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Gene Wolfe (1931-2019)

(8 posts)
  • Started 1 week ago by C.C. Finlay
  • Latest reply from MattHughes

  1. C.C. Finlay
    Charles Coleman Finlay

    We are very sad to hear about the passing of Gene Wolfe. The best way to remember him is to read him, and in that spirit we offer "How to Read Gene Wolfe" by Neil Gaiman from our Special Author issue back in April 2007: https://www.sfsite.com/fsf/2007/gwng0704.htm

    For more, see: https://www.tor.com/2019/04/15/gene-wolfe-in-memoriam-1931-2019/

    Posted 1 week ago #
  2. Ron
    Member

    Clearly, a giant in speculative fiction.

    The only personal connection I had with Gene Wolfe is that I shook his hand at WorldCon a few years ago.

    Posted 1 week ago #
  3. I'm crushed. This is not a good day. Met and spoke with him off and on over the years and loved his work. We've lost a giant in the field.

    Posted 6 days ago #
  4. Mark Pontin
    Member

    Dave T wrote: 'We've lost a giant in the field.'

    That, and one of the great writers in English in our time.

    Posted 6 days ago #
  5. Mark Pontin
    Member

    "That you and I ... if we are recalled at all, will eventually be thought of as contemporaries of Xenophon and Mark Twain. That this is a small world at the edge of its galaxy, tumbling through the night, a provincial and rural backwater."

    Gene Wolfe, decades ago. This was part of a contributor's note he tossed off for an anthology (probably Damon Knight's ORBIT) where he placed one of his early great stories (probably "Alien Stones"). I happened to copy it out because it struck me so.

    Posted 6 days ago #
  6. Mark Pontin
    Member

    "And as if by magic -- and it may have been magic, for I believe America is the land of magic, and that we, we now past Americans, were once the magical people of it, waiting now to stand to some unguessable generation of the future as the nameless pre-Mycenaean tribes did to the Greeks, ready, at a word, each of us now, to flit piping through groves ungrown, our women ready to haunt as lamias the rose-red ruins of Chicago and Indianapolis when they are little more than earthen mounds, when the heads of the trees are higher than the hundred-and-twenty-fifth floor -- it seemed to me that I found myself in bed again, the old house swaying in silence as though it were moored to the universe by only the thread of smoke from the stove.

    –PEACE by Gene Wolfe

    Posted 6 days ago #
  7. Mark Pontin
    Member

    "The past stood at my shoulder, naked and defenseless as all dead things, as though it were time itself that had been laid open by the fall of the mountain. Fossil bones protruded from the surface in places, the bones of mighty animals and of men. The forest had set its own dead there as well, stumps and limbs that time had turned to stone, so that I wondered as I descended, if it might not be that Urth is not, as we assume, older than her daughters the trees, and imagined them growing in the emptiness before the face of the sun, tree clinging to tree with tangled roots and interlacing twigs until at last their accumulation became our Urth, and they only the nap of her garment.

    "Deeper than these lay the buildings and mechanisms of humanity. (And it may be that those of other races lay there as well, for several of the stories in the brown book I carried seemed to imply that colonies once existed here of those beings whom we call the cacogens, though they are in fact of myriad races, each as distinct as our own.) I saw metals there that were green and blue in the same sense that copper is said to be red or silver white, colored metals so curiously wrought that I could not be certain whether their shapes had been intended as works of art or as parts for strange machines, and it may be indeed that among some of those unfathomable peoples there is no distinction.

    "At one point, only slightly less than halfway down, the line of the fault had coincided with the tiled wall of some great building, so that the windy path I trod slashed across it. What the design was those tiles traced, I never knew; as I descended the cliff I was too near to see it, and when I reached the base at last it was too high for me to discern, lost in the shifting mists of the falling river. Yet as I walked, I saw it as an insect may be said to see the face in a portrait over whose surface it creeps. The tiles were of many shapes, though they fit together so closely, and at first I thought them representations of birds, lizards, fish and suchlike creatures, all interlocked in the grip of life. Now I feel that this was not so, that they were instead the shapes of a geometry I failed to comprehend, diagrams so complex that the living forms seemed to appear in them as the forms of actual animals appear from the intricate geometries of complex molecules."

    - THE CLAW OF THE CONCILIATOR by Gene Wolfe

    Posted 6 days ago #
  8. MattHughes
    Member

    "That you and I ... if we are recalled at all, will eventually be thought of as contemporaries of Xenophon and Mark Twain. That this is a small world at the edge of its galaxy, tumbling through the night, a provincial and rural backwater."

    Yes, that's it, the sense of time, the recognition that we, feverishly living our lives, are faded denizens of other people's distant pasts. We come and we go, and are forgotten, becoming no more than vague wisps of memory among the mere few who bother to inquire.

    A sadness at once majestic and pedestrian. That's some of what I got from Wolfe. I must read him again before it's my turn to step off the bus.

    Posted 6 days ago #

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