RIP Gene Wolfe, legend of science fiction

Died yesterday at age 87. I don’t think it’s an overstatement to call him a legend of science fiction.

Damn. Damn Damn.

I’ve had a stack of hardcovers that I’ve been meaning for years to look into how I might mail it to him get them signed.

Wow, very sad.

I am in the middle of reading The Book of the New Sun (Shadow and Claw) too.

RIP. Loved the Book of the New Sun and the Long Sun. Always meant to look into the Short Sun series…might have to get to that.

EDIT: also, he helped invent Pringles, for which I will always be thankful.

Definitely a legend, and arguably the best pure WRITER in SF ever.

What a shitty day this has turned out to be.

Ah fuck. RIP.

Oh shit. Absolute legend. One of my top three favorites, no question.

We’ve lost a true genius.

His works were a seminal influence on Gary Gygax in creating that thing called Dungeons and Dragons.

Also, the great profile appeared a few years back in the New Yorker:

His science fiction is neither operatic nor scientifically accurate; his fantasy works are not full of clanging swords and wizardly knowledge. But ask science-fiction or fantasy authors about Gene Wolfe and they are likely to cite him as a giant in their field. Ursula K. Le Guin once called Wolfe “our Melville.”

Wolfe was probably my favorite author ever and a big influence on me. Wolfe, Vance, Le Guin and Dozois all dying within a few years of each other.


Do you mean Jack Vance maybe? Wolfe didn’t write a lot of high fantasy.

You are absolutely correct. Gygax wrote that his influences were (besides Tolkien) mainly Vance, Burroughs, Poul Anderson, Fritz Lieber and Robert Howard. Not sure how I managed to add Wolfe into the group.

I loved his New Sun stuff, and, well, pretty much everything else he wrote, too. There was a sort of maturity and depth to his characters, along with some excellent world building.

Really, though, writers like this never die. As long as their works are with us, they will be, too. I mean, upthread someone noted that Le Guin called him “our Melville.” Melville has been dead for ages, but he’s one of my favorite authors, and every time I read Moby Dick again, Melville is right there with me.

A terrible loss, though at least we’re left with an enormous treasure trove of his work. Time to get reading and rereading…

Fantastic author - one of a select few (in any genre) that really rewards reading and rereading and rereading. Sad we’ll never see another book in the Latro series.

New Sun is in the “Vancian Dying Earth” genre, so I feel the two are intertwined.

I really need to go back and try reading Dying Earth again. I did many years ago and I might not have been in the right head space and it just never grabbed me. Though I see Vance frequently compared to Wolfe and held in high regard so I should revisit his works with a fresh mindset and hope the second time around produces new insights and a better experience.

I didn’t like his modern/contemporary stuff so much. He made the US feel pretty bleak, like Cold War era Poland or something. Or maybe the US was just like that at some point (i.e. before I was born).

There were times…

You know, I was surprised when the third one came out. The first two seemed to me to be in a way the story of Latro’s diary rather than Latro himself, and that story was done.

The US always has been and still is plenty bleak for plenty of people.

Nabokov, then Proust, then Borges, Chesterton, and Tolstoy. Then Melville, if you still need to name-check Melville.

I’m just sad I can no longer call him the greatest living writer in English, which I think he was.