An Evil Guest

Discussion in 'Gene Wolfe' started by T77, Oct 25, 2010.

  1. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Finished this over the weekend. I wasn't sure I would like this after reading the mixed reviews on Amazon. Reading such comments as it is mostly talking and eating and not much happens. Well, that is true, however I really enjoyed the book.

    While there is not a lot in the way of action-then again what Wolfe book is-it kept me turning the pages. I found the ending fell a little flat, but I feel I missed something and as with a ll Wolfe novels a re-read is in order.

    I would love to hear others opinions on this, but it looks like I'm the only one reading his latest books. Which is kind of disappointing considering this is a Wolfe forum.
     
  2. GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Now, now...some of us actually have ALL of Wolfe's fictional works but due to work commitments and other real life hassles have not had the opportunity to read them yet....:rolleyes:

    Evil Guest is supposedly Wolfe's nod to Lovecraft, so it would be interesting to know what references are in the text to this effect.
     
  3. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Having never read any Lovecraft, I could not say. Not that you were expecting me to know, I'm just saying.

    My previous comment about no-one reading this was not meant as a knock on anyone, more of an observation of Wolfe's popularity, or lack thereof.
     
  4. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Actually, Wolfe has done several Lovecraftian pieces over the years, though most are short stories or novellas. I've not read that many of them myself (though I keep meaning to get around to them), but some of these have also been collected in Lovecraftian anthologies. This is, however (iirc) his only novel-length tale of this type....

    (And no, I've not read it yet, either... though I hope to in the next few months....)
     
  5. GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    OH OK, that I had not noticed althouu it's been some time since I last read his shorter fiction.. Having, as I said, pretty much all of Wolfe's fiction, I will want to go back and see which of these pieces are Lovecraftian...unless you are feeling generous enough to provide me with a list of some of them....:rolleyes:

    @T77: That's Ok. I knew your frustration was related to the apparent lack of interest with Wolfe on these forums. Whilst we do have a band of Wolfe followers, part of the problem is that there are sooo many authors out there, that members may not have had the opportunity to sink their teeth into Mr. Wolfe's work. Also, I agree that he is not nearly as well known or "popular" as a lot of other Genre writers, in spite of the fact that he is, IMO, amongst the best there has ever been. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that his novels are not "easy" reads and that often one really needs to read the texts several times in order to "get" what Wolfe is saying and not everyone has the time nor patience for that kind of undertaking.
     
  6. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, Chris Jarocha-Ernst's A Cthulhu Mythos Bibliography & Concordance lists two: Peace (1975) and "Game in the Pope's Head" (1988), in the anthology Ripper!, though in both case the connection would seem to be mentions of Lovecraftian connections rather than any important aspect of the work. However, James Turner's anthologies Cthulhu 2000 and Eternal Lovecraft each have a Lovecraftian Wolfe story: "Lord of the Land" in the first; "The Other Dead Man" in the second. It seems to me there are others out there, but at the moment I'm drawing a blank....



    @T77: That's Ok. I knew your frustration was related to the apparent lack of interest with Wolfe on these forums. Whilst we do have a band of Wolfe followers, part of the problem is that there are sooo many authors out there, that members may not have had the opportunity to sink their teeth into Mr. Wolfe's work. Also, I agree that he is not nearly as well known or "popular" as a lot of other Genre writers, in spite of the fact that he is, IMO, amongst the best there has ever been. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that his novels are not "easy" reads and that often one really needs to read the texts several times in order to "get" what Wolfe is saying and not everyone has the time nor patience for that kind of undertaking.[/QUOTE]
     
  7. GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    Wow....that's a funky use of Quotes you have happening there J.D.....:D

    Now, I have those shorter stories. The first two are in the fairly recent collection Starwater Strains, I have a HB edn. of that, whilst the third is in my copy of Endangered Species. They may also be in the excellent Gene Wolfe retrospective which I still haven't had time to fully go through yet...ARGHHH!

    Peace is of course one of Gene's earlier and for me best novels, available in various guises including a Gollancz Masterwork edn.

    Thanks for posting those....:)
     
  8. j d worthington

    j d worthington Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry about that... long day, rushed posting, etc....:eek:
     
  9. GOLLUM

    GOLLUM Moderator Staff Member

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    No worries mate....:)

    I might do a reread of those stories you pointed out over our upcoming long weekend.

    In either case, I've now earmarked them for a revisit.

    Cheers.
     
  10. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    I know this is an old thread, but thought I would resurrect it to chime in about An Evil Guest.

    I liked the book, though it was not as dense as other Wolfe novels I have read. As usual, there is a lot more going on than meets the eye. I thought the shifting perspectives were interesting and well-used; 95% of the book is from Cassie's perspective, and the other 5% is split up amongst a few other characters. The significance of those "other" characters' POV's is still kind of a mystery to me, but they did at least on a superficial level add to the depth of said characters. It was not the greatest book ever, but I would still recommend it. I definitely got the impression that it was a sort of quirky experiment from a seasoned master who was looking to try out something odd, fun, and quick.
     
  11. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    So, I am having second thoughts about this book. I noticed that Cassie's address changes (or at least the location of her apartment does) subtly. There are a number of other oddities, and I eventually went over to the Wolfe Wiki and am beginning to realize I have been thoroughly duped. Turns out this is significantly more dense than I thought, and I am going to have to wait a few months and revisit An Evil Guest while keeping in mind that one can't read Wolfe without anything but the utmost attention to detail.
     
  12. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Glad you liked it. I enjoyed it too, and I agree there is a lot going on that requires a second reading, or even a third or fourth. I loved some of the concepts and things he did in the book. I recommend it to any Wolfe fan.
     
  13. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    The whole ethermail thing was great; the idea that sending interplanetary electronic mail at the speed of light (or faster?) means you could get a response to an "email" before you even send it! This is mentioned enough times that I wonder if the hidden implication is that people are the same way ... traveling like that in a hopper means one can jump back and forth through time. I remember reading a theory that Margaret was future-Cassie trying to help earlier version of Cassie to ... ultimately find Gideon? Very convoluted, though an interesting idea.

    Edit: I realized pretty quickly that Gil Corby and Gideon Chase were the same person (Wolfe makes that obvious). That should have been the first sign that things were not as they seem, but I guess I still missed quite a bit.
     
  14. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    My reading time is late at night when I am half asleep, so my comprehension is very low. I guess Wolfe is probably not a good choice, but I like him too much. I knew there was something up with Chase, also with the apartment.
     
  15. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    I'm not sure at first glance if I entirely buy the "Margaret-as-future-Cassie" theory, but I think I have to read it at least one more time to say for sure. Reading while half-asleep can actually work both ways ... sometimes I don't have a clue what is going on, other times, I see things in an entirely new (and interesting?) light!
     
  16. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    I never thought of that. I'm a Software Engineer and I find that my work is affected in a positive way when I have a fever, I can be more creative and such.

    My reading time is so limited and I have so much I want to read, that I will be lucky to make it through all of Wolfe's works once, never-mind multiple times. I guess that is what retirement is for. But, the fact that The New Sun is now on audiobook helps! Hopefully more of his work will make it there.
     
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