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Gene Wolfe To Be Honored At Nebula Awards

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the book-of-the-medium-length dept.

Sci-Fi 34

New submitter hguorbray writes "One of my favorite Sci-Fi authors of all time, Gene Wolfe, will be honored with the Damon Night Grand Master award at the Nebula Awards weekend in San Jose this weekend. This Thursday night he will be doing a reading and Q&A along with Connie Willis (author of the Doomsday Book, Blackout/All Clear, etc.) at the San Jose Hilton. There will be a mass book signing event Friday including these authors and many others presented by San Francisco's Borderlands Books." Here are this year's Nebula Award nominees. The awards will be presented at a ceremony starting 7pm ET on Saturday.

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34 comments

It's Damon Knight, not "Damon Night" (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43728843)

In full, the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

Re:It's Damon Knight, not "Damon Night" (1)

erroneus (253617) | about a year ago | (#43728939)

I'm still trying not to read "wolf gene."

Re:It's Damon Knight, not "Damon Night" (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#43730449)

In full, the Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.

Someday, however, I would not be surprised to hear the announcement of the Gene Wolfe Award.

Quoth Neil Gaiman (4, Insightful)

zbobet2012 (1025836) | about a year ago | (#43728917)

He's the finest living male American writer of SF and fantasy – possibly the finest living American writer. Most people haven't heard of him. And that doesn't bother Gene in the slightest. He just gets on with writing the next book.

If you have not read him, do it. The Book of the New Sun is a literary masterpiece independent of genre. But he wasn't a one hit wonder, Home Fires (his latest) is amazing. Gene Wolfe is the kind of author that puts most pieces of "literary" fiction to shame. He not only deserves this award, but a Pulitzer too. To bad literary community can not remove its collective head from its ass. Cheers to him and I can't wait for the next book.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (1)

Ol Biscuitbarrel (1859702) | about a year ago | (#43729511)

His skill as a writer is really astounding, that's what I love about his work. No slouch in the pure imagination department, either, but the wordsmithery and depth of his craft really set him above so many SF writers. And let's not forget that he played a crucial role in creating Pringles, [livejournal.com] too.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43730203)

He's the finest living male American writer of SF and fantasy .

Nope just SF, Gene Wolfe has never written in the fantasy genre although some of his books appear to be.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (1)

RabidReindeer (2625839) | about a year ago | (#43730437)

He's the finest living male American writer of SF and fantasy .

Nope just SF, Gene Wolfe has never written in the fantasy genre although some of his books appear to be.

Part of the genius of Gene Wolfe is the way he makes fantasy ambiguous - for example Soldier in the Mist. Where fantastic things happen, but the protagonist has brain damage, so the objective reality of the fantasy cannot be guaranteed.

Devil in a Forest is another good example. Neither of these works are what I'd call SF, however. At best, they'd be historical fiction.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43730725)

He's the finest living male American writer of SF and fantasy .

Nope just SF, Gene Wolfe has never written in the fantasy genre although some of his books appear to be.

The Wizard Knight seems to lack SF-ish traits, IMNSHO

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43732569)

The Wizard Knight seems to lack SF-ish traits, IMNSHO

I think the GP may be deliberately avoiding thinking about The Wizard Knight. The story and setting are fantastic as expected but I found the PoV rather painful to read.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#43731553)

Nope just SF, Gene Wolfe has never written in the fantasy genre although some of his books appear to be.

Peace is a fantasy work (the workings of the plot are based on magic and the supernatural, not technology). Most would have the same opinion about There are Doors and Castleview. Wolfe has indeed written fantasy.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43732203)

Peace is a fantasy work (the workings of the plot are based on magic and the supernatural, not technology). Most would have the same opinion about There are Doors and Castleview. Wolfe has indeed written fantasy.

Wolfe's writing is very very tricksey. You may have thought you were reading fantasy but you weren't.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#43732817)

Neil Gaiman would agree that Peace is fantasy. He too has unlocked the three layers of the plot (which I won't spoil here), and the plot still depends on the supernatural and not technology.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about a year ago | (#43733907)

Knight and Wizard both appear to be Fantasy, but you cannot always be sure of what is what or who is who in his books -like in the Short Sun series.

He also favors unreliable narrators, with the Soldier of Arete/Latro of the Mist series being most frustrating in that regard.

-I'm just sayin'

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#43733989)

Just because they have unreliable narrators does not make them science fiction when the plot depends entirely on magic and the supernatural. Gene Wolfe has written both science fiction and fantasy. The assertion above that he has not written fantasy is just plain wrong.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (1)

Freddybear (1805256) | about a year ago | (#43730573)

*The Fifth Head of Cerberus* was the first of his books that I read, and reread, and puzzled over.

Re:Quoth Neil Gaiman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43740087)

He's the finest living male American writer of SF and fantasy

Interesting set of qualifications. I wonder who he thinks are better:

* Female
* Dead
* British (or at least non-American)

SF and fantasy writers?

My guesses would be Le Guin, Dick and himself.

Ooh. (1)

julesh (229690) | about a year ago | (#43729681)

Mary Robinette Kowal has a book on the shortlist and I haven't read it yet. Must grab a copy... (quick note to self)

Re:Ooh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43730317)

Mary Robinette Kowal has a book on the shortlist and I haven't read it yet. Must grab a copy... (quick note to self)

no, that is a quick note to everyone on Slashdot.

Congratulations (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43730469)

Gene Wolfe is my favorite SF author of all time. I own almost everything he has every written, and have read the rest. I've read him since Shadow of the Torturer first hit the shelves. His work is truly astounding. Congratulations to him on an award well deserved.

Wolfe has a phenominal imagination (1)

Required Snark (1702878) | about a year ago | (#43731039)

Wolfe, besides his outstanding writing talent, has an equally brilliant imaginative streak. If you get a copy of Endangered Species it contains four stories in the Thag sequence.

The hook in these stories is that people can leave the universe and live Not In Nature, or NIN. (This has nothing to do with Nine Inch Nails.) It's an alternative to dieing. Going outside of nature means you can travel in history, but that includes fiction and myth as well as time travel. The only time I ever encountered a similar idea is in an Alfred Bester short story, which is the kind of grand company that Wolfe deserves. Do your self a favor and read his works. If you do you will come back to them more then once. They're that good.

I heart Gene Wolfe (1)

HPHatecraft (2748003) | about a year ago | (#43731057)

Dragon Knight books: astounding in their sadness and beauty. The ending was killer.

I always thought that the Book of the New Sun series was like Thundarr the Barbarian for adults -- magic and super science in the future (albeit minus the post apocalyptic Earth).

Soldier in the Mist was pretty good.

Free Live Free was pretty good.

The Sorcerer's House was good, but I consider it 'Wolfe-lite'.

I met Larry Niven and Howard Chaykin in Houston last year. I've met Neal Stephenson. Meeting Gene Wolfe and Neil Gaiman would complete my experience of having met favorite authors.

long ago (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about a year ago | (#43731101)

When I was very young Gene Wolfe would occasionally come by the house, as he was friends with my parents. I knew he was a writer like my father, but being so young my only real recollection is that I thought he had a cool name.

Old news (1)

whargoul (932206) | about a year ago | (#43731167)

Come on. Isn't this rather old news, even for SlashDot?

We've had him listed as the 2012 Grand Master [worldswithoutend.com] winner for several months already and Scalzi blogged about it in mid December [scalzi.com] .

Re:Old news (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about a year ago | (#43732703)

well, the event is tomorrow night, so it seemed appropriate to remind those in the Bay Area to try to see him

also -note to eds -I'm sure the presentation time on Sat is 7pm PDT -NOT EDT

I've been trying for years to get a story posted -I proofread it carefully -and then it gets edited because there weren't enough errors apparently...

-I'm just sayin'

He's a great writer (2)

danbuter (2019760) | about a year ago | (#43731789)

Wolfe is a better writer than 99% of everyone who's been published in fiction, including most literature authors. Since he writes science fiction though, most University professors would never recommend him. It's too bad that their prejudice places a whole field of fiction in the "unworthy" category.

Re:He's a great writer (2)

careysub (976506) | about a year ago | (#43732451)

As Peter S. Beagle, and others, have observed in essays - the prejudice against fantastic literature in academia and "serious" criticism is an anomaly that arose in the early 20th Century, and is largely confined to the U.S. Throughout almost all of history literature based heavily on fantastic elements was the norm, and was commonly accepted even after "realistic" literature became a mainstream phenomenon.

The prejudice is very ethnocentric. "Magic realism" from Latin America is lionized, but the literary equivalent by an English speaking writer is ignored or worse. The very influential critic Edmund Wilson, prominent beginning around 1920, is the apparent source of this prejudice - he despised Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lord Dunsany, Lovecraft - really all recent or contemporary fantastic literature being written in English (if it was old enough, Swift for example, it might get a pass).

Sometimes a mainstream author will turn out a bland effort in this direction which gets praise, but no one seriously writing in the fantastic literature vein ever does.

Re:He's a great writer (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#43733365)

The prejudice is very ethnocentric. "Magic realism" from Latin America is lionized, but the literary equivalent by an English speaking writer is ignored or worse.

Interesting point. In Peter Wright's collection of Gene Wolfe interviews, there's one where the interviewer asks what Wolfe thinks about science fiction, fantasy and magical realism, and Wolfe answers "magical realism is fantasy written by people who speak Spanish".

The very influential critic Edmund Wilson, prominent beginning around 1920, is the apparent source of this prejudice - he despised Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lord Dunsany, Lovecraft - really all recent or contemporary fantastic literature being written in English (if it was old enough, Swift for example, it might get a pass).

I think critics' low opinion of some of those authors was deserved, because while those authors were masters of world-building, they were not masters of prose style. Their use of the English language feels flat and unimaginative. In spite of the rich detail of Middle Earth, Tolkien's prose, for example, is just as much uncreative aping of English epic writing as the Book of Mormon was Joseph Smith's aping of the King James Bible.

One of the reasons I admire Wolfe's writing of the 1970s and recommend it to my friends who "don't read science fiction", is that Wolfe's prose in The Fifth Head of Cerberus and Peace is just as powerful as anything by Proust or Nabokov. Unfortunately, Wolfe's rich feel for the English language disappeared in the 1980s and some of his recent novels and short stories sound as bad any most genre fiction.

Re:He's a great writer (1)

Quantum gravity (2576857) | about a year ago | (#43734005)

I think critics' low opinion of some of those authors was deserved, because while those authors were masters of world-building, they were not masters of prose style.

Surely you can't fault the style in Lord Dunsany's The King of Elfland's Daughter.

Re:He's a great writer (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year ago | (#43734037)

I've not read Dunsany, but I'm willing to read him with an open mind. Lovecraft was certainly an excellent stylist at times, though inconsistent (probably depending on how fast he had to bang out the work for money).

Re:He's a great writer (1)

careysub (976506) | about a year ago | (#43736491)

The very influential critic Edmund Wilson, prominent beginning around 1920, is the apparent source of this prejudice - he despised Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lord Dunsany, Lovecraft - really all recent or contemporary fantastic literature being written in English (if it was old enough, Swift for example, it might get a pass).

I think critics' low opinion of some of those authors was deserved, because while those authors were masters of world-building, they were not masters of prose style. Their use of the English language feels flat and unimaginative. In spite of the rich detail of Middle Earth, Tolkien's prose, for example, is just as much uncreative aping of English epic writing as the Book of Mormon was Joseph Smith's aping of the King James Bible.

Valid points - Tolkien's prose is uneven in quality, and parts of LOTR are quite leaden, but the delightful Hobbit, for example, is entirely free of Saxon epic styling. But Wilson's dismissal was all encompassing, and drew few distinctions among these hated fantasists.

Lewis was better, over all, than Tolkien. But Wilson's attack on Dunsany, Lovecraft, and James Branch Cabell simply shows him as a pretentious fool. The fact that the greatest writer of the Twentieth Century Jorge Luis Borges (one of those Spanish fantasists, BTW) admired Lovecraft is enough to discredit Wilson.

One of the reasons I admire Wolfe's writing of the 1970s and recommend it to my friends who "don't read science fiction", is that Wolfe's prose in The Fifth Head of Cerberus and Peace is just as powerful as anything by Proust or Nabokov. Unfortunately, Wolfe's rich feel for the English language disappeared in the 1980s and some of his recent novels and short stories sound as bad any most genre fiction.

Agreed on all points (unfortunately, on the last). The The Fifth Head of Cerberus had a powerful effect on me, ditto Peace, and especially and forever The Book of the New Sun, which will in the fullness of time be remembered as a landmark work of the Twentieth Century. Soldier in the Mist is quite good, but with the odd There are Doors his genius seems to start to fading. I started the Book of the Long Sun but after the first volume, I did not want to be disappointed again.

Well deserved (1)

SpuriousLogic (1183411) | about a year ago | (#43732583)

He is a fantastic writer, and one of the best living authors. The award is well deserved

My favorite writer (1)

mikeabbott420 (744514) | about a year ago | (#43733165)

Wolfe is my favorite writer and Peace is my favorite book.

Gene's great, but... (1)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | about a year ago | (#43735277)

I was hoping they'd induct Iain M. Banks before his allotted time with the displacement drone. Yeah, I know he's never won a Nebula, but he would have.

As you can tell from my account name, I'm a bit of a fan.

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