10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Gene Wolfe's First Masterpiece,
By A Customer
This review is from: The 5th Head of Cerberus: Three Novellas (Paperback)
How does one even begin to describe The Fifth Head of Cerebrus. Needless to say, very few authors have ever had a first novel that good. In fact, very few authors have ever written any novel that good. A lot of people found the book strange and complicated...well so did I, and that's the whole allure of this book.
Mr. Wolfe has an amazing imagination, as you will immediately see upon reading any of his novels. Fifth Head is filled with haunting visions of a distant colony in the far future; technology is advanced in some areas but antiquated in many others. The society and culture are masterfully rendered.
The second novella is about a young man finding his twin; the viewpoint of these people is so strange and alien that I should have quickly become confused or bored. And yet I didn't; such was Wolfe's mastery of the writing style. No matter how strange things got, you read right along as if you had no other option.
The third novella consists of a military captain reading a prisoner's diary, returning to the society of the first novella. Again, the pure imagination is astounding. The characters seem like real, tangible people, not prefabricated creations placed down for our amusement. They are real people coping with impossibly strange situations.
If you're looking for a good book to read, then read The Fifth Head of Cerebrus. No, it's not light reading, but it's worth every minute. After reading this book, I immediately became a Wolfe fan. Great, amazing stuff.
Oh, and if you liked this book, I recommend Frank Herbert's "Dune" and Dan Simmons' "Hyperion." These books also have outlandish and amazing scenes, worlds, people, technology, etc.