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Castle of Days Paperback – March 15, 1995

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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: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,050,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gene Wolfe is winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and many other awards. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois.

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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on February 22, 2003
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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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By davidbannister@hotmail.com on June 25, 1999
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 is a collection of essays/ruminations. The first section deals with holiday-related stories/topics. The second deals with themes in some of his fiction. The third deals with writers, the art of writing, and topics related to publishing and the sci-fi/fantasy genres. An indispensable book for people who would like to sample the full range of Gene Wolfe's talents and diverse threads of thought.

The book appeared in a timely fashion, and in the advertised condition. I would favorably recommend this merchant.
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Insight into the motivations of the author and into his best known works. In particular, the conversational tone helps close the gap between the author and his readers. Would love to have read this as a teenager, when I struggled with the Book of the New Sun for the first time. Still all these years later I am very glad someone thought to combine these essays and short stories into a single volume.
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