Gene (Rodman) Wolfe

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(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Gene (Rodman) Wolfe 1931–

American science fiction and fantasy novelist and short story writer.

Wolfe blends the intellectual appeal of science fiction with the emotional appeal of fantasy to explore contemporary themes. Among Wolfe's major concerns are the isolation and alienation of the individual and the terrors of daily existence. Wolfe's stories are typically open ended, and his protagonists are often children or young men trying to make their way in the world.

Wolfe has only recently emerged as a popular storyteller, although critics have praised his writing since the publication of The Fifth Head of Cerberus in 1972. Cerberus, which explores identity and selfhood, and The Book of the New Sun, a tetralogy that examines a decaying planet and the myth of a new sun which may be that planet's only salvation, are ranked among the most important science fiction works written in the last decade.

(See also Contemporary Authors, Vols. 57-60; Contemporary Authors New Revision Series, Vol. 6; and Dictionary of Literary Biography, Vol. 8.)