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

haha yeah these books are so dense!

the late great, Saturday, 1 September 2018 16:12 (one year 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 (one year ago) link

it’s very good

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

https://alzabosoup.libsyn.com/

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

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

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

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

inire is a hierodule

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

i need to re-read Urth next i guess.

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

one month passes...

rip

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

RIP big man

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

Aw fuck off :(

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

^^ that one's next up for me

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

might kill a can of pringles today in his honor

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

two immense Catholic pinnacles felled in one day

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

well those things do happen

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

three weeks pass...

did you finish it yet, sleeve?

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


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