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Fifth Head of Cerberus was exactly what I needed to read. Following may be spoilerific to some degree.

It was like discovering a prototype of a familiar machine in the tinkerer's studio. All the normal bits were there, and I think I recognized Blue and Green as St. Croix and St. Anne, and I certainly recognized the swiss-cheese of spacetime and identity that is the silent companion of both Severian and Caldé Silk. There is a coherent body of design to the worldbuilding. With puns.

But I don't like the mechanical analogy: I was about to say that reading a Gene Wolfe short story for the first time is a bit like walking around an intricate piece of origami: It's clear that the map was carefully written out and labelled, then it was folded up neatly into a shape totally unlike a flat piece of paper. And then the final part was tucked into just the right place to make a seamless whole. When looking at any piece, it's also not always obvious whether it is the top or the bottom of the surface of the paper is being shown to you. So, for example, I don't really know whether the narrator, or his father, or the visiting Doctor Marsch is really who they seem by the end. Marsch departs, but is it by way of becoming doppelgänger of either of them? Is the "we" in the final sentence the chain of fathers 1-5, or is it the Abo(riginal)s? I can't see the evidence, yet, but like all good puzzles, it needs to be put down and returned to. Still looking for where that last bit of origami is tucked away.

So I look forward to the two others which I have not yet read either.

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
rose_lemberg
Aug. 6th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
I loved that book.
barry_king
Aug. 6th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
It's a good'un. I'll refrain from asking you about your take on Dr. Marsch until after I've read the eponymous follow-up piece.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )