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Severian of the Guild Severian of the Guild by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Paul Graham Raven
The eponymous hero Severian begins this omnibus edition of Book of the New Sun as an apprentice of the obscure Torturer's Guild in the city of Nessus, and he experiences a revelatory event in the necropolis near the Guild's tower which causes him to begin questioning the established dictums of authority -- both those of his guild and those of the society beyond it. As a result, he later transgresses the rules of the Guild by helping a prisoner to commit suicide and is effectively expelled for it, though he is saved from the ignominy of death at the hands of his fellow guildsmen by the seeming compassion of his old Master. Instead, Severian is sent out into the world beyond Nessus to take up a post as the torturer and executioner of a distant city -- a form of exile that falls just short of excommunication.

Soldier of Sidon Soldier of Sidon by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Matthew Hughes
In this episode, we reconnect with the centurion Lucius (or Latro, as he was known in the first two books, Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete), some years after he made it home from Greece after the Hellenes had fought off the last invasion by Persia. Lucius had served on the losing side, a mercenary in King Xerxes's army that was slaughtered by Spartan and Athenian hoplites at the Battle of Plataea. There he suffered a catastrophic head wound that left him with a great scar on his scalp and a brain that can only remember the last twelve hours.

Endangered Species Endangered Species by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Greg L. Johnson
Readers who are familiar with the author through his novels, especially the connected series of novels that make up works like The Book of the Long Sun will find many of the themes that loom large in those works present in many of the stories in this collection. There is the love of language, the religious imagery, the mingling of physics and engineering with myth and legend, and the re-casting of classic story forms into the stuff of science fiction and fantasy.

Innocents Aboard Innocents Aboard by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Chris Przybyszewski
Gene Wolfe has a friend in this ol' world, and Chris is sure the author has no idea who that person might be. However, that friend is a big fan of his work, as well as his genre-defying efforts that use the tools of fantasy and science fiction to best illustrate those everyday things like belief, trust, and doubt. The fan, of course, is Chris. Of interest, he is not the only one who believes these things.

The Knight The Knight by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by David Soyka
In music, the notes that aren't played can be just as important as the ones that are. As much as the actual sounds, the silent rests define the musical experience. Same thing with literature. What the writer doesn't tell you is sometimes as important as what he does. Perhaps that's the difference, or at least one element of the difference, between fiction intended purely for entertainment and fiction with higher ambitions. Where one works it out so you don't have to think too much about it, the other leaves you pondering how the spaces should be filled.

A Walking Tour of the Shambles A Walking Tour of the Shambles by Gene Wolfe & Neil Gaiman
reviewed by Cindy Lynn Speer
Should you ever find yourself inside the borders of the Shambles, be warned. Walk as quickly as you can, without stopping, looking around too much or speaking to any of the odd inhabitants of the place until you obtain a copy of this indispensable guide. In it, you will discover the best defensive maneuvers against a crocodile, how to avoid being attacked by the denizens of the House of Clocks, and how to keep yourself from being robbed, poisoned or otherwise incapacitated and sold as a treat to fellow unfortunates.

Peace Peace by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Alma A. Hromic
On the face of it, it is almost impossible to classify it as a book of fantasy. So much of it is rooted so squarely, and so beautifully, in small-town mid-America, that it could simply be a book of Literature with a capital L. It might well be the ultimate book to hand to someone who dismisses all speculative fiction as a child of a lesser literary god. It is possible to have a science fiction book be lyrical, philosophical, intricate, possessed of both enough depth to drown in and enough wit to do so while smiling. This is such a book.

Sword and Citadel Sword and Citadel by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
Severian and his beloved companion, Dorcas, whom he has unwittingly brought back to life in the first book of The Book of the New Sun, are temporarily established in the northern city of Thrax. He is still seeking the Pelerines, the religious order to whom he must return the Claw of the Conciliator, the mysterious gem with which he has restored Dorcas's life. Once again, however, Severian's nature gets the better of him and he lets a client escape her fate. For this, he knows he will be killed because the ruler of Thrax himself had been the one to order the woman's death.

Shadow and Claw Shadow and Claw by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by A.L. Sirois
Combining The Shadow of the Torturer and The Claw of the Conciliator, this is hefty work with precious little padding. Anyone familiar with Gene Wolfe's work knows what to expect -- strange doings, complex and troubled characters, no guarantees of happy endings for anyone, images and events that stick in the mind long after the book is put down, and a command of the language beyond the ability of 90% of writers working today in or out of the SF field.

In Green's Jungles In Green's Jungles by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Rich Horton
This is a mesmerizing book, beautifully written in the comparatively simple prose style the author adopted for his Book of the Long Sun (ostensibly told by the same character). Though it is full of action, colour, and many mysteries, it is by no means an appropriate starting point for his work. Thus this review is either preaching to the converted, who will be planning to read this book anyway, or at best hinting wonders to come if you should join the ranks.

Free Live Free Free Live Free by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Jean-Louis Trudel
Few authors succeed half so well when it comes to assembling a cast of uncommonly interesting characters challenged to go beyond the confines of their everyday lives. This novel will delight readers looking for a character-driven story set in a familiar world whose underlying eeriness is slowly revealed.

The Urth of the New Sun The Urth of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
Stephen found the first half of the book reinforces his belief that Gene Wolfe is one of the finest writers currently working -- in any genre. With his deep imagination, Wolfe conjures forth images that Stephen reread with delight.

The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories: and Other Stories The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories: and Other Stories by Gene Wolfe
reviewed by Stephen M. Davis
For Stephen, Gene Wolfe is not an author for the meek. If he drives like he writes, he probably gets up to highway speed and then boots his passengers out the door.

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