Gene Wolfe is a prolific SF writer beloved by fans and critics alike; frequently feted as a master stylist, critical darling, and writer’s writer, Wolfe is also ritually overlooked outside the genre. Regularly anthologized in Damon Knight’s Orbit series from 1966-1976, Wolfe first won the nebula for “The Death of Doctor Island” (1974). The second volume of his multi-volume saga The Book of the New Sun also won the Nebula in 1981. Additionally, over a remarkable career, he has won the World Fantasy Award three times as well as the Campbell, Rhysling, BSFA, and Locus awards.
“For a long time, I suppose an hour or more, I sat listening to the drumming of the rain and thinking about Phaedria and about what Mr Million had said, all of it confused with my father’s questions of the night before, questions which had seemed to steal their answers from me so that I was empty, and dreams had come to flicker in the emptiness, dreams of fences and walls and the concealing ditches called ha-has, that contain a barrier you do not see until you are about to tumble on it. Once I had dreamed of standing in a paved court fenced with Corinthian pillars so close set that I could not force my body between them, although in the dream I was only a child of three or four. After trying various places for a long time, I had noticed that each column was carved with a word—the only one that I could remember was carapace—and that the paving stones of the courtyard were mortuary tablets like those set into the floors in some of the old French churches, with my own name and a different date on each.”