Or maybe not. Because even after four books, we really do not know Severian. He is as deceptive and misleading as he was in the beginning. And a shirt. In The Autarch of the Citadel, our lapsed torturer finds himself in the most violent of situations: war.

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Or maybe not. Because even after four books, we really do not know Severian. He is as deceptive and misleading as he was in the beginning. And a shirt. In The Autarch of the Citadel, our lapsed torturer finds himself in the most violent of situations: war. Severian is weaponless, too weak to fight, he spends a lot of time hiking around, an explosion happens, people die. Was this the point all along? Every man fights backward—to kill others. From its allusions to its archetypes to its overall arc, The Book of the New Sun drips with Catholic symbolism.

Like the biblical tale of Adam and Eve, Wolfe begins his story with a naked shirtless manboy. Throughout the journey, Severian forgets about his bare skin and so does the reader; Wolfe is very good at causing the reader forget things , and Severian only becomes aware of his nakedness when questioned later, by a young boy also named Severian. I used to wear a shirt… But, yes, I supposed I am a little like that, because I never thought of it, even when I was very cold.

But, this is about Severian. This is about faith. Severian has several earlier moments of enlightenment particularly when it comes to chopping off the heads of beautiful women but his turning point is not due to his love for Thecla, not his pardon of Agia, yet well before his loss of Terminus Est.

Severian cannot change until he becomes aware of his nakedness. He covers himself in the final book, he shuns his violent career for good. The Language Wolfe adopts arcane terms from ancient Latin and Greek to name new things in his narrative. Not considering the incredible amount of work and intellect required of Wolfe to design this new vocabulary, it is essentially a typical sci-fi stunt. Gary K. Habitual SF readers learn to not fret over unfamiliar terms and the narrative eventually presents itself through context.

The Book of the New Sun, despite its entertaining and detailed Appendices, should be read no differently. What does matter is the density of the prose, and, more specifically, the dialogue. And why it changes between the second and third book. Tower strong as stone is strong, strong as the o-o-oak that puts forth leaves new after the fire! Long I signed on the silver-sailed ships, the hundred-masted whose masts reached out to touch the st-st-stars, I, floating among their shining jibs with the Peliades burning beyond the top-royal sp-sp-spar, but never have I see ought like you!

And every time I stepped out, I could hear them talking about me. The exact halfway point of the series. Dialogue in the first two novels is dense, arcane, ambiguous whereas the dialogue of the last two novels is direct at least in words, if not in meaning and colloquial.

It suggests an end to much of the dreamlike meandering and a return to reality. And, whadayaknow, Severian happens to be in the place where he was headed in the first place. Were the previous adventures complete follies? But the Women Severian is a flawed and unreliable narrator who blatantly lies about his eidetic memory. His portrayals of the women in his life are bound to be influenced by his limited and manipulative POV.

So he tells us. And, anyway, those traits may be the only way women can survive in this Dying Earth setting. But, no. Too much pointless tussling with the crazy women. What is the point of Jolenta? What is the point of Agia?

Do they really serve the structure in the best way possible? This did not feel like intentional mocking of the fantasy subgenre. Wolfe, to his credit, selected the best devices to expose his problematic worldview, without having to accept much flack for that worldview.

His deterministic influence is palpable. And icky. But Skillz, Man! Gene Wolfe is an intentional and subversive writer. He drafts and redrafts, he layers and threads.

He has a sixth sense about readers; he knows what we will overlook during the first pass, and he knows how and where to hide things. But do I care? A faith-based morality story with sexualized female characters is still a faith-based morality story with sexualized female characters, with or without the linguistic and narrative manipulations. So what if he weaves words the way a wizard weaves spells?

Maybe that tasteless shoe leather will be fully digested by then, and I will have absorbed more of its magical, literary nutrients. That would be like saying that the writing in this book, over which I have labored for so many watches, will vanish into a blur of vermilion when I close it for the last time… [] Oh, Gene… go cover yourself.


The Citadel of the Autarch by Gene Wolfe, First Edition

Plot introduction[ edit ] Unlike the first books in the series, The Citadel of the Autarch picks up right after the end of the previous one, The Sword of the Lictor. It tells of the travels of Severian, weak and defenseless after his encounter with Baldanders and Dr. Severian continues his travels, which lead him into war. Please help improve it by removing unnecessary details and making it more concise. May Learn how and when to remove this template message 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.



Timescape hardcover: Jacket flaps: "Here I pause, having carried you, reader, from fortress to fortress -- from the walled city of Thrax, dominating th eupper Acis, to the castel of the giant, dominating the northern shore of remote Lake Diuturna. Thrax was for me the gateway to the wild mountains. So, too, this lonely tower was to prove a gateway -- the very threshold of the war If you have no desire to plunge into the struggle beside me, reader, I do not condemn you. It is no easy one.


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