Gene (Rodman) Wolfe Thomas M. Disch - Essay

Thomas M. Disch

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

The Claw of the Conciliator is the second volume of a tetralogy-in-progress, The Book of the New Sun, which already seems assured of classic status within the subgenre of science fantasy. This alone would be faint praise, for science fantasy is a doubtful sort of hybrid in which the more decorative elements of science fiction proper—Star Wars hardware, dinosaurs, apemen, etc.—cohabit with the traditional chimeras of myth and legend. Characteristically, writers of science fantasy set windup heroes in quest of some grail across a bedragoned landscape quite as though Cervantes had not long since laughed picaresque romance off the literary map. Even when practiced by writers I ordinarily...

(The entire section is 718 words.)