Gene Wolfe, ‘Seven American Nights’ (1978)

I’ve enjoyed Gene Wolfe’s novels in the past, but always seem to end up disappointed by his short fiction. ‘Seven American Nights’ is a novella in which one Nadan Jaffarzadeh travels to anAmericawhose civilisation collapsed as a result of genetic damage; whilst there, he becomes infatuated with an actress he sees on stage.

I don’t find the story of Nadan’s journey engaging; don’t feel the sense of uncertainty that I’d expect from a subplot concerning whether or not he has ingested a hallucinogen; and the twist ending and odd moments of disjunction between Wolfe’s ruinedAmericaand the one we know are not enough to carry the story. Not one for me.

Rating: **½

This is one of a series of posts on the anthology Not the Only Planet.

1 Comment

  1. I think “Dave Tallman” at WolfeWiki has convincingly shown that the story of 7AN is laid over “Holy Week”–the week leading up to Christ’s crucifixion.
    The scene on Good Friday parade occuring at 3pm indicates that Nadan has been executed at that point. The rest of the story is a forgery.

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