I’ve been reading entire oeuvres lately, preferably in order of publication, and am currently taking a break from the incredibly prolific (and just hospitalized) Michael Moorcock by rereading Gene Wolfe‘s work. I first read Wolfe in the mid-eighties as his masterwork, the four-volume “Book of the New Sun” was coming out.

The tetralogy is highly influenced by the work of Jorge Luis Borges, the magisterial Argentinian fantasist. It also draws from a little-noted SF trend of the mid-to-late seventies. Many literarily ambitious SF authors wrote pastiches of pre-industrial novels, borrowing the language and rhetorical devices of late-eighteenth century European literature.

]]>The introduction of this wildly florid language and grammar to SF left few footprints. It did set the stage for Wolfe’s evocative language and, if you enjoy lexicography, nearly insane use of obscure english words. He maintains that he invented none of these wonderful obscurities, a claim I’ve not seen challenged.

At any rate, “The Book of the New Sun” remains a reader’s delight after an indefinite number of rereadings.

Shadow & Claw: books one and two of the series
Sword & Citadel; books three and four of the series