The Citadel of the Autarch (Book of the New Sun #4) (1983) by Gene Wolfe

… in which a hero goes on a dreamlike journey… to find a shirt…

TheCitadeloftheAutarch1Rajan Khanna, at Lit Reactor, calls it “fractal.” Peter Wright, at Ultan’s Library, says “Every reading is, then, an individual resurrection.” Months after completing my first reading of The Book of the New Sun tetralogy, I’m still digesting it, like a piece of shoe leather someone dared me to eat. Continue reading

The Claw of the Conciliator (1981) (Book of the New Sun #2) by Gene Wolfe

TheClawoftheConciliator1The following is a transcript of a conversation between From Couch to Moon and Gene Wolfe. Not really, but just go with me on this. (Click here to see the first part of this conversation.)

Hey Gene, the Claw of the Conciliator sounds like a metal song. Has anyone done this yet?
Continue reading

November 2014 Reading Review


Another month has come and gone and I managed to get some fine SF reading done in between avoiding news coverage of events that reinforce my pathetic retreat from the world of humanity, and hosting traditional holiday events of which I dislike, and half of my family dislikes, and the other half doesn’t recognize because Mexico, and we usually don’t do anything for T-day, but this year, hey, we’re in the same town let’s do something, how about you baste a turkey and sugar up some yams, and can you make a salad for work because everyone loves your salads and this will be perfect for this season of boost the economy in the name of family and imperialism…

Oh, hypocrisy, you wear me out sometimes. And yet, I wear you so well…

In my personal and very subjective SF reading news, November was a month of body modification themes (both voluntary and forced) and my first tastes of big time vintage authors of whom I plan read more: Galouye, Wolfe, Pohl, Silverberg.  My reading progress fared as planned, despite a deliberate slowdown just to catch up on reviewing. And, I think I finally exhausted my brief interest in new releases, so I hope to back off the buzz-bait for a while.

Books I reviewed: Continue reading

The Shadow of the Torturer (1980) by Gene Wolfe

Shadowofthetorturer1“It’s a pity you are a torturer,” Ultan said. “You might have been a philosopher” (p. 47).

I think Gene Wolfe is talking about himself. Again.

But torturer, he is, and my casual, unstudied approach to reading SF has failed me in this instance. With Wolfe, heuristic reading is the worst way to go. The Shadow of the Torturer requires preparation.  A briefing. Nobody told me this is no superficial fantasy story.


“If there are layers of reality beneath the reality we see, even as there are layers of history beneath the ground we walk upon…” (p. 103).

Well, hell. You’re talking about this book, aren’t you? Continue reading