A Lycanthrope in Wolfe’s Clothing: Gene Wolfe’s Solar Cycle – concluded

Gene Wolfe went straight from The Book of the Long Sun to The Book of the Short Sun and, as the titles suggest, the latter was a direct sequel to the former. It continues the story begun in Long Sun as well as folding itself into the story of The Book of the New Sun at an unexpected stage.
Unlike its predecessors, Short Sun consists of only three volumes, not four, for reasons that will be obvious once we look at each book. Also, in an unwelcome distinction from the other two series, Short Sun has never been published in the UK: indeed, with the exception of the retrospective Best of… collection in 2009, the only books of Wolfe’s to be published in the UK since the Long Sun series ended have been the re-issued one-volume collection of New Sun as Severian of the Guild and the one-volume collection of the first two Soldier books as Latro in the Mist.
Between them, the Long/Short Sun books took up all of Gene Wolfe’s time in the 1990s. At their end, I was fortunate in that I completing a thorough re-read of the Solar Cycle to date only a day before finding the last book available in Manchester’s Waterstones, though it did not prevent me from having to carry out an exercise I have not found necessary with any other book, which I shall describe in the blog about the Short Sun series as a whole.
Due to the complexity of Wolfe’s approach to this last series, my blogs on each volume will be very much more of an outline, rather than the detail I have employed to date and there will be a rather longer post on the series as a whole.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: the final round of the Solar Cycle.


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