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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Free Live Free

Copyright 1985 by Gene Wolfe

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point    Superb (5/5)

I first read this in 1987 and most recently in January 2001

Old Benjamin Free's house is soon to be demolished. As a last and hopeless resort, he advertises free lodgings in return for help in preserving his home.

Jim Stubb, Madame Serpentina, Ozzie Barnes and Candy Garth take up the offer. They're small people: liars, fakes criminals and failures more interested in the free accommodation than some crusade. But the mysterious Ben Free may have a secret and they get caught up in the search for something that may have been immensely valuable and for Ben Free when he goes missing.

Top notch. What a masterpiece! I'd already read some of Wolfe's novels, in particular "The Shadow of the Torturer", but this was a complete surprise.

All of the heroes are flawed but not without hope. The challenges they take up, the humiliations they endure and the most unexpected answer they find make this book a fabulous and lyrical work.

Loaded on the 17th February 2001.
Cover of Free Live Free
Cover art by Jane Bidaut