, but also the whole stone town thing (last few chapters? with Apu-Punchau), I think some of it will become clearer when I re-read but iirc the stone town stuff was all in book one and my memory is already hazy on that.

Emperor Tonetta Ketchup (sleeve), Monday, 20 May 2019 17:08 (two months ago) link

The last time I did a re-read a couple of months ago I tried re-reading the stone town chapters in Urth of the New Sun and Book of the New Sun back to back just to get a better idea of what exactly is happening but I'm still not sure I completely get it.

As far as I can tell the real Severian died on the ship and the hierodules come to the stone town to help save a copy of Severian (an aquastor I think?) and another dead copy of Severian is left behind for the ritual with Hildegrin who will be destroyed by coming into contact with the real Severian from the end of Claw of the Conciliator. I'm going by memory here though, it was somewhat clearer when I read it. I'm still unclear on what purpose that ritual served.

silverfish, Tuesday, 21 May 2019 15:57 (two months ago) link

stumbled upon this, i wish i were rich

https://www.foliosociety.com/usa/the-book-of-the-new-sun.html

diamonddave85​​ (diamonddave85), Friday, 31 May 2019 13:14 (one month ago) link


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