Tor is reporting the sad news that Gene Wolfe has died.
The science fiction and fantasy community has lost a beloved icon. We are extremely sad to report that author and SFWA Grand Master Gene Wolfe passed away on April 14th at age 87.
I came to Mr. Wolfe’s writing late in life. My dad had a copy of Urth of the New Sun but, as a teenager, I could never get into it (not realizing, then, that it was essentially book 5 of a 4‑volume series). I decided he was too highbrow, too highfalutin for my tastes.
Over the years, though, writers I very much enjoyed, writers whose opinions I respected, continued to tout the virtues of Wolfe. Neil Gaiman wrote on how to read Wolfe. Michael Swanwick was effusive with his praise. Wolfe, they insisted, is the writer’s writer.
So I checked the Wizard Knight duology out of my local library, and I found myself hooked. I chanced upon a copy of The Fifth Head of Cerberus at a local used bookstore, and was entranced. Later, I read The Book of the New Sun and its coda, Urth of the New Sun. This past summer I read, and loved, Pirate Freedom.
Gene Wolfe’s prose deserves to be read, and more, it begs to be re-read. Time, I think, for a re-read.
It is always a temptation to say that such feelings are indescribable, though they seldom are.Gene Wolfe, The Sword of the Lictor
Rest in peace.
Photo courtesy of Mark’s Postcards from Beloit, via a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs license.