- Paperback: 246 pages
- Publisher: Random House New Zealand Ltd (Sep 26 1985)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099392305
- ISBN-13: 978-0099392309
If you're familiar with Wolfe you know that his fiction is occasionally opaque. Wolfe stories very often have multiple meanings that require multiple readings to fully understand. Stories like "Paul's Treehouse" fit this description. Two neighbors are sitting on their lawns. One neighbors son has built a treehouse very high in a tree and refuses to come down. Interspersed with this story is background about some unnamed unrest in the city. Suddenly National Guardsmen swarm the backyard. The son throws rocks at the Guardsmen. The End. Don't ask me for an explanation because I have no idea.
Fortunately, for those of us who are 'regular' readers, many of the stories are much simpler. Among the better pieces are "Forlesen", "The War Beneath the Tree", and "Melting". "The War..." has become one of Wolfe's more well-known pieces. A boy plays with his sentient toys on Christmas Eve. The toys watch packages being placed under the Christmas tree with apprehension. When everyone has gone to sleep, the new toys emerge. The old toys fight them and throw the new toys into the fire. The story ends on a chilling note that I'll let the reader discover for himself.
Gene Wolfe has never disappointed me. He is a writer of quality and passion. His intricate stories can amuse me for hours. He is a top-notch writer and I strongly encourage all fans of speculative fiction to read his works. Highly recommended.