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(Tor.com)   Subby's favorite author has put down his pen for the last time   (tor.com) divider line
    More: Sad, Ursula K. Le Guin, Gene Wolfe, Science fiction, Neil Gaiman, SFWA Grand Master Gene Wolfe, Literature, Damon Knight, Fantasy  
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1931 clicks; posted to Geek » on 15 Apr 2019 at 1:51 PM (4 days ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



14 Comments     (+0 »)
 
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ZAZ [TotalFark]
4 days ago  
Wolfe reminded me of C. J. Cherryh: I'd be reading and pause to think "I wasn't thinking hard enough about the story and now I have no clue what was going on." But one day I swear I will finish Soldier of the Mist et seq. I might want to get a PhD in classical studies first.
 
4 days ago  
You must be a much smarter man than me, Subby.  I tried Gene Wolfe, but I just couldn't forgive him for always using near-unheard-of words for things.  I've never had an author send me to the thesaurus more than this guy.  Plus, I got two-thirds of the way through book one of some saga and literally NOTHING had happened.  Maybe one day I'll try it again.  Maybe I got smarter.

/doubt it
 
4 days ago  
He was an engineer, and worked as the editor of the professional journal Plant Engineering. He was also instrumental in inventing the machine that cooks Pringles potato chips.

Way to bury the lede, subby.
 
4 days ago  

Jack Sabbath: You must be a much smarter man than me, Subby.  I tried Gene Wolfe, but I just couldn't forgive him for always using near-unheard-of words for things.  I've never had an author send me to the thesaurus more than this guy.  Plus, I got two-thirds of the way through book one of some saga and literally NOTHING had happened.  Maybe one day I'll try it again.  Maybe I got smarter.

/doubt it


His short fiction is generally more digestible. The Wizard-Knight is a good place to start in on his novels. I've read most of his novels multiple times and still learn new things. And there are still parts I don't fully understand. Maybe that's what I like about them.

/subby
//not smart
///threes
 
4 days ago  
/salute

He wasn't afraid of tricky points.
 
4 days ago  
Hopefully he has no sons that try to continue a series.

/rip Frank Herbert
 
4 days ago  
RIP Mr. Wolfe. Thanks for the stories.
 
4 days ago  
Also, since I feel like being an ass, here is a link I used to look up something from the article:

TV tropes, don't click it or you'll be sorry.
 
4 days ago  

Jack Sabbath: You must be a much smarter man than me, Subby.  I tried Gene Wolfe, but I just couldn't forgive him for always using near-unheard-of words for things.  I've never had an author send me to the thesaurus more than this guy.  Plus, I got two-thirds of the way through book one of some saga and literally NOTHING had happened.  Maybe one day I'll try it again.  Maybe I got smarter.

/doubt it


You generally have to read his stories more than once. But his later books are more approachable than his early ones. "A Sorcerer's House" is an easy read although hard to parse because of the unreliable narration.
 
4 days ago  

capt.snicklefritz: Jack Sabbath: You must be a much smarter man than me, Subby.  I tried Gene Wolfe, but I just couldn't forgive him for always using near-unheard-of words for things.  I've never had an author send me to the thesaurus more than this guy.  Plus, I got two-thirds of the way through book one of some saga and literally NOTHING had happened.  Maybe one day I'll try it again.  Maybe I got smarter.

/doubt it

His short fiction is generally more digestible. The Wizard-Knight is a good place to start in on his novels. I've read most of his novels multiple times and still learn new things. And there are still parts I don't fully understand. Maybe that's what I like about them.


Like you said, this is easier to accept in the short fiction and even stand-alone novels.  But his multi-book stories can be such a brick wall if the story isn't hooking you, and very confusing when it is.  A big hurdle for me with his stuff was all his references to ancient Greek and Roman culture.  I feel like only a dedicated scholar can comprehend those wordplays and jokes.  Since I don't, I take it at face value and am left utterly perplexed, although sometimes very intrigued by the imagery.

Still, what I loved of his stuff I loved dearly, and will miss this odd man and his odd writings.  We are all better off that they exist, even if it is to throw across the room in rage.
 
4 days ago  
Oh that sucks. The Book of the New Sun is one of my favorite fantasy/sci-fi series.

I still have two of the short story collections on the bookshelf in my living room - Endangered Species and Innocents Abroad.
 
4 days ago  
Gene Wolfe was an incredible writer whose love of language shone through with a brightness that was rare in his genre. I love how he uses the mystique of obscure language to evoke the strangeness of future technology that might be indescribable with a more mundane vocabulary. I've long been an avid reader of science fiction and fantasy, but somehow didn't read any of Wolfe's books until the last year or so. I've since read the Book of the New Sun, the Urth of the New Sun, and am midway through the Book of the Long Sun. These books are simply incredible, but his passing will cast a faint shadow over the remainder of the books.
 
4 days ago  
His books were rich and well worth re-reading. Sure, there are parts that I don't understand yet, but they will pay off the next time through. I thought he deserved the Nobel Prize for the Book of the New Sun quartet.
 
4 days ago  
I read the Book of the New Sun back in the 1980s when it came out, barely understood it then but enjoyed it because it was so interesting. Then, when the Short Sun series was completed in 2002, I read the entire Sun franchise (Book of the New Sun, Urth of the New Sun, Book of the Long Sun, Book of the Short Sun) and... understood even less.

I recently read all of the non-Sun books and short story collections. His primary gimmick does seem to be to see how much he can confuse the reader as to what is really going on, and he's very good at it.

If I were to choose a book of his to not read, I'd probably choose Free Live Free. I was 95% of the way through the book and someone asked me what it was about and I had to say "I have no idea yet". Then the last few pages got weird and had no apparent relevance to the rest of the book.
 
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