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- 1 How to say that Wolfe writes for rereaders
- 2 Obviousness of Catholic influence
- 3 Needs a spoiler warning, badly
- 4 Hidden Stories and Easter Eggs
- 5 Unreliable Narrator
- 6 Not Impartial
- 7 "Most Overrated And Underrated Science Fiction Writers"
- 8 Fictional books
- 9 External link
- 10 Interesting reference?
- 11 Article picture
- 12 Cartoonist on Wolfe
- 13 Template
- 14 List of short stories
- 15 Style
How to say that Wolfe writes for rereaders
"While the casual reader won't detect the unreliablility of the narrator and may become quite confused, the careful reader can find a deeper layer of the story. Therefore, it might be said that Wolfe does not write for readers, but for re-readers."
- There's a useful insight buried in there but it really needs to be reworded more clearly, preferably by someone who has some experience in literary criticism. Lee M 01:47, 4 Apr 2004 (UTC)
- (My definition of good literature is that which can be read by an educated reader, and reread with increased pleasure. -- Gene Wolfe)
- I've taken a whack at rewriting as suggested here. I'm not totally happy with it but I think it does the job better than before, and I hope I've also brought it a bit more in line with the NPOV guideline. (I also rephrased the introduction of the "unreliable narrator" concept a bit.)
Obviousness of Catholic influence
I've removed the phrase "(though not straightforwardly obvious)" in discussion of Catholic influence. From discussions I have seen of Wolfe's work, his use of the Catholic sacraments is one of the first things readers notice about his "solar" work. Use of Christian allegory is so strong a part of his writing that at least one recent critic (Wright) has tried to discount it as a device intend to mislead the reader from the real story. Crculver 14:40, 13 May 2004 (UTC)
- It wasn't terribly obvious to me the first time I read them (except in Return to the Whorl, which has a scene than which a more obvious eucharistic allusion is hardly imaginable). I was not Catholic yet when I first read the New Sun and Long Sun. How obvious it is probably depends on how intimately familiar you are with Catholic theology, sacramental life, history, etc., how mature you are when you read the books for the first time, etc. --Jim Henry 16:15, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- Although mentioned in the lede shouldn't examples be given in the style paragraph? I don't see much Catholic influence in his 2 Norse mythology novels. The priests in the Long Sun make animal (and perhaps human) sacrifices and use the entrails to predict the future. The head of the church is an alien vampire. This is not Catholic as far as I understand Catholic ceremony. To see the New Sun as a son of god story seems perverse to me. But there may be a good case for the other view - it should be explained rather than just stated. Nitpyck (talk) 19:58, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
Needs a spoiler warning, badly
|Minor plot details of The Long Sun and The New Sun follows in this discussion|
The fact that New Sun is set in a distant future is itself a fact that is only revealed over the course of the first book.
The fact that Long Sun is set in a starship is deliberately concealed for half of the series. (Discerning readers can spot some "teaser" facts, but the observation that everybody is inside a cylindrical ship intended for colonization is not discussed openly until the third book.)
Discovering these points is large part of the enjoyment of reading Wolfe's best works. Don't give them way with no warning.
- If you read the dust jacket of Nightside the Long Sun, it says right there the Whorl is a generation starship sent out from Urth. Wolfe obviously didn't think that would spoil the series. As for the setting of the Book of the New Sun, it's obvious within the first three chapters that it is the future of our world. I object to the spoiler warning. Also, please create an account and sign your entries. Talking to an anonymous IP address, especially one who doesn't sign his entries, is impersonal and occasionally confusing. Crculver 03:12, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- Wolfe is not necessarily in control of what the marketing department put on his dust jackets of his books. I second the motion to add spoiler warnings. Though, to be sure, the books are quite enjoyable even if these basic cosmological surprises are spoiled for you (as they were for me by comments I had read in reviews, etc. before reading them). --Jim Henry 16:15, 24 Feb 2005 (UTC)
- I agree with the motion towards a spoiler warning- it doesn't detract from the entry, & personally, the dawning realization that the Matachin Tower was a derelict spaceship & that this wasn't a work of fantasy but rather SF was half the fun.m:. 16:45, 16 August 2006 (UTC)
Hidden Stories and Easter Eggs
Added a section describing how Wolfe will bury clues very early in the text by using an example of the out-of-season morning glories in Free Live Free. There's plenty of other stuff that could be added, such as the thematic model: Free Live Free borrows from the Wizard of Oz. Wolfe also uses studies or sketches in short stories that he will flesh out into full books later; Wolfe wrote a short story called Changeling which is a precursor in some ways to Peace. How much of this is "giving it away?" —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 02:46, 5 November 2007 (UTC)
"Wolfe frequently -- perhaps always -- creates an unreliable narrator to tell his stories." revised to "Wolfe frequently creates an unreliable narrator to tell his stories." His book Free Live Free is told from the third person, without an unreliable narrator. --Dd42 21:52, May 2, 2005 (UTC)
- That is true, but the omnsicient narrator doesn't tell you everything necessary anyway. So in 'Free' it is not so much 'unreliable' as 'recalcitrant'. Remember how the whole time travel thing had to be pieced together by the reader? It omitted many details in its rendition. So I personally would have changed it from 'frequently' to 'usually'. --maru 22:07, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
- I finished 'Free' a few days ago, and, in the American paperback edition at least, it's made explicitly clear that it's time travel. So, I'll leave it as it is, unless anyone has an objection. --Dd42 19:23, May 8, 2005 (UTC)
- On a similar note, let us consider this quote from the article: 'or is not particularly intelligent (There Are Doors)'. TAD is also written in the third person and, although the protagonist is certainly psychologically unsound, I can't think of any events in the book that would illustrate a lack of intelligence (at least not so that it would effect the narration). flip 05:06, 13 February 2006 (UTC)
- I agree that Green doesn't seem particularly unintelligent to me, but this is actually Wolfe's opinion, from a section of Shadows of the New Sun. Admittedly Wolfe has different standards than the rest of us, but There Are Doors is probably the only book where I felt comfortably ahead of the protagonist by a couple of steps, and maybe that's all he means. 6 January 2008.
...a speaker or voice whose vision or version of the details of a story are consciously or unconsciously deceiving; such a narrator’s version is usually subtly undermined by details in the story or the reader’s general knowledge of facts outside the story. http://www.wwnorton.com/college/english/litweb05/glossary/glossary_u.htm I think many of his books fail to fit this definition. When he writes about a time traveling pirate nothing we are told is undermined by details in the story or the reader’s general knowledge of facts outside the story. And this is generally true of speculative fiction. Just cause the Hobbits have a magic ring doesn't make the narrator unreliable. Nitpyck (talk) 05:22, 3 September 2009 (UTC)
- --Gwern (contribs) 14:53 14 September 2009 (GMT)
"It was in this instant of confusion that I realized for the first time that I am in some degree insane. It could be argued that it was the most harrowing of my life. I had lied often to Master Gurloes and Master Palaemon, to Master Malrubius while he still lived, to Drotte because he was captain, to Roche because he was older and stronger than I, and to Eata and the other smaller apprentices because I hoped to make them respect me. Now I could no longer be sure my own mind was not lying to me; all my falsehoods were recoiling on me, and I who remembered everything could not be certain those memories were more than my own dreams. I recalled the moonlit face of Vodalus; but then, I had wanted to see it. I recalled his voice as he spoke to me, but I had desired to hear it, and the woman's voice too.
One freezing night, I crept back to the mausoleum and took out the chrisos again. The worn, serene, androgynous face on its obverse was not the face of Vodalus."
- Admission of incessant lying to other people (such as the reader); check. Implication of flawed, mutable memory; check. --Gwern (contribs) 12:59 22 September 2009 (GMT)
- These (The discussion of non-academics on a message board) are not what I understand as acceptable sources. If narrator undermines the story he/she is considered unreliable. Where in the 4 novels does what Severin narrates undercut the story? What is changed if Vodalus's face is on the counterfeit coins or not? Is the story different than what Severin says it is? Look, for me the "unreliable narrator" tag is way overused (to the point where it is no longer useful). Its use should be backed by citation from a reliable source. Nitpyck (talk) 01:00, 22 October 2009 (UTC)
This page should be reviewed for for it's impartiality.
- I just re-read it and can't find any POV or partiality problems. Can you point out specifics? --Jim Henry 13:23, 18 May 2006 (UTC)
- As above:
"Controversial material of any kind that is unsourced ... "
- As above:
"Most Overrated And Underrated Science Fiction Writers"
Anyone the originator of the underrated/overrated quote? Can anyone confirm or deny? -mordicai. 12:35, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
- I cannot yet confirm it, because the anon apparently is wrong: it is a magazine article, and not a book (despite the existence of some sort of collection); see http://www.urth.net/urth/archives/v0026/0039.shtml. -- Gwern (contribs) 14:19, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
- Argh! That urth.net thing ALMOST gets me to the root; the latter bit especially: "Imagine a Star Wars--style space opera penned by G.K. Chesterton in the throes of a religious conversion." That is used as a blurb on one of the editions I have of SOMETHING, I'm certain, but it isn't the Orb New Sun, New Urth, Long Sun, or Latro collections (I just eyeballed them here at the bookstore where I work). I'll have to check my own collection when I get home tonight, otherwise it is going to drive me nuts. -mordicai. 18:38, 3 October 2006 (UTC)
- Heck, this bookstore gig gets me my books for free, so I've just been buying them as I read them. Thanks for reminding me about this thread though-- predictably, I forgot completely once I did get home. The blurb IS on the fly-leaf of the Orb Short Sun series, though it just attributes it to American Heritage. I think a explanatory intro should be enough for the statement, yes? -mordicai. 16:05, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
- Look at me running behind schedule; If I'd read the windows in the correct order after clicking them open, I'd've seen that you were already successful in your endevour. Kudos to you. -mordicai. 16:07, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Could somebody who knows Wolfe well take a look at the list of fictional books that appear in his works? Somebody added a bunch of nonsense items -- I think I removed them all but if one of you experts could take a look that would be great. --Bookgrrl 02:18, 30 November 2006 (UTC)
I've cleaned it up a bit, I think is is correct now. Tomgreeny 17:49, 15 February 2007 (UTC)
I found "Paul Duggan's extensive website" anything but extensive. One good interview, a handful of brief articles, and the rest external links (a lot of them broken) and links to amazon.com pages to buy Gene Wolfe books. --Clavicorn 20:55, 16 March 2007 (UTC)
"A propos new articles, here's another one. It's an interesting article with nothing particularly striking for seasoned lupines but significant for signs that Wolfe is receiving a degree of attention outside the SF world. The author acknowledges help received from two articles by Nick
Gevers at the Ultan's Library site in the first footnote.Christopher Beiting, "The Divine Irruption in Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the Long Sun," Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 11 (Summer, 2008), 86-104."
Is this the best free picture of Gene Wolfe that we have at hand? It makes him look rather daft and silly. Surely there are some better ones with a higher resolution? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 00:09, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
- search for hilm on google, its just how he looks. I suppose we could put up the picture comparing him to Schildstarr... LamontCranston (talk) 01:15, 27 July 2009 (UTC)
Cartoonist on Wolfe
"Moreso than Stephen King, who I haven’t read that much of, Gene Wolfe is one of my favorite authors. He wrote this one series called The Book of the New Sun or something — a four-book series he wrote in the ’80s about a torturer who gets banished from his guild because he showed someone mercy, so he walks the earth and gains more power as he goes. Anyway, he’s written a shitload of stuff, and his newer books I don’t love — his newest one is called The Sorcerer’s House — but he just always introduces all this shit and it doesn’t ever quite do anything. There’s one series of three books he wrote with this character who can’t remember anything, so every chapter is a letter to himself, and you sometimes get the idea that Gene Wolfe can’t remember what’s in his books. [Laughs] Like, they kind of don’t correspond, you think it’s going to do this and it does that, and there’s literally no payoff. It’s almost like…if you read the thing at the end that tells you the background, it’s the most interesting stuff. There’s little bits of this really rich world, but there’ll be this weird mundane story in it. I think that was a big influence: suggesting something grand but telling something mundane. On one level, I could have gotten a little more grand with the actual story. I think that was part of my learning curve. But I like the idea that there’s all this stuff out there but you’re getting one little corner of it."
I have created a template, Template:Gene Wolfe for his major works and notable fictional creations. i will add this template to his various articles, but its time to rest. If only Severian had it so easy, to be an Apprentice Editor:)Mercurywoodrose (talk) 05:53, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
List of short stories
By my reading, this list will eventually be ALL of his short stories. I think that having TOC at each collection should suffice for the collected works. If there are a reasonable number of uncollected stories, listing them here makes sense. i added one which has its own article.Mercurywoodrose (talk) 18:03, 6 November 2011 (UTC)
The article section on Style begins with the statement that "Wolfe's writing does not generally follow genre conventions."
The assertion is unreferenced, and I do not believe it is true. On the contrary, The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction notes that "Wolfe's importance lies in a spongelike ability to assimilate generic models and devices, and in the quality of the transformations he effects upon that material. ... he wears the fictional worlds of sf like a coat of many colours."
The section goes on to describe noteworthy literary techniques and devices, but they have nothing to do with genre conventions. The most unconventional thing about his work is that it generally addresses more cultivated readers than the YA audience targeted by most genre works. He does not break genre conventions, he uses them with exceptional sophistication. ~ Ningauble (talk) 18:59, 8 December 2011 (UTC)