You've said, in the past, that you intend to cover about half of Wolfe's stories in between his novels. And I think that, so far, that has been a good plan. But the short stories Wolfe wrote in the Seventies — or, say, from 1973 to 1980 or so — are, in my view, his very best. (Or maybe I should just say: he was operating at a consistently high level then.) Before and after, I think half is fine. But if you skip half the stories in that era, you're inevitably going to miss some of his best works. So you might want to loosen the constraints in that section, and do a few more. Or, if you can't stand waiting to get to the Book/Sun books another moment, at least hold open the possibility of going back to cover some of the skipped ones later.
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Haha, yeah, we don't have the stomach for it either. But one of the first goals we discussed when we started dreaming up this podcast was exposing more people to Wolfe, and now that we're getting to the major works, we want to give it a shot. Maybe I'll just start leaving books lying around in coffee shops, too.
Awesome. I try to proselytize for Wolfe but I just don’t have the heart for marketing. I want him to be a household name but I recognize that’s asking an awful lot of casual readers. I hope the ads are successful in stirring up some attention both for the podcast and Wolfe.
That is a heart-breaking story, Marc. Brandon and I decided to take out some advertisements for the podcast in SF magazines and an SF podcast or two to see if we can't get some more people reading Wolfe.
Marc: ARES isn't dead, only sleeping: do say more! I, for one, am quite interested in hearing you say more about the politics in Home Fires, although I haven't read it, so maybe I should wait.
The most frustrating thing about the Tor situation is that they won't release the rights. If they don't want to publish Wolfe because they don't think it will make money, fair enough — but why not let someone else do it?
Regarding Hartwell, one of my favorite quotes from him came after he was asked if he understood Wolfe's work. He said "you have to make allowances for genius." What a man. Tor lost a great figure who understood that pandering to the crowd isn't everything even in publishing.
I even went so far as to make a tier list of the uncollected fiction about what should be included for the "negotiations" or whatever you want to call it. It's a shame that did not happen. I don't think, outside of New Sun and Wizard Knight, that Wolfe turned a great profit for Tor - short story collections don't generally sell well outside of a few authors known almost exclusively for their short work. (Harlan Ellison, etc). I think the saddest part of the 2013 Nebula Awards was all the free copies of Home Fires that were loaded up on each table, and I overheard Wolfe lamenting, shame it didn't sell well. (I myself love the book, but it suffers from the "problem "of late Wolfe: the subtext overwhelms the text in a way that engenders confusion in most readers and the assumption that there is nothing behind the gaps in the text - I think most would attribute the holes in Skip's narration to shoddy construction. And at the risk of resurrecting Ares when it is but a week in the grave, the politics lurking on the surface of Home Fires are simply not in tune with the spirit of our age (Hegelian dialectics may not explain history, but they sure do explain trends in ideology). Once I understood the book I saw that the primary change in Wolfe's late style was only that he had become significantly more terse and reliant upon ambiguous dialogue to convey his double meanings.
Oh, yes, of course.
Re: Tor/collection: I don't speak from knowledge, but I'd have to guess that the fact that Wolfe's long-time editor David Hartwell died two years ago may be a factor here. The person used to promoting, shepherding, etc, Wolfe's work is no longer there.
Do you know how many copies Tor would have to sell for it to be worthwhile?
My editor was trying to get a collection of his uncollected stuff together but Tor books has the first option on it (which they will do nothing with until something happens to create a great demand) - I would love a Wolfe collection like the Integral Vance, which I was too poor to get at the time it came out. I would find the money for a wolfe collection of that type, of course.
Yes! We don't have For Rosemary, and our copies of the other two are not in the greatest shape (same with my Operation ARES). I'd also love to get the rest of his stories collected. I think there's enough for at least one book, probably two.
I'd like to get both of those books. I'm particularly interested in Letters Home, actually. But both are long out of print & unavailable. Someone should put out an edition which collects Young Wolfe, Letters Home and For Rosemary — sort of the way that Castle of Days rescued Castle of the Otter from obscurity.
Haha, yes. "When are you getting to New Sun?" is the email we receive most often.
We've got a copy of Young Wolfe, which we're eager to get to someday, as well, and we both want to do something with his letters home from Korea.
I agree with both of you about Wolfe's novellas — some of his best work. (And not an accident, perhaps, that Book of the New Sun began as a novella...) And for all that it is also a novel, we're about to get a taste of his novellas with "Fifth Head". And "Alien Stones", too.
I understand you and your audience are eager to get to the novels, and I hardly expected this thought to change your plans. Obviously, you ought to do what you feel is best for you & the show. Just thought I'd throw it out there.
We don't disagree! Indeed, if I had my druthers, we'd just cover everything in order and take thirty years to do it. But we know that most readers are fans of Wolfe's novels, and so we want to make sure we get to them. As it is, I think it'll be late 2020 before we get to New Sun. That said, we're absolutely not opposed to "going back" and covering things we've skipped, and indeed we'll be covering the runner-up from our Patreon vote later this year just because we want to.
You commented in the other thread (great conversation!) about Marc's opinion of Seven American Nights. Marc had an addendum to that in the interview, in which he said that Wolfe's novellas are all awesome. He's not wrong, and I think his novellas are some of my favorite of his pieces -- so they'll all get covered one way or another.