Earlier this year, I had a not-so-good reading experience with a short story by Gene Wolfe. I knew I was missing some references and lacked the proper decoder ring to figure them out. Dave Tallman just recently commented on that post and pointed me to WolfeWiki, a reference that strives to explain all the multi-faceted layers of Wolfe’s writing. From WolfeWiki’s description:
Wolfe is best known as a writer of science fiction and fantasy, but his work encompasses poetry, horror, “magical realism,” and much more. Much of his work is designed to force the reader to work with the writer, using techniques like lacunae, unreliable narrators, shifting points of view, and many others to create mystery. It may be that a given Wolfe text has no “correct” interpretation, or even a “correct” answer to the question, “what happened in that story, anyway?”
But the mystery and the effort the reader expends in trying to understand a Wolfe text are, for some readers, more valuable than any number of the easy-to-understand pabulum-texts that appear on the shelves of our grocery stores and airport newsagents.
The wiki openly admits that it is probably not the best starting place for the Wolfe novice. For that, they offer this: A Novice’s Guide to the Gene Wolfe.
Thanks for the pointers, Dave! Next time I get stuck, I’ll definitely look to the contents of WolfeWiki for some assistance.