by Gene Wolfe
The first part of Castle of Days was originally published as Gene Wolfe's Book of Days; it's a collection of short stories and a novella, each celebrating a holiday. Although some of the stories are quite good the novella, Forlesen, stands out as far and away the best piece of fiction in the book. It's a satirical, allegorical story about a man who may be in Hell, may be trapped in some sort of computer, or may simply be insane. The second part was previously published as Castle of the Otter; it's a collection of essays about The Book of the New Sun, named after a publisher's misunderstanding of the title of the fourth book in that series: The Citadel of the Autarch. The essays are interesting and help shed light on this enigmatic series. My favorite is These are the Jokes, where Wolfe has some of the characters from The Book tell one painful joke each. The final part of the book contains material not collected elsewhere: letters, essays, and book reviews. All in all, this is a good book and a major bonus for Wolfe fans.
copyright © 2001 John Regehr