As part of this past May 18-19 weekend Nebula festivities in San Jose, Gene Wolfe was honored with the Damon Knight Grand Master Award. Since Gene Wolfe is my favorite science fiction writer of all time, I couldn't let this moment pass without some extra notice.
What draws me to Gene Wolfe's writing is his ability to pull me into worlds that are only partially revealed but suggest greater and greater wonders. Science and magic are interchangable for a narrator that understands neither and most of Wolfe's narrator's are not dependable. I find myself reading deeply into words that play hide and seek with reality.
If you are interested in plunging into the uniquely labyrinthine worlds of Gene Wolfe, the following titles are great places to start.
This is my own introduction to Gene Wolfe. These novellas are interconnected stories about living on the colonial planet of Sainte Croix. The title novella in particular remains among the most haunting I have read.
The first two volumes of the acclaimed Book of the New Sun epic follow Severian, a torturer who is expelled and dissgraced for the crime of mercy, as he journeys through a decaying world under a dying sun. Severian uncovers wonders and dark terrors and finally an encounter with alien beings that might change the world.
A sterling collection of most of his best works of short fiction. Be sure to check out the Nebula winning The Death of Doctor Island about a doctor who also happens to be an island. This collection also includes The Fifth Head of Cerberus title story.
Shark Gods, Volcano Gods, werewolves and "beings less gracious" complicate professor turned detective Gideon Chase's attempt locate a missing person. This stand alone novel is complicated and twisty and also shows a lighter side of the current Nebula master.