Gene (Rodman) Wolfe Algis Budrys - Essay

Algis Budrys

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

[You] will be missing a major—a seminal—event in the development of SF if you don't allow yourself the pleasure of reading [The Claw of the Conciliator] and its predecessor [Shadow of the Torturer],… as long as you do so in the privacy of your mind, the enjoyment will not count against you socially.

As a piece of literature, this work is simply overwhelming. Severian is a character realized in a depth and to a breadth we have never seen in SF before; of all unlikely tin things, a detailed, likeable portrait of the skilled artisan as a young man is emerging here; courageous, professional—distasteful of the slavering onlookers as he breaks his victims' thighs deftly—rather wise...

(The entire section is 769 words.)