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Shadow & claw by Gene Wolfe
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2,254None2,836 (4.16)141
Member:Longshanks
Title:Shadow & claw
Authors:Gene Wolfe
Info:New York : ORB, [1994]
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:science fiction, fantasy

Work details

Shadow & Claw: The First Half of The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe

20th century (11) American (10) Book of the New Sun (62) classic (10) dying earth (17) ebook (8) fantasy (341) Fantasy Masterworks (35) far future (14) fiction (202) Gene Wolfe (13) novel (36) omnibus (45) own (11) owned (12) paperback (13) read (32) religion (8) science fantasy (26) science fiction (272) series (17) sf (67) sff (26) solar cycle (9) speculative fiction (23) to-read (48) torture (10) unread (31) Urth (8) wishlist (9)
  1. 20
    Lexicon Urthus by Michael Andre-Driussi (Cecrow)
    Cecrow: Companion piece serving as guide to interpreting Gene Wolfe's multi-layered work.
  2. 00
    Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges (LamontCranston)
    LamontCranston: "The composition of a novel in the first person, whose narrator would omit or disfigure the facts and indulge in various contradictions which would permit a few readers - very few readers - to perceive an atrocious or banal reality."
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» See also 141 mentions

English (25)  German (1)  Romanian (1)  All languages (27)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
I've reviewed these separately at FanLit: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/fantasy-author/wolfegene ( )
  Kat_Hooper | Apr 6, 2014 |
Reread Audiobook Oct 2011. Wonder upon wonder. The greatest work of the imagination I have ever encountered. A billion stars. ( )
  malrubius | Apr 2, 2013 |
On the one hand, a consistently immersive prose style, whose mannerisms make the already unfamiliar even stranger. Some interesting play with narrative sequence and temporal experience.

On the other hand, goofy fantasy sex aimed squarely at heterosexual teenage boys. Severian pours himself into a woman, again and again. He enters her. Etc. I don't think there are many women or feminine entities he doesn't penetrate or at least ogle. Not the crones, I guess. Not the ones who die too quickly to impress with his . . . being the protagonist? Having a big sword, with a Latin name? Affecting a cape so dark, it is the hue darker than black?

On, um, a third hand, the plot is episodic rather than organic, moving more like a dream or a tapestry than an interesting story. Here's a thing, then here's a thing interrupting that thing, and here's some goofy fantasy sex, after which some exposition breaks out, then a bit of tender ritual cannibalism ensues, and whilst discussing mythology with boon companions on foot to the unreachable and occasionally forgotten destination whither they are bound, around the bend comes . . . . I get the sense that Wolfe knows his medieval and Renaissance romances, and it's neat to see those layered over science fiction ideas, but at this point I'm tempted to reread M. John Harrison's Viriconium books instead of finishing this tetralogy. Or at least before. ( )
1 vote idlerking | Mar 31, 2013 |
(My review for each book found under their respective titles.) ( )
  elenchus | Sep 17, 2012 |
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Epigraph
A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
Before the rising sun.
Dedication
First words
It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312890176, Paperback)

One of the most acclaimed "science fantasies" ever, Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun is a long, magical novel in four volumes. Shadow & Claw contains the first two: The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator, which respectively won the World Fantasy and Nebula Awards.

This is the first-person narrative of Severian, a lowly apprentice torturer blessed and cursed with a photographic memory, whose travels lead him through the marvels of far-future Urth, and who--as revealed near the beginning--eventually becomes his land's sole ruler or Autarch. On the surface it's a colorful story with all the classic ingredients: growing up, adventure, sex, betrayal, murder, exile, battle, monsters, and mysteries to be solved. (Only well into book 2 do we realize what saved Severian's life in chapter 1.) For lovers of literary allusions, they are plenty here: a Dickensian cemetery scene, a torture-engine from Kafka, a wonderful library out of Borges, and familiar fables changed by eons of retelling. Wolfe evokes a chilly sense of time's vastness, with an age-old, much-restored painting of a golden-visored "knight," really an astronaut standing on the moon, and an ancient citadel of metal towers, actually grounded spacecraft. Even the sun is senile and dying, and so Urth needs a new sun.

The Book of the New Sun is almost heartbreakingly good, full of riches and subtleties that improve with each rereading. It is Gene Wolfe's masterpiece. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:26 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Received as a science fiction masterpiece. This volume contains the first 2 books in a 4 book series. The Shadow of the torturer and The claw of the Conciliator (Both NIS)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 2 descriptions

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