By Gene Wolfe
Faraway from Earth sister planets, Sainte Anne and Sainte Croix, circle one another. it really is stated race of shapeshifting extraterrestrial beings as soon as lived right here, basically to develop into extinct whilst human colonists arrived. yet one guy believes they nonetheless exist, someplace out within the desert. within the 5th Head of Cerberus, Gene Wolfe brilliantly interweaves 3 stories: a scientist's son sluggish discovery of the weird mystery of his historical past; a tender man's mythic dreamquest for his darker part; the mystifying chronicle of an anthropologist's seemingly-arbitrary imprisonment. steadily, a mesmerising trend emerges.
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Extra info for Fifth Head of Cerberus (Sf Masterworks 08)
The sidewalks magically clear of old furniture would seem broad and bare. Our own Saltimbanque Street would be very different, with the first revelers arriving. White-haired, hearty men guiding very young men and boys, men and boys handsome and muscular but a shade overfed; young men who made diffident jokes and smiled with excellent teeth at them. These were always the early ones, and when I was a little older I sometimes wondered if they were early only because the white-haired men wished to have their pleasure and yet a good night’s sleep as well, or if it were because they knew the young men they were introducing to my father’s establishment would be drowsy and irritable after midnight, like children who have been kept up too late.
Because the librarians were very lax about reshelving, there seemed always a possibility of finding what I had failed to find before. The shelves towered far above my head, but when I felt myself unobserved I climbed them like ladders, stepping on books when there was no room on the shelves themselves for the square toes of my small brown shoes, and occasionally kicking books to the floor where they remained until out next visit and beyond, evidence of the staff’s reluctance to climb that long, coiled slope.
It is a way of talking about the sexual activity, or otherwise, of a woman – and this novel is relentless and indeed rather grim in its portrayal of the sexual exploitation of women, from the whores in section one, to Cassilla in the third, the slave who must sexually service the military officers in addition to her many other duties. A literal head leads to a metaphorical head, which leads, at fifth iteration, to something else again to, in fact, precisely the principle of something-elseness, that which is extra or beyond.
Fifth Head of Cerberus (Sf Masterworks 08) by Gene Wolfe