Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Gene Wolfe  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Fiction Science Fiction

Born: 1931 in Brooklyn, New York

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Gene Wolfe lives in Barrington, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

Gene fought in the Korean War and later graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Medical Engineering. He was editor for the periodical Plant Engineering, retiring to write full-time in 1984. He is a prolific short story writer and a novelist. Wolfe's works have won a variety of awards, and he is considered one of the premier writers in the genre over the past fifty years. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Operation Ares
ISBN: 0234720506

Dobson Books Ltd. 1977

On Blue's Waters: Volume One of 'The Book of the Short Sun'
ISBN: 0312872577

Tor Books. 2000

On Blue's Waters is the start of a major new work by Gene Wolfe, the first of three volumes that comprise The Book of the Short Sun, which takes place in the years after Wolfe's four-volume Book of the Long Sun.

Horn, the narrator of the earlier work, now tells his own story. Though life is hard on the newly settled planet of Blue, Horn and his family have made a decent life for themselves. But Horn is the only one who can locate the great leader Silk, and convince him to return to Blue and lead them all to prosperity. So Horn sets sail in a small boat, on a long and difficult quest across the planet Blue in search of the now legendary Patera Silk. The story continues in In Green's Jungles and Return to the Whorl.

"By any standard, Wolfe's beautifully composed, meditative, thrilling, and tricky-beyond-belief 'science fantasy' is a work of the highest art."--The Washington Post Book World

Return to the Whorl: The Final Volume of 'The Book of the Short Sun'
ISBN: 0312873646

Tor Books. 2002

Gene Wolfe's Return to the Whorl is the third volume, after On Blue's Waters and In Green's Jungles, of his ambitious SF trilogy The Book of the Short Sun . . . It is again narrated by Horn, who has embarked on a quest in search of the heroic leader Patera Silk. Horn has traveled from his home on the planet Blue, reached the mysterious planet Green, and visited the great starship, the Whorl and even, somehow, the distant planet Urth. But Horn's identity has become ambiguous, a complex question embedded in the story, whose telling is itself complex, shifting from place to place, present to past. Perhaps Horn and Silk are now one being. Return to the Whorl brings Wolfe's major new fiction, The Book of the Short Sun, to a strange and seductive climax.

Innocents Aboard: New Fantasy Stories
ISBN: 076530791X

Orb Books. 2005

Gene Wolfe may be the single best writer in fantasy and SF today. His quotes and reviews certainly support that contention, and so does his impressive short fiction oeuvre. Innocents Aboard gathers fantasy and horror stories from the last decade that have never before been in a Wolfe collection. Highlights from the twenty-two stories include "The Tree is my Hat," adventure and horror in the South Seas, "The Night Chough," a Long Sun story, "The Walking Sticks," a darkly humorous tale of a supernatural inheritance, and "Houston, 1943," lurid adventures in a dream that has no end. This is fantastic fiction at its best.

Starwater Strains: New Science Fiction Stories
ISBN: 0765312034

Orb Books. 2006

Gene Wolfe follows his acclaimed all-fantasy short story collection, Innocents Aboard, with a volume devoted primarily to his science fiction. The twenty-five stories here amply demonstrate his range, excellence, and mastery of the form. A few tantalizing samples:
"Viewpoint" takes on the unreality of so-called "reality" TV and imagines such a show done truly for real, with real guns. "Empires of Foliage and Flower" is in the classic Book of the New Sun series. "Golden City Far." is about dreams, high school, and finding love, which Wolfe says "is about as good a recipe for a story as I've ever found." You're sure to agree.

Soldier of Sidon
ISBN: 0765316706

Tor Books. 2007

Latro forgets everything when he sleeps. Writing down his experiences every day and reading his journal anew each morning gives him a poignantly tenuous hold on himself, but his story's hold on readers is powerful indeed. The two previous novels, combined in Latro in the Mist (Soldier of the Mist and Soldier of Arete) are generally considered classics of contemporary fantasy. Latro now finds himself in Egypt, a land of singing girls, of spiteful and conniving deities. Without his memory, he is unsure of everything, except for his desire to be free of the curse that causes him to forget.

Pirate Freedom (Sci Fi Essential Books)
ISBN: 0765318784

Tor Books. 2007

As a young parish priest, Father Christopher has heard many confessions, but his own tale is more astounding than any revelation he has ever encountered in the confessional . . . for Chris was once a pirate captain, hundreds of years before his birth.


Fresh from the monastery, the former novice finds himself inexplicably transported back to the Golden Age of Piracy, where an unexpected new life awaits him.

At first, he resists joining the notorious Brethren of the Coast, but he soon embraces the life of a buccaneer, even as he succumbs to the seductive charms of a beautiful and enigmatic senorita.

As the captain of his own swift ship, which may or may not be cursed, he plunders the West Indies in search of Spanish gold.

From Tortuga to Port Royal, from the stormy waters of the Caribbean to steamy tropical jungles, Captain Chris finds danger, passion, adventure, and treachery as he hoists the black flag and sets sail for the Spanish mainland.


Where he will finally come to port only God knows . . . .


Pirate Freedom is a captivating new masterpiece by the award-winning author of The Wizard Knight and Soldier of Sidon.

An Evil Guest
ISBN: 0765321343

Tor Books. 2009

Lovecraft meets Blade Runner in a stand-alone supernatural horror novel. Gene Wolfe can write in whatever genre he wants―and always with superb style and profound depth. Now following his World Fantasy Award winner, Soldier of Sidon, and his stunning Pirate Freedom, Wolfe turns to the tradition of H. P. Lovecraft and the weird science tale of supernatural horror.
Set a hundred years in the future, An Evil Guest is the story of an actress who becomes the lover of both a mysterious private detective and an even more mysterious and powerful rich man, a man who has been to the human colony on an alien planet and learned strange things there. Her loyalties are divided―perhaps she loves them both. The detective helps her to release her inner beauty and become a star overnight. The rich man is the angel of a play she stars in. But something is very wrong. Money can be an evil guest, but there are other evils. As Lovecraft said, "That is not dead which can eternal lie."

The Sorcerer's House
ISBN: 076532458X

Tor Books. 2010

In a contemporary town in the American midwest where he has no connections, Bax, an educated man recently released from prison, is staying in a motel. He

writes letters to his brother and to others, including a friend still in jail, to whom he progressively reveals the intriguing pieces of a strange and fantastic narrative. When he meets a real estate agent who tells him he is, to his utter surprise, the heir to a huge old house in town, long empty, he moves in. He is immediately confronted by an array of supernatural creatures and events, by love and danger.

His life is utterly transformed and we read on, because we must know more. We revise our opinions of him, and of others, with each letter, piecing together more of the story as we go.

We learn things about magic, and another world, and about the sorcerer Mr. Black, who originally inhabited the house. And then knowing what we now know only in the end, perhaps we read it again.

Home Fires 9-Copy Floor Display
ISBN: 0765328186

Tor Books. 2011

Marrying after college only to be separated by Chelle’s tour of duty in a war against aliens from distant solar systems, Chelle and Skip find their relationship further complicated by time differentials that cause an injured and war-weary Chelle to age only a few months while Skip reaches his 40s.


Awards

-- *Nebula Award, ''The Death of Doctor Island''

-- *World Fantasy Award, ''Soldier of Sidon''

-- *Gene Wolfe is the first recipient of the Henry Blake Fuller award (The Fuller)for an outstanding lifetime contribution to literature by the Chicago Literary Hall of Fame.