Pirate Freedom

Discussion in 'Gene Wolfe' started by Connavar, Jan 11, 2008.

  1. Connavar

    Connavar Well-Known Member

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    Anyone read this book ?


    I wanted to try Wolfe by this book or another stand alone or a short series like Wizard Knight.


    Is good enough book or a bad place to start cause it might put me off him ?
     
  2. Stenevor

    Stenevor Well-Known Member

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    Its only just come out I think so its still only available in hardback in the UK. If I were you I would just go straight for The Book of the New Sun, its just come out as an omnibus called "Severian of the Guild" I know its 1000 pages but its very good and after that you will know if you want to read any more by him. Wizard Knight is good(I liked it anyway) but seems to put a lot of people off. its not that short either at about 900 pages. Im just about to start The Fifth Head of Cerberus myself which is supposed to be good, 3 short stories that somehow link together.
     
  3. Connavar

    Connavar Well-Known Member

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    Its just that im reading too many series of authors i already enjoy to start a new series which is as big Book of the New Sun.

    I wanted a stand alone to get a quick look at the qaulity of his writing.

    For example Jack Vance i read Emphyrio which was a stand alone and not of one his most famous work but it made me a fan.

    Im looking for something similar for Wolfe.

    Cant you recommend one of his other older novels then that isnt a series?

    The Fifth Head of Cerberus ? isnt it in the famous series?
     
  4. Stenevor

    Stenevor Well-Known Member

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    The Fifth Head of Cerberus is stand alone, its 3 short stories totalling about 200 pages and I'm lead to believe the stories link together. It gets good reviews but I cant vouch for it myself yet.
     
  5. GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Yep, fifth head, book of the new sun, soldier of mist are very good so start there.

    Got the pirate book but yet to read. Understand it's not his best.

    Must go.

    Cheers.
     
  6. Connavar

    Connavar Well-Known Member

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    Fifth head or Soldeir of mist it is then since nobody can recommend Pirate book it being so new.


    I really only was interested cause im a sucker for pirate stories.


    Heh Soldier of mist sounds like a supernatural Memento(the movie of course).
     
  7. GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Well kind of. It's about a guy from the ancient world who looses his memory at the end of every day and must write down what he remembers before going to sleep. It's really interesting the way Gene deals with the whole issue of memory and self identity and our hero can also communicate with the Gods. Some people believe that this is Gene's best work and it is excellent but I still think Book Of The New Sun is what he'll be remembered for the most. Interestingly enough the latest Solder book Soldiers Of Sildon, won this year's World Fantasy Award. I've got a copy but am yet to complete it.
     
  8. Connavar

    Connavar Well-Known Member

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    Being aPKD fan i have read several good stories about memory loss and self identity and recently too. I have read short story versions of Paycheck,Total Recal.

    Will be interesting to read Wolfe's take on those themes.
     
  9. Boaz

    Boaz Thaphireth!

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    Finished Pirate Freedom last night. This was my first time to read Gene Wolfe. I happened to find a pristine hardcover for $2 at 2nd and Charles.

    As I understand it... Wolfe often (maybe always) writes in the first person so that the reader only ever gets the protagonists understanding of reality. I'm going to get right to the nitty gritty. I'm not going to get into Anglo-Spanish relations in the late 17th century, the history of Cuba, the ethics of piracy, or the measure of love.

    Ostensibly, Pirate Freedom is about a Roman Catholic priest writing his memoir. Over the course of the story, I began to wonder if it was a memoir or a delusional fantasy. There is no doubt that Father Chris believes his memoir, but I don't. I think he imagined the entire thing to find a non-destructive outlet for his anger, his sense of adventure, his varied intellectual pursuits, and his sexuality. I think the adventure, the passion, and the struggle allowed him to feel alive, but the lust for gold justified his life as a priest. A penance. A terrible past that forced him into the clergy instead of a poor career choice by a scared young man.

    I thought Wolfe's style of storytelling was great. Father Chris often used contemporary terms to tell a three hundred year old story in the first person. It constantly reminded me that I was in Chris' memory and not in Chris' present.

    I don't know all the correct literature terms to properly label the people, places and objects in the story. Was the Castillo Blanco hope? Did Jaime represent despair, sin, judgment? Was Burt a surrogate father or Chris' real father reimagined?

    And then there's fact that I don't speak Spanish... What does Novia mean? Does it mean "new"? Nuevo. She certainly started a new chapter of Captain Chris' life. Does it mean "no way"? No via. The relationship would not survive. I don't speak French either.... Does Lesage mean "the wise one"? Lesage certainly seemed to be the one to survive and thrive. Was he wiser than Chris to not have a conscience?

    I could argue about Chris' orthodoxy. Does he really know the Creator or is he just fooling himself? That is a question we should all face...

    Despite the intensity of Chris' belief or his lack of faith... Wolfe had two pearls of wisdom. I'm going to paraphrase them (or get them slightly wrong)...

    • If you want to feel better, make someone else feel better. That will do wonders for you.
    • Real forgiveness requires real confession. Forgiveness without confession is just another form of permission.
     
  10. Boaz

    Boaz Thaphireth!

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    I just saw Fight Club for the first time.

    The first rule of Piracy is that we don't talk about piracy.
     
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