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Home Fires by Gene Wolfe
Edited by David Hartwell
Cover Artist: Photo: Brandon Herman / Photolibrary / Corbis
Review by Benjamin Wald
Tor Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780765328182
Date: 18 January 2011 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Gene Wolfe Fan Site / Show Article /

In Home Fires, Gene Wolfe returns to Science Fiction after a prolonged absence. After a string of fantasy novels, Wolfe's newest book includes such undeniably SF tropes as interstellar war, relativistic spaceflight, and brain scans that preserve the minds of the dead. Wolfe gives his own spin to these time honored ideas, creating a novel that investigates his perennial themes of identity and how we make sense of our relationships to one another. The prose style and themes are as intriguing as ever, but for the first time reading a Gene Wolfe novel I found the ideas feeling familiar. Wolfe reuses many features of his own earlier novels here, and at times this started to feel repetitious. While still an excellent read, much more sophisticated and entertaining than most SF I have read, this latest novel raises the worry that Wolfe's fecund imagination might be running dry.

From official release/information:

From back of book: Gene Wolfe takes us to a future North America at once familiar and utterly strange. A young man and woman, Skip and Chelle, fall in love in college and marry, but she is enlisted in the military, there is a war on, and she must serve her tour of duty before they can settle down. But the military is fighting a war with aliens in the distant solar systems, and her months in service will be years in relative time on Earth. Chelle returns to recuperate from severe injuries, after months of service, still a young woman but necessarily the same person--while Skip is in his forties and a wealthy businessman, but eager for her return.

Still in love (somewhat to his surprise and delight), they go on a Caribbean cruise to resume their marriage. Their vacation rapidly becomes a complex series of challenges, not he least of which are spies, aliens, and battles with pirates who capture the ship for ransom.

(Source: Tor Books)

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