Monday 15 April 2019

Gene Wolfe 1931 - 2019

Gene Wolfe has died.

I feel I ought to say more, but it's late and I'm tired. I'll leave it with this: it took me years to find a way into his work, but once I did, I was never the same again. He changed me as a writer and, I think, a human being. I never met him properly (although we did once participate in a panel via video link) but I got to write about him a few times, and his passing leaves us immeasurably poorer.

Thank you, Mr Wolfe.


  1. Thanks for flagging Wolfe's passing Al.

    Exactly 32 years to this day I met Gene for the first and last time. It was my very first Science Fiction convention, the annual British event held that year in Birmingham, again at Easter. Wolfe wasn’t a guest of honour he was simply just there. A year or so earlier I had written a perspective on both the last book of the New Sun Quartet and the books leading up to it, for which I had won 2nd prize in a BSFA competition (an enthusiastic but somewhat na├»ve account of somebody in his early 20s). When I realized Gene Wolfe was at the con, I brought my recent copy of his latest book, Soldier of the Mist for him to sign. I joined the long signing queue, but when I got to the front I froze and spluttered when he asked me how he should dedicate the book. I muttered something about having reviewed his book. Hence that’s what he put underneath his signature.

  2. Another great one gone. I've a mate who loved is work so much, that he had a 'Book of the New Sun' wedding cake...along with a proper wedding cake.
    He will be greatly missed.

  3. I like his writings, too. Sad that he's gone and there will be no new books to enjoy.

  4. Hey, I just translated your Zima Blue story to my language. Apologies for not getting any formal approval. It is a wonderful story and I get to know about it from Netflix. Immediately after watching the episode, I wanted to translate it to our Language.

    My blog is a non commercial, personal site written only in Sinhala (Official Language of Sri Lanka) and I just write about whatever things I feel interesting.

    Here is the link for you to have a look. (Google Translator might help to understand a word or two.. :D )

    I just search for your other works and found this blog.

    Again, I would like to apologize for not getting any prior approval for the translation.

  5. I appreciate you taking the time to do this, and also for letting me know. It should be fine as a one-off and I totally accept that there is no profit motivation on your part, but the foreign translation rights to that story are actually bound up as part of the deal with my publisher for the collection "Zima Blue and Other Stories" so (for both our sakes) it would be best to just leave it as that one story.

    1. Thanks Al for understanding. Sure, I won't translate any more of your work without your or your publisher's formal approval. To be honest, this is my first ever translation of any foreign language.

      Anyway, it's great to read such wonderful stories. I have published my own collection of sci-fi stories as a school kid about 19 years back. Since then I didn't write anything worth reading(except couple of small stories for local newspapers) . But your stories sparked that sci-fi enthusiasm again within me. Thanks for that as well.

      Following is the blurb I received from Sir Arthure C. Clarke for that book.'s%2BBlurb.JPG

  6. Dear Mr. Reynolds,
    Sorry for not commenting on what this article is about, I just wanted to tell you this:
    I have discovered your work through "Love, Death + Robots" and both "Beyond the Aquila Rift" and "Zima Blue" had very good stories to me (especially Zima Blue, very interesting!) so I bought "Zima Blue and other stories" and started reading (I still have the last three stories to go) and this is some very very good storytelling!
    I'm French and I've been reading the original versions of many stories from Orwell, P.K. Dick, Tolkien, Asimov these past years and I'm glad I finally disovered a very good living sci-fi author like yourself!
    The extent, magnitude (can't quite find the right word) of some of your stories like the Merlin stories or "Understanding Space and Time" is simply staggering and awesome and I really enjoy this kind of things, it makes me reflect about the vastness of the universe and I love this so thank you very much and please keep writing this kind of tales!
    Also while I'm here, what should I read from you when I'm done with Zima Blue?

    Best regards,

  7. Thanks, Michael - that's very kind. If you've enjoyed those short stories, you might want to try Galactic North, which is a collection of pieces set in the Revelation Space universe.

    1. You are welcome!
      Thank you for the reply, I'll check this out!