On Blue’s Waters – Gene Wolfe

On Blue's Waters (The Book of the Short Sun, #1)On Blue’s Waters by Gene Wolfe

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Retro Thursday, you cry? Well, I’ve studiously avoided anything to do with Blue/Green/Whorl for years, out of a deep-seated but legitimate terror that I’d discover Patera Silk had actually died, either at the end of Long Sun or in the intervening time.

He might well die in Green or Whorl (though I doubt it for Green, otherwise why have a third book?) but at least so far, he appears not to have in Blue, since he’s somewhat contactable; I can therefore finish the series.

Gene Wolfe’s writing is, of course, fluid and thoughtful; it reads less complex than previous narratives which makes me sad (he apparently felt the need to tone this down over time.) However it does suit Horn’s style a little better, this being intended as “pure” Horn without Nettle’s input, as we had in Long Sun. (One gets the impression that Nettle was extremely clever).

I am always, as ever, amazed by Wolfe’s confidence. He doesn’t rush, and has no trace of Authorial Anxiety (a real thing). He doesn’t force action out of a fear that readers will get bored. It goes at the pace he sets, in the direction he wants, and no faster or further than that. We are so often accustomed in books to authors chivying us along – look here, follow that, note this – that I think we are increasingly unused to just being allowed to sit back and consider events as they are told to us.

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