The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction

The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction

4.6 9
by Gene Wolfe
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

"One of the literary giants of science fiction."
--The Denver Post

"Wolfe is a sophisticated stylist, and has more in common with writers such as Jorge Luis Borges than almost any science fiction writer both in terms of craft and themes."
—The Boston Globe

Gene Wolfe, of whom the Washington Post said, "Of

…  See more details below

Overview

"One of the literary giants of science fiction."
--The Denver Post

"Wolfe is a sophisticated stylist, and has more in common with writers such as Jorge Luis Borges than almost any science fiction writer both in terms of craft and themes."
—The Boston Globe

Gene Wolfe, of whom the Washington Post said, "Of all SF writers currently active none is held in higher esteem," has selected the short fiction he considers his best into one volume.

There are many award nominees and winners among the thirty-one stories here, and many that have been selected for various Year's Best anthologies over the last forty years, including "Petting Zoo," "The Tree Is My Hat," "The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories," "The Hero as Werwolf," "Seven American Nights," "The Fifth Head of Cerberus," "The Detective of Dreams," and "A Cabin on the Coast." Gene Wolfe has produced possibly the finest and most significant body of short fiction in the SF and fantasy field in the last forty years, and is certainly among the great living writers to emerge from the genres. This is the first retrospective collection of his entire career. It is for the ages.

"Gene Wolfe is the smartest, subtlest, most dangerous writer alive today."
--Neil Gaiman

Read More

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“The Best of Gene Wolfe reflects his great versatility as a stylist, introducing me not to another side of Gene Wolfe, but to a great variety of other sides. . . . Wolfe stands out as a major figure in contemporary science fiction and fantasy.” —Vector

“If every contemporary sf writer bar one were to be wiped out, it's a fair bet that Gene Wolfe would top many lists of who should be saved. . . . An essential addition to any sf library.” —Interzone

“Wolfe mixes pulp adventure, ghost stories, and noir with self-reference, meta-fiction, unreliable narrators, and puns. . . . A highly flattering career retrospective of a postmodern fabulist disguised as a mild-mannered SF writer.” —Publishers Weekly

“Wolfe is the best and smartest writer ever to write pulp science fiction and fantasy. . . . You need this collection of 20th Century Wolfe, and we can only hope we'll see the 21st Century Wolfe collected before too long as well. And yes, this one is essential.” —Jonathan Strahan

“There are all kinds of stories in this collection, from adventure to meta-fiction to SF noir. . . . here are so many really strong stories in the collection that anyone who loves reading, much less whether they usually enjoy speculative fiction or not, would be crazy not to check it out. Highly recommended.” —SFRevu

Publishers Weekly

In these 31 self-selected stories, Wolfe (An Evil Guest) mixes pulp adventure, ghost stories and noir with self-reference, meta-fiction, unreliable narrators and puns. His protagonists faces threats both modern (political correctness in "Petting Zoo," corporate capitalism in "Hour of Trust") and eternal (sexual temptation in "Bed and Breakfast") and learn to trust fantasy over fact ("The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories," "And When They Appear"). Sincere tributes to the Gospels ("The Detective of Dreams"), G.K. Chesterton ("Westwind") and R.A. Lafferty ("Has Anyone Seen Junie Moon?") bring out Wolfe's sentimental side, though he proves equally capable of satirizing American self-righteousness ("Seven American Nights") or affectionately teasing his contemporaries ("From the Desk of Gilmer C. Merton"). The result is a highly flattering career retrospective of a postmodern fabulist disguised as a mild-mannered SF writer. (Mar.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
A major retrospective from this writer's writer, comprising 31 tales, 1970-1999, ranging from a few pages to novella length, selected by the author (with one exception, included at his agents' behest) and arranged chronologically. In nonliterary circles, former engineer and Illinois resident Wolfe achieved acclaim by contributing to the invention of the machine that makes Pringles chips. We're thankful for the chips, but the fiction that followed is even better. Many of the stories here are famous and have appeared many times, among them a story cycle that begins with the H.G. Wells-ish "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories," continues with the Nebula Award-winning "The Death of Dr. Island" (murder as psychotherapy) and finishes with "Death of the Island Doctor" (a sentimental mediation on islands). Also instantly recognizable are "The Fifth Head of Cerberus" (cloning), "Bed and Breakfast" (on the road to hell) and "A Cabin on the Coast" (dickering with the fairies-the sole entry not selected by the author). Elsewhere, Wolfe shows remarkable prescience, envisioning a future United States where businesses compete by conducting wars via private armies, and another decadent future that astonishes and appalls a bewildered visitor from Iran. Others display typical Wolfian twists and sidebars: a Dark Age hot-air balloon, an author-agent correspondence, a review of a nonexistent film, puppetry, werewolves, witches, spies, a chess-playing computer, alternate worlds where fantasy becomes indistinguishable from reality, dreams and barbarians at the gate. Wolfe's prose is dense and allusive; he frequently employs unreliable narrators, often leaves readers with the impression that he knowsthings they don't, he interweaves many pieces with a persistent and occasionally obtrusive religiosity. An ideal introduction to Wolfe's short fiction.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780765321367
Publisher:
Tom Doherty Associates
Publication date:
04/13/2010
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
480
Sales rank:
776,328
Product dimensions:
6.44(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.29(d)

Meet the Author

Gene Wolfe is winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and many other awards. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
This superb anthology lets the 31 tales sell the talent of the author to science fiction and fantasy readers; as the compilation jumps right into the stories. There are 14 from the 1970s; 11 from the 1980s; and 6 from the 1990s. Many are award winners and have appeared in the best of the year anthologies like "The Fifth Head of Cerberus" and ¿Petting Zoo¿. This reviewer¿s favorite in this superb collection is the related threesome: "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories", "The Death of Dr. Island" and "Death of the Island Doctor"; my suggestion is skip around and read these three one after another. Fans will appreciate how wide Mr. Wolfe¿s vision of a dark future is whether he writes a fantasy (see "A Cabin on the Coast") or a science fiction tale (see "The Fifth Head of Cerberus"); the road to hell can be ¿On the Train¿ or in a ¿Bed and Breakfast¿. Regardless, the audience will quickly find out you can¿t just read one (a night).

Harriet Klausner
AnotherConstantReader More than 1 year ago
Some stories I would liked to see here, were not here -- but, of course, my perspective is subjective. The e-text of The Fifth Head of Cerberus (novella, not complete three-part novel) is more accurate than the separate edition sold here. Even so I have enjoyed these stories all over again. They are just great entertainment -- smart, and a lot of fun.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago