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Peace Paperback – June 15, 1995


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"An Unwelcome Quest"
Ever since Martin Banks and his fellow computer geeks discovered reality is just software, they've been happily jaunting back and forth through time. Who knew that rotten Todd would escape, then conjure a game packed with wolves, wastelands and other harrowing hazards--and trap his hapless former hack-mates inside it? Find out more author Scott Meyer
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; First Edition edition (June 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312890338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312890339
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,839,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Wolfe's novel about a bitter old man whose highly imaginative memoirs go beyond the real world and into another dimension is available for the first time in over a decade.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Gene Wolfe has been called "the finest writer the science fiction world has yet produced" by The Washington Post. A former engineer, he has written numerous books and won a variety of awards for his SF writing.

Customer Reviews

Go out beg, borrow or buy it and read it.
"rajmonster"
On an initial reading, the book may seem a certain kind of story, satisfying in itself.
Christopher Culver
Characters masquerade across different stories.
auspexRex

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on May 25, 2000
Format: Paperback
PEACE is a beautiful, strange, intricate novel; it is also a puzzle, but the puzzle is not concerned with cleverness or authorial tricks--rather, here, the puzzle is the essential human question: "What kind of story is this?" PEACE, as it invokes Lovecraft, the Arabian Nights, Sherwood Anderson, Borges, Flann O'Brien, and other restless spirits, answers and re-asks this final question. This is Wolfe at his finest, and Wolfe at his finest is as good as it gets. PEACE is also an excellent introduction to Wolfe, for those daunted by THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN. The only better introduction, in my opinion, is the equally touching and marvelous THE FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS, which may especially be preferable for long-time readers of science-fiction.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A. Wolverton VINE VOICE on September 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Gene Wolfe's "Peace" is one of the strangest, yet most satisfying books I've read in a long time. It's very hard to talk about the plot, except that it is largely a reflection of an old man on his life experiences. The book says so many things that almost overwhelm the reader, but I imagine looking back over a lifetime of experiences can be overwhelming. I recently read an interview with Wolfe in which he said that authors often reveal clues several times in their books. He only reveals a clue once. He presupposes that the reader is smart enough to stay with him on his level. The ability to do that, at least for me, was difficult, but the journey was extremely worthwhile.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Vince Scoggins on June 15, 2003
Format: Paperback
Agreed with the foregoing: PEACE is indeed a "haunting and frighteningly literate retelling" of Edgar Lee Masters's SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY, situated somewhere on the literary spectrum between H.P. Lovecraft and Sherwood Anderson. What is most remarkable about PEACE, to me, is the way it defies any easy categorization, from genre (it's not exactly science fiction, but if not, what is it?) to form (ostensibly the interrelated, and frequently interrupted, deathbed ramblings of an old man, which ultimately construct their own dream-like architecture). In this sense PEACE is most similar to the novels of Jonathan Carroll, who mines similar territory.
My only caveats would be Tor's tiny, occluded typesetting (a valid regret, as noted elsewhere here) and the fact that Wolfe chooses to drop us into Weer's meditations without any gloss or preparation. The first thirty pages are indeed rough going--even for those of us who were in fact schooled on Joyce, Garcia Marquez, and Faulkner.
Like Carroll, Alan Garner, and other contemporary fabulists, Wolfe has yet to receive his due from the mainstream literary establishment. It's a pity. This novel should have at least started that ball rolling, long ago.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 19, 1998
Format: Paperback
The entire Universe is contained in this book. So much pathos and so much wisdom have not been seen in an American novel since MOBY DICK. The intelligence brought to bear in Wolfe's understated and brilliantly layered book lies somewhere between Dickens and Joyce, with a little Shakespearean flair thrown in for good measure. Wolfe's primary topic here is memory and its effects (causality?) on human existence, and the shaping of human existence by story. Layered and interlocking stories relate the life of the narrator, and significantly, the stories merge together, the boundary between stories becoming increasingly blurred as the book winds down. It is, in essence, The Book of the Dead (and here is the significance of the title), telling the tales of the dead, so that they ultimately rest in Peace. It is not an easy read, but one which patient readers will treasure and hold dear--and reread incessantly--forever.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Jacob G Corbin on January 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book must be read by everyone. Wolfe usually writes SF, but this is like nothing so much as a haunting and frighteningly literate retelling of "Spoon River Anthology" -- the spirit of an early-twentieth century man endlessly reenacts a series of vignettes that illuminate (obtusely) the story of his life, which is also the story of the end of the small town in America. The prose is meditative and elegaically beautiful, but the novel itself is uncomfortably honest in the manner of someone who pretends to make light of something about which they are, in fact, quite serious. Wolfe claims that his narrator, Alden Dennis Weer, is "more autobiographical than anyone suspects" -- odd, given that it's hinted that Weer may be a mass murderer. Very meaty, rich stuff that I commend to any reader without reservation.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By auspexRex on April 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Peace is not a book for everyone. It is best left to experienced readers who are eager to look between the lines. Casual readers will be frustrated by this novel, as with much of Wolfe's work.

This book is a masterpiece deserving a place next to the works of Dickens, Hemingway, and Melville. Like other fine literature, it is a work which should be savored with multiple readings. Like many of Wolfe's works, Peace is a horror story in disguise. If you're not paying close attention, you may not notice the mystery haunting this book.

I can assure you that while much of the book may not seem to make sense at first, everything does add up. What appears random is not. The pieces of the puzzle are scattered across the various unfinished stories in the novel. One story's beginning must serve as another's end. Characters masquerade across different stories. If you give up, as some reviewers apparently have, you can always search the internet for answers to this book's many riddles.
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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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