I found out last night that author Gene Wolfe had died over the weekend. Wolfe has been considered by many in the Science-Fiction and Fantasy Community to be its greatest writer. Many in that community believed his body of work deserved to be mentioned in the same breath with America’s greatest writers: Cormac McCarthy, Philip Roth, John Updike, Joyce Carol Oates, and Toni Morrison. However, Wolfe never received the crossover success like fellow science-fiction and fantasy greats Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S, Lewis or even George R.R. Martin.
Wolfe was a writer’s writer and his ability to use the unreliable narrator and dense prose had been well chronicled throughout his career. I will admit that Gene Wolfe is not my favorite writer, but I have read and reviewed two of his standalone novels, Pirate Freedom and The Land Across for the blog. My plan was to read other standalone works like Peace and The Sorcerer’s House to view at his career outside of his magnum opus, The Solar Cycle Books. However, I recently bought of The Knight, the first book of Wizard Knight Duology, his take on epic fantasy because I’m planning to do a deep dive into the fantasy genre for the rest of the year.
Gene Wolfe lived a long and productive life as a writer and I hope his body of work gets more recognition and his legacy as one of America’s greatest writers gets cemented. This article about his legacy on the field is worth reading. RIP Gene Wolfe.