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▶  More from Fiction Book Reviews Before the Rising Sun
‘The Path’
Impressions of Chapter 20 of Gene Wolfe’s Shadow of the Torturer
Reading from pages 124-129 of Shadow & Claw
Father Inire’s Mirrors
“Through its screaming, a new sound—a new voice—came from some red world still unconquered by thought.”
Severian thrilled to the sound of a parrot and to the roar of an ancient beast of prey amidst the tangles of an extinct jungle which seemed to go on for vast distances. Before the beginning of the vapid TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, which would place chances in a holodeck imagination chamber for entire episodes living inside the rec center of a military computer, Wolfe employed the concept of AI seduction-Entertainment in a far more realistic—indeed Orwellian—manner.
Even as his own imagination, so dangerous to the social hierarchy, is seduced, he can’t keep but noticing the pleasing exposure of Agia’s breast here her cheap dress failed on contact with the ancient greenery. The reader soon finds that Severian mutters to himself of things he cannot forget, even as a new man and that as he wanders the garden path he listens to old stories that come to mind concerning the powers behind this garden which reside in the House Absolute. As Severian recites this story told to him by his dead client Thecla, concerning the mystery of Father Inire’s Mirrors, it dawns on the reader the structure is actually a device which enables interstellar travel of individual beings, or more exactly, their reproduction in another part of the galaxy.
Severian, then finds, as he muses about what he learned third hand about the powers latent in the House Absolute, that he continues to strike people with fear.
Diction of note
The Jericho Bone: Fruit of the Deceiver and Forty Hands of Night, 2nd Edition Omnibus Collection
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