The Urth of the New Sun

Discussion in 'Gene Wolfe' started by Kierkegaurdian, Jan 5, 2011.

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    Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian New Member

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    So after a sojourn into some other books on my reading list, I am starting off a Gene Wolfe stint. I am almost done with The Urth of the New Sun, and plan to read the Long Sun books after that. So far I am enjoying Urth, but not as much as TBONS ... I find it to be incredibly different. The writing doesn't seem as inspired as TBONS, though that might have been unavoidable; as an "explanation" novel, Wolfe probably felt the focus should be on tying up Severian's loose ends more than anything else. It is very clever though, and I will definitely need to re-read it and TBONS at a later date.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    I've read the entire SUN cycle and TBONS is still his single greatest work in that particular Universe.

    You've reminded me that this year I am going to set myself to read Gene's entire ouevre, which I happily have (with one exception) including his shorter fiction. That's going to be a major undertaking, so wish me luck!
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    Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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    You'll need stamina, not luck.
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    Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian New Member

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    Sounds like a fun (ambitious) plan. Are you going in a particular order? TBONS was very dense and involved, and though I adored it, I took a break between each book to read one other unrelated book. Long enough for a breath of fresh air before diving back under, but short enough to retain everything that had happened so far. I would recommend taking breaks every once in a while to read something by a different author!

    In regards to Urth: I am liking it more and more as I read. I have about 40 pages left that I plan on reading over lunch today. There are a number of very interesting tidbits; my favorite so far is found in the chapter "To the Tomb of the Monarch", when Severian recalls a line from the little brown book that goes, "Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; the sun and the moon and eleven stars made obeisance to me." This is from Genesis 37:9: "And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me." It looks like the little brown book is an amalgamation of stories in the subconscious of humanity, and I wonder if in writing the stories found in TBONS, Wolfe had in mind specific tales from various times and religions in our history.
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    iansales

    iansales New Member

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    Gollum, do you have the Lexicon Urthus? Or Solar Labyrinth or The Long and the Short of It?
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Lexicon Urthus is the main referecne I use Ian. As you can see I'm a Sun fan boy...;)

    I haven't got the Solar Labyrinth but I know it is alsio a very good reference for specific stages of the SUN cycle. Long and Short or IT is more essays on Wolfe's fiction as recall.

    Whilst I both admire and enjoy Gene's ouevre I'm generally content enough in mining new Gems for myself in the subtext over the course of multiple readings.

    Have you got any of these reference books Ian?
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    Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian New Member

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    Urth was excellent, imo. It threw me off a bit in the beginning due to the suddenly conventional setting (spaceship with robots) but quickly went unexpected places. It is definitely going to take several more readings. Wolfe's notion of time travel is very interesting ... the idea that one can be stretched through time, and that multiple versions of one individual can meet under certain circumstances, and the analogy of the phrase being repeated that is used to illustrate the multiple Severians in the last chapter. All quite brilliant. Can't wait to delve into Long Sun!
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    Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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    Solar Labyrinth does tend to split the fans, with many saying the author over-interprets. Me, I found it very interesting, with lots of points to debate.
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    My understanding has always been that Lexicon Urthus is the best "Sun" reference you can get and why I went for that one.

    Apologies to Kierkegaurdian. We may have hijacked your thread a little. Thank you for posting though, it has obvioulsy sparked a certain degree of interest and for me renewed determination to reread the entire SUN series along with Gene's other works.
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    Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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    It's my fave of the ones I've got.
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    Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian New Member

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    I just looked at the prices for Lexicon Urthus ... why is it so expensive?
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    GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    I think you'll find that was for the 1st edn. HB. The second edition, which I have in PB is fairly affordable...

    Amazon.com: Lexicon Urthus: A Dictionary for the Urth Cycle (9780964279513): Michael Andre-Driussi, Gene Wolfe: Books

    Generally 1st edn. HBs are more expensive than followup editions and it may be they did a limited print run, which would generally make it go up in value even more.

    Cheers.
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    Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian New Member

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    Yeah that isn't too bad. I was looking on Abe Books, which might be why I was only seeing ones that cost $30+.

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