Innocents Aboard: New Fantasy Stories (2004)



  • Tor hardcover, 2004, cover painting by Rene Magritte



  • Jacket blurb from the Tor hardcover:
"If any writer from within genre fiction ever merited the designation Great Authoer, it is surely Wolfe ... [who] reads like Dickens, proust, Kipling, Chesterton, Borges and Nabokov rolled into one, and then spiced with all manner of fantastic influences from H. G. Wells to Jack Vance, H. P. Lovecraft to Damon Knight. Modernist or post-modernist, formal allegorist or anatomist of the deepest complexities of the human soul, he is a wonder, yes, a genius, wiht a crooked lupine smile." -- The Washington Post Book World

GENE WOLFE has spent a long career collecting admiring reviews from readers and fellow writers across the spectrum of tastes and continues to produce top-notch work at all lengths. Perhaps best-known for his extended science fiction/science fantasy opus encompassing The Book of the New Sun, The Book of the Long Sun, and The Book of the Short Sun, he nonetheless demonstrates unsurpassed skill in writing across all the genres of the fantastic: from hard science to high fantasy with stops along the way in contemporary fantasy, magical realism, horror, ghost stories, and everything in-between.

This collection appears between the publication of the two volumes of his latest masterwork, The Wizard Knight, and, for the first time, focuses solely on his shorter works of fantasy and horror. As he himself admits in his short intorduction, he believes in ghosts, "having had Certain Experiences," and he brings an authenticity of feeling and a true conviction to the stories in which ghosts appear. In fact, "Houston, 1943" contains much material that is autobiographical, although it has to be left as an exercise for the reader to decide where fact leaves off and fiction begins.

Once you begin reading his words, you have surrendered yourself into the hands of a master storyteller. you can't ever be sure exactly what will happen, but you can be utterly confident that the story will be surprising and challenging, that you will be entertained and transported to places you would never imagine on your own, and that you will remember the experience for a very long time. So, open the book, start the first story, and prepare yourself for the thrill ride of a lifetime. Terror, woner, awe, and surprise are all lurking within, awaiting the opportunity to leap out and clutch at your heart.

"His stories set standards by which the rest of us must measure ourselves. they will endure." -- Michael Swanwick

GENE WOLFE lives with his wife, Rosemary, in Barrington, Illinois.