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‘Like a Dove’s Call’
The Shadow of the Torturer by Gene Wolfe Audiobook Full 360p
© 2015 James LaFond
Severian is the Autarch of Nessus, a vast city on the banks of the River Gyol, rotten core of a Degenerate Age, recounting his rise from a childhood as an orphaned apprentice to the guild of torturers. In the first scene, Severian and his fellow apprentices have been caught at nightfall playing in the graveyard—a vast graveyard of an ancient crumbling city.
Although I have never read an explicit description of the setting, I am of the opinion that Severian’s world is an ancient earth, millions of years in our future, where civilization has dwindled to a great sprawling city on the banks of a tropical river under a dying sun, at the heart of a decadent interstellar civilization.
The Shadow of the Torturer is the first of four volumes in The Book of the New Sun, which is, in the estimation of most science-fiction writers—including myself and Neil Gaiman—regarded as the very best science-fiction novel of the 20th Century.
Wolfe can no longer be found on remaining book shelves, so it is a good time for audio-recordings to be made available on YouTube.
Below the audiobook window are some YouTube reviews and a link to my previous review of this book.
Alastair Reynolds Discusses THE BOOK OF THE NEW SUN
Marc Aramini on Gene Wolfe and Literature, Part 1
The Shadow Of The Torturer (book review) by Gene Wolfe
The bimbo reviewer here reads the deep layered metaphor as flowery language obscuring a explanatory plot as opposed to a many-branched corridor of the mind’s eye opening upon differing views of the truth. The need to titillate and crudely satisfy, and speak in the simplest terms, and to not use obscure terms or oblique exposition, in order for the female reader to be able to keep up in her mind, prevents deep horror or science-fiction reading by women. So, please view this review by this witless doll as a window upon the female’s mind. The female reader needs to know more than the characters. The fact that female and emasculated readers need such a well-ordered lineal storyline, understood from a god-perspective, describes why modern storytelling requires the godlike super hero as a protagonist.
The more intelligent the female reader is the more trouble she will have with Wolfe and other oblique expositions as it seems like masturbatory writing to an intelligent woman.
When she says “doesn’t make much sense but sounds pretty,” she is simply exposing the lack of imagination implicit in the female condition.
That said, I think this young lady is a doll, and if I was still a young man I would regard it as my sacred duty to keep her with child for the next twenty years—and I think Genghis, Attila, Vlad and Tamerlane would concur.
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Hank     Dec 21, 2015

I crawl through the used bookstores every time I travel to a new city. Anyone who is still into owning paper copies can sometimes get lucky and score copies of Wolfe, Howard and the other greats if they are willing to look around regularly. I've only found the first one in the series, but what a winner.

Also James, if you haven't read the works of Glen Cook, you might try the Black Company books.
deuce     Jan 4, 2016

Wolfe is an incredible writer and I own most of his works. Due to some of his views, he's become less popular with the literati gatekeepers over the years as PC requirements have grown more stringent.

BTW, Wolf is a big fan of Robert E. Howard.
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