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HomeCultureThe Catholic Tradition Podcast: Ep. 77 - Gene Wolfe, Catholic Sci-FI Legend

The Catholic Tradition Podcast: Ep. 77 – Gene Wolfe, Catholic Sci-FI Legend


Jun 12, 2020

After a lot in style demand, Thomas pays tribute to legendary
Catholic sci-fi author Gene Wolfe, who handed away final 12 months.
Although not recognized to most people, Wolfe is a sci-fi creator’s
sci-fi creator—numerous his contemporaries thought-about him not
solely one of the best within the style, however in American fiction on the time
(Ursula Le Guin stated “Wolfe is our Melville”). Amongst at this time’s
writers, certainly one of his greatest followers is Neil Gaiman.

One critic described Wolfe’s magnum opus, The E book of the
New Solar
, as “a Star Wars–type house
opera penned by G. Okay. Chesterton within the throes of a
spiritual conversion.”

Wolfe additionally held the patent on the machine that makes Pringles.
That’s his face on the can.

On this episode, Fr. Brendon Laroche feedback on Wolfe’s works,
whereas Wolfe’s buddy, Catholic historian and sci-fi skilled Sandra
Miesel, shares private reminiscences.


[2:48] Why Fr. Brendon likes Gene Wolfe

[4:14] Cryptic but entertaining, evocations of reminiscence,
comparisons to Bradbury and Chesterton

[13:23] Wolfe’s standing on the earth of sci-fi and speculative

[16:50] Sci-fi therapies of medieval characters, dialogue of
“Beneath Hill”

[22:57] The character and potentialities of “style” fiction

[32:03] Sandra Miesel’s involvement within the sci-fi world,
friendship with Gene Wolfe

[35:21] Wolfe’s distinctive and unusual thoughts, broad studying and
vocabulary, writing Sandra into his magnum opus

[38:01] Wolfe’s conversion to Catholicism and devotion to his
spouse, Catholics within the sci-fi world

[40:04] Wolfe’s magnum opus as Augustinian confession; the
non secular perform of fantasy

[46:00] Premise and themes of The E book of the New

[52:26] Sacramentality and remedy of symbols [spoilers

[1:02:38] Sandra’s work as a grasp costumer, its affect on
Wolfe’s invention of Severian

[1:06:11] Sandra on Catholicism in Wolfe’s writings, his

[1:10:05] Wolfe’s delicate allusions and puzzles

[1:20:44] Wolfe’s remedy of sexuality; torture and illicit
pleasure as two sides of the identical coin

[1:27:58] Opening paragraph of “The Fifth Head of Cerberus”

[1:30:52] Colourful anecdotes about Wolfe and different sci-fi
legends; reflections on how the scene has modified


Really helpful start line: The Better of Gene Wolfe

The E book of the New Solar in two volumes: book/dp/0312890176/ book/dp/0312890184/

Learn the quick story “Beneath Hill” http://www.infinitematrix.internet/tales/shorts/under_hill.html


Wolfe’s essay on Tolkien, “The Finest Introduction to the

Tolkien’s letter to Gene Wolfe
http://tolkiengateway.internet/wiki/Letter_to_Gene_Wolfe#:~:textual content=Onpercent207percent20Novemberpercent201966percent2Cpercent20J.R.R.,thepercent20footnotepercent20ispercent20inpercent20script.

Interview with Wolfe coping with his Catholicism https://www.gwern.internet/docs/fiction/1992-jordan.pdf

Sandra Miesel’s “A Dialog with Catholic SF Writers”

Two totally different (non-Catholic) podcasts that are fairly useful in
exploring Wolfe’s many and assorted works: The Gene Wolfe Literary
Podcast (
and Alzabo Soup (


Observe-up feedback from Sandra Miesel: “A current guide to be taught
how the sphere operated within the Good Previous Days is ASTOUNDING by Alec
Nevla Lee.

My novel was DREAMRIDER, later expanded as SHAMAN printed by
Baen Books in paperback (1989). I co-edited with Paul Kerry an
tutorial guide, LIGHT BEYOND ALL SHADOW on faith in JRR Tolkien’s
works. I co-edited with David Drake two anthologies about sf
writers influenced by Kipling, HEADS TO THE STORM and A SEPARATE
STAR. I edited or packaged books by Poul Anderson, Gordon R.
Dickson, and Andre Norton.

And the way did I neglect to say my most profitable publication,
THE DA VINCI HOAX coauthored with Carl Olson?”


Another novels talked about:

By Gene Wolfe: Latro (sequence), The Urth of the New
, The E book of the Lengthy Solar (sequence)

Poul Anderson, The Excessive Campaign

James Blish, A Case of Conscience

Frank Herbert, Dune

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