"The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far."
-H.P. Lovecraft, Call Of Cthulhu
Oh yes. I am certainly not beyond "camp."
Today I have a pair of my favorite writer's of "strange tales." Gene Wolfe, a modern master of speculative fiction and Howard Phillips Lovecraft, the undisputed innovator of modern horror.
I feeling pretty low about giving Gene Wolfe the short shrift in this piece. So I will try and make up for it here. And I can do this quickly.
The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories, as you can see from the title is a work of postmodern literature. In self-aware style, Wolfe crafts intricate stories of science fiction, horror and fantasy that forces mainstream readers to access their conception of these often maligned genres.
The comparison that these stories are best made with is the fiction of Tommaso Landolfi, which I discussed during my inaugural (and mostly futile) Lost Books Month.
Wolfe is known mostly to pure fantasy readers, those that B-Line for the codified and corralled genre of big top bookstores. While there is no doubt that Gene Wolfe is a writer of fantasy, he is also a very complex literary stylist who writes on very sophisticated levels. There is no collection of his work where this is more evident than The Island Of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories.
Fans of Italo Calvino, Jorge Luis Borges or even more conventional readers of the above Lovecraft will find a deep, heavily laden gold mine in the writing of Gene Wolfe. I promise. Devil's Accountant Certified.
Man. I should get a "Certified" logo of some sort.
Expatiation achieved. Short shrift made whole.
Here's the link to the full article, mainly about Lovecraft.