Posted by: Matt | August 23, 2007

Panic Purchase

A couple of days ago I was in a bit of a panic. Visiting Amazon.com I noticed that a book on my wish list was no longer available from them which made me think maybe it was now out of print. I decided I better buy the book as soon as possible.Shadow & Claw As anyone else been in a similar panic? Luckily they had a copy available at my local Barnes & Noble.

The book is called Shadow & Claw, it was written by Gene Wolfe. It’s a science fiction book that is highly thought of. Neil Gaiman, as I understand, is quite a fan. It also has a pretty cool cover. The novel is the first in a two book series called The Book of the New Sun, well actually it’s a four book series but the first two are combined in Shadow and Claw while the second two are published as Sword & Citadel.

I’ve noticed that science fiction books haven’t been the most popular novels I’ve blogged about here, but I think more people ought to give them a chance. I think they have a stigma attached to them unfairly. And from what I understand this series by Gene Wolfe is actually quite literary. So I encourage you to branch out, if you haven’t already, and try some sci-fi, you just might like it.

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Responses

  1. I like sci fi myself but I hadn’t heard of this author. I’ll have to chekc him out . I do tend to like hard sci fi or magical realism over fantasy though.

  2. I don’t think you should panic that much. I know how you feel about wanting to get your hands on a copy of a book, but at the same time, I think you’ll be able to find books no matter where you go (albeit possibly off line).
    Take for example Day of the Triffids. The book is actually out of print in the US and quite hard to find. But after telling my sister that, she sent me a brand new copy that I’m assuming she got from a bookstore. Just goes to show what a little leg work can accomplish. 🙂
    Oh, and on a side note, anyone looking for sci-fi novels, especially the kind of hard sci-fi that Carrie K mentioned, you absolutely should read this Day of the Triffids. Very realistically written end of society tale that takes place in England in the 50s. Totally applicable to modern concepts of warfare and their consequences.

  3. I love SF. But then I used to be a keyholder at the world’s largest publicly-accessible science fiction library (at MIT).

    Sadly there is a reason why SF has a stigma. There’s some best-selling SF I’ve read where I found myself thinking that the author clearly knew his target audience was teenage boys and thus that he didn’t have to put any effort into writing well. The three novels (out of the many I’ve reviewed) to which I gave one-out-of-five ratings were all SF of one variety or another.

    Unfortunately this keeps people from realizing that there’s also a lot of amazingly good SF out there. I’m currently reading a review copy of Tobias Buckell’s debut Crystal Rain, for example, and I just love it so far!

    Again, maybe it’s the fact that publishers and authors realize that much of their audience consists of teenage boys, who aren’t as likely as adults to notice passive voice, redundancy, cardboard characters, logical contradictions, and so on. I think that’s short-sighted, though, because those teens grow up and want better-quality writing as they do, generally.

  4. Carrie K – I just recently in the last few months heard about Gene Wolfe, but since then I’ve read a lot about him and this series keeps coming up. I actually enjoy sci fi, magical realism and fantasy, though I haven’t read much fantasy lately.

    Kevin – The way you keep raving about Day of the Triffids I think I’m going to have to add it to my list!

    Heather – There is certainly some very terrible sci fi out there which definitely presents a problem. Unfortunately it takes attention from the still large quantity of very good stuff out there. I guess people just need to know where to look for the good stuff. And I’ll have to take a look at this Tobias Buckell book!

  5. Love this book! This is one of those books that really stay in my memory long after I’m done reading it.

  6. Robin – I always like to hear that people loved a book that I’ve just bought, makes me glad I did!


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