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The Shadow of the Torturer
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The Shadow of the Torturer (1980)

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2,667865,381 (3.84)3 / 104
The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession--showing mercy towards his victim.
Membre:ElWaffle
Títol:The Shadow of the Torturer
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Informació:Publisher Unknown, paperback
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Informació de l'obra

The Shadow of the Torturer de Gene Wolfe (Author) (1980)

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Es mostren 1-5 de 86 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Difficult to say what I think about this book. Lots of depth in imagery, language and narration. Reading other reviews, I understand that one needs to read all 4 books, to really appreciate. I'm determined to do so. ( )
1 vota wvlibrarydude | Jan 14, 2024 |
DNF @78%, but will be returning to the text in the future


With a heavy heart, an autistic meltdown, and a disproportionate amount of grief and frustration with myself, I had to call this, regardless of how close I was to the end.

I just couldn't get beyond the misogyny to the apparent greatness here and know that Severe ADHD X audiobook didn't help. I'm not saying the book/ anyone who loves it is bad, and, like, the years of attempts and trying and failing it took me to *get* my beloved Dark Souls, which has led to probably over a thousand hours across various FromSoft games that have been an indescribable boon for my mental health, I will return to the text later. In the same way many read such meaning into The Book of the New Sun, Dark Souls and so many other things I enjoy are not free of their issues, and I would not deny or denigrate anyone's critical enjoyment of anything that is important to them. Hell, I had the same reaction as Willow to 1Q84 (https://tinyurl.com/2dkvex3w), but absolutely adore KDBook's joy and confusion and glorious chaos energy to it too (https://tinyurl.com/hvktj64y). Just as I appreciated Liene's perspective on The Book of the New Sun (https://tinyurl.com/2243x78h) and I am very intrigued by my own feelings on Babel when I get to it and how I relate to Willow and Liene's polar opposite (judging by thumbnails) views on it.

Books with problematic elements can still be works of art, even if that element isn't something a prospective member of that audience cannot get past. The Joys of Subjectivity. I am not attacking anyone or their favourite works and authors--I wish I didn't feel the need to make this explicitly clear when it should be implicit in everything else I have said, but I have seen the Murak-army and Wolfe Soldiers unleash their big-brained hate and denigration on anyone who doesn't agree with them, particularly any not cis male who takes umbrage with the misogyny, so yeah. Love the books, many people of all genders do and don't like them. It's OK to not like them, as it is to like them. It's just worth acknowledging the misogyny and male gaze for what they are.

Hopefully, I will have a better time next year. We shall see!

If you are still overly upset by this please remember I am an unreliable narrator.
  RatGrrrl | Dec 20, 2023 |
I've been getting back into and reading more sci-fi these days and really enjoying it. I've heard a lot said about The Book of the New Sun series and what I heard was always "it's one of the best sci-fi series of all time that really sci-fi fans know about" and then "don't ask me anymore until you read the book". So the fans care about the reading experience and that says a lot. So my review will follow that similar pattern of no spoilers but a few tidbits of help that might help you in deciding to read it or in your reading.

The story is told from a first-person perspective from our main character, Severian. He is part of a guild of torturers (him in training) who are tasked not with the extraction of information but just carrying out torture and executions in this world. Wolfe also has this higher metanarrative concept from him that the autobiography of Severian is given to him through some sort of time travel means. While not actually central to the story this helps further build the lore of the book.

Just a straightforward reading of the book makes one believe that this is a typical fantasy setting and even most of the book artwork you see has that old-world feel to it. However, this book takes place far, far into the future where it does seem that adage, that almost is never true is true here, "technology looks like magic from some perspectives". So here is your hint, dear reader, to look for things that seem like they are out of place in a fantasy story are supposed to be there because you're in a sci-fi story. So there are maybe elements of aliens, robots, clones, and maybe other sorts of sci-fi elements there.

Another interesting concept that I haven't had much experience with is the possibility of Severian being an unreliable narrator. After watching some discussion videos on just this first book, I'm not sure if Wolfe is writing Severian as unreliable or just adding in aspects that we, ourselves, use in our everyday talk. "I have a perfect memory of this incident" and then later you say you didn't remember this one thing happening isn't necessarily a "liar revealed" trope. However, this is only the first book. Severian is telling the story from his position as leader of this world and that's another element I missed until I saw it come up again in the book later.

As for the story, the plot is there and it is interesting but it's the way Wolfe unfolds the world you're seeing and experiencing through Severian. Not everything is explained to you because Severian doesn't have your context to explain why "this picture" or "this structure" is the way that it is because of a) Severian limited experience based on his position of this Torturer and b) to Severian those items aren't of note in his world because they've been there or are just there. Wolfe does a great job of crafting this story and he does have two, almost three, different layers to this story. I get why hard sci-fi folks like this because to get a lot out of it you need to put in the effort of paying attention and asking questions of you to what you're reading. I gather re-reads of this book are common for fans and multiple reads still reveal new questions or observations.

This story stuck with me after finishing it almost a week ago now. That's usually how I know something that's a good slow burn is there to stay in my mind. Just now getting into a bigger world of sci-fi than I have before I'm kind of surprised I hadn't heard about this before. Whether this is post-modern sci-fi or hard sci-fi or fantasy with a veneer of sci-fi is up for discussion but the story is just plain good. I will continue this series and believe I'll go on enjoying it. Final Grade - A ( )
  agentx216 | Aug 27, 2023 |
Great work of fantasy. Gene Wolfe's use of language is incredible, and I'd probably read pages of him describing how toast is made. Bit slow going at first but the story really picked up right at the end. I look forward to reading the next volume about Severian. ( )
  mindrot | Aug 22, 2023 |
The tale of young Severian, an apprentice in the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession -- showing mercy toward his victim -- and follows his subsequent journey out of his home city of Nessus.

So this week may not have been the appropriate week to read this book. Like, by a long shot. This week may have even been one where I’d have had trouble digesting something simple and YAey since we had lots of family drama, which usually (and this time, too) leads me to indulge in weird daytime TV that mostly involves HGTV and little else.

SO. I read the first half of this pre-drama, enjoyed it but didn’t really look too closely at it, which I gather is not the way to read this book. Then drama happened, I took a day or two off from reading, and came back to it a bit lost. I gulped the second half of the book down today with the frequent periodic outbursts of a video gamer cursing at his game coming from my husband, and I totally did not understand the significance of anything that happened. Woo. From about where we met Dr. Talos, I felt like the whole story took a loop for the genuinely odd, and while I got the greater riffs of the story I don’t really see what was so significant about them or whether I should continue on. Sigh. ( )
1 vota lyrrael | Aug 3, 2023 |
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Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Wolfe, GeneAutorautor primaritotes les edicionsconfirmat
Davis, JonathanNarradorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Desmond, William OlivierTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Domènech, LuisTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Ewyck, Annemarie vanTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Heinz, ReinhardTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lindgren, NilleTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Maitz, DonAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Masera, RubénTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Pennington, BruceAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Tamás, GáborTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Vainikainen-Uusitalo… JohannaTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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A thousand ages in thy sight
Are like an evening gone;
Short as the watch that ends the night
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It is possible I already had some presentiment of my future.
To those who have preceded me in the study of the posthistoric world, and particularly to those collectors - too numerous to name here - who have permitted me to examine artifacts surviving so many centuries of futurity, and most especially to those who have allowed me to visit and photograph the era's few extant buildings, I am truly grateful. G.W. (Appendix)
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That we are capable only of being what we are remains our unforgivable sin.
All of which is only to say that there exists between them [beast handlers] and the animals they bring to the pits a bond much like that between our clients and ourselves. Now I have traveled much farther from our tower, but I have found always that the pattern of our guild is repeated mindlessly [...] in the societies of every trade, so that they are all of them torturers, just as we. His quarry stands to the hunter as our clients to us; those who buy to the tradesman; the enemies of the Commonwealth to the soldier; the governed to the governors; men to women. All love that which they destroy. [32]
"But now, dear friends," he rose and dusted his trousers, "now we are come to the place, as some poet aptly puts it, where men are pulled apart by their destinations." [Dr Talos, 377]
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

The Shadow of the Torturer is the first volume in the four-volume epic, the tale of a young Severian, an apprentice to the Guild of Torturers on the world called Urth, exiled for committing the ultimate sin of his profession--showing mercy towards his victim.

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