Free Live Free


  • First published as a signed, limited edition folio by Mark V. Ziesing in December 1984.
  • Published in a mass-market edition by Tor in the United States in 1985. (This edition cut about 4000 words and added a chronological table at the end.)



From the back cover (ISBN 0312868367 Tor Books; 1st Orb Ed edition paperback):
"Free Live Free," said the newspaper ad, and the out-of-work detective Jim Stubb, the occultist Madame Serpentina, the salesman Ozzie Barnes, and the overweight prostitute Candy Garth are brought together to live for a time in Free's old house, a house scheduled for demolition to make way for a highway.Free drops mysterious hints of his exile from his homeland, and of the lost key to his return. And so when demolition occurs and Free disappears, the four make a pact to continue the search, which ultimately takes them far beyond their wildest dreams.This is character-driven science fiction at its best by a writer whom, at the time of its first publication, the Chicago Sun-Times called "science fiction's best genuine novelist."

Complete plot summary -- SPOILERS



Unresolved Questions


  • Front cover
    "Gene Wolfe is as good a writer as there is today. ... I feel a little bit like a musical contemporary attempting to tell people what's good about Mozart." -- Chicago Sun-Times