Home Fires

Home Fires

by Gene Wolfe

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Home Fires 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Due to an interstellar military duty, affluent attorney Skip Grison is now two decades older than his contracted paramour Chelle Blue though they were the same age when they met at college. Her time in outer space was months, but years in North America where he waited for his wife to come home from serving in the combat. Skip seeks a special present for his beloved who came home early due to war related injuries; he thinks he may have one. Skip arranges for Chelle and her estranged mother Vanessa, whose essence has been loaded into a new body, to see one another. Soon after the mother-daughter reunion, Skip takes Chelle and her mom on a cruise that circles the globe. However, the vacation proves anything but relaxing as hijackers, assassins, and others of their ilk come after someone on board with collateral damage acceptable. This is a terrific science fiction mystery with the whodunit and why-do-it thriller themes up front as the prime thread, and the futuristic SF elements serving as background enhancement. The fast-paced story line grips the reader from the moment Chelle and Skip reunite with her so many years younger than him chronologically but in many ways her military experience makes her seem older than him. Red herrings abound in this exhilarating character driven thriller. Harriet Klausner
adzebill on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A lazy, dull book. The characters all sound exactly the same (there's a cast list at the back so we can tell them apart) and talk like computers. With its flat, boring writing, lack of an feel of character, and story that's like solving a Rubik's cube (and about as engaging) the book feels like it was written in the 1960s. The plot is twist on twist, but we don't care. Very disappointing after all the great work Gene Wolfe has done. I have to wonder if he's lost his way.
timothyl33 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Famous for his "Book of the New Sun" series, Gene Wolfe's latest book, "Home Fires" is similar to that series in that it's something that really seems to defy description. However, the lack of words this book generates comes from the fact that there's essentially no plot whatsoever to talk about. When reading the product description for Home Fires, it gives the impression that this is a story of a love that transcends space and time. Sadly, that seems to be far from the case as there really seems nothing at the core of this story that really ties everything together. Instead, the majority of the book seems to be more about that one sentence at the end of the description regarding "challenges [...] of which are spies, aliens, and battles". Contrary to expectations, that in itself might have made an interesting read, but instead all the events occur at a 'stream of consciousness' pace that seems to lead readers somewhere, but leaves one high, dry, and puzzled instead. Granted, Wolfe is famous for the surreal nature of his stories, where events seem to be experience, not understood. But it just doesn't seem to work here, as everything is built up (a la Lost) only to have it fall to the wayside.One gets the impression that this book just came of happenstance because Gene Wolfe had an old script laying around that normally wouldn't get published if written by a new author. Is it any coincidence that his name takes almost half the cover, while every blurb on the cover is about the author himself, not of the story?While not terrible or awful, I would say readers expecting another classic would be in for a major disappointment.
bespen on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One word to sum up this book: disappointing. Perhaps I came it with my expectations raised too high. I had heard of Gene Wolfe from a number of sources, First Things ran an article on him, and a sci fi blog I used to read was named after one of Gene's ideas. When I saw this book on the newish rack at Bookmans, I grabbed it quickly. Here at last was my opportunity to experience an author who has been desciribed as "too difficult, and too religious".The book hooked me immediately. No ambling prologue introducing the characters and the setting, we are just dumped into the action, in media res. Everything moves quickly, I wanted to keep turning the pages because I knew a new twist was coming soon. And there were many, many twists. It was difficult to keep track of everything that happened, I felt much like Skip must have, bewildered but fascinated. The setting is dystopian, but you can imagine getting there from here without too much trouble. I liked the lawyerly perspective; some of my best friends are lawyers.Yet, for all that, I got to the end and I didn't like it. Maybe it is because Skip and Chelle are such horrible people. Really everyone is in this grayest of dystopias. Skip strikes me as the best of a bad lot, and that isn't saying much. If I wanted to read about this kind of thing, I could just turn to the news. I suppose my tastes in fiction are thoroughly bourgeois. I really do want evil to be vanquished and love to win out in the end.I like my scifi hard, and moderately didactic. If, like Wolfe, the author is known to be thoughtfully religious, I like to see how that plays out in the way the story is written. Those things are not present here. I feel that Wolfe wrote the kind of book that critics like, and readers hate. This book is full of artful ambiguity and clever literary devices that will delight bitter and penurious English majors. As a writer, Wolfe is probably better than Pournelle or Powers, in the technical ways such things are understood. But this book failed its primary purpose: to entertain. The story is depressing, and not all that fun to read. The book was challenging in a good way, and thought provoking, but I doubt that I will ever read it again.
kmaziarz on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Skip Grison has been a lawyer for almost twenty years and is wealthy and successful. Returning soldier Chelle Sea Blue, Skip¿s contracta (a neologism indicating the female partner in a civil union), has been away from the planet for a matter of months, fighting the alien species known only as the Os, but due to the relativistic effects of time travel is now twenty years younger than Skip. As Skip prepares for Chelle¿s return, wondering what she will make of her youthful sweetheart turned middle-aged man, he chooses to download her dead mother Vanessa¿s electronically recorded personality into a new body as a gift to Chelle. He also books the two of them onto a luxurious Caribean cruise. Chelle, however, is quite literally a new person as well. Having been severely injured during her tour of duty, she was patched up with donor body parts and may well harbor a split personality. As the three of them attempt to put their lives back together and find a balance between old and new, darker happenings¿including a hijacking, a bomb, mercenaries, and several attempted or accomplished murders¿hint that someone, or something, isn¿t done with Chelle. Or possibly they want Vanessa. Or Skip. Or something else altogether. Genre-bending elements such as the multiple red herrings, fast-paced plot, layer upon layer of psychological and narrative complexity, and mistaken or hidden identities make this a good choice for those who don¿t usually read science fiction. This title should have broad appeal for anyone who enjoys untying a knotty plot.
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