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From: Peter Westlake <peter@harlequin.co.uk>
Subject: Re: (urth) Giving Wolfe to the inexperienced
Date: Thu, 28 Oct 1999 15:27:57 +0000

At 09:44 1999-10-28 -0400, you wrote:
>I wonder if we could put together a list of the "easiest" or "most
>accessible" Wolfe?  "Wolfe for Beginners"?  I recently saw someone
>recommend "Fifth Head of Cerebrus" as a place to start with Wolfe, but
>that seems to me to be one of his more obscure and difficult works (but
>then I'm biased, because it's my least favorite, for some reason).  Here's
>my list:

NOVELS (in addition to Rostrum's list)

"Free Live Free" is fairly straightforward; maybe it's not typical?
I could be missing something, of course :-)

I'm not convinced that one shouldn't dive straight in with
"Shadow of the Torturer". It has the advantage of being
immensely readable, and rewarding even a superficial reading
with a ripping good yarn. Finding large chunks of it engraved
in one's brain almost verbatim years after reading it gave
me a pretty big clue to the quality of the writing, too.


"Kevin Malone" is an excellent exercise for beginners.
It would be ideal for a tutorial: it's short enough that
you can say "read that" and offers great scope for hints,
as we saw on the thread about it.

"Morning Glory" is a particular favourite of mine;
it's also somewhat atypical in being both straightforward
and optimistic in outlook. Alex said a while back ("Mysteries
of Gene Wolfe/"The Science in Science-Fiction") that the
mysteriousness of Wolfe's work is responsible for a lot of
its lasting appeal, and I agree; Morning Glory doesn't leave
any outstanding mysteries to puzzle over, but touches the
emotions in a lasting way instead. In that respect it reminds
me a little of "Slow River" by Nicola Griffith.

An idle thought: a collaboration between Griffith and Wolfe
would be the ultimate virtual reality, an imaginative experience
so vividly real and meaningful that it would be impossible to
leave. Sorry, have I said that before?

Spectacled Bear

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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