The Book of the Long Sun

Discussion in 'Gene Wolfe' started by T77, Nov 19, 2010.

  1. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    There is another New Sun/Long Sun thread, I think it deserves its own thread though.

    I finished Nightside the Long Sun last night and I really enjoyed it. It almost didn't feel like a Sun book, the prose was not as dense as in New Sun and although it takes place on a ship, it felt like it took place in some neighborhood. I would almost think it was like one of his stand alone novels.

    This book felt like more of a setup. I'm very curious to find out more about the ship and its goings on. Really looking forward to the next book.
     
  2. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    T77, did you finish Long Sun? I am about halfway through Nightside the Long Sun and am enjoying it. It is very strange ... I feel like significantly more is going that it seems, and am looking forward to finding out more about the world that Silk lives in. While not on as grand a scale, Wolfe seems to have built a world to rival Urth in detail and subtle history.
     
  3. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    I'm more than halfway into Lake of the Long Sun and I am really enjoying it. It is slowly unfolding and the more that is revealed the more I am drawn in. I agree, there is a lot more going on in this world. This might not be up to New Sun quality, but I am finding it excellent so far.
     
  4. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Finished Lake of the Long Sun and I liked it a lot. I think this is some of his best work. The way he is slowly building the story and mixing sci-fi, fantasy and an exploration of society is incredible. I also really like the world building. I hope the next two books are as good as the first two. I was going to read something else before starting Caldé of the Long Sun, but I am going continue reading this.
     
  5. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    Just finishing Nightside (taking me a while because of my incurable tendency to read more than one book at a time) and it is getting more interesting as I go along.

    As said, the world-building, element of mystery, and great writing is making for a excellent series so far. I like how different it is from TBONS. The fact that the first book takes place over the course of a short period of time (~3 days) is in sharp contrast to the year+ long saga that Severian goes through.

    I am having a heck of a time figuring out who the "gods" are ... the obvious answer seems to be some sort of AI (meant to run / manage the whorl [which is obviously a space ship {"shiprock", etc}]) that for some reason have lost most contact with the inhabitants of the whorl. I am very curious as to the identity of the gods, and flying creatures, and the inhabitants of the "sky lands".

    Might the "sky lands" be the abode of humans from a separate group than the progenitors of the people in Virion? It would make sense for a generation ship to have some people (and their descendants) be in charge of the maintenance of the ship, unless that job is done exclusively by AI.
     
  6. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Finished Calde of the Long Sun and I really liked it. I felt it was on par with the other two, although it was a bit slower in places but there were also a few parts that were the best in the series. I really liked the ending. Not sure when I will get to Exodus.
     
  7. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    *Spoilers*



    So, the big reveal at the end of Lake of the Long Sun (concerning the true nature of the gods) got me thinking about Long Sun / New Sun continuity. I had gotten the impression that the Whorl left Earth because of the death of the Earth's sun. The reigning individual who had the Whorl built and set it off was known as Typhon the First (Pas), according to Lemur. Typhon, obviously, is the two-headed creature encountered by Severian in New Sun, and we know from that work that Typhon ruled Earth (Urth) along with numerous other worlds, many many years in the past.

    However, our Earth's sun wasn't dying, to the best of my knowledge, when Typhon ruled, so I think that he might have sent the Whorl from another planet whose sun was dying / dead. Thus the inhabitants of Viron, etc., might not be humans directly from Earth at all, but humans (or extremely human-like aliens) from another planet in Typhon's presumably large planetary empire.

    Any thoughts? I am aware that this might all be upended by some further point in the rest of Long Sun, this is just my general thought through the first half.
     
  8. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Interesting thought.

    Spoilers below...
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    Since it is revealed in Urth of the New Sun that time travel is occurring with people moving forward and backward in time and meeting at various points, perhaps Typhon released The Whorl at a time in the future? But, please take what I say with a grain of salt as I've only read it once and probably don't know what I am talking about.
     
  9. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    Good point. I think I am going to re-read the Typhon scenes in BOTNS and UOTNS, and see if I can find anything that hints at him being able to time travel. I doubt it, but it is always a possibility.

    Another thing is that the Whorl doesn't seem to be traveling at the speed of light, or using the advanced mirrors-lightspeed travel of the Heirodules in BOTNS. So it would appear that the Whorl and its inhabitants come from a society with much less advanced technology (though still pretty advanced genetic engineering). This is another reason why I think the Whorl originated much father in the past than the events of BOTNS, from a different location than Urth.

    I don't have the books in front of me, but does anyone remember if Typhon had "two heads" in UOTNS when Severian meets him in the past? Pas is referred to as "the two-headed" and is depicted in art as having two heads, so it would seem that everything else aside, the Whorl was at least launched after Typhon had his head grafted on to Paiton's body.
     
  10. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    I just finished Exodus from the Long Sun and I did not care for it - I had to force myself to finish it. Had it not been a Wolfe book I would have bailed in the middle. Nothing much happens, it was just a lot of boring conversations. I liked the first two books, but I was disappointed where the last two books went.

    I hear the Short Sun books are great - not sure when I will get to them as I am working my way through Steven Erikson's Malazan series. But, I never seem to go too long before having the desire to read a Wolfe novel.
     
  11. Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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    imo, Short Sun is way better than Long Sun, which I also couldn't finish...
     
  12. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Seems the case, not only by yourself but also by the Amazon reviews. Seems I will be reading this sooner rather than later as I have it primed to go on my kindle. I guess I can't go more than a few days without reading some Wolfe.
     
  13. Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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    Following up TBOTNS for Wolfe must have been like the Beatles following up Sgt. Pepper. TBOTNS is one of those unique visions that simply stands alone.
     
  14. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    Whew. I finally finished. What a fantastic journey! I took breaks between books in the series to read other things (including other Wolfe novels), and I am not sure if that made me appreciate it more or not. It definitely left me tossing and turning with questions (How did Quetzal get onboard the Whorl originally? What is the exact nature of the Outsider? How big is the Whorl? How do the chems "build" children? Is Jonas actually a time-traveling chem???).

    On top of the content (which was brilliant) I also thought the series was beautifully written. The varying styles were great as well. Each novel has a distinct narrative voice that helped keep me especially alert for trickiness. I look forward to finishing the "Solar Cycle", but am taking a break to read other things.
     
  15. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Glad you enjoyed it Kierkegaurdian - although I was a disappointed in the last two books, your impressions make me look forward to a reread.

    I am halfway through On Blue's Waters and am enjoying it immensely - I think you will too.
     
  16. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    T77, why were you disappointed by the last two books? Glad you are liking the Short Sun; I just started The Knight today and will finish that duology before moving back to the Solar books.
     
  17. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I just wasn't in the right frame of mind, but I found it very boring, save for the last 20% or so of the last book. It was just a lot of conversations, not much happened that was interesting.

    I loved The Knight btw! One of my favorite books. Unfortunately I did not care for The Wizard for the same reasons I did not like the last two Long Sun books. But, maybe you will have a different experience.
     
  18. Kierkegaurdian

    Kierkegaurdian Well-Known Member

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    I am almost done with The Knight. I like it a lot so far ... it reminds me of George McDonald's The Golden Key. The transitions between settings and scenes are very dreamlike and surreal. I also like how the "levels" are spiritual / magical, but also a matter of elevation! It is a very unique world, and a great spin on the "young hero in search of magic sword" fantasy story.
     
  19. Stephen Palmer

    Stephen Palmer author of novels

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    I couldn't finish the Knight. :rolleyes:
     
  20. T77

    T77 Well-Known Member

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    I agree with your assessment, I liked its dreamlike quality and how he expanded upon a sword-and-sorcery story. It really shows why IMO he is far and above other authors.
     
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