The Best of Gene Wolfe: A Definitive Retrospective of His Finest Short Fiction
As I suspect many do, I came to Gene Wolfe via the The Shadow of the Torturer. I was late to the party, but I liked the book well enough that I picked up the rest of the series, and eventually several of his other books. Most of them have left me with a similar feeling – that this is a very competent author, but that the stories miss the emotional connection that carries a story beyond technical skill.
When I saw this on sale, I picked it up. I figured that there had to be something there, that the high technical skill I saw might have greater narrative impact if only I saw enough of it.
I’m afraid it didn’t. I had the same reaction to these stories as I’ve had to most everything else by Wolfe. That is, the sentences are well written, the plots are decent, there’s depth of meaning and intent, and yet it doesn’t strike any emotional chords with me.
Wolfe is a renowned author, and clearly he knows what he’s doing as a writer. But I can only say that after extensive testing, it doesn’t work for me. You won’t be sorry if you read this book; it’s not a waste of time. But it may not change your life, either.