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The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories Paperback – July 15, 1997
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
Wolfe's collection is superb. It features all three of his Island -- Doctor -- Death stories ("The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories," "The Death of Dr. Island," and the "Doctor of Death Island"), all three of which are superb. The collection also features such wonderful short works as "Seven American Nights," "Alien Stones," The Hero as Werewolf," and "The Eyeflash Miracles."
As you can probably guess from the title, the three Island -- Doctor -- Death stories form the heart of the collection. They are amazing not only in that all are great stories but that, despite the title similarities, each is different from the other. "The Island of Dr. Death," deals with a young boy who flees life by entering the fantasy world of the book he is reading -- a book that sounds as if it were The Island of Dr. Moreau as written by Edgar Rice Burroughs. "The Death of Dr. Island," possibly the best story in the book and one of the best SF stories ever written, deals with a three young sociopaths receiving therapy in a space station. Dr.Read more ›
There's no denying that Gene Wolfe is a very variable author. And wordy, and kind of baroque and labyrinthine (I'm a bit wordy myself), and he has kind of a special way of viewing women and sex. (It's not too difficult to see something a little unsubtly phallic in all these stories of guys charging around with enormous swords, for example.) But if you can swallow the lumps, or leave them on the side of your plate, there are elements in his stories that get to a very deep part of you, and stay with you for a long time.Read more ›
I first read this book several years ago an! d made the mistake of lending it to a friend who was clever enough not to return it. I have been searching for another copy ever since. I bought a copy of the reprint the day it arrived in stores and have come back to the stories again and again. No doubt my new copy will soon be in the same tattered state as my old one--but I won't make the mistake of lending this one out. Do yourself a favor--buy this book, read it and reread it, and never, ever lend it to a friend. I guarantee it will never be returned.
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 suspiciously 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 exhibition 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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wasn't completely taken with this book. The Doctor Death stories were pretty interesting but for the most part, the stories weren't that memorable to me. Read morePublished 19 months ago by E. Reeves
This collection is one of Wolfe's best, if not the best. It contains only classics and is a great place for those new to Wolfe to begin. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Curtis
Some great short stories here. His writing is unique...powerful. A couple of my favorites from this selection are _The Death of Doctor Island_ (a psychological thriller in SF... Read morePublished on October 7, 2013 by Erekose
This is good writing period. There is a reason Wolfe has so many fans, he knows his craft. This is a great collection of his short fiction. Read morePublished on May 11, 2013 by Boba Jeff
I'm rereading this book for the fourth time maybe (I've lost track), going back to when I was in junior high, and I'm finding that my opinions of certain stories have changed over... Read morePublished on October 25, 2011 by Miles
Gene Wolfe has always been the kind of author that makes me feel guilty and maybe a little dumb. All his works - but especially his short fiction - require undivided attention, an... Read morePublished on August 2, 2010 by Roland
Amazing - thank you Frank! Somewhere between the best science fiction earthbound and DeLint's secrets inside of our cities ... is how Wolfe reads to me. Read morePublished on March 14, 2009 by Akethan
The stories in this book are almost all winners. Read with care or you will miss critical details. Wolfe never explains completely, and he never gives a clue twice. Read morePublished on May 27, 2008 by Charles Tallman
Wolfe is the best writer at work in SF and fantasy. These early stories prove just how subtle, exciting and completely riveting his writing can be. Read morePublished on August 3, 2005 by Wakdjunkaga