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
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.
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.