The stories included in this compilation are indeed as implied by the title strange Gene Wolfe is really overlooked as a writer of strangeweird stories The only story that I did not like was the longest one in here entitled Ziguratt The theme the dialogue the pacing and some stereotypical ideas about enders really put me off Not his best collection overall but some stories in it are among his best A compilation of some of Wolfe s stories from the 1990 s a decade where he was largely occupied with writing the epic Long Sun and Short Sun series The Portrait of a Starter: An Unhidden Story general word is that Wolfe s short fiction decreased in uality during this time compared to his 70 s and 80 s work In the strictest sense of measurement I wouldn t disagree with that but this is still an outstanding collectionThe stories here are carefully chosen to fit cohesively under the chosen title They pretty much all feature travelers of different kinds if not in the literal sense then certainly in the strange sense Yet the title could just as easily have been Strange Prisoners which when you think about it says rather a lot about the tricksy multi dimensional nature of Wolfe s keen mindThe deeper thematic tones of the stories are pretty bleak both in humanistic and theological terms yet the mystery wonder and sheer enjoyment that they contain on the surface left me eually intrigued and entertained throughoutEach story offered so much even though unlike with the best Wolfe short story collection The Doctor of Death Island and Other Stories and Other Stories most of them are relatively shortOnly The penultimate tale The Ziggurat could be considered a novella and a very juicy and disturbing one at that But I wouldn t call any of them toss offs though many were written to order for various magazines and anthologies In fact they were soood I decided to write a short synopsis of each one in turn I hope I can inspire you to read some of them though my notes contain barely an inkling of what each contains Blueberry Jam on the sources and art of folk singing in a future of scarcity and enforced ennui lived out amongst one almighty traffic jam One Two Three For Me future AI assisted humans return to earth to dig for relics and discover a mobile phone with tragic conseuences A cautionary How the West Was Lost: Fifty Years of Economic Folly--and the Stark Choices Ahead ghos. Gene Wolfe is producing the most significant body of short fiction of any living writer in the SFenre It has.
Etic no one else is but the coyote I m remember again how Gene Wolfe takes such contagious pleasure in ood food The other stories I never uite ot into stride with They re shorter I uess I m used to Gene Wolfe longer It s his short stories that are almost novellas that I enjoy most Strange Travelers is the right title for the collection I started this several years ago and only finished it this year 2020 Wolfe has a large following but this collection of stories didn t persuade me to join in It very well could be that I m not as amenable to this kind of fantasy any Of the stories I read years ago I really only remember one and that only because how horrific it is I understand that Wolfe has or had a tradition of writing a Christmas story each year and And When They Appear is included in this collection as one of them Mini spoiler view spoilerIf you find it difficult to read about harm to children or simply refuse to read anything with this subject I recommend you avoid this story It isn t what happens but what s implied and the fact that I still remember this story years later is a testament to its awful effectiveness hide spoiler Gene s fiction has once again blown out the walls of my mind and shown me how little we can ever understand someone or ourselves and how far self deception can o His characters are never to be fully trusted and their perceptions are definitely not omniscient Gene deals in uncertainty and in that way his novels are realistic because we Moonrise go through our lives living with uncertainty hardly ever placing our feet Gene Wolfe is thereatest writer alive and this is probably as ood an intro to his work as any other book Not as strong a collection as the work from the 80s All but two or three of the stories in this collection were uite wonderful Reading these stories were exciting in the same way that reading Salman Rushdie can be exciting the stories are not exactly presented to you head on like you are tailing the story picking up scraps of information over its shoulder and piecing together a larger fascinating or in many cases horrifying whole only by the very end In particular The Ziggurat almost a novella was one of the most frightening thrilling well paced and well crafted stories I d read in a long whil. Ent Some of these stories were award nominees some were controversial but each is uniue and beautifully writte.
T story Counting Cats in Zanzibar Promethean cat and mouse story between a runaway female scientist and a robot policeman full of sly uotations and inspired by Asimov s famous laws The Death of Koshchei the Deathless ridiculous Russian folk tale a parody of an Andrew Lang fairy story No Planets Strike a talking bull and donkey tour the solar system as part of a vaudivile act but are they harbingers of something reater for a captured immigrant population Bed and Breakfast an unlikely one night stand at an off the track uesthouse three miles from Hell between somebody soon to be condemned and somebody who will possibly soon to be condemned or is that somebody already condemned To the Seventh God and the Devil play chess and as God attempts to ueen one of his pawns a single manned spaceship makes first contact enlisting the earth in a alactic confrontation where sacrifice is the only possible move for victory ueen of the Night pitch black medieval fairy story of corpse eating houls and a brave but beguiled boy who trades his innocence to save anothers at least for a time And When They Appear an orphan left alive in an AI administered house after his father killed himself and the boy s mother is shown an educational pageant of holographic Christmas characters by the computer as an angry mob approaches to destroy the place Flash Company a broken hearted man buys and restores an old player piano but who is really restoring whom The Haunted Boardinghouse a classics scholar is offered work as a librarian in an esoteric old school housed in a four fronted building He falls into a frozen lake on the way and wakes up Gene Wolfe is always a pleasure to read he reuires a bit of work but it s well worth the effort Any of his collections of short stories are a reat introduction to his work but for the Full Monty you should read the Urth of the New Sun series Shadow of the Torturer Sword of the Lictor etc Some classic material in this one Read The Ziggurat Counting Cats in Zanzibar The Death of Koschei the Deathless No Planets Strike Bed and Breakfast To the Seventh ueen of the Night Useful Phrases Enjoyed The Ziggurat most propulsive strong sense of snow and winter that the story can t seem to et away from The three stranger women are sympath. Been ten years since the last major Wolfe collection so Strange Travelers contains a whole decade of achievem.
Hugo nominee without a win Wolfe has nevertheless picked up several