Well, here’s an idea. I was talking to a friend last night about ‘unreal books’. Going over details of what you would or wouldn’t add to a ‘best’ of Kim Stanley Robinson. During the discussion I mentioned the idea that it’d be interesting to see what would go into a Best of Gene Wolfe. The book would be limited to a single volume, one hundred thousand words maximum (give or take a few percent).
I had a few ideas, and then I began to think about it. Wolfe is the author of more than two hundred short stories, which have been collected in at least thirteen collections. And he continues to write prolifically, so there are always more stories to consider. There are any number of ‘major’ stories — classics of the field like “Seven American Nights”, “The Death of Doctor Island” and so on – which seem essential. The question is, which ones would you put into a short ‘best of’, a reader, if you will, that is intended to introduce the uninitiated into the world of Wolfe. No repetition, nothing ‘average’: just the best of the best.
There is any number of reasons why, in the real world, such a book might not happen (not the least that I think all of his collections may be in print), but I’d love to see what you guys think should go in such a book. Fill up the comments thread, go wild. For mine, and this is off the top of my head (I’d go and read or re-read ALL of his stories before compiling such a book), I’d start with:
- The Death of Doctor Island
- Seven American Nights
- A Cabin on the Coast
- The Map
What about you guys…?