Read Nightside the Long Sun by Gene Wolfe Online


The first volume of a four-book novel of mystery, war and revolution set in a world existing inside a giant spaceship sent from Urth to colonize a distant planet. Wolfe's new work returns to the world of his acclaimed Book of the New Sun and will captivate readers hungry for the magic of the future....

Title : Nightside the Long Sun
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780812516258
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 333 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Nightside the Long Sun Reviews

  • Ivan Lutz
    2019-04-30 04:37

    Zapravo je negdje 2,46 ali kako nemamo zakonsku obavezu zaključivati ocjene po srednjoj vrijednsti, evo trojke samo iz razloga što se nadam da će u ostale 3 knjige radnja biti brža, dinamičnija, zanimljivija i uzbudljivija...

  • MarlaSmith
    2019-05-06 02:44

    I don't think I'll ever be able to read another sci-fi/fantasy book without comparing them to Wolfe. He's one of those authors that you think, "Yes, he is obviously talented" without attaching much emotion to the thought and then comes around your back door with a line or a concept that catapults him into your favorite author bin. After finishing the book of the New Sun, I decided to check out his other books and I hesitated on this series for a while. A world on a giant starship? Do I have time for such things? I should not have read about the starship thing and I wouldn't include it here if it weren't on the blurb on the back of the book because I would have enjoyed this series much sooner. I read on wiki that he should be read with a dictionary because of the many meanings he attributes to certain words that he plays with in his books. You have to have respect for an author like that, especially since it isn't necessary to have a dictionary on hand in order to enjoy. He's called a modern day Homer on the back of Lake of the Long Sun, for crying out loud. Read.

  • Amanda
    2019-05-14 02:31

    This novel is the first book in the Long sun tetralogy. It took me longer to get into than any previous work of Wolfe's that I've read, but ultimately it was well worth it. I realize, like with all Wolfe books, the writing is not something that will be appreciated by all types of readers. Wolfe does not go to any extreme lengths to explain to the reader what is going on or even disclose many details regarding the world the story takes place in. Rather, he doles out bits of information sparingly and lets the reader make their own assumptions, which is one of the reasons I love this guy.I am eager to continue with the story of Silk in book 2- Lake of the Long Sun.

  • John Patterson
    2019-05-11 22:27

    In Nightside the Long Sun begins a four part series of a three part cycle (The Solar Cycle includes the Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun, and The Book of the Short Sun) where Patera (a title for a priest, teacher, and headmaster of a school/temple) Silk receives a revelation from the Outsider. The Outsider, the least well known of the pantheon that Silk preaches about and gives sacrifices to, tasks Silk from saving his manteion from closure (school/temple). This leads to what can only be called a series of misadventures where Silk's desperate gamble to deal with the problem leads to the proverbial deal with the devil.The novel takes place on a Dyson sphere called the Whorl. According to the blurbs describing the book, it's meant to be a generational worldship taking the inhabitants to another world to colonize. I see no evidence of it being a worldship in Wolfe's writing. Although I may have simply missed it, Wolfe's exposition tends to be brief. subtle and laconic. This novel is written in a 3rd person, which is an interesting choice from an author who often writes in the 1st person. Wolfe builds flaws into the character of his narrators. For example In the first part of the cycle The Book of the New Sun the narrator Severian often lies. In the Wizard Knight the narrator is naive and unintelligent. In Latro in the Mist, the narrator is an amnesiac. (view spoiler)[ All of these facts together lead me to believe that this book has a narrator in the Outsider. I realize this would mean that the Outsider would refer to him/herself in the third person. I believe Wolf did this to give us the near perfect narration of a deity.(hide spoiler)]I did not give Nightside the Long Sun a perfect rating as it is more plot oriented that his previous works and plot structure simply is not his strong suit. The novel sort of meanders in and out of the plot and then just sort of ends. This is normally not a problem in his other novels. His characters travel through their worlds meeting fascinating people and seeing interesting places getting themselves into and out of trouble. It seems that Gene Wolfe attempted to combine a structured plot with his previous styles and did not quite pull it off.All that being said I recommend this novel to anyone who has not read Gene Wolfe previously. Many who are new to Wolfe are turned off by his odd style but I find his novels to be some of the most rewarding to read. The difference in perspective and plot structure make this book an easier read that Wolfe's other novels.

  • David
    2019-05-06 22:34

    Young priest enlightened.Faces demon, criminals.Jacket has spoilers.

  • Derek
    2019-05-18 22:39

    Wolfe's gimmick is unreliable narrators. Since this is in third person, I'm curious how it will play out. Certainly the author is parsimonious with details, as though relating the story to someone perfectly familiar with the lifestyle and state of things on the Whorl, the strange O'Neill cylinder environment that forms the entire world to these characters. Part of the joy in reading is sussing out the words between the words, uncovering the meaning of things mentioned in passing. What is a "chem", as Maytera Marble is implied to be? An android? What about an "azoth"? What are the gods, and why do they appear only in the implied-to-be-a-viewscreen Sacred Windows, and why do they no longer?Why does this world feel used up, between the things that do not work and cannot be replaced, and the local and worrisome climate changes?I wanted to give this one more star--there is so much here that is so fascinating--but the scope of the story sets it solidly as the first of an obvious series with much more to unveil. This is obviously a precursor to the rest, how Patera Silk gets involved in underworld dealings and starts on the road to badass, and it is hard to look at it as a thing by itself.

  • Erik
    2019-05-07 01:31

    Mr. Wolfe does not make it easy. This book drops you right in the middle of a whole new world without a single word of context. You learn only from experience (or sneaking a peek at wikipedia) what is going on and why, and then only ever partially. On top of this, you start in what must be the least interesting corner of that world mentally shouting at the protagonist to get on with it already. And that protagonist! This guy has Severian's (from the "new sun" series) aloof and tedious nature in spades. If you make it to half way, suddenly so much is happening that it's hard to keep track (There might be a vampire bat?). It being a Gene Wolf world, it seems like anything is possible in terms of technology or fantasy. Good luck getting your bearings.Anway, fun read. Would recommend.

  • Ted
    2019-05-03 02:20

    I have enjoyed reading all the Gene Wolfe books that I've read, and I've read several. However, I have never quite been able to experience them as five star fiction. My guess is that many of the plaudits he has received are so complimentary because his genre is science fiction, and for science fiction, they are outstanding works. They do approach what I would call true literature much closer than the genre in general. But to me they don't quite make it.

  • Michael
    2019-05-14 22:41

    My reread of the "Sun" books continues. Much like the first New Sun book, Wolfe spends much of his time establishing the Long Sun world, not telling you much explicitly, but instead letting you fill in the gaps and leaving many mysteries for later books. The language is a little less rich; having said that, the first taste of this world is very satisfying.

  • JP
    2019-05-15 03:29

    It was interesting, but, of course, until I get to the rest of the series a lot of things won't make sense. Wolfe is like that.

  • Joe
    2019-05-25 21:31

    I have recently been re-reading this series. There is a lot to love about Gene Wolfe's works. If you are familiar with Book of the New Sun, you should know the Long Sun series has nothing to do with the characters and events from those books, apart from a one sentence hint given at the very end of that series. They do, however, take place within the same fictional universe. The setup is not simple. Wolfe reveals, not through observation of the protagonist we follow, but rather through a series of vocabulary clues such as the title itself, "shadeup/shadedown", "shiprock" and "the skylands" that the universe the characters know has no stars, only the rounded giant cylinder of a world that makes up their reality. The idea had been tried before with Rendezvouz with Rama years before, but nothing prepares one for the impact of an entire culture that revolves around the remnants of a previous culture that is now entirely forgotten. One that was highly technological which has, over the years, slid into a largely 18th century or even Renaissance-era state in terms of it's day-to-day life, but with the ultra-rich owning things like hovercars and communication devices. None of the more obvious facts about why they are there is explicitly stated because you are so immersed in the religion, politics, and struggles of the impoverished section of a city teetering in drought. The story starts with a religions vision we aren't privy to any more than the characters who receive word of this vision from the protagonist, a young priest or "Patera" named Silk. One of the reasons I love these books is because I find Silk so unlikable and so unsympathetic a character throughout the first half of the series. It's absolutely fascinating to follow someone whose methods and sanctimoniousness absolutely would not win me over in real life. Never in a million years would I even entertain the notion of becoming a follower of this man. But Wolfe knows this. He isn't out to make you like Silk. It's not about making him a Mary Sue or a typical hero. He's immensely flawed and contradictory several times over. He's a man of faith whose ego seems to have no bounds now that he's been "chosen" and though he's clever, he is led to embrace his fate as a messianic figure who does not question the will of his gods. And this is disturbing after a while, because it is apparent to the reader that something isn't quite right with the gods. They live in a place called "Mainframe" and they aren't around as much as they used to be. The fun of this book comes from guessing through the clues what is actually taking place is dire and the "whorl" that all humans now live on is coming to what will eventually be its end. The themes of corruption and religious piety are well drawn. We see through Silk the allure of piety as well as its flaws, how it allows one to see both truth and be blinded by it. We see the ease of sin on the part of those who view religion only as a control mechanism for the masses. And we see that the pattern of humanity will seemingly, in the Wolfe universe, never be cured of creating castes and classes where the have-nots are boiling under the pressures of a society in which raw materials have become scarce. Ultimately, we come to understand that most of the things Silk believes in are largely fictional allegory wrapped around a secret truth. And that the "revealed truth" given to him by a god is merely a way to guide humanity back onto a specific path.In Wolfe's universe, lack of technology means humans devolve into older patterns, the need to worship a god or a pantheon of gods, and separate themselves from usefulness, from purpose and from scientific inquiry. When they have technology, they will become more aware that there is a recurrent pattern of piety in religion and poverty that go hand in hand and eventually make a choice as to whether or not they will abandon notions of mythology in favor of logical analysis. I should also mention that each character is so much more than the stereotype they could be. Assassins, whores, priests, children, nuns that take the name "Maytera" and various peasants make up the cast of the first book and each is filled with their own turmoil. The entire world feels like it's simmering under the pressure of a sun ready to explode. Each scene brims with meaning and one can infer a lot from even simple conversations. Wolfe is a master of both setting and character and the two always seem to compliment each other in harmonious ways, even when the setting is one as extravagant as a city inside a spaceship that resembles Europe or South America from centuries past. Simple houses take on lush hues and descriptions. Since this is only the first of four books, I won't spoil the rest, but I will say that emotionally he is able to prepare the reader with the notion of harbinger. Silk is destined to somehow destroy the natural order of things because as a character he is convinced he is not driven for selfish reasons; but he is always introduced to situations he doesn't think will change him. His struggle is an understanding that he will have to do more than chastise himself for sin, he will have to adapt. That is a frightening thing for a man of faith who has been given only the job of recitation, devotion and interpretations of sacred writings. The pace of the first book is a bit slow but the next books really pick up on speed so the first book is important to set a certain tone. The houses of the rich are heavy with problems of their own. It's as if their world is beginning to split from their own sins, and they are increasingly burdened with the desire for a quick fix even as Silk is clinging to his ability to assail doubt, yet doubt winnows and creeps into the story's cracks bit by bit.An utterly beautiful beginning to a masterpiece of science fiction.

  • Brian Rogers
    2019-05-19 22:30

    This is another reread for me, as I haven't picked this series up in years. It remains amazing in its depth of world building, the oblique reveals of that world that force the reader to keep up with what's going on, the structure of the mysteries that force the hero to work out what's happening in the world in a way that enlightens the reader to other secrets of the world that the hero isn't contemplating, and the deeper story of the nature of religion, of people claiming the mantle of divinity vs. a true monotheistic divinity. Wolfe's own Catholicism infuses this series as much as it does the Book of the New Sun, but approaches the concept from a very different angle.

  • Miki Habryn
    2019-05-23 23:23

    Slightly odd book. Complete lack of exposition, which is novel and interesting, but very put-downable.

  • Kate Sherrod
    2019-05-23 22:16


  • Max Ampuero
    2019-05-01 02:29

    Lamentablemente No era lo que esperaba

  • Mike W
    2019-05-14 22:43

    3 and a half stars, but I'm rounding up because he's such an interesting writer. It was a little slow to get started but ultimately it was a solid start to a series.

  • Kim Zinkowski
    2019-05-10 04:28

    A...I remember liking the whole series

  • LordOfDorkness
    2019-05-20 03:36

    Anyone looking for a rollicking adventure or a 'mild read' should avoid this book. It would be dry, slow, nonsensical and boring. I don't know if I can categorize this book. Or the type of person that would like it... Yes, it's got a bunch of fantasy and science fiction elements (e.g. artificial intelligences that live in these computer monitor things that some people have in their homes, Gods, though these Gods might just be a very technologically advanced race, the equivalent of cyborg nuns) but it's just so bloody dense and... Here's what happens in it:A guy who's sort of like a priest, has his church/house bought out from under him, and he has to go ask the guy who bought it if he can get it back from him. This is set far into the future, on a world with radically advanced technology, that may or may not be earth, but takes place in a rural setting. That's the entire 400 pages, pretty much.This book is elusive, both infuriatingly and wonderfully elusive. The entire 400 page book takes place over two days, which is pretty impressive, but the "what it's about" is tough to nail down, as is true for all of Gene Wolfe's book. Something like that might be the reason not everyone knows about this man's work. I'm still unsure how to describe it, but maybe think about it this way: Let's say reading most books is like following roadsigns to get to somewhere you've never been, while also drawing out a map of the path you take along the way. You keep walking, and it's all strange and new, and sometimes the road seem winding and confusing, but it all generally points in a certain direction, and when you get to the end and look at your map, you see how all the paths and detours you were forced to take were actually necessary, that if you'd avoided going down them you wouldn't have reached the end. Okay, got it? With Gene Wolfe's books, you usually have a sense that you are wandering, that sometimes you might not always even be on a path at all, but lost in the woods, and when you look at your map at the end, you see some roads, and the parts you took through the uncharted wilderness, and oddly enough, it's all very detailed. Much more so than other maps you've seen. Get down real close to the map, and you'd see all the trees you passed along the way , all the houses you passed and people you met all clearly marked out, and all that stuff. But, if you stepped back and tried to get a sense of the map as a whole, it would get all fuzzy and confusing. Like it's a funhouse mirror, or that you might need a new pair of glasses. But... if you didn't try to look too hard on any one part, if you let your eyes go out of focus the way they do when you try to find the 3D image in those hidden image pictures (this is what I mean: you will get the sense that all of it does relate... though not in a way that's so easy to define. Okay, that's it. So that was a drawn out analogy that's probably confused and lost most people, but I've read a fair amount of Gene Wolfe and that seems to be what it's like, and this is the best I can do. Maybe I haven't done the best job convincing you that he's worth reading, but he really is. If you like fantasy and science fiction, and don't mind puzzles and a bit of confusion, then you'll like him. I'll be honest that reading him has pissed me off and driven me away from his books at times (for the reasons I talked about above,) but I can still honestly say that Gene Wolfe is one the most talented authors I've ever read. If you could transplant his skill and imagination into any other genre, he would tower over most authors. He's so bloody wonderful he's pretty much an actual wizard, and this is an incredible book. -B

  • Rafal Jasinski
    2019-04-27 21:32

    Wybór "Ciemnej strony Długiego Słońca", jako początku przygody z twórczością Gene Wolfe'a, może wydawać się niezbyt sensownym posunięciem, ponieważ jest to pierwszy tom serii prequeli do najbardziej cenionego przez fanów autora cyklu noszącego tytuł "Księga Nowego Słońca". Na niniejszą książkę padło jednak zupełnym przypadkiem i, chcąc nie chcąc, musiałem się z tym pogodzić.O dziwo, nie przeszkadzało mi to absolutnie, albowiem jeśli powieść ta odwołuje się - co jest chyba faktem - do wcześniej napisanych książek Wolfe'a, to samoistnie stanowi dzieło czytelne, a dzięki pewnym niedomówieniom - które w przypadku znajomości dzieł wcześniejszych niedomówieniami mogą nie być - potrafi nieźle zaciekawić. Ani przez chwilę nie miałem uczucia, że autor nie pisze o czymś, bo zakłada, że powinienem o czymś wiedzieć, ale po prostu nie mówi wszystkiego, by z czasem te brakujące elementy układanki w mistrzowski sposób, odkryć. Żadnego poczucia zagubienia, jedynie stopniowe odkrywanie coraz większego obrazu całości.Świat jest naprawdę niebanalny, choć zakładam, że po pierwszej powieści poznałem zaledwie maleńki wycinek tego, co ma do zaoferowania. Znajomo brzmiące nazwy, nawiązujące do religii i mitologii, technologiczny regres, sugerujący, że świat ów spotkała jakaś katastrofa, tajemniczy bogowie komunikujący - a raczej dawniej komunikujący się, bowiem w okresie, kiedy toczy się akcja książki, w niejasnych okolicznościach ich kontakt ze światem się urwał - za pośrednictwem wielkich ekranów. To naprawdę nietuzinkowy, pełen skrywanych sekretów świat, wciągający i przedstawiony w niesamowicie sugestywny sposób.Sama historia też jest mocno niejasna, a rola protagonisty, kapłana o imieniu Jedwab, ciężka do przewidzenia. Jego celem jest uratowanie przed zamknięciem swej podupadającej świątyni, ale gdzieś tam, za horyzontem jego osobistych kłopotów, czai się coś o wiele donioślejszego.Bardzo podobało mi się, że, jego historia, układa się nieco w opowieść w stylu noire. Chociaż być może doszukuję się tych tropów nieco na siłę, lecz po głębszym zastanowieniu mnóstwo przesłanek przemawia ku temu, że Gene Wolfe tak to właśnie sobie zamierzył. Oczywiście, nie można na to patrzyć wprost, ale Jedwab wzorem bohaterów wzmiankowanego typu powieści, jest outsiderem, borykającym się z ciągłym brakiem środków, samotnie stawiającym czoła problemom, występującym zarówno przeciw prawu, jak i trzęsącym podziemiem bonzom tego świata, spotykającym femme fatale, a na dokładkę jest błyskotliwym detektywem. Wszystko to układa się w zgrabną całość, hołdującą - w pewnym stopniu - czarnemu kryminałowi. Dodam jednak, że to tylko moja interpretacja, być może błędna.Na osobną uwagę zasługują dialogi między bohaterami - nie pamiętam już książki, w której wypadałyby tak naturalnie, jak tutaj. Rozmowy są naprawdę wciągające, soczyste, doskonale oddające charaktery konwersujących postaci. Naprawdę, mimo tego, że narracja sama w sobie jest świetnie prowadzona, to ja nie mogłem się wręcz doczekać kolejnych rozmów pomiędzy bohaterami.Mimo, iż fabuła toczy się spokojnym rytmem, to niewątpliwą jej zaletą jest to, że jest kompletnie nieprzewidywalna. Zachowania poszczególnych postaci, zwroty akcji, kilka momentów, gdy autor odkrywa rąbka tajemnicy, tak, że możemy dostrzec szersze spektrum wydarzeń - wszystko to składa się na fakt, że od "Ciemnej strony Długiego Słońca" nie sposób się oderwać. A na dokładkę, w finale powieści Wolfe stosuje klasyczny cliffhanger, powodujący, że niemal natychmiast chce się sięgnąć po tom kolejny. Co z pewnością zrobiłbym, gdybym nie miał innych planów czytelniczych, ale tom drugi, czyli "Jezioro Długiego Słońca", zyskał u mnie wysoki priorytet.Polecam!

  • Perry Whitford
    2019-05-13 21:45

    Patera Silk, an auger and teacher in an unusual world dominated by an Olympian-style family of nine gods, receives enlightenment from a different God altogether called the Outsider, then sets out to have his church and school saved from closure. The mantion has been bought from the council of his home city Viron in lieu of owed taxes by an unscrupulous businessman called Blood whom Silk decides to compel to change his mind, even if that means using theft and coercion to succeed.That's the simplest way I can find to summarise the premise of this, the first book in another richly contemplative and deeply puzzling science fiction series from Gene Wolfe.A follow up of sorts to the New Sun series, this series is connected but very different indeed, with auger Silk in many ways the complete opposite to the torturer Severian, though still very much a Christian figure in a fallen world on the brink of annihilation.In this first part, Silk compromises his faith by committing burglary, investigates a murder and begins to understand that the nine gods he sacrifices to, headed by the father Pas and his consort Echidna, may not be the highest authority of his world (Whorl) after all. Computer-generated gods, genetically enhanced people, biochemical robots, talking animals, alien vampires, demonic possessions of various kinds, political intrigue and religious enlightenment; all of these elements are introduced into an environment both familiar and baffling, all told in Wolfe's sumptuous yet spare prose style.Severian was by nature a man of action, raised on rites of violence and retribution, who nevertheless felt compassion for others. Silk, however, is by nature a thinking man who has to learn to act as events take a turn, but who will always attempt reason and conciliation first. The character of Silk is, in my opinion, one of the two things that will determine whether or nor you like this series. Silk says that the "best way to be thought honest is to be honest- or at any rate that's the best that I've ever found. I try to be". And he does, though if forced between two evils he will bend the truth if he must, then agonize about it.He also suffers from guilt whenever he is selfish, even in the smallest way, such as failing to share a meal. This saintly behaviour will either captivate you or frustrate you. I was captivated, though bewildered at times.The second thing? Well, I mentioned that Wolfe has a simple prose style, and he does, particularly for a writer whose work contains such ambivalence and mystery, but his narrative style is a different matter all together. Notoriously difficult, he rarely provides a straight account of either action or motive, often giving extended reports of (apparent) trivia whilst skipping the most (seemingly) dramatic moments altogether.I will write more about that in my reviews of the remaining books of the series because in Nightside the Long Sun his many tricks and techniques are comparatively non-obstrusive, though I promise that a first time reader you will likely be baffled initially! In the latter books of the series, Wolfe didn't always get his balancing act to stay afloat, but he certainly managed it here.

  • Christopher
    2019-05-12 04:29

    NIGHTSIDE THE LONG SUN is the first volume of Gene Wolfe's four-volume work The Book of the Long Sun, which is a story of political intrigue, revolution, and Christian allegory set in a starship sent from Earth to colonize a distant planet.Gene Wolfe rose to fame with his magisterial work The Book of the New Sun, which is one of my most cherished books. The Book of the Long Sun takes place, in fact, in the same universe as Wolfe's masterpiece. However, differences abound. The Book of the New Sun is a first-person narrative in which the narrator stands between the reader and a clear view of his world. The Book of the Long Sun, on the other hand, is told in third-person and the setting is richly illustrated by Wolfe's prose. That is not to say that there are no mysteries in the Book of the Long Sun, it is of course a Gene Wolfe novel, but the plot is much more straightforward and clear than in Wolfe's earlier triumph.NIGHTSIDE THE LONG SUN slowly introduces the plot that will later rage through the city of its setting and by the end of the four-volume work utterly change the world in which the characters live. NIGHTSIDE opens with the enlightenment of Patera Silk, an augur (i.e. priest), in Viron, one of the cities within the Whorl, the gigantic starship sent from Urth. The rather pagan inhabitants of the Whorl worship a pantheon of deities based upon the ruler who sent out the starship and his family. Silk's enlightener, however, is an obscure god called the Outsider, because he abides even outside the Whorl, who is quite possibly in fact the Christian God. The Outsider has called upon Silk to save the local church and school, which have been sold for back taxes to a criminal named Blood. Silk, in a bit of bravado, proceeds to break into Blood's mansion in hopes of getting his property back. This attempt at breaking in, along with an exorcism of a bordello, are the sum of NIGHTSIDE THE LONG SUN. It's a slow and simple start, the action of this book takes place over merely two days, but in the following books the pace builds exponentially.The Book of the Long Sun may not be as poetic and full of sophistry as The Book of the New Sun, but it's immensely good reading. Wolfe's use of Christian allegory (much stricter here than in the earlier work), and a plot full of revolution, war, and political mystery is a fine work. After NIGHTSIDE THE LONG SUN, the reader should be voraciously desiring the next book in the series, LAKE OF THE LONG SUN.

  • Andrew
    2019-05-04 00:26

    It is a curious thing how much we credit a book merit based upon expectation and experience of a writer. Wolfe is "the most important writer in the SF field" my book tells me. His achievements and qualities are exposed with exuberance on the outer shell of the book itself. The effect this has on the reader is an intriguing point of research... I wonder if there is the potential of a pressuring into appreciating Wolfe taking place for some readers.And then my own experience with Wolfe plays into this, and that experience is... being overwhelmed by the obscured scope of his work... overwhelmed in a good way. The man intrigues me. If a scene seems straightforward and simple, I assume I wasn't reading it properly, and actually 10 things were alluded to that I entirely missed. I love the challenge of trying to unravel Wolfe's works. It could be argued that perhaps Wolfe's intentional obscurement creates almost a false literary depth at times, but in the end, I don't care, I enjoy the puzzle of it all.Why do I explain these things to being this review? Because if Nightside of the Long Sun were written by another author, or the beginning of a series of which I had no account of greatness expected I may very well not pick up the next book. Which was not to say it was in any way bad. But my prior knowledge of Wolfe gave me more reason to try and look through some of the film he places over his settings and characters. There is actually a lot to like of this work: a protagonist that I like for one. And you get a few hints of the greater things to come. And yet, if Wolfe wasn't Wolfe, I can't say that I would be sure I would give the next book the time. But since it is Wolfe, I know it will not be time wasted. Sidenote: while the connection with The Book of the New Sun is not immediately apparent, it does help you fall into the world a bit easier in some ways (possibly harder in others).

  • Wil
    2019-05-24 21:23

    I've read, or tried to read, other Gene Wolf novels and this is the first one I was able to finish. That sounds harsh, but despite his obvious writing talents, I wasn't really able to get into his work. The writing is, or can be, quite dense (not so much in this book though), with at times odd vocabulary (I wasn't quite sure if he was making up words or picking incredibly obscure ones, or both), and plot developments are largely lacking. His main strength is characterization, and the characters in this book are all fully fleshed out and for the most part fascinating and memorable. I would have given this four stars if, frankly, more had happened in the story. I realize the story is being spread over over several novels to form some kind of mega story, but if you look at Tolkien, for example, he's able to deliver a very involved, rich and multi-volume story, but as you're reading each part you feel like much is happening, rather than being unnecessarily drawn out for the sake of length. I was also a bit frustrated with the lack of exposition on the more technological parts of the story, particularly the gods who appear in the mirrors. They did little to add anything tangible to the story and acted as more appearances of ghosts in Victorian novels, mostly serving to set the mood rather than reveal anything meaningful. Since this book (and series) is technically classified as 'scifi', it would have been nice to get more background on the "ship world" everyone presumably is on. I haven't read the first part of this series, so perhaps it is assumed that the reader is, or should be aware of the background more. The depth of the religious insights in the book, which were quite genuine, and the wonderful conflict between a thief and a priest in the same person, are the two things that will probably lead me to try the next book in the series.

  • Neil Fein
    2019-05-22 21:30

    If what you hold dear is a thing that helps people by its nature, is it morally correct to steal and perhaps murder evil men to protect it? I'd think not, but it's a dilemma that Patera Silk, the protagonist of the first volume of Gene Wolfe's The Book of the Long Sun.While many of the same themes that Mr. Wolfe explores in The Book of the New Sun are present here - transformation, religion, government - yet are given new twists. The author's trademarked unreliable narrator is here more self-deluding than a liar. Silk nearly always tells the truth, but it's tinted by his desire for happy endings. While he is a priest of sorts, he has a remarkable loss of remorse at descending into criminal acts, even to save his parish.Religion is here portrayed as both noble and worthy or ridicule, depending on the point of view. Or perhaps both. The gods of the Whorl, the miles-long generation ship the story is set in, are kind, or perhaps cruel.To summarize the plot is to do it a disservice. But here goes: To save his manteion, as a god has instructed him to do, Patera Silk must accomplish the impossible task or convincing a criminal to show charity. That's pretty trite, actually, and it leaves out the grand society that's grown up (or perhaps not) in the Whorl. It leaves out the characters of Auk, professional thief and Silk's mentor; the semi-respectable criminal Blood; Maytera Marble, 300 year old sibyl of the manteion.Not to be missed. Nightside the Long Sun is a continuation to the New Sun books. But you can start here, I think, since the characters and events are very different. However, having read the earlier books will enrich the experience.

  • Benjamin
    2019-05-13 01:23

    If it isn't Earth, then why is the religion so similar to the religions in the Hellenistic period? And if it is some far-future Earth, then where are the non-Western influences on the culture? I mean, if you do straight fantasy, high fantasy, whatever, swords and wizards and all that, and it is basically medieval stuff with monsters and magic, okay. But if you make the magic technology, and the monsters were genetically engineered, and the Gods are either post-humans or AIs or something, then don't give me a bunch of medieval stuff again. I was okay with it in the Jack Vance Dying Earth stories because it had such a mythic feel, and it really was more fantasy than science fiction. But here, the Eurocentrism is a bit grating. The main character is complex and fascinating, though, and the story is just getting off the ground so I am willing to give it time to develop. Also, I am aware that the whole thing really started with a whole series "before" this one, and maybe if I'd read that first I wouldn't be as nitpicky and politically correct. Which reminds me, are all the women literally virgins or whores? The only two who weren't actually virgins for their religions or prostitutes were a goddess and a devil...

  • Kyle
    2019-05-03 00:44

    So Gene Wolfe isn't for everyone. Starting this book felt a bit like stepping into another culture, with words and histories generally unexplained, sometimes for a long time. (We get a fairly good idea of what the "long sun" looks like in this book, but I don't remember anyone actually describing it clearly until book 2 of the series.) The thing is, I think that's pretty satisfying (like visiting a new culture, really): eventually there's a sense of satisfaction about the things you understand and a sense of wonder about the things you don't. Also as in life, you never know what's going to happen, and you rarely know what a character is thinking until s/he says or does something (in a Hemingway-ish sense). That makes things jarring at times ("Whoa, I didn't know he was thinking that!") but also suspense-filled and interesting. And in Wolfe's lovely language, I'm happy to just follow along and discover things as he chooses to tell me.As far as Wolfe goes, I'm not yet convinced this is quite up to the standard of New Sun, but I love it all the same in a very different way. (And more, I think, than the soldier books?) Highly recommended. (And you might be buying it, since the books in the series are hard to find in my local libraries.)

  • Roger N.
    2019-05-01 02:23

    Two days. A novel jam-packed with incident, almost three hundred pages in length, and that’s the span of time it covers: two days. We are somewhat prepared for the inexhaustible detail with which it covers those two days after an early shopping trip in which everything in the marketplace is inventoried and categorized, given to us in marvelous lists that set the scene splendidly while delaying the actual meat of the chapter for pages and pages.It almost feels as if Wolfe is toning down playing with the reliability of the narrative to instead play with the shape of it. We’ve all read this book before — a divine vision! a quest! sally forth! — but this book neatly sidesteps the expectations it sets up at every turn.The fact that I’m re-reading this book definitely puts a different spin on things; I know what some mysterious things are, and half-remember others. The best thing is that while I know where things are going, I forget why, or even exactly how.Very glad I decided to pull these off the shelf and re-read them. I found a note in the early years of peekle that I gave up on the Short Sun books; maybe this time I will be able to make it through them.

  • Ed Holden
    2019-04-27 04:43

    After reading this first Long Sun book, as well as the Book of the New Sun, I can honestly say that no one does twists like Gene Wolfe. They aren't twists in the Matrix/LOST/Usual Suspects sense of that word, where the underlying concept is turned on its head, but merely turns that take the story abruptly in a new direction. (Note: mild spoilers follow.) Just when I think we're going to focus on main character Patera Silk becoming a thief, he spends a morning solving a murder in a brothel.My only gripe is that Wolfe relies too much on coincidence. This was egregious in New Sun. So far in this book he's introduced a character named Mucor who "haunts" Silk from the moment Silk meets her during a robbery, yet Mucor also seems connected to the events at the brothel. Surely Silk cannot be the link between what happened at the robbery and at the brothel, since the brothel haunting predates his involvement. Yet there's also the suggestion that he brought Mucor there.Whatever. Perhaps I need to read further for this to make sense, or to suspend my disbelief. I did enjoy this first installment and look forward to the three that remain.

  • Bart
    2019-05-11 04:37

    Please read the rest of this review on Weighing A Pig...(...)That doesn’t mean Nightside is a very good book. As with all Wolfe I’ve read, the same list of adjectives – bizarre, strange, baffling, different, mythical, mysterious and oddball – springs to mind. And harsh, and deadpan. Nightside is set in a giant generational space ship, of the spinning cylinder Rendezvous With Rama-type. It was sent from a far, far future Earth (or Urth, or the Whorl) to some distant planet. Yet Nightside doesn’t register as SF at first – as in The New Sun, the inhabitants of its world don’t understand their surroundings, aren’t even aware they are on a spaceship, and are not able to repair or even understand the technology – AI entities in the Mainframe that sometimes appear on screens are worshipped as gods. The ship has been flying for ages, and its origins are mostly lost to the book’s characters.Nightside takes a long time to set things up, (...)

  • Scott
    2019-05-25 01:45

    A good read and much more accesible than some of Wolfe's other books. This one is the first of a 4-book series that follows Patera Silk, a priest in a distant future who, desperate to save his "church" from financial ruin and feeling that he's been visited by one of his faith's gods, decides to resort to crime to save his mission. Whereas the previous series is brilliant, it's extremely dense and requires plenty of concentration. This book shows some of the same fascinating depth, but it's more sparingly woven into a story that's more immediately entertaining. Reading about the celibate Silk attempting to break into a known criminal's house, accidentally finding himself in bed with a loose woman, and eventually see the true face of a god within the confines of a bordello is a treat. It all touches upon some great philosophical questions about good & evil and human compassion, some of the mainstay themes of Wolfe's writing. I'm looking forward to just what Patera Silk does next.