Please help a new reader....

Commonmind

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I am an avid fantasy fan and was referred to Wolfe by several friends over the years. However, I read more than your average Joe and for the past few years I've been reading several series of books that I devoted most of my reading time to; Jordan, Moorcock, Drake, (Tad) Williams, Salvatore, Card, Martin, C.S. Friedman, Weis/Hickman, Neil G. and a slue of others. By coincidence alone I finished the last Wheel of Time book, A Feast for Crows, and quite a few of the most recent books of the aforementioned authors in the last several weeks. So, here I am, with the Edge Chronicles and Spiderwick the only books left on my shelf to read (yes I am a children's fantasy fan too) and looking for something long and tedious to warm my nights. I've heard nothing but great things about Wolfe, and it seems to me I've missed reading another of fantasy's despots (I didn't start reading Martin until recently either). I've declined reading the bibliography listed on the main page and have thwarted the temptations to Wiki Wolfe in hopes that I could start a series of books based on the recommendations of other fans. So, after that long-winded and completely unnecessary, exposition, what is the series I should begin with and is it a finished series (in other words, something I can pick up in one trip to the bookstore and not have to wait around, shaking in my boots, to pick up the latest release)?
 

j d worthington

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I highly recomment the Book of the New Sun. Yes, it's finished, and it is quite an exceptional piece. It isn't terribly long, though, and has been collected into two volumes:

Book of the New Sun:

The Shadow of the Torturer (1980)
The Claw of the Conciliator (1981)
The Sword of the Lictor (1981)
The Citadel of the Autarch (1982)
The Urth of the New Sun (1987)

These were collected together into Shadow & Claw (1994) and Sword & Citadel (1994), and later The Book of the New Sun Omnibus (1998). There's also a non-fiction related book, The Castle of the Otter, if you're interested.
 

Commonmind

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I highly recomment the Book of the New Sun. Yes, it's finished, and it is quite an exceptional piece. It isn't terribly long, though, and has been collected into two volumes:

Book of the New Sun:

The Shadow of the Torturer (1980)
The Claw of the Conciliator (1981)
The Sword of the Lictor (1981)
The Citadel of the Autarch (1982)
The Urth of the New Sun (1987)

These were collected together into Shadow & Claw (1994) and Sword & Citadel (1994), and later The Book of the New Sun Omnibus (1998). There's also a non-fiction related book, The Castle of the Otter, if you're interested.
Thanks J.D. This is exactly what I was looking for.
 

althea

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I have just finished Shadow and Claw. I found it a bit difficult to follow at first,it's a very meandering story.
I have enjoyed it because of Wolfe's use of words.For example,he describes torture as excruciations and I found that most expressive.
Wolfe packs a huge amount into the book, I feel he could have spread the story over a few volumes. I also felt his work is rather dated but packed with unusually creative ideas. Overall I would recommend it.
 

althea

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That is good news for anyone who wants to give Gene Wolfe a try. I think he is an acquired taste,but has a lot to offer.
I have read a bit about Mr. Wolfe and he has led an interesting life.
 

zlogdan

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I believe everybody should at least try to read Gene Wolfe, not because it is mandatory or necessary, because in the event that one likes his prose it will be more than a transcendental experience or a bliss. Ok I have exaggerated somehow, but I just point that if a reader likes his prose it will change the reader's life and reading habits.
 

althea

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I am about to start Sword and Citadel by Gene Wolfe.I must admit there is something about his writing that fascinates me.
It feels like he has too many threads woven into the story at times.I'm not sure why I just feel I will give this next book a try.
 

althea

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You're right, ryubysss. I have now read them all. I think Gene Wolfe is a writer with an unusual style,that I sometimes loved and sometimes got annoyed with.Reading his books was an experience.
 

Alex The G and T

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Personally, I'm more partial to the Soldier series: Soldier of the Mist. Soldier of Arete, and Soldier of Sidon.



And the Wizard Knight duad. The Knight and The Wizard.


Wolfe also writes powerful shorter forms. The Fifth Head of Cerberus is considered a capital-C Classic. and A Cabin on the Coast is A very powerful, macabre short.

You can't go wrong with any of the collections of shorts. Look for The Island of Doctor Death and other stories. and Innocents Aboard.
 

Stephen Palmer

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Having begun as a mad-keen fan of Gene Wolfe, I've not warmed to his recent work, and have stopped buying his new novels. TBOTNS will remain though one of the greatest of genre books.
 

Woofdog2

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Personally, I'm more partial to the Soldier series: Soldier of the Mist. Soldier of Arete, and Soldier of Sidon.



And the Wizard Knight duad. The Knight and The Wizard.
I recently reread the Soldier books and while certainly getting much more out of them the 2nd time, I was left a bit despondent because it seems unlikely Latro's story will have an ending. (this isn't a spoiler, it is an unfinished series).

Also re-read the Wizard-Knight, and agree on the recommendation.

Wolfe's books benefit from rereading.
 
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