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The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (July 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312863543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312863548
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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.

More About the Author

Gene Wolfe is winner of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, and many other awards. In 2007, he was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame. He lives in Barrington, Illinois.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Will make some weird reading, but that's Wolfe.
Haplo Wolf
This collection features some of the best Science Fiction short stories ever written, and is probably Wolfe's best collection.
Amit D.
The strongest point of the story is in the atmosphere.
Roland

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1997
Format: Paperback
I'm usually hesitant about rating books as 9s or 10s on Amazon's scale. There are only perhaps a few dozen books of all time that I'd rate as 10s, and they tend to be written by the likes of Tolstoy and Cervantes. Even within a narrow category, where 10 means "best of this category," I'm hesitant about giving 10s. But, whether the caterory is "modern science fiction" or "20th century short story collections," Gene Wolfe's The Island of Dr. Death and Other Stories and Other Stories gets at least a 9 or 9.5 (and we can round that off to 10 since 9.5 isn't one of the choices).

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.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Blake on October 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
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 ever read. In my teens I read mainly science fiction, and it all seemed to lead to Gene Wolfe, who is the only science fiction author I have any time for these days. (I've read The Fifth Head of Cerberus about 5 times now, and keep noticing new things.)
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.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jtouhey@compuserve.com on July 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
"The Island of Doctor Death ..." has finally been reprinted by Orb Books after being out of print for many years. It is, quite simply, one of the most remarkable collections of short stories in contemporary American literature. "Seven American Nights" recounts the travels of a foreign tourist in a future Washington, D.C. "Tracking Song" is a haunting tale of a man in search of his identity as he struggles to survive in an alien environment. "The Eyeflash Miracles" tells of a remarkable and innocent young boy who falls prey to a couple of con artists. These are some of my favorites, but each of these fourteen tales has its own magic to work upon the thoughtful reader. What makes Gene Wolfe special is not only his wonderful imagination and evocative use of language, but his humanity, which is evident in the colorful and surprising characters you will encounter on page after page.
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.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Culver TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 20, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
THE ISLAND OF DOCTOR DEATH AND OTHER STORIES AND OTHER STORIES (yes, it's supposed to be titled that way), first published in 1980, is Gene Wolfe's first collection of short stories. It brings together 14 works published in the 1970's, some of which originally appeared in Damon Knight's "Orbit" anthologies. Like with any collection of short stories it ranges widely, but the volume does contain some of Wolfe's finest pieces.

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.
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