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The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction Hardcover – 2 Apr 2009


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Books; 1 edition (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765321351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765321350
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,205,568 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Gene Wolfe is the author of two dozen novels and hundreds of shorter stories. He is best known for the three multi-part series The Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun, and The Book of the Short Sun, as well as for the acclaimed duology, The Wizard Knight. Over his forty-year career, he has won the Nebula Award, the John W. Campbell Award, the World Fantasy Award, the British Science Fiction Award, the Locus Reader's Poll, the Rhysling (for poetry), and many others. In 1996, he was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the World Fantasy Convention, and in 2007 he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois, with his wife Rosemary.

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Review

Praise for Gene Wolfe: "If any writer from within genre fiction ever merited the designation Great Author, it is surely Wolfe...[who] reads like Dickens, Proust, Kipling, Chesterton, Borges, and Nabokov rolled into one." "--The Washington Post Book World""One of the literary giants of science fiction.""--The Denver Post""Gene Wolfe is as good a writer as there is today.... I feel a little bit like a musical contemporary attempting to tell people what's good about Mozart.""--The Chicago Sun Times"

About the Author

Gene Wolfe is winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and many other awards. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Donal Buckley on 10 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover
The fly-leaf of An Evil Guest quotes Michael Swanwick "Gene Wolfe is currently the best writer in the world working in the English language" (or words very close to that effect). I had a deja-vu sense reading that, as it is so close to the feeling I've had about Wolfe for years now, though mine is slightly less singular as there are a few others (Roth, Cormac McCarthy, Ian McEwan for me). Of course since Wolfe writes genre fiction this wouldn't be a widely held opinion and so he's not well known.
Reading that Wolfe had written a book with Lovecraftian influences, a book which quotes "That is not dead which can eternal lie" in the blurb, I was giddy with excitement and anticipation, since I am also an huge Lovecraft fan of many years standing. Here was a truly great writer who would transcend the parodies and pastiches of some much "Lovecraftian" fiction.
It is not unfortunately the book I hoped it would be. But I should know better since this is Gene Wolfe about whom I'm talking. So had it been that book, it would have been even more unfortunate. It seems for the last few years with "The Knight", "The Wizard", and "Pirate Freedom", that Wolfe has decided to bring his not inconsiderable talents to a quick tour of some other genres and he does two genres here.
The usual superlative Wolfe prose is here. The world created is utterly unique and very disconcerting in that it is set 100 years in the future and is a very strange amalgam of 30's Noir thriller, with overlays of contemporary technology and a seeming ad-hoc futuristic overlay, not to mention the forays into lore.
The problem I have with the book lies with the characters, and myself. Wolfe's narrators are always somewhat opaque or as he says himself, "untrustworthy" .
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Murray on 22 Feb. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The thing with Gene Wolfe, I think, is you can't really enjoy his novels till you've worked out what they are. I slogged all the way through his vast The Wizard Knight (Gollancz S.F.), wondering exactly that, and only afterwards realised I'd read one of the best heroic fantasies ever written, and a real re-imagining of the form. Here, "Lovecraft meets Blade Runner" is an enticing description, but one that doesn't really apply. In fact, considering the way that phrase gets the genre-glands salivating, it's a description that can only hinder enjoyment of what was never going to be either Lovecraftian, nor future noir -- those works are mostly to do with lashings of dark atmosphere, but Wolfe's prose is too sparse to be atmospheric in that way. He doesn't do the same sort of despairing existential darkness that Lovecraft did, nor the downtrodden uncertainties of Blade Runner. He just seems a bit too down-to-earth for that.

So what sort of a novel is An Evil Guest? Instead of 30s film noir, I'd say its nostalgic air has more to do with the screwball musical comedies of the era, with its glamorous actress heroine, Cassie Casey, pursued by not one but two desirable leading men: the high-powered consultant and fix-it man Gideon Chase (who may be a wizard), and the ultra-rich Bill Reis (who may be an alchemist, or an alien, or an enemy spy). Shenanigans ensue as Cassie, caught between them, tries to work out what's going on. This reader wondered too, and often found himself in the midst of conversations where the characters sit each other down with the intention of asking some telling questions, but somehow never quite manage it.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Joshua Solomon on 11 Sept. 2010
Format: Paperback
great story. these are jokes would've been a better title, but wolfe has already used it. in an evil guest everyone is playing a role (or two), and they camp it up, big time! an evil guest has just about everything we've come to expect in a wolfe novel: colonised worlds with shape-shifting natives, hidden familial relationships, causality paradoxes, bad accents and totally wacko pacing. there might be a reason for everything, but my guess is that the great cthulhu was more of a red herring god than a squid god.
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2 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. Neumann on 2 Jan. 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having read the synopsis, I was hoping for another "Gene Wolfe classic", however the book so far has been a disappointment to me. Apart from a few flashes of brilliant writing (hence the two star rating), the characters are two-dimensional, the plot is ponderous and there are pages and pages of simply boring dialogue - I've looked for the usual hidden clues and alternative meanings, but even these seem to be scarce. I must admit that I am only half-way through the book, however, unless someone can persuade me that it's worth persevering, I am going to put it aside. When comparing "An Evil Guest" with a similar type of story, such as "There are Doors", this is not in the same league.
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful By sf_reviewer on 24 Feb. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Once more I've wasted my time reading Mr. Wolfe's vapid drivel. I try his novels from time to time, hoping that one will will match the quality of The Book of the New Sun. Alas no. Mr. Wolfe is a one trick pony. It is said that everyone has one good book in them. If only he had stopped at that one.
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