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Storeys from the Old Hotel Paperback – December 15, 1995


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Storeys from the Old Hotel + The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Orb Books; Reprint edition (December 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312890494
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312890490
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,234,358 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Warning in his introduction that this anthology contains "some of my most obscure work," Wolfe ( Castleview ) goes on to briefly describe the background of the 34 "storeys," which include some intriguing ideas. Unfortunately, the ideas are generally more provocative and interesting than the stories themselves. In "Straw," for example, Wolfe postulates the invention of the hot-air balloon in 500 A.D.; the story, however, about five balloon soldiers carrying pincer maces and searching for food and straw, goes nowhere. Not entirely disappointing, the collection includes such highlights as "In Looking-Glass Castle," "The Recording" and "The Marvelous Brass Chessplaying Automation." Best is "From the Desk of Gilmer C. Merton," a hilarious series of letters between an up-and-coming SF/horror writer and his agent. The bulk of the works remain either frustratingly short ("To the Dark Tower Came," "Continuing Westward"), far too long ("Trip, Trap," "The Rubber Bend") or simply pointless ("The Flag," "Redbeard").
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

This collection of 31 stories, first published in a limited British edition, assembles previously uncollected material by one of the genre's most intelligent and lucid writers. From a pair of stories featuring the detective March B. Street ("Slaves of Silver," "The Rubber Bend") to a locked-room mystery aboard an interplanetary spaceship ("Cherry Jubilee"), these tales display Wolfe's quirky, literate style. Although some stories are little more than mood pieces, others ("Trip, Trap," "The Marvelous Brass Chessplaying Automation") pierce the veil of the fantastic with an eerie, indefinable clarity. Libraries with a strong audience for speculative fiction will want to consider this.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
5 star
50%
4 star
33%
3 star
17%
2 star
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See all 6 customer reviews
A true artist.
Harcohen
As with all his books, reading him is a slow process, and yet that only makes me feel that I am getting more for my money.
Caterwaul
This isn't a bad collection, but it isn't a great collection -- which means that, for Gene Wolfe, it's a lesser book.
Dan'l Danehy-Oakes

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. LeJeune (mike_l@bellsouth.net) on October 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
I should try to load this review down with penetrating insights into Mr. Wolfe's methods and modus, and his (to me, lofty) place in the post-modern literary world, but I get toungue (finger?) -tied and flounder and it comes off sounding lame. Suffice it to say that this short story collection is interesting in that it is comprised almost entirely of stories that were never published or published only with great difficulty. Not all, or even most, of these stories are science fiction (but then, what of Mr. Wolfe's work has ever been exclusivly SF? And who cares?) These tales form a diverse collection ranging from a various ghost stories, wide ranging fantasy pieces, a light meditation about life as seen from a train, and, as always (Mr. Wolfe's forte'), some very incisive comments on humans and why they do the weird things they do.
My own favorites are "The Sightings at the Twin Mounds," "The Death of the Island Doctor," "Redwood Coast Roamer," "A Solar Labyrinth," and "Redbeard."
If you've never read Wolfe, this is a good place to start. If you have read Wolfe and you don't have this book, then what the heck are you waiting for?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A. A. Chapman on October 5, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gene Wolfe is famous, and rightly so, for his New Sun books and countless imaginative and thought-provoking (and sometimes head-scratching) short stories. Storeys from the Old Hotel gathers what must be the comparatively mediocre leftovers. On the whole, these feature Wolfe's most frustrating qualities: oblique story-telling, endless dialogue, and seemingly lacunose plots. On his better days, these can be worked up to levels inconceivably ingenious (Book of the New Sun, for example), but can sometimes (as with this collection) leave one wondering, "why bother?"

There are, however, some stories worth reading here: the first Liavek story is more entertaining than the usual Gene Wolfe and actually has a surprisingly effective ending. "The Marvelous Brass Chess-Playing Automaton" is another very entertaining piece, with the good kind of Wolfean twists. "Straw" may seem incomplete at first, but keep thinking about it. "Love, Among the Corridors" is a moving retelling of the Galatea story, with role-reversal and addition. "From the Desk of Gilmer C. Merton" is hilarious metafiction. "Death of the Island Doctor" has a special, old-school-graduate-student charm. Finally, "Redwood Coast Roamer" is a set of flash-fiction stories quickly sketched on a long train ride, but they're surprisingly good at every turn.

Completists will want this one, if only for the diamonds in the rough. For others, I would suggest Endangered Species or The Island of Doctor Death and Other Stories and Other Stories.
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Format: Paperback
This was perhaps the first Wolfe collection I'd read eons ago when it was still in hardcover. Storeys is a great introduction for those uninitiated into the Wolfepack. The man can literally write anything. He is one of the most talented, literary, and funny writers in any genre. But he bases his home in science fiction for a reason: no other genre allows as much flexibility. And boy does Wolfe flex his muscle in this collection. There is no typical Gene Wolfe story just as there is not typical Gene Wolfe novel, but one thing you can always count on is quality. He is a true craftsman. He never takes the easy way out, and always gives you more than you were expecting. He is a priceless, timeless talent. A true artist. Read the stories in Storeys and see why Gene Wolfe is the most highly praised author of speculative fiction in the world.
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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.

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