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.
Gene Rodman Wolfe (1931-2019) was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He was noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith. He was a prolific short-story writer and novelist and won many science fiction and fantasy literary awards.
Wolfe is best known for his Book of the New Sun series (four volumes, 1980–83), the first part of his "Solar Cycle". In 1998, Locus magazine ranked it the third-best fantasy novel published before 1990 based on a poll of subscribers that considered it and several other series as single entries.