a web resource for the study of Gene Wolfe

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The Book of Gold… returns to Ultan’s Library

A few years ago Ultan contributor Jeremy Crampton offered us the chance to host PDF (Acrobat) copies of his old fanzine, THE BOOK OF GOLD.

Jeremy published 2 issues of the fanzine, focussing on Wolfe’s two books about Latro, SOLDIER OF THE MIST and SOLDIER OF ARETE. There’s some really interesting commentary on Latro, which nicely supplements the articles Jeremy has written for Ultan’s Library.

New Wolfe novel in September

Gene Wolfe’s latest novel, An Evil Guest, will be published in hardback by Tor later this month in the USA.

Described as “Lovecraft meets Blade Runner”. You can purchase it from Amazon UK using the link below, although Amazon UK seems to think it’s coming out in November. It’s the same ISBN, so this may just be an error, and not a different edition.

Where’s Ultan?

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We’re currently revamping Ultan’s Library.

It appears that, depending on your browser, some readers will see this page by default instead of the current list of articles. We hope to fix this soon.

The current list of articles is available at this link: http://www.ultan.org.uk/index.html

An astronaut on the moon

Mapping a Masterwork: A Critical Review of Gene Wolfe’s The Book of the New Sun

  • Volume One: Shadow and Claw
  • Volume Two: Sword and Citadel (Millennium, 2000)

Reviewed by Peter Wright

Desanctifying Victor Trenchard: some notes on Peter Wright’s “Confounding the Skin and the Mask”

by Robert Borski

I’ve now had the opportunity to read Peter Wright’s “Confounding the Skin and the Mask” several times and it continues to generate much thought.

Confounding the Skin and the Mask: Gene Wolfe’s The Fifth Head of Cerberus and the Politics of Ambiguity

by Peter Wright

Since its publication in 1972, The Fifth Head of Cerberus, Gene Wolfe’s collection of three inter-linked novellas, has earned a reputation for being the author’s most perplexing single volume. Such a reputation is entirely justified since ambiguity is the watchword to the text. More significantly, it is also an organising principle of form, a means of confounding interpretation, and a fundamental theme associated with Wolfe’s defining authorial obsessions: the subjectivity of perception, the unreliability of memory, and the nature of identity.

The Fifth Head of Cerberus reviewed

Gene Wolfe, The Fifth Head of Cerberus (Millennium, 1999)

reviewed by Robert Borski

“When I was a boy my brother David and I had to go to bed early whether we were tired or not.” So begins, with its Proustian echo, the titular novella of Gene Wolfe’s The Fifth Head of Cerberus, first published in 1972.

Strange Travelers reviewed

Gene Wolfe, Strange Travelers (Orb, 2000)

reviewed by Michael Andre-Driussi

Here is a brand new collection of fifteen stories. Originally published in magazines, theme anthologies, and a program guide, they offer a wide variety of styles and modes for your reading and re-reading pleasures.

Harmonies and Mysteries: a review of Gene Wolfe’s On Blue’s Waters

Reviewed by Nigel Price.

On Blue’s Waters is a fine book. Beautifully written, it is by turns thrilling and amusing, moving and intriguing but, like much of Wolfe’s work, it defies easy classification.

Torture and confession in Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun

by Jeremy Crampton


This document briefly examines the use of torture and confession in Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun and how it both differs from and reflects actual historical practice (at least in Europe and America). It is not the purpose of these notes to provide a full or sustained argument, merely to outline some possible ways of proceeding.

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