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Litany of the Long Sun: Nightside the Long Sun and Lake of the Long Sun (Book of the Long Sun, Books 1 and 2) Paperback – April 1, 2000
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The story of Patera Silk, a devout priest whose destiny is wrapped up with the gods he serves, takes place within the Whorl, a vast, cylindrical starship that has traveled for generations and is crumbling into disrepair. Through a strange and amazing series of events, Silk finds himself descending to base thievery, running afoul of a notorious crime lord, befriending a cyborg soldier, and encountering at least one of the gods of Mainframe.
She shook her head almost imperceptibly. "All that abstinence! And now you've seen a goddess. Me. Was it worth it?"
"Yes, Loving Kypris."
She laughed again, delighted. "Why?"
The question hung in the silence of the baking sellaria while Silk tried to kick his intellect awake. At last he said haltingly, "We are so much like beasts, Kypris. We eat and we breed; then we spawn and die. The most humble share in a higher existence is worth any sacrifice."
But when Silk encounters the Outsider, who may be a God of a very different sort, all his beliefs are shaken to the core, and his life swiftly takes a messianic turn. In a rousing climax, Silk becomes the reluctant leader of a political rebellion against the corrupt Ayuntamiento, who rule the city-state of Viron.
It is not necessary to have read Wolfe's Book of the New Sun series, which takes place many centuries earlier, to enjoy the Long Sun novels, but keen-eyed readers will find many clues as to the origin of the Whorl and its gods in those stories. Further, although Wolfe's reputation for literary precision and trickery is well deserved, the Long Sun series (which continues in Epiphany of the Long Sun) is one of the more accessible places to start appreciating the author's treasures. --Therese Littleton
“Today quite possibly the most important writer in the SF field.” ―The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction
“Gene Wolfe is as good a writer as there is today....I feel a little bit like a musical contemporary attempting to tell people what's good about Mozart.” ―Chicago Sun-Times
“Wolfe is quite simply a superb writer.” ―The Washington Post Book World
“Gene Wolfe is a national treasure.” ―Damon Knight
“Wolfe is our Melville.” ―Ursula K. Le Guin
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Top Customer Reviews
In Wolfe's tale, the "long sun" is a heating and lighting element that runs the length of the "whorl"--a miles-long cylindrical ship that rotates on its long axis. It is so-called in contrast to the disc-shaped "short sun" that people knew in the world before. People in the whorl are generally ignorant, superstitious, and at best minimally conscious of being space voyagers. They worship as gods the men and women responsible for building the whorl, gods that communicate with them through big-screen TVs that have some sort of mind-hacking software built in.
Patera Silk is a celibate parish priest in a religion dedicated to worship of the gods. One day while playing basketball with boys in the parish school, Silk receives a vision from a minor god telling him that he must save his poor parish, which the church hierarchy has already (without telling him) sold to a gangster. Thus begins a journey that will lead Silk to, in a few short days, consort with thieves and prostitutes, attempt murder and extortion, and become the most loved and hated figure in his native city of Viron.
It is tempting to contrast Silk with Severian, the narrator/protagonist of Wolfe's Book of the New Sun.Read more ›
NIGHTSIDE THE LONG SUN opens this 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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A slow, slow pace. And I still haven't figured out what the plot is about. I bought this book based on rave reviews, but it is boring, boring, boring.Published 2 months ago by S. Jackson
This is the story of Patera Silk, a priest figure aboard a world-ship who meets many odd characters and rides strange events in an effort to save his manteion (monastery? Read morePublished 11 months ago by Aaron Lipka
Worst Gene Wolfe I've ever read. Went back and started the Torturer series - what a difference.Published 14 months ago by Shriv in Philly
I love Gene Wolfe's 'Solar Cycle' - I've read all the books twice - except 'The Lake of The Long Sun' because for some mysterious reason there's no Kindle edition - docked one star... Read morePublished 16 months ago by Marco Schuffelen
Litany of the Long Sun is a sequel of sorts to Gene Wolfe's groundbreaking, four-volume The Book of the New Sun (1980-83) and its coda, Urth of the New Sun (1987). Read morePublished 18 months ago by Matt Hlinak
Reading makes your smarter. My interpretation of the content is arbitrary and irrelevant.
5 stars because it is indeed a book with words.
The Book of the Long Sun is really one long multi-volume work. This review of only the first half of the multi-volume "book" will therefore be inadequate. Read morePublished on December 23, 2012 by Davis Keck
Great book by a great author. Gene Wolfe is considered one of the most significant science fiction writers of the 20th century, but I would say that his work transcends genres. Read morePublished on November 13, 2012 by RJ