The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories and Other Stories Paperback – Jul 15 1997
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“Humane, outrageous, forever unexpected....Some of the best American short stories of the decade are in this book.” ―Ursula K. LeGuin
“This collection makes his work readily available and makes clear that his is one of the names most to be reckoned with...in the literate science fiction of today.” ―Foundation
“Wolfe is simply a superb writer.” ―The Washington Post Book World
“Gene Wolfe is among the best writers working in this century.” ―Fort Worth Star-Telegram
“One of the literary giants of science fiction.” ―The Denver Post
About the Author
Gene Wolfe has been called "the finest writer the science fiction world has yet produced" by The Washington Post. A former engineer, he has written numerous books and won a variety of awards for his SF writing.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
With all that said, I am nothing if not a sucker for punishment, so I keep reading Wolfe's works and keep loving them. The Island of Doctor Death And Other Stories And Other Stories is one of the more ridiculous titles of short story collections out there, and the reason for the repetition is the titular story, The Island of Doctor Death And Other Stories, which is a part of the so called "Wolfe Archipelago" - four stories that all have the words "Island", "Doctor" and "Death" in them. Here endeth the similarities though, as we can see from two of the other three parts of the Archipelago, also published in this collection. While The Island of Doctor Death... is a sort of magical realism and externalized metaphor for escapist literature (the characters from a pulp Science Fiction novel resembling The Island of Dr.Read more ›
The first story in this book may make the reader wonder why exactly Wolfe receives so much praise, for "The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories" (1970) is a very immature work, an unconvincingly written tale of child whose love of pulp adventure magazines helps him escape a broken home. The next story, "Alien Stones", dates from two years later and shows a dramatic improvement in Wolfe's writing. On the surface it appears to be about a spaceship crew exploring an abandoned alien vessel, but under the surface hints at a darker story. Wolfe, like Larry Niven in his 60's hard science-fiction works, unfortunately underestimates the progress of technology---his spacecraft's computer uses CRT's and manual switches---and his far-future female character seems supiciously like a stereotypical ditz of the early 1970's. Nonetheless, the strong storytelling and intricate plot more than make up for this.
"Three Fingers" is a short diversion, an enhibition of Wolfe's droll sense of humour. "Tracking Song" is another of the high points of the volume, the chronicle of a journey on a frozen world where humanity has evolved into myriad diverse forms. The narration is reminiscent of Wolfe's first great novel, THE FIFTH HEAD OF CERBERUS.
If this collection begins with Wolfe's weakest story, it ends with one of his best.Read more ›
One other reviewer called this a perfect introduction to Wolfe. It certainly is. Do not begin with The Fifth Head of Cerberus. That one might turn you off.
Wolfe is at his best in these short stories and he keeps publishing them. I hope an additional collection will appear. Even in his novels Gene Wolfe holds tight to his concept of creating tiny gems of writing. Every chapter in the Book of the New Sun could be seen as a short story. Some of them might well stand alone. Will make some weird reading, but that's Wolfe.
This is a review of this collection, so I will return to this book now. This language is one of the best prose I have yet encountered. Vladimir Nabokov is another superb stylist. If the language won't sedate you the ideas will.
This is so good! On par with the greatest of short story writers. Certainly the top of SF in general.
I'm not giving away anything. Just buy yourself a copy and start reading, slowly. Give it the time it needs. SF readers are generally not used to this kind of writing, but don't think you can't handle it. I don't think that many non-SF/F readers come here, but that's fine. They don't know what they're missing.
Other readers recommended the more favorite stories in this collection. Follow their advice. Start with them.
The two stories mentioned above stand out as the masterworks of the collection. Each is a touching and delicate rumination on love and the tender connections that bind us to one another. In "The Island..." a young boy retreats into the fantasy setting of a Dr. Moreau-type novel when his chaotic family situation comes to a head. (This is only one way to read the story. A literal interpretation makes the story even more interesting and is hardly improbable in a Wolfe story) "Seven American Nights" tells thte tale of a young Middle Eastern man who comes to a ruined (post-apocalyptic?) America in search of a nebulous goal (Wolfe twice tantalizingly mentions something hidden beneath a mountain. Nuclear Weapons?) The young man is entranced by a young actress and his quest is subsumed by desire. A masterful piece.
Other standout stories inlcude "The Toy Theater" about a powerful puppeteer and "The Eyeflash Miracles" wherein a blind boy travels with a deranged ex-school superintendent.
Wolfe tells dense yet powerful stories. I don't claim to fully understand his works, but I do make the attempt. I've yet to read the Gene Wolfe story that wasn't worth my time. He is one of th most accomplished American writers today. This collection of his early short fiction is a marvelous collection and should be read. Highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
This collection features some of the best Science Fiction short stories ever written, and is probably Wolfe's best collection. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2003 by Amit D.
If you've read some reviews of Gene Wolfe, you've probably noticed an interesting trend. People either love him, or they hate him. Read morePublished on Nov. 27 2001 by Indra Sunrise Geerts
Wolfe is at his best when he has room to develop a theme, thus his most engaging stories are the longer ones in this collection: 'The Death of Dr. Read morePublished on March 12 2001 by Stephen Hoy
I've been keeping an eye out for this book since I lost my only copy in 1988 or so At the time I read them (age about 20) they were the most moving and mysterious stories I had... Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2000 by Andrew Blake
"The Island of Doctor Death and other stories," "The Death of Doctor Island"; "Tracking Song"; "The Eyeflash Miracles"; "Seven... Read morePublished on Sept. 4 2000
This is one of the best collections of short fiction ever published, of similar quality to the major collections of Joyce, Poe, Woolf, or Flannery O'Connor. Read morePublished on May 25 2000 by Amazon Customer
And then I taped it back together and read it again and again. One of the stories was just a bit to painful...
If you loved the Urth of the New Sun books, hang onto your hat! Read more
You need search no further to find the epitome of sci-fi/fantasy writing. This collection is it. It delivers like nothing you've read. Buy two...one copy won't last forever.Published on Jan. 27 1999 by Wreknsild@aol.com