Books for the Wolfe Fan

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If you like Gene Wolfe, you may also like the following recommended selections. There are books that are either in print or on their way soon. Other works you'll want to check used bookstores for. (If there are any Wolfe-related works that you think I should include here let me know).

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Cover of Songs of the Dying Earth

cover of Lexicon Urthus

cover of Shadows of New Sun

New and Noteworthy

Songs of the Dying Earth
A new collection of tales in honor of Jack Vance and his Dying Earth stories. Wolfe didn't contribute, (and neither did Gary Gygax, for that matter) but this is a strong collection none-the-less, and a joy for those who love Vancian writing.
Lexicon Urthus: A Dictionary for the Urth Cycle
Michael Andre-Driussi's labor of love is back in print in a new revised and expanded edition. Not essential to enjoying the New Sun series, but essential to ehancing one's enjoyment of the New Sun
Shadows of the New Sun
A new collection of essays by Gene Wolfe.
Included are essays on the nature of writing, with discussions of key concepts such as character, structure, and the professional life of the writer; a series of interviews with Wolfe; and the rare Wolfe essay "Books in the Book of the New Sun."
published by Liverpool University Press, and edited by Peter Wright.

Books about Wolfe

Michael Andre-Driussi
Lexicon Urthus . A "must have" for the Wolfe enthusiast. A detailed guide to the complex diction of the New Sun series. Its been out of print for a while.
Robert Borski
Solar Labyrinth: Exploring Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun" . A collection of essays and ruminations on the complexities of the New Sun series of books. Recommended.
The Long and the Short of It: More Essays on the Fiction of Gene Wolfe More essays dealing with broader sweep of Wolfe's fiction, including the Long Sun series.
Peter Wright
Attending Daedalus: Gene Wolfe, Artifice and the Reader "Eschewing the conventional spiritual reading of the novels, Peter Wright employs evolutionary theory to argue for a controversial secular reception of a narrative in which Wolfe plays an elaborate textual game with his reader."


Jorge Borges
The Book of Imaginary Beings A wonderful bestiary of fabulous creatures, written with a deft combination of seriousness and whimsy. Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition
Labyrinths A collection of fantastical short stories by the Argentinean writer. Wolfe cites Borges as an influence on him. The story "Fuenes the Memorious" also involves a man with perfect memory like Severian.
G.K. Chesterton
The Complete Father Brown Father Brown was G.K. Chesterton's original crime solving priest. Patera Silk is Wolfe's SF version.
The Man Who Was Thursday A surreal detective story about the seven members of the Central Anarchist Council (all named after days of the week). But their identities become confused, even to themselves.
Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith This is Chesterton's autobiography, where he speaks of his conversion to Catholicism.
Robert Graves
I Claudius The fictional autobiography of Roman Emperor Tiberius Claudius. The story of how the emperor "backed into the throne" is somewhat influential on Wolfe's tale of Severian, the autarch who also found his throne the same way.


The City of Lost Children
This surreal and visually imaginative film by Belgian directors Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Mark Caro is frequently hailed by Wolfe fans as having some of the distinctive qualities of Wolfe's stories. Themes of dreams, innocence, childhood, and technology.
I, Claudius
This is the film version of Graves' novel, which originally appeared on PBS. 7 Tapes! Many highly recommend this, though I haven't seen it. DVD also available cheaper!


Faith Odyssey: A Journey Through Lent
By Richard Burridge. A set of Lenten meditations with, amazingly, an SF theme (SF films, at least). I have no idea if this is any good, but I note it for your reference anyway.
John Clute
The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction The essential encyclopedia for the SF fan or student. The article on Wolfe is rather enlightening: Clute is the seminal Wolfe scholar.
Hans Beiderman; James Hulbert (trans).
Dictionary of Symbolism Nice work for exploring symbols and their meanings cross culturally. Illustrated. Paperback.
Rolland Hein
Christian Mythmakers: C.S. Lewis, Madeleine L'Engle, J.R.R. Tolkien, etc. A general survey of the works of several Christian SF and Fantasy Authors.
C. N. Manlove
Christian Fantasy A similar work to that listed above, but more scholarly and covering more ground. Hardback.

Science Fiction or Fantasy

Cordwainer Smith
The Rediscovery of Man: The Complete Short Science Fiction of Cordwainer Smith. Smith (Paul Linebarger) was one of the early SF writers who influenced a new generation. His stories take place against the backdrop of a long future history, referred to as "The Instrumentality of Mankind". While Wolfe denies having read much if any Cordwainer Smith, I feel those who would appreciate Wolfe would also appreciate Smith.
Norstrilia. Smith's only novel, set on the planet Old North Austraila ("norstrillia").
Jack Vance
cover of Tales of the Dying Earth Tales of the Dying Earth This is a collection that reprints all four of Jack Vance's "Dying Earth" stories, The Dying Earth, Eyes of the Overworld, Cugel's Saga, and Rhialto the Marvellous. These stories are somewhat mixed in quality. The Cugel tales are quite amusing, if picaresque. I like the Dying Earth, the first, the best. These books were the basis for the magic system found in the Dungeons and Dragons role playing game. Trade Paperback.
The Languages of Pao A classic of the SF genre. "The Panarch of Pao is dead and Beran Panasper, his young son and heir, must flee the planet to live and avenge his father's death. It is at the secret fortress on the planet Breakness that Beran discovers the dreaded truth behind the assassination of his father-and much more. The people of Pao are a docile lot, content to live in harmony with the rest of the cosmos, but the scientists at Breakness seek to alter the psychology of the Paonese for their own purpose-and Beran holds the key to their audacious plan." Vance makes use of the "strong" Sapir-Worf hypothesis to craft a story of cultural change via controlled linguistic change.
Night Lamp . Set on the decadent world of Fader, whose inhabitants only pursue leisure with a genetic slave class to do their labor. The planet's inhabitants are paralyzed by lack of will in the face of many dangers. Vance developed his own alien vocabulary whose meaning emerges as the story unfolds.
Ports of Call Space opera of interstellar exploration.
Lord Dunsany
Gods of Pegana The Gods of Pegana , and Time and the Gods One of the progenitors of twentieth century fantasy, he influenced H.P. Lovecraft and many others. Pegana was Dunsany's cycle of stories of mysterious other gods who care little for what worship they receive. The language has wonderful legendary quality to it. These are two new reprints from Wildside press. They look like nice editions.
Neil Gaiman
The Sandman. A wonderful comic books series, 75 issues, now collected into editions. The series is about Morpheus, the Lord of Dream, and his siblings, The Endless (all told, Dream, Death, Destiny, Desire, Delirium, and Despair). A modern fantasy rich in legendary allusions and imagery. The collections consist of
The Sandman Companion
A reference work on the Sandman series, with plenty of interviews of Gaiman. By Neil Gaiman and Hy Bender.
Preludes and Nocturnes Vol 1.
Not really as good as later volumes. I'd suggest new readers start with volumes 2 or 4, and then come back for more.
The Doll's House Vol. 2.
G.K. Chesterton guest stars!
Dream Country Vol. 3.
Season of Mists Vol. 4.
My favorite part of the series.
A Game of You Vol. 5.
Brief Lives Vol. 6.
Fables and Reflections Vol. 7.
Wolfe wrote the intro to this volume.
World's End Vol. 8.
One of the stories in this volume has a kind of homage to Wolfe, containing characters who have come from a place called "the necropolis"
The Kindly Ones Vol. 9.
The Wake Vol. 10.
The Sandman: The Dream Hunters
A new Sandman tale by Neil Gaiman, marvelously illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano. Hardcover, 96pp.
Charles Williams
Williams was one of the Inklings, a cadre of friends including C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. He wrote "spiritual thrillers", novels concerning religious or philosophical subjects presented in a most unconventional and fantastic manner. I enjoy his works immensely, but I concede that they're not for everyone. Unfortunately not all of his works are in print. These are available, however.
Descent into Hell
War in Heaven
Many Dimensions