Wulf’s Yarn is a slowly unfurling ribbon of a tale which orbits the plot, casting illumination here and there as it drifts from character to situation to the storyteller’s notes: after all, the book is titled Wulf’s Yarn for a reason, and Wulf is an interesting storyteller indeed. Wulf tells the story at its own pace, providing necessary context, rearranging events, quoting from others, and the result is a sedately paced, rich, detailed view of an atypical universe. The characters and institutions are well developed, and I found the religious background to the Gentle Order of St. Francis Dionysos is particularly unique and captivating.
Beyond the unusual character of the world in view of its characters and institutions, the story felt unique as well. The story of Senor Confrere Jon Wilberfoss is a great tale about facing challenges, failing at those challenges and the suffering and trauma that results, and recovering from that trauma and the form that recovery takes. This is a topic that feels rarely touched upon in the science fiction and fantasy media that I read, or indeed in American society today in general. The story is slow, deep, and enveloping, with a lot of interesting and important themes and sub-themes, such as vanity, character flaws, the nature of religion, the intersection of religion and history, the coexistence of different cultures, the nature of humanity / artificial intelligence / non-human intelligence, to name a few.
Cover Art Review: I am digging the title font and color, and the color scheme is good overall. But the ship itself is disappointing to me. While the surfacing itself is nice, the ship’s design is not particularly attractive, and it’s not clear if it is even the entire ship. However, the man whom I presume to be Jon Wilberfuss is very well illustrated, and matches my impression of him during his time aboard the Nightingale.