The Hero as Werwolf

Publication(s)

  • First publication
    • The New Improved Sun, ed. Thomas M. Disch, Harper 1975
  • Wolfe collection(s)
  • Chapbooks
    • The Hero as Werwolf, Pulphouse Short Story Paperbacks #40, Pulphouse Publishing 1991
    • The Hero as Werwolf, Pulphouse Short Story Hardbacks #22, Pulphouse Publishing 1991
      Note: This hardcover is a leather-bound, signed, limited edition of 100 copies.
  • Other reprints
    • The Best Science Fiction of the Year # 5, ed. Terry Carr, Ballantine 1976
    • The Best of Omni Science Fiction, No. 6, ed. Don Myrus, Omni 1983
    • Tomorrow Bites, ed. Greg Cox and T. K. F. Weisskopf, Baen 1995
    • Aliens Among Us, ed. Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois, Ace 2000
    • Supermen, ed. Gardner Dozois, St. Martin's 2002

Comments

  • The epigraph is the last four lines of 'Hunting Song of the Seeonee Pack', from The Jungle Book (1894) by Rudyard Kipling. Full text of poem here.
  • Wolfe's spelling, Werwolf, is a variant that goes back to the etymological root in Anglo-Saxon, where wer meant "man," thus "werwolf" == "man-wolf."

Interpretations

  • The final scene of Janie chewing through Paul's foot to get him out of the trap and washing his feet with her tears is like story of Jesus having his feet washed with the tears of the repentant prostitute.
  • The sympathies of Wolfe are clearly with the real humans. Even though they have been reduced to cannibalism, they are better than the "improved" race which has lost all humanity and compassion.

Unanswered Questions


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