Neil Gaiman on Gene Wolfe

Shadows of the New Sun edited by J.E. Mooney and Bill Fawcett

Written by Neil Gaiman

The subtle and nuanced work of Gene Wolfe has inspired an entire generation of writers. A number of them, including Neil Gaiman, have contributed stories to Shadows of the New Sun, an anthology honoring the man who has been a literary hero to so many. As Gaiman notes in the moving introduction to his own story, “A Lunar Labyrinth,” along the way he came to know Wolfe as something more than a hero.

I met Gene and Rosemary Wolfe when I was twenty-two, in September of 1983, in Birmingham, England, at the British Fantasy Convention. I went to the Fantasycon to interview Gene, and over the next day I discovered my people, several of whom would go on, although I did not know it then, to become my closest friends, one of whom would also commission and edit my first book. It was an important time. I had loved Gene Wolfe’s fiction. Now I learned that I really liked the man as well. He was funny, and he was real, and his wife, Rosemary, was by his side and beaming.

Gene and I became friends (it was the trip to the theater in 1987 that did it) and we have stayed friends. I have learned more than I can say as a writer from his wise, twisty stories, but value the things I have learned from the man who has been my friend for all of my adult life much more. I loved seeing Gene and Rosemary. He came to a fireworks party at my house, and was nearly hit by a stray rocket.

There is a story by Gene called “A Solar Labyrinth.” I read it aloud to the audience from a Wurlitzer Organ platform when Gene was given the first Chicago Literary Hall of Fame Fuller Award. It is a short story of brilliance and beauty and, hidden deep in the shadows, danger and darkness.

I wrote this for Gene, and it has rosemary in it, and wolves. If Gene had written it, it would have been subtler.

Shadows of the New Sun will be available on August 27th.

…………………………

From the Tor/Forge August 19th newsletter. Sign up to receive our newsletter via email.

…………………………

More from the August 19th Tor/Forge newsletter: