Gene Rodman Wolfe, author, 1931-

Wolfe is a prolific writer of incredibly intricate, multi-layered stories whose works are little known outside the science fiction set, and seldom fully appreciated within it.

Born to the American midwestern middle class, Wolfe served a tour in the Korean conflict before taking an engineering degree. He was editing a trade journal named Plant Engineering when he realized he was selling enough of his fiction to quit the day job and write full time.

Originally a "nominal Presbyterian", Wolfe converted to Roman Catholicism, his wife's religion, after studies he made in catholic theology convinced him of its truth. He acknowledges a literary debt to G. K. Chesterton and C. S. Lewis, but too much has been made of the Catholic influence in his writing by that breed of academics who breeze past an author's writing on the way to explicating it.

According to Wolfe, no definitive bibliography of his published writings exists. The following, then, is offered only as an appetizer, a very abbreviated menu of Wolfe's most famous novels.

Wolfe is still writing, as of 2004, and has told many, many wonderful stories that are not listed in this brief sampler.

Wolfe is far less well known than his merits deserve. "Serious" literary critics automatically dismiss any book with the slightest tincture of science fiction about it, while gushing on cue over the latest drivel to be excreted from the big publishing houses' assembly lines. It won't matter in the long run; when time washes away the myriads of "commercially correct" formula novels and leaves only the works of substance standing, our generation will be seen to have produced no greater master of the English language than Gene Wolfe.