The Very Best of Gene Wolfe
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The Very Best of Gene Wolfe

by Gene Wolfe
Release date: July 16, 2009
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction, fantasy, short stories
Tags: locus award, world fantasy award

The Very Best of Gene Wolfe was originally published by Tor Books as The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction. This limited edition contains one additional story, "Christmas Inn".

Introduction by Kim Stanley Robinson. Cover art by J. K. Potter.

Gene Wolfe, renowned for his fine storytelling and the subtlety of his prose, is regarded by many as one of America's finest living authors of science fiction, fantasy, and horror. His multi-volume novels, such as The Book of the New Sun, The Wizard Knight, and the Chronicles of Latro, stand as landmarks of fantastic literature. And Wolfe's short fiction, eloquent, humane, cunning, has enjoyed enormous praise too. Thus The Very Best of Gene Wolfe, a massive career retrospective featuring thirty-two stories chosen by the master as his finest, is a genuine literary event.

Here are the stunningly different tales that established Wolfe as one of the leading writers of the Seventies New Wave: "The Fifth Head of Cerberus", set on a colony planet whose macabre social system may hide a horrifying truth about the very nature of the human species; "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories", in which a young boy's imagination darkly transforms his troubled life in a broken household; "The Hero as Werwolf", an astonishing gothic enquiry into the roots of what it is to be human; "Seven American Nights", a baroque masterpiece of altered perception and authorial misdirection set in a ruined America; and many more. And then there are Wolfe's exquisitely crafted meditations on faith and the life of the spirit: the famously revelatory "The Detective of Dreams", the bewitching "La Befana", the wondrous "The Eyeflash Miracles", the elusive "The God and His Man", which casts a fascinating sidelight on The Book of the New Sun.

Also well represented are Wolfe's later fictions – playful but infinitely profound: "And When They Appear", about a Christmas spent in the shadow of civilization's collapse; "Bed and Breakfast", in which a traveller skirts the borders of Hell; "Petting Zoo", a vision of cartoons transforming the world; "The Tree is My Hat", a disturbing South Seas adventure which is also an excellent lead-in to Wolfe's most recent novel, An Evil Guest. And more.

Unique to this PS limited edition is the powerful Yuletide novelette, "Christmas Inn". The Very Best of Gene Wolfe is without a doubt the collection of the year.

Contents:

  • Introduction by Kim Stanley Robinson
  • The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories
  • The Toy Theater
  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus
  • Beech Hill
  • The Recording
  • Hour of Trust
  • The Death of Dr. Island
  • La Befana
  • Forlesen
  • Westwind
  • The Hero as Werwolf
  • The Marvelous Brass Chessplaying Automaton
  • Straw
  • The Eyeflash Miracles
  • Seven American Nights
  • The Detective of Dreams
  • Kevin Malone
  • The God and His Man
  • On the Train
  • From the Desk of Gilmer C. Merton
  • Death of the Island Doctor
  • Redbeard
  • The Boy Who Hooked the Sun
  • Parkroads — a Review
  • Game in the Pope's Head
  • And When They Appear
  • Bed and Breakfast
  • Petting Zoo
  • The Tree Is My Hat
  • Has Anybody Seen Junie Moon?
  • A Cabin on the Coast
  • Christmas Inn
(updated 2015-01-08)

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