The Castle of the Otter: A Book about The Book of the New Sun (1982)




The Castle of the Otter is a collection of essays by Wolfe about various aspects of The Book of the New Sun, its writing, and its impact on his own life.

Except for "Helioscope," all contents were originally published in the book's first edition. "Helioscope" was published in a fanzine called Empire: For the Science Fiction Writer, edited by Mark J. McGarry.

All contents except for the Bio-Bibliography were reprinted in Castle of Days (1992).


  • Jacket blurb from the SFBC edition:
In April 1981, Locus, the newspaper of the sciene fiction field, reported that Gene Wolfe was working on the fourth novel in his tetralogy The Book of the New Sun. The novel's title, Locus claimed, was The Castle of the Otter. Locus was wrong - but Wolfe liked the title enough to give it a book of its own.

SF fans who have followed Severian's adventures have hailed The Book of the New Sun as one of the most imaginative and mind-stretching series of the decade. Now, in The Castle of the Otter, Wolfe gives us a collection of essays an dinsights on how he came to write the four-part journey through the mysterious lands of Urth. In this companion volume you'll read Wolfe's own explanation of how he named his characters and what the names mean. He answers the questions that SF readers have asked him for years, and he includes anecdotes that do not appear in any of the four books. Readers will also find a helpful lexicon for the obscure words and expressions that are found throughout the series. Here are more secrets of The New Sun for readers who seek the true meaning of Severian's quest.