The Book of the New Sun
Front cover of the first one-volume edition (1998)
|Cover artist||Don Maitz|
Solar Cycle |
Book of the New Sun sub-series[a]
Simon & Schuster;|
Orb / Tor Books (first two-volume)
|1980-1983 (four vols); 1994 (two)|
|Media type||Print (hardcover first; trade paperback first two-volume ed.)|
|LC Class||PS3573.O52 S53 1994|
|Followed by||The Urth of the New Sun sub-series|
The Book of the New Sun (1980 – 1983) is a series of four science fantasy novels or one four-volume novel written by American author Gene Wolfe. Alternatively, it is a series comprising the original tetralogy, a 1983 collection of essays, and a 1987 sequel.[a] Either way, it inaugurated the so-called "Solar Cycle" that Wolfe continued after 1987 by setting other multi-volume works in the same universe.
Gene Wolfe had originally intended the story to be a 40,000-word novella called "The Feast of Saint Catherine", meant to be published in one of the Orbit anthologies, but during the writing it continued to grow in size. Despite being published with a year between each book, all four books were written and completed during his free time without anyone's knowledge when he was still an editor of Plant Engineering, allowing him to write at his own pace and take his time.
The tetralogy chronicles the journey of Severian, a disgraced journeyman torturer who is exiled and forced to travel to Thrax and beyond. It is a first-person narrative, apparently translated by Wolfe into contemporary English, set in the distant future when the Sun has dimmed and Earth is cooler (a "Dying Earth" story). Severian claims to have a "perfect memory", but at multiple occasions admits leaving out details and confides in the readers that he may be insane, making him an unreliable narrator.
Since the original four-volume novel, Wolfe has also written three short fictions and two book series that are set in Severian's universe. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database catalogues it all as the "Solar Cycle" comprising the short works and three sub-series.
The two later subseries are The Book of the Long Sun (1993–1996, four volumes) and The Book of the Short Sun (1999–2001, three volumes). Long Sun is set on a generation ship and Short Sun features the inhabitants of that generation ship after their long journey. Two of the Long Sun books were nominated for Nebula Awards.
- 1 Plot summary
- 2 Major themes
- 3 Place within the genre
- 4 Publication history
- 5 Awards and nominations
- 6 Language
- 7 See also
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Shadow of the Torturer
Severian, an apprentice in the torturers' guild, barely survives a swim in the River Gyoll. On his way back to the Citadel Severian and several other apprentices sneak into a necropolis where Severian first encounters Vodalus, the legendary revolutionary. Vodalus, along with two others, including a woman named Thea, are robbing a grave. Vodalus and his companions are confronted by volunteer guards. Severian saves Vodalus's life, earning his trust and the reward of a single "gold" coin.
Shortly before Severian is elevated to journeyman he encounters and falls in love with Thecla, a beautiful aristocratic prisoner. Thecla's crime is never made clear, though it is ultimately implied that she is imprisoned for political reasons since Thecla's half-sister is Thea, Vodalus's lover. The Autarch (ruler of the Commonwealth) wishes to use Thecla to capture Vodalus. When finally Thecla is put to torture, Severian takes pity on her and helps her commit suicide, by smuggling a knife into her cell, thus breaking his oath to the guild.
Though Severian expects to be tortured and executed, instead the head of the guild is uncharacteristically forgiving and dispatches Severian to Thrax, a distant city which has need of an executioner. Master Palaemon gives Severian a letter of introduction to the archon of the city and Terminus Est, a magnificent executioner's sword. He departs the guild headquarters, traveling through the decaying city of Nessus. He finally comes upon an inn, where he forces the innkeeper to take him in despite being full and is asked to share a room with other boarders. This is where he first meets Baldanders and Dr. Talos, travelling as mountebanks, who invite Severian to join them in a play to be performed the same day. During breakfast, Dr. Talos manages to recruit the waitress, Jolenta, for his play and they set out into the streets. Not intending to participate, Severian parts with the group and stops at a rag shop to purchase a mantle to hide his fuligin cloak (the uniform of his guild, which inspires terror in common folk). The shop is owned by a twin brother and sister, and the brother immediately takes interest in Terminus Est. Severian refuses to sell the sword, shortly after which a masked and armoured hipparch enters the shop and challenges Severian to a duel. Severian is forced to accept, and he departs with the sister, Agia, to secure an avern, a deadly plant that is used for dueling. While on their way, urged by Agia's bet to a passing fiacre, their driver crashes into and destroys the altar of a religious order, where Agia is accused of stealing a precious artifact. After Agia is searched and released, they continue their journey to the Botanic Gardens, a large landmark of Nessus created by the mysterious Father Inire, right hand to the Autarch.
Inside the gardens, Severian falls into a lake used to inter the dead, and while pulling himself out he finds a young woman named Dorcas to have come up from the lake as well. Dazed and confused, the woman follows Severian and Agia. Severian secures the avern and the group proceeds to an inn near the dueling grounds. While eating dinner, Severian receives a mysterious note warning about one of the women. After dinner, Severian meets with his challenger, and though stabbed by the avern he miraculously survives and finds that his challenger was the male owner of the rag shop, Agia's brother. When Severian wakes again, he finds himself to be in a lazaret. After finding Dorcas and identifying himself, he is requested to perform an execution. The prisoner turns out to be his challenger, Agia's brother, whom he executes.
Severian and Dorcas return to their travels and while searching his belongings, Severian finds the Claw of the Conciliator. Apparently Agia stole the Claw from the altar they destroyed and placed it in Severian's belongings knowing that she would be searched. Eventually Severian and Dorcas encounter Dr. Talos, Baldanders and Jolenta, who are almost ready to perform the play they had invited Severian to the morning before. Severian assists in the play, and the next day the group sets out toward the great gate leading out of Nessus. When they are at the gate, there is suddenly a commotion and the narration abruptly ends.
The Claw of the Conciliator
The book continues shortly after the previous installment left off, skipping Severian's journey from the gate of Nessus to the nearby town of Saltus. Having been separated from the rest of the group he was traveling with, Severian pauses his search for them here as he is given an opportunity to practice his art (in this case, execution) on two people. The first was accused of being a servant of Vodalus, a revolutionary leader. As the man is dragged out of his home by a mob, Severian glimpses Agia amidst the crowd, a woman who with her twin brother had formerly tried to swindle and then kill Severian to gain his valuable executioner's sword. (Severian executed the brother at the request of the local authorities.) Realizing she has been sighted, Agia flees and Severian, still in love with her, follows, searching for her at the town fair. Unable to find her, he ends up at a tent containing a man whose skin is green. The green man is held as a slave, and his master makes money off of him, claiming he can answer any question. In answer to Severian's queries as to how he could know everything, the green man tells Severian he is from the future. The green man does not know where Agia can be found, but Severian takes pity on him and gives him a piece of his whetstone so that he can free himself by grinding through his chains, thus recalling his mercy to Thecla, another prisoner, in the first book. Unable to find Agia, Severian returns to town where he later executes a woman accused of being a witch.
Eating dinner with his friend Jonas (whom he met at the gate at Nessus) that evening, he finds a letter he first thinks is from Thecla (but is actually from Agia) asking him to meet her at a nearby cave. In the cave, Severian encounters and barely escapes a group of man-apes. The light from the Claw (a relic he accidentally came into possession of, which had previously been held by a religious order) stops the man-apes' attack, but it also seems to wake a gargantuan unknown creature deep below in the cave, who is only heard and not seen. Severian has little time to ponder this as he escapes, only to be attacked by Agia and her assassins outside the cave. One of the attackers is killed by one of the man-apes, who had its hand cut off by Severian in the battle in the cave. The ape gestures its stump at Severian, wanting him to do something with it, but Severian does not know what. Severian prepares to execute Agia, but, still unable to hate her, lets her go and returns to Saltus, where he and Jonas are kidnapped by Vodalus' gang for having agreed to execute one of its members.
Severian recalls to Vodalus that he saved his life some years past, so Vodalus allows Severian to enter his service. Severian and Jonas attend a midnight dinner with Vodalus, where they consume Thecla's roasted flesh, which, when combined with an alien substance, allows Thecla's memories to live within Severian. Given the task to deliver a message to a servant in the House Absolute, the Autarch's seat of power, Severian and Jonas set off to the north. They are attacked by a flying creature who feeds on the heat and life force of living beings, and escape only by tricking the creature into attacking and killing a nearby soldier instead. Severian feels guilty and, having a suspicion of the healing powers of the Claw, uses it to bring the soldier back to life. They are then captured by guards of the House Absolute and thrown into an antechamber designed to hold prisoners indefinitely. Severian's Claw heals a wound Jonas receives during the night they spend there; then the pair escape some unknown horror using a pass phrase to open a secret door — Severian remembers the phrase using Thecla's memory. Walking the corridors of the House Absolute, Jonas is revealed to be a robot who once crash-landed on earth and is now partly covered by human flesh, and steps into a mirror and disappears, promising to return for Jolenta when he is healed. Severian is lost and eventually encounters the Autarch himself, to whom he swears service, upon being shown a portal to another universe.
Stumbling into the gardens of the House Absolute, Severian is reunited with Dorcas, Dr. Talos, and Baldanders, who are preparing to once again perform the play they put on in the first book. Severian participates again, but the play is cut short when Baldanders flies into a rage and attacks the audience, revealing that aliens are among them. The band is scattered and Severian finds them a distance away the next morning, heading north. Talos and Baldanders part ways with Severian and Dorcas at a crossroad, Severian heading toward Thrax, and the giant and his physician headed toward Lake Diuturna. The waitress Jolenta tries to have Talos take her with him, but he has no more use for her now that the plays are no longer necessary, and Severian is forced to take her. As they head north, Jolenta is attacked by a "blood bat" and becomes ill. It is revealed that she had been scientifically altered by Dr. Talos to be gorgeous and desirable, but is quickly becoming sickly and unattractive. Soon the trio meets an old farmer who tells them they must pass through an enigmatic stone city to get to Thrax. Upon arriving at the ruinous city, Severian sees a pair of witches initiate a dream-like event in which ghostly dancers of the stone town's past fill the area and engage with the witch's servant, who is actually Vodalus's lieutenant Hildegrin. The book ends with Dorcas and Severian emerging from a stupor in the stone town, Jolenta dead, and the witches and Hildegrin gone.
The Sword of the Lictor
Having completed the journey he was sent upon when he was exiled from the Citadel, Severian takes up his position as the Lictor (or Master of Chains) of the city of Thrax. His lover Dorcas falls into depression, in part because of her position as the partner of a reviled and feared figure in a strange city. She is also becoming increasingly upset by her mysterious past, and convinced that she must unravel its secrets, however disturbing they may turn out to be.
Escaping an exotic creature that incinerates things, which seems to have come to Thrax to find him, Severian finds himself again showing mercy to a condemned prisoner and is forced to flee the city. He and Dorcas separate, and he journeys alone into the mountains in search of the Pelerines, whom he believes to be the rightful keepers of the priceless relic which he carries, the Claw of the Conciliator.
On the road, he battles his enemy Agia, and the Alzabo, a beast which acquires the memories of those it consumes, as well as a gang of men who have opted to become as animals. In the wake of this violence, he takes an orphaned boy, little Severian, into his care. They encounter a village of men who claim to be sorcerers, and who possess more power than Severian at first believes. Escaping amidst the threat that yet another dangerous creature has been set upon his trail, Severian discovers a monarch from the past, Typhon, in an ancient city. Typhon tries to manipulate Severian during a complex confrontation. Little Severian is killed.
Continuing his journey, Severian is drawn into a local conflict on the side of a group of islanders being enslaved. He then discovers that his old companions Dr. Talos and Baldanders are the enslavers, and is forced to battle the giant Baldanders.
In the wake of this battle, in which his sword and the Claw are both (at least apparently, in the latter case) destroyed, Severian seeks to digest a series of revelations: about the nature of Baldanders, the nature of the aliens who manipulate events on Urth yet profess to be his friends, and the nature of the Claw which he carried for so long. As he does so, he finds himself approaching the edge of the war in the North.
The Citadel of the Autarch
Severian finds himself wandering around when he first happens upon a dead soldier whom he revives with the Claw. The soldier remains unable to speak as they make their way to the Pelerines camp. In the camp, Severian suffers a fever and is treated along with others injured in the war. While recovering, Severian judges a story telling contest. Before leaving he returns the Claw by putting it in an altar. Outside the church Severian is tasked to visit a friend of the Pelerines in the mountain, to bring him back from the danger of the war to the safety of the camp. Severian arrives to the man's house but, due to time-travel related phenomena, the man disappears as he is led away. Upon returning to the camp, Severian discovers it has been attacked and abandoned. Severian soon finds the new camp where most of those he met during his stay are dead or dying.
Eventually, Severian is drawn into war against armies of the North composed of people known as Ascians. Severian nearly perishes but is rescued by the androgynous spy he met in the House Absolute, the Autarch of the Commonwealth. Severian is nursed back to health and converses with the Autarch about his role in the Commonwealth. They board a flier and while heading out over the war zone, they are shot down. The Autarch is dying and tells Severian to consume the alzabo vial around the his neck and consume his flesh, as Severian is to be the next Autarch. Severian does so and thus he acquires hundreds of consciousnesses that the Autarch once had.
Before the Autarch died, he messaged Vodalus that the Autarch was aboard the flier. Thea and a group of Vodalus' men descend on the crash site and rescue Severian from the Ascians. Severian is held prisoner and is visited by Agia who attempts to kill him once again. He survives and is rescued by the green time traveler whom he rescued earlier in The Claw of the Conciliator. The green man opens a passage through time in which Severian is then visited by an alien who takes the form of Master Malrubius and Triskele. Malrubius tells him that he must one day face a challenge that will either allow man to return to the stars (if he succeeds) or strip him of his manhood, leaving him infertile, and unable to produce an heir (if he fails). Severian realizes that the last Autarch must have failed which feminized him and gave him his androgynous looks.
After the meeting, Severian is left on a beach. He discovers a bush covered in thorns. He claims the single black one, grown from a species of bush that grow exclusively white Claw shapes, and ponders the meaning of the Claw in relationship to higher beings, time-travel and the New Sun.
Severian makes his way back to Nessus aboard a ship whose crew revere him on sight. He visits with people of his past and assumes the role of Autarch. He returns to the waiter who slipped him the note in the Shadow of the Torturer saying that Agia had been there before. The note was meant for Dorcas who reminded the waiter of his mother. A picture of Dorcas in a locket around the waiter's neck confirms this suspicion. Severian also notes that the waiter very much resembles himself and it is implied that the waiter is Severian's father.
The book ends with Severian exploring the citadel and retracing Triskele's steps through an underground building. Seeing the dog's footsteps and his own he follows the latter, returning to the Atrium of Time.
The Urth of the New Sun
Unlike the four earlier parts of the Book of the New Sun, Urth of the New Sun mostly takes place outside Urth. The book is yet again a continuation of Severian's narration of the aftermath of his ascent to the throne and subsequent journey "between the suns" to be judged and win back the fountain of life that will rejuvenate the slowly dying sun and revive life on Urth. When the book begins, Severian has already rewritten his accounts of before and is beginning his new log aboard the spaceship that will take him to Yesod, an enigmatic planet, home to the godlike beings who have the power to grant Urth and its sun a new lease on life.
Aboard the ship, Severian meets Zak, a mysterious being, who begins small and soon develops human form and turns out to be the all-powerful Tzadkiel of Yesod. Once in Yesod, Severian faces an immense task of facing all the deceased people he has encountered since his childhood, including Thecla and Master Malrubius. When he faces the tribunal to be judged by Tzadkiel, he is told that the trial was already successfully passed. Severian is made the New Sun.
After his return to Urth from Yesod, he finds the sun still dying, and that the New Sun is still very far, far away, but nevertheless moving relentlessly. He learns that many years have passed backwards. He also learns that he possesses healing power that he once attributed the Claw of the Conciliator. He encounters an earlier version of Typhon who attempts to kill him. He manages to escape via the Corridors of Time. There, with the aid of a version of Tzadkiel, he travels back to the future. In his palace he finds his wife Valeria sitting on the throne attended by his old enemy Baldanders (who has grown enough to match the size of an undine). Shortly after Severian reveals himself, an apocalyptic flood washes away the citadel and much of the land of Urth, thus bringing destruction and rebirth.
Severian as a Christ figure
Severian, the main character and narrator to the series, can be interpreted as a Christ figure. His life has many parallels to the life of Jesus, and Gene Wolfe, a Catholic, has explained that he deliberately mirrored Jesus in Severian. He compares Severian's profession as a torturer to Jesus's profession as a carpenter in The Castle of the Otter:
It has been remarked thousands of times that Christ died under torture. Many of us have read so often that he was a "humble carpenter" that we feel a little surge of nausea on seeing the words yet again. But no one ever seems to notice that the instruments of torture were wood, nails, and a hammer; that the man who built the cross was undoubtedly a carpenter too; that the man who hammered in the nails was as much a carpenter as a soldier, as much a carpenter as a torturer. Very few even have seem to have noticed that although Christ was a "humble carpenter," the only object we are specifically told he made was not a table or a chair, but a whip.
Severian's life parallels Jesus' occasionally, with his descent into the cave of the man-apes being a Harrowing of Hell scene, his resurrection of Declan being a Lazarus of Bethany scene, and his friendship with Jonas reflecting Ahasuerus. Jonas has traveled the world looking to reconnect with the Hierodules, "tinkers with clumsy mechanisms", and is redeemed from wandering exile after befriending Severian. In this respect he represents the wandering Jew. Severian also suffers from occasional seemingly random bleeding from his forehead, as if from a crown of thorns. Also mirroring the crown of thorns, the Claw of the Conciliator, a thorn that causes Severian to shed blood, later becomes a religious relic due to its relation to Severian. Terminus Est represents his crucifix, with Severian describing his sword in Urth of the New Sun as a "dark cross upon my shoulder." Severian is resurrected as well, escaping to a Heaven-like plane of existence where an angel resides and then emerging from a stone tomb, just as Jesus rose from his stone tomb.
Place within the genre
The Book of the New Sun belongs to the Dying Earth subgenre of speculative fiction. Peter Wright calls the series an "apotheosis" of traditional Dying Earth elements and themes, and Douglas Barbour suggests that the book is a foundational mosaic of that literary heritage:
Wolfe has not only written a truly marvellous science fantasy set millions of years in our future on a dying 'Urth', he has written the book on such works ... where every formal development in this sub-genre is laid out for our interpretation and then done right.
Traces of this literary tradition can be found throughout the book. In The Sword of the Lictor, Cyriaca tells Severian a legend about an automated city, with rebirth as a central theme. This mirrors John W. Campbell's Twilight, where sentient machines remove the need for human labor. Wolfe himself admits that as a teenager Twilight had a great effect on his writing, and this homage to that story is not just a passing reference, but an allusion to a literary predecessor. Later in the story, Wolfe alludes to The Time Machine, with the scene where Severian meets the glowing man-apes, mirroring the Time Traveler's confrontation of the Morlocks. In both stories the protagonist holds a light to awe the cave peoples, but in the Book of the New Sun Severian relates to the humanity of the man-apes with the glowing Claw of the Conciliator, while in The Time Machine the Time Traveler intimidates the Morlocks with his fire.
The tetralogy was first published in English in the United Kingdom by Sidgwick & Jackson from 1980 to 1983, and the coda published in 1987, with second publications for each book occurring approximately a year after the first. Don Maitz illustrated the cover of the first publication, and Bruce Pennington illustrated the second cover. The original tetralogy has also been split into two volumes, appropriately named Shadow and Claw and Sword and Citadel, both published in 1994 by Orb Publications. The series was printed as a complete volume (omitting The Urth of the New Sun) titled The Book of the New Sun in 1998 by Science Fiction Book Club. The complete volume was printed again in 2007 under the title Severian of the Guild, published by Orion Publishing Group.
The Japanese printings of the tetralogy and coda were illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano.
Awards and nominations
Each of the four original volumes won at least one major fantasy or science fiction award as the year's "Best Novel" as shown by the table below. The tetralogy was not considered as a whole for any of the annual literary awards compiled by the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB).
|Title (volume or novel)||Award wins||Nominations|
|The Shadow of the Torturer
(Simon & Schuster, 1980)
|British Science Fiction
|Balrog (fantasy), Campbell Memorial (3rd place), Locus Fantasy (2nd place), Nebula|
|The Claw of the Conciliator
(Timescape Books, 1981)
Nebula (Science Fiction)
|Hugo (Science Fiction) (2nd place), Mythopoeic Fantasy, World Fantasy|
|The Sword of the Lictor
(Timescape Books, 1982)
|Balrog, British Science Fiction, Hugo (6th place), Nebula, World Fantasy|
|The Citadel of the Autarch
(Timescape Books, 1983)
|Campbell Memorial (Science Fiction)||Balrog, British Science Fiction, Locus Fantasy (2nd place), Nebula|
|The Urth of the New Sun
(Tor Books, 1987)
|Science Fiction Chronicle||Hugo, Locus Science Fiction (3rd place), Nebula|
Gene Wolfe uses a variety of archaic and obscure terms throughout the series, and Wolfe himself, in the appendix of The Shadow of the Torturer, explains that the words are used because they are the closest translations in our current language, and no words are created:
"In rendering this book—originally composed in a tongue that has not yet achieved existence—into English, I might easily have saved myself a great deal of labor by having recourse to invented terms; in no case have I done so. Thus in many instances I have been forced to yet undiscovered concepts by their closest twentieth-century equivalents."
Wolfe admits, however, that some mistakes may have been made in spelling or exact meaning. His choice of words often come from an English–Latin dictionary or an English–Greek dictionary, where he finds roots of words to use.
Wolfe states that he uses strange and arcane words because he "thought they were the best for the story [he] was trying to tell." Language is Wolfe's medium as a writer, and he wishes to "press against the limits of prose." Wolfe's deliberate use of exotic words is meant to manipulate the reader and force upon them a certain visualization of the story, but he does not mean to confuse the reader. He compares the narrator, Severian, and the reader to an English-speaking person and a German-speaking person building a boat:
[The English-speaker] would say, "Bring me a flat board," and [the German-speaker] would bring him a board of proper size. They were actually doing something, you see; and the German understood what it was they were doing. Because they were working together (exactly as a writer and reader must) the unintelligible request was heard as "I need something," and the German had little difficulty guessing what was needed.
Why bother, in that case, to learn English? Or learn German? In the narrowest sense, you don't ... But knowing is better and broader and deeper than even the best guessing, and knowing is more fun.
Two examples of the arcane words Wolfe uses are "Ascian" and "Hydrargyrum". Ascian, despite its similarity to the word "Asian" is derived from a Latin word meaning "without shadow", as the Ascians are tropic dwellers who have no shadow at noon. Hydrargyrum, the fluid contained in Severian's sword Terminus Est, is derived from the Latin "hydr", meaning water, and "arguers", meaning silver, as hydrargyrum is liquid mercury.
The Ascian language further expounds on the idea that word choice alters the thinking of people, as the Ascian language is simply a set of quotations from government propaganda called "Correct Thought". In order to communicate, Ascians must memorize many quotations. This government regulation of language directly regulates the thought of Ascians.
Some examples include:
- “In times past, loyalty to the cause of the populace was to be found everywhere. The will of the Group of Seventeen was the will of everyone.”
“Once upon a time…”
- “The people meeting in counsel may judge, but no one is to receive more than a hundred blows.”
“He complained, and they beat him.”
- ISFDB includes the non-fiction collection The Castle of the Otter (1983) and the "coda" novel The Urth of the New Sun (1987) in the Book of the New Sun sub-series (along with some separately published excerpts).
- Locus subscribers voted only two Middle-earth novels by J. R. R. Tolkien ahead of Wolfe's New Sun, followed by Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea series. Third and fourth ranks were exchanged in the 1987 rendition of the poll, "All-Time Best Fantasy Novels", which considered as single entries Wolfe's The Shadow of the Torturer and Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea, the first volumes of New Sun and Earthsea.
- Solar Cycle series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved 2012-04-23. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition (title) for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
- On Encompassing the Entire Universe: An Interview with Gene Wolfe
- George R.R. Martin on Magic Vs. Science - Weird Tales Archived 2012-04-04 at WebCite
- Nerdist Podcast: George R.R. Martin « Nerdist (1:01:05)
- The Locus Online website links multiple pages providing the results of several polls and a little other information. • "The Locus Index to SF Awards: 1998 Locus All-Time Poll". Locus Publications. Archived from the original on 2004-01-13. Retrieved 2012-04-24. • See also "1998 Locus Poll Award". ISFDB. Retrieved 2012-04-24.
- "Gene Wolfe" Archived 2008-03-14 at the Wayback Machine.. The Locus Index to SF Awards: Index to Literary Nominees. Locus Publications. Retrieved 2012-04-23.
- Joan Gordon (1986). Gene Wolfe. Starmont reader's guide (reprint, annotated ed.). Wildside Press LLC. p. 96. ISBN 9780893709563.
- Peter Wright (2003). Attending Daedalus: Gene Wolfe, Artifice and the Reader (illustrated ed.). Liverpool University Press. p. 91. ISBN 9780853238287.
- Robert Borski (2004). Solar Labyrinth: Exploring Gene Wolfe's Book of the New Sun. iUniverse. p. 85. ISBN 9780595317295.
- Peter Wright (2003). Attending Daedalus: Gene Wolfe, Artifice and the Reader (illustrated ed.). Liverpool University Press. ISBN 9780853238287.
- "1980 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- "1981 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- "1982 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- "1983 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- "1984 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- "1988 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 2009-07-05.
- Peter Wright, ed. (2007). Shadows of the New Sun: Wolfe on Writing/Writers on Wolfe. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781781388396.
- Gene Wolfe (2008). "interview". Lexicon Urthus, Second Edition. By Michael Andre-Driussi (illustrated ed.). Sirius Fiction. p. XV. ISBN 9780964279513.
- Michael Andre-Driussi (2008). Lexicon Urthus: A Dictionary for the Urth Cycle (2 ed.). Sirius Fiction. ISBN 9780964279506.
- Gary Westfahl, ed. (2005). The Greenwood Encyclopedia of Science Fiction and Fantasy: Themes, Works, and Wonders. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 462. ISBN 9780313329524.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: The Book of the New Sun|
- Gene Wolfe at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- "What Gene Wolfe Expects of His Readers: The Urth of the New Sun as an Answer to Mysteries in The Book of the New Sun", by Michael Andre-Driussi
- "Mapping a Masterwork: A Critical Review of Gene Wolfe's The Book of the New Sun" -(Peter Wright)