The Claw of the Conciliator

The Claw of the Conciliator

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Severian is in possession of a gem considered to be "The Claw of the Conciliator", a powerful relic of the Master of Power, a legendary figure of mythic proportions. Armed with his sword, Terminus Est, and the Claw, Severian continues his journey to Thrax, the city of his exile. Bizarre apes, strange cannibalistic rituals, and the foreigner named Jonas all lie in his future.
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The Shadow of the Torturer

The Shadow of the Torturer

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume series, The Book of the New Sun. It is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession -- showing mercy toward his victim -- and follows subsequent journey out of his home city of Nessus.
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Strange Travelers

Strange Travelers

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Gene Wolfe is producing the most significant body of short fiction of any living writer in the SF genre. It has been ten years since the last major Wolfe collection, so Strange Travelers contains a whole decade of achievement. Some of these stories were award nominees, some were controversial, but each is unique and beautifully written. Reviews From Publishers Weekly Not for the faint of heart or weak of stomach, this collection of Wolfe's stories published in the 1990s contains death by overdose, suicide, Armageddon, cruelty to animals, abuse of children, children willing to falsely accuse fathers of sexual abuse and a plethora of vampiric female figures eager to suck the life out of men. Opening with "Bluesberry Jam," Wolfe (The Book of the Long Sun series, etc.) creates an intriguing speculative future in which an entire culture arises from people who have been stuck in a traffic jam for decades. This conceit is ultimately negated, however, by the most tired of clich?s in the closing story, "Ain't You 'Most Done," which is set in the same world. Also included are two Christmas stories: "No Planets Strike," a relatively sweet tale in which genetically modified animals aid the next Christ child, and "And When They Appear," which is less sweet, involving wonderful, mythic figures who visit, but cannot save, a small boy from a world gone mad. While Wolfe's prose is exceptional and there are a few gems here, such as "Useful Phrases," which delights in how words lead us to and reveal mysteries, there are also several tasteless and misogynistic entries. Chief among them is "The Ziggurat," in which a mother coaches her daughters in the art of false accusation and the father--whose wife leaves him broke-eventually regains all by finding a woman he can dominate and a technology he can steal. All too frequently in this volume, even when women show men "the pleasures of Hell," biting them till they bleed, men emerge loutish and triumphant. (Jan.) FYI: Wolfe is a recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement. From Library Journal Two tales featuring a pair of musicians wandering down an endless highway filled with stalled cars ("Bluesberry Jam"; "Ain't You Most Done?") frame this collection of 15 short stories by the award-winning author of the "Book of the New Sun" series. Wolfe's eclectic talent runs the gamut from Russian folk tales to modern horror as he explores a landscape filled with ghouls, aliens, and chess-playing deities. Representing a decade of groundbreaking speculative fiction by a master of the genre, this volume belongs in most libraries. From Booklist Wolfe's latest collection holds 16 pieces that have appeared in an amazing variety of publications during the last decade. Their inspirations range from music in "Bluesberry Jam" to comic books in "Ain't You Most Done?," a tie-in to Neil Gaiman's famous Sandman series of graphic novels, which are about as far removed from caped-crusader stuff as one can imagine. But then, Wolfe occupies a distinguished position on the frontiers of both sf and fantasy by virtue of originality of subject, capable handling of detail, and command of language. Plot summaries don't do his work justice, but the only caveat to make is that some of the protagonists are initially repulsive, and at short length, there isn't much time to assimilate their complexities. Roland Green From Kirkus Reviews Fifteen stories, 199097, all more or less unclassifiable, gathered under an eminently appropriate title: Wolfe's first collection since Endangered Species (1989). The more science fictionflavored entries include: a woman pursued by the robot she helped develop; a collapse-of-civilization yarn about a little boy abandoned in a computerized house; and a strange trio of time-traveling female invaders. Yarns leaning toward fantasy: a far-future campfire horror story; an amusing yarn based on a Russian folk tale; an excruciating dilemma on the road to Hell; a human boy enslaved by the queen of the ghouls; some weird goings-on in a magic dollhouse; and, in a knottily Borgesian yarn, a phrase-book for an unknown language draws odd visitors to an old-fashioned bookshop. Elsewhere, there are two talking-animal clowns trapped on a planet where humans are oppressed by alien elves; a strange school in a low-tech future where a dead man thinks in Latin; and a space war controlled by God's chess game with the Devil. Finally, in the last story, a man, deprived of dreams in life, dies, only to become a character in the lead-off yarn about a permanent traffic jam that's developed a culture of its own. Painstaking and precise, though often wrought without recourse to ordinary logic: for readers who enjoy oblique, magisterial puzzles that don't necessarily have solutions. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. "The greatest writer in the English language alive today . . . there is nobody who can even approach Gene Wolfe for brilliance of prose, clarity of thought, and depth in meaning."--Michael Swanwick "Aladdin got three wishes from his genie. From Gene, you get fifteen, and they all come true."--Orson Scott Card About the Author Gene Wolfe has been called "the finest writer the science fiction world has yet produced" by The Washington Post. A former engineer, he has written numerous books and won a variety of awards for his SF writing. Gene is the winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and many other awards. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois.
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The Citadel of the Autarch

The Citadel of the Autarch

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Volume Four of the Book of the New Sun. Severian the Torturer continues his epic journey across the lands of Urth, a journey as fraught with peril as it is with wonder. Exiled from his guild he is an outcast, but his travels are woven with strange portents. The Claw of the Conciliator, relic of a prophet and promise of a new age, flames to life in his hands. He carries the great sword Terminus Est, the Line of Division. The dwellers in the deep waters offer him a kingdom under the seas. And he is hunted and driven by terrors from beyond Urth. Now all his travels move him inexorably toward a grander fate, a destiny that he dare not refuse. For a devouring blackness gnaws at the heart of the Old Sun, and the fate of Urth rests in the return of the Conciliator, the New Sun long foretold.
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Starwater Strains

Starwater Strains

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Gene Wolfe follows his acclaimed all-fantasy short story collection, Innocents Aboard, with a volume devoted primarily to his science fiction. The twenty-five stories here amply demonstrate his range, excellence, and mastery of the form. A few tantalizing samples: "Viewpoint" takes on the unreality of so-called "reality" TV and imagines such a show done truly for real, with real guns. "Empires of Foliage and Flower" is in the classic Book of the New Sun series. "Golden City Far." is about dreams, high school, and finding love, which Wolfe says "is about as good a recipe for a story as I've ever found." You're sure to agree. **From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. Unlike his previous all-fantasy short fiction collection InnocentsAboard (2004),Wolfe's seventh volume of stellar short stories, written mostly between 2000 and 2005, ranges from haunting horror and biting near-contemporary social commentary to high fantasy and far-future SF, all amply demonstrating his mastery of trademark ironic twists of plot and characterization. Two longer pieces frame the collection. In "Viewpoint," Wolfe postulates a "reality show for real," with "a real government clawing for the money," while "Golden City Far" blends adolescent dreams of love and magic with a talking dog and deeds perilous and poignant. Between them Wolfe includes such minor masterpieces as "Petting Zoo," recounting the memories of better days lived by a man and an aged tofu-eating dinosaur, one of Wolfe's favorite beasts. Wolfe's dead-on ear for dialect shines in little morsels of horror like "The Fat Magician" and the apocalyptic "Mute," both treating humanity's capacity for self-destruction. The wonderful shocker "Pulp Cover" provides an invaluable clue to both this outstanding collection and Wolfe's creativity, that tiny, inevitable wrench when dream gives way to reality, reality to nightmare, and we understand, "It isn't really like that at all." Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From School Library Journal Adult/High School–The 20-plus science-fiction stories in this solid collection vary greatly in length, setting, and subject. In Petting Zoo, a captive T-rex relives old times with a human friend; Lord of the Land is a horror story with an ancient Egyptian twist; in Calamity Jane, an unusual dog brings increasingly strange gifts to its owner; and The Boy Who Hooked the Sun is a mythlike tale set in Atlantis that explains the origin of seasons. Of special interest to teens will be Viewpoint, in which reality TV is taken to a future extreme, and Golden City Far, in which a high school student's fantastic dreams spill over into his everyday life. Throughout, the writing is perfectly suited to each story–clear and precise, with not a word wasted. Readers may not like all of the tales, but there is something here for everyone who enjoys fantastic fiction.–Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. 
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Sword and Citadel

Sword and Citadel

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Sword of the Lictor is the third volume in Wolfe's remarkable epic, chronicling the odyssey of the wandering pilgrim called Severian, driven by a powerful and unfathomable destiny, as he carries out a dark mission far from his home. The Citadel of the Autarch brings The Book of the New Sun to its harrowing conclusion, as Severian clashes in a final reckoning with the dread Autarch, fulfilling an ancient prophecy that will forever alter the realm known as Urth. "Brilliant . . . terrific . . . a fantasy so epic it beggars the mind. An extraordinary work of art!"-Philadelphia Inquirer
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The Urth of the New Sun

The Urth of the New Sun

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

The long awaited sequel to Gene Wolfe’s four-volume classic, The Book of the New Sun. We return to the world of Severian, now the Autarch of Urth, as he leaves the planet on one of the huge spaceships of the alien Hierodules to travel across time and space to face his greatest test, to become the legendary New Sun or die. The strange, rich, original spaceship scenes give way to travels in time, wherein Severian revisits times and places which fill in parts of the background of the four-volume work, that will thrill and intrigue particularly all readers of the earlier books. But The Urth of the New Sun is an independent structure all of a piece, an integral masterpiece to shelve beside the classics, one itself.
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Innocents Aboard

Innocents Aboard

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Gene Wolfe may be the single best writer in fantasy and SF today. His quotes and reviews certainly support that contention, and so does his impressive short fiction oeuvre. Innocents Aboard gathers fantasy and horror stories from the last decade that have never before been in a Wolfe collection. Highlights from the twenty-two stories include "The Tree is my Hat," adventure and horror in the South Seas, "The Night Chough," a Long Sun story, "The Walking Sticks," a darkly humorous tale of a supernatural inheritance, and "Houston, 1943," lurid adventures in a dream that has no end. This is fantastic fiction at its best. **From Publishers Weekly Veteran Wolfe (The Knight) doesn't just write stories. He tells wondrously imaginative tales that weave reality with dream and fit so comfortably, or with intentional discomfort, within the psyche that they surely must have dwelt there all along with the other great fables and folk tales, lore and legends that are part of our collective cultural unconscious. The 22 short works of horror and fantasy (and "magic realism" if one disdains genre labels) collected here are further proof that Wolfe ranks with the finest writers of this or any other day. Age has neither dulled nor withered the septuagenarian author: fully half these stories are from the last five years. "The Tree Is My Hat" is a haunting ghost story set on a Pacific Island replete with shark-gods and lost temples. The chilling "The Friendship Light" combines the Lovecraftian with the psychopathological. An ill child finds endless adventure and inescapable nightmare in "Houston, 1943." In "The Lost Pilgrim," a time-traveler intent on sailing with the Pilgrims finds himself on a voyage into Greek myth. Wolfe's magic is so potent that even when his highly unreliable narrators warn us we will never believe them, that they are mad or illogical, we still find it all, no matter how outlandish or surreal the premise, perfectly plausible. Wolfe is a literary treasure, as shown in these short stories as lucid as diamonds of the first water. Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. From Booklist This gathering of 22 previously uncollected fantasy and horror stories shows Wolfe as much a master of his craft as ever. Particularly noteworthy is the autobiographical "Houston, 1943," about growing up during World War II; Wolfe says there is nothing completely invented in it. On the other hand, "The Walking Sticks" is a ghost story, "The Night Chough" is set in the universe of Wolfe's Long Sun novels, and "How the Bishop Sailed to Inniskeen" superficially appears to take place in a conventional fantasy setting; invention aplenty in them. Then there are "The Sailor Who Sailed after the Sun," "Slow Children at Play," and "The Monday Man"; in none of them is it easy to tell whether Wolfe is being whimsical or not. It is easy, however, to appreciate Wolfe's versatility in choice of subjects, the depth of the knowledge he brings to bear on developing them, and the magisterial excellence of his prose. Short fiction doesn't often get better than this in the English language, let alone just in fantasy. Roland Green Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Return to the Whorl

Return to the Whorl

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Gene Wolfe's Return to the Whorl is the third volume, after On Blue's Waters and In Green's Jungles, of his ambitious SF trilogy The Book of the Short Sun . . . It is again narrated by Horn, who has embarked on a quest in search of the heroic leader Patera Silk. Horn has traveled from his home on the planet Blue, reached the mysterious planet Green, and visited the great starship, the Whorl and even, somehow, the distant planet Urth. But Horn's identity has become ambiguous, a complex question embedded in the story, whose telling is itself complex, shifting from place to place, present to past. Perhaps Horn and Silk are now one being. Return to the Whorl brings Wolfe's major new fiction, The Book of the Short Sun, to a strange and seductive climax.
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The Book of the New Sun Volume 1 : Shadow and Claw

The Book of the New Sun Volume 1 : Shadow and Claw

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Fantasy Masterworks Volume 1The Book of the New Sun is unanimously acclaimed as Gene Wolfe's most remarkable work, hailed as "a masterpiece of science fantasy comparable in importance to the major works of Tolkien and Lewis" by Publishers Weekly, and "one of the most ambitious works of speculative fiction in the twentieth century" by The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Shadow & Claw brings together the first two books of the tetralogy in one volume:The Shadow of the Torturer is the tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession -- showing mercy toward his victim.Ursula K. Le Guin said, "Magic stuff . . . a masterpiece . . . the best science fiction I've read in years!"The Claw of the Conciliator continues the saga of Severian, banished from his home, as he undertakes a mythic quest to discover the awesome power of an ancient relic, and learn the truth about his hidden destiny."Arguably the finest piece of literature American science fiction has yet produced [is] the four-volume Book of the New Sun."--Chicago Sun-Times"The Book of the New Sun establishes his preeminence, pure and simple. . . . The Book of the New Sun contains elements of Spenserian allegory, Swiftian satire, Dickensian social consciousness and Wagnerian mythology. Wolfe creates a truly alien social order that the reader comes to experience from within . . . once into it, there is no stopping."--The New York Times Book Review Gene Wolfe has been called "the finest writer the science fiction world has yet produced" by The Washington Post. A former engineer, he has written numerous books and won a variety of awards for his SF writing. The Book of the New Sun, a series of four novels, is unanimously acclaimed as Wolfe's most memorable work, hailed by Publishers Weekly as a "masterpiece of science fantasy comparable in importance to the major works of Tolkien and Lewis"—and by The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction as "one of the most ambitious works of speculative fiction in the twentieth century".Shadow & Claw collects the first two novels in this Nebula and World Fantasy Award-winning tetralogy: The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator. "The Book of the New Sun establishes [Wolfe's] pre-eminence, pure and simple . . . The Book of the New Sun contains elements of Spenserian allegory, Swiftian satire, Dickensian social consciousness, and Wagnerian mythology. Wolfe creates a truly alien social order that the reader comes to experience from within . . . Once into it, there is no stopping."—The New York Times Book Review"Arguably the best piece of literature American science fiction has yet produced."—Chicago Sun-Times
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The Urth of the New Sun botns-5

The Urth of the New Sun botns-5

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

The final volume of  Book of the New Sun series. Severian, formerly a member of the Torturers’ Guild and now Autarch of Urth, travels beyond the boundaries of time and space aboard the Ship of Tzadkiel on a mission to bring the New Sun to his dying planet. Wolfe demonstrates his mastery of both style and content in this complex, multilayered story of one man’s eternal quest. Nominated for Nebula, Hugo, and Locus awards in 1988.
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The Fifth Head of Cerberus

The Fifth Head of Cerberus

Gene Wolfe

Literature & Fiction / Science Fiction & Fantasy

Far from Earth two sister planets, Sainte Anne and Sainte Croix, circle each other. It is said that a race of shapeshifting aliens once lived here, only to become extinct when human colonists arrived. But one man believes they still exist, somewhere out in the wilderness. In The Fifth Head of Cerberus , Gene Wolfe brilliantly interweaves three tales: a scientist’s son gradual discovery of the bizarre secret of his heritage; a young man’s mythic dreamquest for his darker half; the mystifying chronicle of an anthropologist’s seemingly-arbitrary imprisonment. Gradually, a mesmerising pattern emerges.
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