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Ruocchio, Christopher

Entry updated 26 October 2021. Tagged: Author.

(?   -    ) US editor and author whose Sun Eater sequence beginning with Empire of Silence (2018) and Howling Dark (2019) ambitiously invokes former versions of the long-breathed dynastic epic set in the context of the Galactic Empire. Earlier writers and their work conspicuously addressed include Gordon R Dickson, whose Dorsai series features a central protagonist with similar skills and family-romance complications; Frank Herbert, whose Dune series provides examples of worldbuilding in the context of galaxy-spanning commerce; and Gene Wolfe, the narrative structure and tone of whose Book of the New Sun is intricately assimilated within the coils of Ruocchio's narrative, which is couched Severian-like as a confessional manuscript published at some future time with scholarly addenda, including a glossary of obscure terms (some of them, like "anagnost" or "myrmidon"  or "scholiast", familiar to readers of Wolfe's Book); Ruocchio's first-person narrator, avoiding the chance he may become a torturer, also undertakes a lengthy hegira (see Planetary Romance) before assuming his autarchical role. The overall story involves a complex centuries-long war between Homo sapiens and the Alien Cielcin, loathed for their anthropophagy (see Xenobiology), but (as typical in epics of this sort) far more complexly worthy of respect than might have been expected. The style of the tale – perhaps rather ponderously emulous of Wolfe's immediately recognizable use of archaic terms to convey thematic and narrative abysses – promises much, as did the timbre of earlier epics whose relationship to their models is similarly close, like David Zindell's Neverness (1988) and Robin Hobb's Farseer sequence. If it is sustained, Ruocchio's sequence may stand comparison with some of its predecessors.

His work as editor includes an Original Anthology, Star Destroyers (anth 2018) with Tony Daniel. [JC]

Christopher Ruocchio

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Sun Eater

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