Check out the foreword for Shadows of the New Sun, an anthology honoring Gene Wolfe, featuring short stories from Neil Gaiman, David Brin, Nancy Kress, and Wolfe himself! It will hit shelves on August 27—check out the Table of Contents after the excerpt!:
Perhaps no living author of imaginative fiction has earned the awards, accolades, respect, and literary reputation of Gene Wolfe. His prose has been called subtle and brilliant, inspiring not just lovers of fantasy and science fiction, but readers of every stripe, transcending genre and defying preconceptions.
In this volume, a select group of Wolfe’s fellow authors pay tribute to the award-winning creator of The Book of the New Sun, The Fifth Head of Cerberus, Soldier of the Mist, The Wizard Knight and many others, with entirely new stories written specifically to honor the writer hailed by The Washington Post as “one of America’s finest.”
Gene Wolfe got it wrong.
I met Gene a decade ago when the World Horror Convention was held in Chicago, and he and Neil Gaiman were guests of honor. I was on a tight deadline, and so allowed myself only one day at the convention. I picked Friday because I wanted to attend a writing panel Gene was hosting. I’d read—and loved—some of his novels, and Chicago was only an hour away.
His session was in one of the hotel’s ballrooms, and there was a sizable crowd. I picked a spot toward the back and pulled out my notebook.
Gene was seated behind a skirted table on a platform, and he looked to be analyzing his audience, bringing to mind the image of a judge holding sway over a courtroom.
He said that he wanted to know where we were—the audience—in terms of writing so he could better offer advice. To that end, he asked everyone who had submitted fiction to a professional market to raise a hand. Well more than a few hands went up. He decided to define it further.
“How many of you have had short stories published?”
Some of the hands went down.
“How many of you have written novels?”
Only three hands remained.
“More than one novel?”
At this point my hand was the only one up.
He stabbed his finger in the air in my direction.
“How many novels have you written?” he asked.
“A half-dozen or so,” I replied.
“You!” He stabbed the air again. “You! Why are you here?”
I was thoroughly intimidated and regretted not picking another panel to attend.
“I thought you could teach me something,” I told him.
“You!” He turned the finger so it was like a hook, and he waggled it at me. “You! Up here with me. There is nothing I can teach you.”
He proceeded to call it the “Gene and Jean Show,” and I spent the next hour sharing his panel, remaining thoroughly intimidated, but having a fine time.
We ran into each other again at various conventions—Windycon, World Fantasy, and the like. Always he remembered our chance encounter at World Horror in Chicago. Later we’d get together with mutual friends Bill Fawcett and Jody Lynn Nye for dinners. And still later, Gene and I would meet for lunches . . . sometimes for no particular reason, sometimes so he could pass over his dog, Bobby, who would stay at my place while his master was traveling.
My literary hero had become my dear friend. As I type this, Bobby is curled under my desk, his feet twitching and tail wagging as he’s caught up in some marvelous dream. Gene is in Alabama, a guest of honor at Deep South Con.
So I can tell you with all honesty and conviction that Gene Wolfe got it wrong.
He said there was nothing he could teach me. But he did—about the craft of writing, but more about the intricacies, complexities, sorrows, and joys of life.
The statement rings true for every single soul with a tale in this book. Despite busy schedules and pressing deadlines, this stellar collection of authors—among them Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker Award winners, New York Times bestsellers, and international bestsellers—found time to write a story in honor of Gene Wolfe. In some cases the authors insisted they be included, their other obligations be damned.
All because Gene Wolfe got it wrong.
Gene Wolfe taught every one of us—and continues to teach us—a great deal.
We are privileged to be in his debt and in his shadow.
J. E. Mooney, Summer 2012
And as a special treat, take a sneak peek at the Table of Contents for the book!
Foreword copyright ˝ 2013 by Jean Rabe.
“Frostfree” copyright ˝ 2013 by Gene Wolfe.
“A Lunar Labyrinth” copyright ˝ 2013 by Neil Gaiman.
“The Island of the Death Doctor” copyright ˝ 2013 by Joe Haldeman.
“A Touch of Rosemary” copyright ˝ 2013 by Timothy Zahn.
“Ashes” copyright ˝ 2013 by Steven Savile.
“Bedding” copyright ˝ 2013 by David Drake.
“. . . And Other Stories” copyright ˝ 2013 by Nancy Kress.
“The Island of Time” copyright ˝ 2013 by Jack Dann.
“The She-Wolf’s Hidden Grin” copyright ˝ 2013 by Michael Swanwick.
“Snowchild” copyright ˝ 2013 by Michael A. Stackpole.
“Tourist Trap” copyright ˝ 2013 by Mike Resnick and Barry Malzberg.
“Epistoleros” copyright ˝ 2013 by Aaron Allston.
“Rhubarb and Beets” copyright ˝ 2013 by Todd McCaff rey.
“Tunes from Limbo, But I Digress” copyright ˝ 2013 by Judi Rohrig.
“In the Shadow of the Gate” copyright ˝ 2013 by William C. Dietz.
“Soldier of Mercy” copyright ˝ 2013 by Marc Aramini.
“The Dreams of the Sea” copyright ˝ 2013 by Jody Lynn Nye.
“The Logs” copyright ˝ 2013 by David Brin.
“Sea of Memory” copyright ˝ 2013 by Gene Wolfe.
Shadows of the New Sun © J. E. Mooney 2013