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A Fine Novel of Near Future Earth from Gene Wolfe,
This review is from: Home Fires (Hardcover)
A new novel from Gene Wolfe is always a cause for celebration, simply because he is one of science fiction and fantasy's best prose stylists and storytellers. In his latest novel, "Home Fires", Gene Wolfe echoes 1930s to 1950s pulp magazine science fiction in creating scenes and characters reminiscent of it, relying on old tropes pertaining to interstellar war, bringing the dead back to life, and robotics, and still striving to create high literary art (Though those accustomed to modern science fiction, stretching from the New Wave to cyberpunk and beyond, may find his characters and scenes far too quaint and nostalgic for their own tastes.). Wolfe offers a captivating cast of characters, starting with successful attorney Skip Grison, who has almost literally waited a lifetime for the return of his young bride, Army Mastergunner Chelle Sea Blue from the bitterly fought interstellar war between humanity and their alien enemy, the "Os". Chelle Sea Blue has aged only a few months, due to the relativistic effects of interstellar travel; her relatively few months of conflict, on the distant worlds contested between humanity and the Os, have been more than a score of years experienced by Skip back on Earth. Separated now by age as well as by distance, Skip and Chelle try rekindling their romantic ardor via a Caribbean cruise on a wind-powered sailing cruise ship, but Chelle isn't psychologically the same person she was decades ago, leading to unforeseen romantic consequences for both. A voyage marred by spies, terrorists and cyborg killers, with ample, often unexpected, disruptions from Chelle's mother Vanessa Hennessy, who has joined the cruise ship's crew as Virginia Healy, its new social director. Wolfe's tale may seem all too familiar with those acquainted with classic American pulp magazine science fiction, but it's far from routine; instead, he delivers so many twists and turns in the plot that readers will be stunned and delighted with its unexpected ending. Though Wolfe's literary style is quite removed from the almost poetic prose of his "The Book of the Sun", "The Book of the New Sun" and "The Book of the Long Sun" series of novels, "Home Fires" demonstrates anew why he is viewed still by many as one of our finest science fiction and fantasy writers, one still capable of creating high literary art.