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Loving the Nightside the Long Sun

As I have recently started rereading Long Sun it has been a delight to have Phil and Metz to guide everyone through the nooks and crannies of each section chapter by chapter. An entertaining walkthrough that I binged over a series of afternoons. Oreb is the true star, and I love your commentary on our winged friend thus far. The only missing star is due to a pronunciation debate I have with you two, Phil and Metz, over Chenille. My ears must be full of fish heads because it sounds like “Chan-el” rather than “Che-neal”, ie a vowel lowering rather than the French pronunciation of Chenille (we Wolfe readers are something else, huh?). I bring this up because the way that French is used in Long Sun seems very deliberate, and along with the then phonetic similarities between S-il-k and Chen-il-le... it feels like an intentional guild by Wolfe that it should be pronounced as such, and not the unintentional Chanel commercial I seem to be hearing in your show. But I’m sure you’ll come around once you’re Lakeside. “Show, good?”. “Yes! Good! Good show!”

Fish heads!

Phil and Metz bring a perfect balance of insightful close-reading and good humor to their read-alongs of Wolfe's work. If you're a first-time reader or revisiting old favorites, you'll find new perspectives and discoveries in each episode.

Gene Wolfe book club

It's like having a small book club . . . where the other two people did much more research on the book than you did . . . and you can take it with you and even participate sneakily in public . . . and when you occasionally yell at their interpretation, they do not yell back. Phil and Metz make Wolfe fandom more accessible without at all dumbing it down. I don't always agree with their interpretation (or take on Catholic teachings), but I appreciate hearing their views and their obvious love for this author. (Also the tiny brain is cute!)

The Best Gene Wolfe Podcast on the internet

Genuinely made me understand the Book of the New Sun as I was reading it. Really quite good at minimizing spoilers.

Great supplement to a great series

At this point I’ve probably spent nearly as much time listening and reading books about Book of the New Sun than I have Actually reading the books. You don’t have to agree with every theory or interpretation the hosts throw out but there are often details that they point out that help to add clarity to an incredibly dense series.

The pelagic argosy sights land.

I am humbled by, and grateful for, the thoughtful efforts these two hosts put into analyzing the work of Gene Wolfe. Their love of the material is obvious and they seem familiar with the secondary literature e.g. Borski and Andre-Driussi. Listening to their analysis of The Book of the New Sun was quite valuable, and I imagine anyone familiar with the books would find it so. Looking forward to their takes on the next 8 books and beyond!

great companion piece

This podcast was a great companion to accompany book of the new sun. Not too much banter, but enough to keep things light. Great analysis, great personality, and super helpful.

Wonderful podcast for gene Wolfe fans.

I recommend this to any Wolfe fan or just sci fi fan in general. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed re-reading the stories and books with podcast’s commentary at my side. Also, the two guys end up adding a point of view that is relatable and fun. Something a deep dive on any Wolfe book certainly can gain from.

Engaging Exegesis

I admit that I slacked on writing podcast reviews until I started my own, and found out how meaningful they are. I've been listening to Alzabo Soup for a while, and these guys are very enjoyable. While I may fall more on the symbolist side of Wolfe interpretation, Phil and Metz really do their homework, and give helpful and well researched insight into one of the more complex works of science fiction/fantasy ever written. It has been great to work my way through this work once again through the eyes of these two super fans. Great job!

Top Notch

Excellent and entertaining analysis of Master Wolfe and other works. The hosts have a great rapport. Very enjoyable. Five out of five pringles.

Yes, there are others like you!

You are not alone in your love of following the obscure clues left by Gene Wolfe. These two gentlemen do an enjoyable and thoughtful job of tracing and weaving the many seemingly loose threads you might have perhaps missed when you did this alone. See new vistas materialize. Well done guys.

Excellent reading companion

Really thorough and interesting companion cast for Gene Wolfe stuff. Listening along with my first read through of Book of the New Sun and it's super helpful. Can't wait to check out the other stuff they've covered too!

A must listen for fans of literary SF

Brian and Metz help you unravel the most tangled of SF stories.

Mmmm... Alazbo Soup

I discovered Alzabo Soup a few months ago, at exactly the same time as I started to re-read Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun," and I've really been enjoying it. Perhaps more importantly, their commentary on that Book has helped me to understand-- and enjoy the book better myself. Their commentary is insightful and deeply based in close-readings of the text itself. I don't always agree 100% with their interpretations-- but even even when I don't, I still find the prespective they offer to be worth thinking about.

Great in depth walk through

These guys are great. Give it a listen if you like people taking a deep dive into interesting books. Highly recommend.

Amusing and insightful literary nerds

I mean that in the best possible way. These guys are not only great fun to listen to, they are articulate, well-informed, and enlightening in their analyses. Great listen for fans of Wolfean sci-fi lit. Highly recommend.

My favorite podcast

These guys are great. Not only are they just fun to listen to, but they give great insight into the greatest writer of our time. They’re the only people I support via Patreon because they are just worth it. (Also, can we get an Alzabo Soup: Bob Fosse Edition episode?)

It’s like I finally have friends!

After unsuccessfully trying to get all of my friends into Gene Wolfe so I could have some healthy discussion, I stumbled upon this podcast. It’s great to finally hear people discuss things I’ve had floating around in my head ever since I finished BoTNS a year ago! My only problem is that when I try to chime in with Phil and Metz during the show, they never respond :/

Informative and Entertaining Supplement

I started listening in conjunction with reading Shadow of the Torturer for the first time, and I’m happily impressed with Phil & Metz. They give great commentary and insight into a fairly complex book! I appreciate that they’ve taken the time to research possible influences of the themes, characters, concepts, etc, as well as the etymology of the unfamiliar names throughout. I also like how their interpretations of the text sometimes differ and how they take time to argue their points of view. The podcast has definitely enriched my experience as a first time reader of Wolfe, and I look forward to following along throughout the Book of the New Sun. Part of me wishes I had discovered Gene Wolfe and this podcast about a year in the future so I could just binge through the books and analysis, but the other part is happy I’m forced to take my time experiencing Wolfe’s writing.

Self-published author

If someone had told me ten years ago that there would a podcast doing in-depth discussions on the works of Gene Wolfe and that would also be entertaining and funny, I would have smiled indulgently and said "Uh-huh. And I suppose that this will be around the same time that Red Vines become a health food that fulfill all needs in the human diet?" Well, the first thing actually happened. If you are at all interested in the author's works, you need to check this out. You'll be left with a lot of great food for thought (err, no pun intended) plus a small craving for hot sauce. Still waiting on the Red Vines thing, though. Anyone want to get on that?

I like it.

I read the books many years ago but have bought them as gifts occasionally. It's a lot of fun to listen to the hosts talk about the texts and and hear all the things I missed on my first reading -- and I missed a lot. I've been listening to this every week.

Awesome for fans of speculative fiction

This podcast does really great readhthroughs of speculative fiction books. I've mostly only listened to their Gene Wolfe read-throughs, but they are excellent. They are currently going through all of Book of the New Sun, which is a serious undertaking. They do a really good job of getting deep into certain parts of the story without going TOO deep. A lot of literary analysis can often get completely lost in speculation and straining to find imagery or metaphor, etc. Alzabo Soup strikes a really good medium that is enjoyable to listen to while keeping a good pace rather than losing itself in overanalysis.


If there was ever an obvious choice of an author to dedicate a podcast to, then Gene Wolfe is it. With their commentary, Phil and Metz are great guides on an exploration of Wolfe - both because of the rigor of their insights and the obvious enthusiasm they share for the subject.

Great story analysis

If you are a fan of Gene Wolfe, then this podcast is a dream come true. They give in depth and thoughtful analysis of an author who's well crafted work deserves it. If you don't know Gene Wolfe, but you appreciate literature that requires thought and a little effort to fully appreciate, then this is a great place to get insightful comments about some very interesting stories.

Thoughtful and fun

Recommended for people who like Gene Wolfe, thinking, and/or pleasure.

A must-listen for Wolfe readers

Like many readers of Gene Wolfe, I've often found myself coming up short when plumbing the depths of his works and trying to piece together what's between the lines. Most of the fan / academic discussions of Wolfe available online are either insufferable, inaccessible, or heavily slanted towards someone's personal interpretations. This makes it either impossible or at best frustrating and inconclusive for readers like me to enhance their understanding of the world, themes, and clues that all of Wolfe's stories are soaked in. Phil and Metz bring a refreshing pair of perspectives as they tackle Wolfe's ouvre page by page. I was worried that a discussion format might cheapen or contort the text, but the way they work is actually an incredible boon to Wolfe readers. The guys strike exactly the right balance between highlighting the prose, exploring the possible meanings / implications as they are revealed, and still preserving the unique experience of gradual recontextualization that makes these stories the masterpieces that they are. I'm amazed at how much clarity and excitement this podcast adds to the treasures of my favorite author, and I can't wait for them to get into the Solar Cycle, which they've been working towards for a year now. The New Sun episodes are starting in less than a month!

Gread podcast for fans of good books

This podcast is great, and is one of just a few that I look forward to and listen to the day of release. Phil and Metz cover books by Gene Wolfe and other sci-fi / fantasy authors, devoting an hour per week to a few chapters, a single chapter, or (in the case of Fifth Head of Cerberus) just a few pages of text. They're great hosts, their literature commentary is accesible, and the sound editing is very good. If you start at the beginning of any of the books they've covered, you'll get a good idea of what they're about.

Alzabo Soup is Remarkable

It's funny, instructive, & entertaining. Honest. Not churlish. Offers critical analysis & commentaries that celebrate the subjects of their work. Considering its scholary subject matter, the show is unusually organic & is always getting better. An infectious curiosity and enthusiasm permeates the whole show. The guys have an easy, often hilarious rapport & a natural affinity for the bizarre. You will soon feel that you are among old friends. You know that feeling you get when you stumble upon something so brilliant, so original--a book or a film or an artist or a song--that it changes you from that moment on & you think ... how did I never know about this before!? Why didn't somebody tell me!? Well, now somebody is. Listen ... to Alzabo Soup.

It's like being a part of a great book club...

...dedicated to one of my favorite authors, Gene Wolfe. The hosts are great and bring wonderful insights to the texts. I look forward to every single episode. Seriously, if you're a Gene Wolfe fan, why aren't you listening to this podcast? Do it!

What's the worst that could happen?

Like mystery plots? Like the idea of a book club? Give it a chance! Forget any complaints you might have heard about the complexity of Gene Wolfe's books. This podcast starts off covering The Sorceror's House - which is a fantastic introduction to Wolfe, costs just a couple bucks online and is a light and pretty easy read (on the surface anyway...). If you have any interest in Gene Wolfe, I can't encourage you enough to jump on board and try this podcast out. Not sold? Read on then: Gene Wolfe is an extremely good - but not particularly well known author. His novels typically have either a) Labyrinthine plots or b) Difficult prose that demands a close reading. His most well known books - the Book of the New Sun, of course contain both of those things. What a relief to find a podcast that tackles Wolfe's work on a deep level, but does so in a lighthearted and laid-back way! Both the hosts have great chemistry and are excellent at breaking down and communicating their thoughts about Wolfe, while having a good time. I've read some other attempts at analyzing Wolfe's work online and it honestly typically reads like self-important "Bible code"-esque nonsense; I'm glad to say that this podcast is easy to follow, doesn't get lost in the weeds and perhaps most importantly doesn't present itself as the one "objectively correct" interpretation of Wolfe. If you're a fan of Wolfe, you owe it to yourself to try this podcast out. If you've never read a Wolfe book but this sounds interesting - then pick up The Sorceror's House and give it a shot. What's the worst that could happen?

Quirky exploration of wonderful material

I'm a long-time reader of Gene Wolfe, and delighted to hear Phil and Metz discuss it with the same sort of enthusiasm that I feel. Their quirky humor livens things up, and their careful reading of Wolfe and Tom Stoppard has really helped me appreciate those works in new ways. Thanks guys, can't wait to hear what's next!

Two fans discussing great stories that they love

Alzabo Soup is one of my favorite podcasts. Every time I read a Gene Wolfe story, I want to go have a long conversation with someone about it. The next best thing is listening to Phil and Metz discuss the story instead. The first time they branched out from Wolfe, the selection was excellent: Tom Stoppard's *Arcadia*. The best parts of the podcast are the times when they just get excited, and it becomes obvious how much the two of them love the stories that they are reading. While I don't always feel like they have figured out the full story re: Wolfe, it's okay because I know I haven't either. Phil and Metz point out a lot of important parts of the literature that they are reviewing. They rarely claim to have "THE" answer and that's refreshing. If you like science fiction or fiction with multiple layers, check this podcast out. It's great if you have read the stories or are looking for stories that you should be reading and want to think about them even after you set the book down.

Great podcast

Really insightful discussions about Gene Wolfe, possibly the greatest sic fi writer of our time. These guys do a great job! The back and forth is often hilarious and always enlightening. Can’t wait for more!

Good Pod Cast

Really enjoying this podcast.

Good stuff

Insightful and amusing close reading of Gene Wolfe (and presumably other speculative fiction authors whose work will stand up to the analysis). I've enjoyed it so far, and can't wait until they start on the Solar Cycle.

Great to see Wolfe being talked about so eloquently

This is a great podcast, discussing the underrated work of Gene Wolfe. If you're looking for an entry point, or know his work and want to hear more in depth conversation, this is the podcast for you.

Excellent podcast

I'm impressed by the hosts' keen and enthusiastic exploration of a complex and tricky book. Sound quality is great. Metz and Phil have an entertaining rapport. Recommending this to all my friends who love Gene Wolfe's work and any who have been hesitant to take the plunge.