Starwater Strains: New Science Fiction Stories

Overview

Gene Wolfe follows his acclaimed all-fantasy short story collection, Innocents Aboard, with a volume devoted primarily to his science fiction. The twenty-five stories here amply demonstrate his range, excellence, and mastery of the form. A few tantalizing samples:

"Viewpoint" takes on the unreality of so-called "reality" TV and imagines such a show done truly for real, with real guns. "Empires of Foliage and Flower" is in the classic Book of the New Sun series. "Golden City Far." is about dreams, high school, and...

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Starwater Strains

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Overview

Gene Wolfe follows his acclaimed all-fantasy short story collection, Innocents Aboard, with a volume devoted primarily to his science fiction. The twenty-five stories here amply demonstrate his range, excellence, and mastery of the form. A few tantalizing samples:

"Viewpoint" takes on the unreality of so-called "reality" TV and imagines such a show done truly for real, with real guns. "Empires of Foliage and Flower" is in the classic Book of the New Sun series. "Golden City Far." is about dreams, high school, and finding love, which Wolfe says "is about as good a recipe for a story as I've ever found." You're sure to agree.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Starwater Strains, the seventh Gene Wolfe short story collection from Tor (Innocents Aboard, Strange Travelers, et al.) features 25 predominantly science fiction stories with diverse story lines that include a space-traveling canine, an unlikely alien abduction, a genetically resurrected purple T. rex, and a killer lake, to name a few.

"Viewpoint" explores the unreality of "reality" television by imagining a show where one contestant (in this case, a Pennsylvania mountain man named Jay) is given $100,000 in cash and let loose onto the streets of a city. With an implant in his forehead that shows viewers exactly what he sees and hears, the motivation is simple: Stay alive and keep the money. With every thug in the country closing in on him -- as well as the federal government's tax department -- Jay must use all his wilderness skills to survive the game. "Petting Zoo" is a touching, wistful story about an "inadequately socialized" boy and the dinosaur he created, imagining their meeting several years after being separated. "Hunter Lake" begins as an intimate story about a mother and daughter trying to connect during a wilderness outing, while the mother writes an article about a supposedly haunted lake that quickly turns into a horror of monumental proportions. "Pulp Cover" pits a lovelorn furniture store manager against the mysterious man who steals away the beautiful daughter of his boss -- except the mysterious man isn't human…

With stories that are witty, weird, wild and wondrous, Starwater Strains reaffirms Wolfe's place in the pantheon of storytelling masters. In a word: genius. Paul Goat Allen
Bookpage
"A great companion piece to his collection from last year, Innocents Aboard . . . . Pure Wolfian excellence."
Analog
" This one is essential to your collection."
From the Publisher
"Ranges from haunting horror and biting near-cotemporary social commentary to high fantasy and far-future SF, all amply demonstrating his mastery of trademark ironic twists of plot and characterization."

Publishers Weekly, starred review on Starwater Strains

"Short story master Gene Wolfe's latest collection, Starwater Strains, is a great companion piece to his collection from last year, Innocents Aboard . . . . Pure Wolfian excellence."

Bookpage

"Gene Wolfe being Gene Wolfe, to say this book is worth its price is to offer faint praise indeed. His prose is limpid, his characters and scenes convincing no matter how outré, his imagination extraordinary in its range and strangeness, his mind remarkable for originality and perceptiveness. This one is essential to your collection. It is also the perfect gift for anyone who asks you, "Who's this Gene Wolfe guy?"

Analog

Publishers Weekly
Unlike his previous all-fantasy short fiction collection Innocents Aboard (2004),Wolfe's seventh volume of stellar short stories, written mostly between 2000 and 2005, ranges from haunting horror and biting near-contemporary social commentary to high fantasy and far-future SF, all amply demonstrating his mastery of trademark ironic twists of plot and characterization. Two longer pieces frame the collection. In "Viewpoint," Wolfe postulates a "reality show for real," with "a real government clawing for the money," while "Golden City Far" blends adolescent dreams of love and magic with a talking dog and deeds perilous and poignant. Between them Wolfe includes such minor masterpieces as "Petting Zoo," recounting the memories of better days lived by a man and an aged tofu-eating dinosaur, one of Wolfe's favorite beasts. Wolfe's dead-on ear for dialect shines in little morsels of horror like "The Fat Magician" and the apocalyptic "Mute," both treating humanity's capacity for self-destruction. The wonderful shocker "Pulp Cover" provides an invaluable clue to both this outstanding collection and Wolfe's creativity, that tiny, inevitable wrench when dream gives way to reality, reality to nightmare, and we understand, "It isn't really like that at all." Agent, the Virginia Kidd Agency. (Aug.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-The 20-plus science-fiction stories in this solid collection vary greatly in length, setting, and subject. In "Petting Zoo," a captive T-rex relives old times with a human friend; "Lord of the Land" is a horror story with an ancient Egyptian twist; in "Calamity Jane," an unusual dog brings increasingly strange gifts to its owner; and "The Boy Who Hooked the Sun" is a mythlike tale set in Atlantis that explains the origin of seasons. Of special interest to teens will be "Viewpoint," in which reality TV is taken to a future extreme, and "Golden City Far," in which a high school student's fantastic dreams spill over into his everyday life. Throughout, the writing is perfectly suited to each story-clear and precise, with not a word wasted. Readers may not like all of the tales, but there is something here for everyone who enjoys fantastic fiction.-Sandy Freund, Richard Byrd Library, Fairfax County, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780765312037
  • Publisher: Doherty, Tom Associates, LLC
  • Publication date: 5/2/2006
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

GENE WOLFE lives in Barrington, Illinois. He is the winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, as well as the Nebula Award (2), the World Fantasy Award (2), the John W. Campbell Memorial Award, the British Fantasy Award, and the Prix Apollo.

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Table of Contents

Viewpoint 19
Rattler 62
In glory like their star 69
Calamity warps 75
Graylord man's last words 80
Shields of Mars 86
From the cradle 97
Black shoes 116
Has anybody seen Junie Moon? 124
Pulp cover 137
Of soil and climate 147
The dog of the drops 170
Mute 173
Petting zoo 183
Castaway 189
The fat magician 195
Hunter Lake 205
The boy who hooked the sun 216
Try and kill it 219
Game in the Pope's head 240
Empires of foliage and flower 246
The Arimaspian legacy 272
The seraph from its sepulcher 277
Lord of the land 292
Golden city far 308
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