12 March 2009

Gene Wolfe - The Best of Gene Wolf: A Definative Retrospective

  • Author:  Gene Wolfe
  • Title:  The Best of Gene Wolfe - A Definative Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction
  • Publisher:  Tor 2009
  • ISBN:  9780765321350
Massive collection of self selected short stories,  novellas and novellettes by Gene Wolfe.  I really like SOME of Gene Wolfes writing, but other stuff can be a bit wierd.  He reminds me a lot of Robert Silverberg not so much in style, but in his level of weird.

  • The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories (1970)
  • The Toy Theater (1971)
  • The Fifth Head of Cerberus (1972)
  • Beech Hill (1972)  
  • The Recording (1972)
  • Hour of Trust (1973)  
  • The Death of Dr. Island (1973) 
  • La Befana (1973)  
  • Forlesen (1974) 
  • Westwind (1973)
  • The Hero as Werwolf (1975)
  • The Marvelous Brass Chessplaying Automaton (1977)
  • Straw (1975)
  • The Eyeflash Miracles (1976)
  • Seven American Nights (1978)
  • The Detective of Dreams (1980)
  • Kevin Malone (1980)
  • The God and His Man (1980)
  • On the Train (1983)
  • From the Desk of Gilmer C. Merton (1983)
  • Death of the Island Doctor (1983)
  • Redbeard (1984)
  • The Boy Who Hooked the Sun (1985)
  • Parkroads—A Review (1987)
  • Game in the Pope's Head (1988)
  • And When They Appear (1993)
  • Bed and Breakfast (1996)
  • Petting Zoo (1997)
  • The Tree Is My Hat (1999)
  • Has Anybody Seen Junie Moon? (1999)
  • A Cabin on the Coast (1984)  

The highlights of this book for me were:

The Fifth Head of Cerberus - Just such a great complex twisty and wierd story.  I think this one may have been expanded into a novel?

Hour of Trust - Scary story about subcontracting and selling civil war as a comodity.

Forlesen - Gene Wolfe wrote of this story, "There are men - I have known a good many - who work all their lives for the same Fortune 500 compant.  They have families to support and no skills that will permit them to leave and support their families by other means in another place.  Their work is of little value, because fuew, if any, assignments of value come to them.  They spend an amazing amount os time trying to find something useful to do.  And, failing that, just trying to look busy.  In time their lives end, as all lives do.  As this world reckons things they will have spendt eight thousand days, perhaps, at work; but in a clearer air, it has all been the same day."  This story really hit a note with me, since I have always raved about the futility of the corporate/consumerist dream.

Westwind - Wouldn't life be funny if everyone was a secret spy, and nobody knew?

Straw - I first read this story in a Years Best SciFi volume, and thought it was just such a great expression of societies treatment of its warriors.  That line, "That's straw burning, Jerr/  House thatch.  Thats why theres no straw here.  Gold, but no straw, because a soldier gets straw only where he isn't welcome."

Kevin Malone - Looks at how hard your upbringing can be to escape.

Redbeard - A story about loss, with a fantastic twist at the end.  I did not see the ending coming at all, and it absolutely broke my heart when it finally came.

Bed and Breakfast - Noble intentions are all well and good, but what if your assumptions are completely wrong?  A guy spends the night in a B&B on the road to hell, and generously shares his room with a girl who is broke and trying to escape an abusive husband.

The Death of the Island Doctor - The final story in the Archipeligo series, a lovely, heartwarming story about finding magic in the most ordinary places.

Highly recommended read, but I wouldn't buy this book unless I had EVERYTHING else I wanted already and absolutely had to buy something.