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Castle of Days Paperback – March 15, 1995

4.7 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The acclaimed author's latest effort combines the complete texts of two of his previous books--a story collection, Gene Wolfe's Book of Days (1981), and a volume of essays, The Castle of the Otter (1982), both out of print. In addition, there is a wide-ranging selection of letters, speeches, notes and essays on topics from writing to knife-throwing to classical Greek. All the tales in the Book of Days have the grace and wit that Wolfe's readers have come to expect from him. "La Befana" is a subtle, stirring story of Christmas on another world; "Against the Lafayette Escadrille" packs a powerful emotional punch into its brief space. The Castle of the Otter will strike some as self-indulgent, but to Wolfe fans these behind-the-scenes glimpses at the genesis of his masterpiece, The Book of the New Sun , will be gems, particularly "These Are the Jokes," in which New Sun characters tell amusing stories, and the notes on unusual words and names. Wolfe's views on writing, genrefication, critics and himself in many of the previously uncollected pieces will interest any readers serious about the literature of fantasy and science fiction. Though this collection may mystify readers unfamiliar with Wolfe and his branch of fiction, devotees will find much to savor.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This collection of fiction and nonfiction by one of sf's most luminescent writers includes "Gene Wolfe's Book of Days"--a cycle of 18 stories with holiday themes--and the collection "The Castle of the Otter" as well as speeches, essays, poems, and letters.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (March 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312890427
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312890421
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #384,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 22, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gene Wolfe's collection CASTLE OF DAYS is a must for fans, especially those who enjoyed his four-volume great work the Book of the New Sun. It consists of three parts, "Gene Wolfe's Book of Days", "The Castle of the Otter", and "Castle of Days."

"Gene Wolfe's Book of Days" is a collection of some of Wolfe's short stories, each representing a particular holiday. While these pieces are generally lighter and less substantial than Wolfe's other short stories of the late 70's and earlier 80's, there are several stories that are highly worthy. "Forlesen", representing Labor Day, is a clever jab at life in a corporation and it shows that the Dilbertesque workplace is nothing new. "The Changeling" represents Homecoming Day. A chilling and haunting piece, it takes place in the same town as Wolfe's early novel PEACE and illuminates a cryptic reference made there. This story alone makes CASTLE OF DAYS worth getting for fans of PEACE.

The second part of the book is "Castle of the Otter", named in jest after the mispelling of THE CITADEL OF THE AUTARCH which appeared in a 1982 issue of Locus. Subtitled "a book about the Book of the New Sun", it is a collection of essays about Wolfe's best-known work and can greatly expand one's knowledge of that world. "Words Weird and Wonderful", for example, defines all the archaic words in THE SHADOW OF THE TORTURER. "These Are the Jokes" is a collection of witty jokes, each told by a different character from the Book of the New Sun. "Onomastics" explains the names of many characters. "Castle of the Otter" was written when two of the four volumes of the series had been published, so it is a bit light on detail from THE CITADEL OF THE AUTARCH.
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Format: Paperback
These stories are the work of a man with a sharp mind and a wicked sense of humor. Most of them are science fiction, but many are unclassifiable. For instance, "Forlesen," a story with many levels of meaning, attempts to sum up the twentieth century experience in forty-four pages and does it pretty well. There is non-fiction as well, including Wolfe's hilarious essay on knife-throwing. From my limited experience I'd say that Gene Wolfe is one of the most underrated science fiction writers.
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If you have not read Gene Wolfe then go get a copy of the "Book of the New Sun" and be prepared to be blown away. but read it first before reading the second part of this book because it contains spoilers for the "Book of the New Sun". Gene Wolfe is not just a good Sci-Fi author. He is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century in ANY genre, it just happens that his genre is sci-fi. Even better Gene is not dead yet! And is still writing incredibly good books! This book is really two books. The first half being the collection of short stories called the "Book of Days". A small hint read the introduction Gene Wolfe has something in it that you would miss out on if you don't read it. The second part called "The Castle of the Otter" is a bunch of essays on his own writing. Much of it about the Book of the New Sun. It provides a lot of explanation and insight into the five book series. It also includes a lot of information about books by his contemporary authors that you may never have heard of and provides a great resource to books by famous authors that you may not of heard of before.
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This book is half non-fiction, half fiction. For those who love Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series, the latter half of Castle of Days is just for you. There are several pieces about the writing of those books, the characters, its obscure words, its publishing schedule and many other things. Other than New Sun related items, there are many letters Wolfe wrote to other writers and vice-versa, and some writing advice articles written by Wolfe.

The fiction half of the book is a collection of short stories arranged around several holidays. Most of these stories are really first-rate Wolfe, my favorites being: "Forlesen", "The Changeling", "Many Mansions", and "Melting".

This collection is a must have for Wolfe fans, and a great insight into his writing process. Great.
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This book was really fun to read. For me, a few parts were sort of boring, hence the four star rating. The pieces are so varied though, that there is something for everyone. If you loved the Book of the New Sun, then this collection is worth a few bucks.
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