(urth) Gene Wolfe

Marc Aramini marcaramini at gmail.com
Mon Apr 15 17:07:11 PDT 2019

I knew since yesterday when someone tweeted out his neighbor had died, but
the family asked him to delete the tweet. A guy on reddit sent me a message
the same hour for Gene's mailing address, so I had to tell him Gene could
probably never read his letter. Then I was driving back to Vegas, where I
work (two hours from where I live) and my mother called me and asked for
Gene's address because she was thinking of him to send him an Easter Card,
and I said I think he died today mom. I have always been superstitious of
course, but I can't say I'm taking it great. I have to teach Latro in the
Mist in a week and a half for my mythology class and I don't know how I
will be. Here's a copy of what I wrote on Facebook about it.

I have written over 1.2 million words about Gene Wolfe, and yet here at
last is one inescapable thing I am at a loss on how to write. Anyone who
has ever talked books with me knows how I force Wolfe upon them, and
sometimes I reveal the quite personal reasons that such a virtuoso of
cryptic prose maintains such an important position in my life.

When I was a lonely child, his stories were there to keep me company. When
I was a young man, his kind responses to a fan’s letters made such a
difference in a world that is often completely indifferent. Now that I am a
man, it is infinitely clear that without Gene Wolfe, no one would ever
remember my name. My professional and personal lives are so intertwined
around him that I can’t imagine a world without him; there is nothing I
would rather write about, but there is nothing I want to write less than
these paragraphs.

Wolfe passed away on April 14th. I don’t want to go into details of his
biography save to repeat what you can find anywhere: Gene Wolfe was drafted
and fought in Korea, married Rosemary Wolfe, converted to Catholicism for
her, helped invent the machine which makes Pringles, and became the most
literary and erudite of science fiction writers somewhere along the way.
When Rosemary ailed with Alzheimer’s, Gene took care of her. I have been
prepared for this day for some time, but I was ready for it to be tomorrow,
or next year, and never today. Now the day is past, and all those words
that I thought would save me can’t do anything at all to describe how kind
he was, and what a great man he will always be in my mind. There are a lot
of personal stories I could relate from his nearly two-decade
correspondence with me, but I would rather end it with a truth: he was a
true genius with an iconic bushy mustache and an infinitely greater heart.

Of course, he would know what to say about our existences here when I
falter, so I will leave it to him:

“Whether all that came to good or evil, I don't know. Until we reach the
end of time, we don't know whether something's been good or bad; we can
only judge the intentions of those who acted … Perhaps death is only
horrible to us because it's a dividing of the terror of life from the
wonder of it. We see only the terror, which is left behind.”

I hope there is only wonder for my friend now when I feel that horror for
myself and his family, friends, and fans. Gene Wolfe had the chance to live
a full life of acclaim that was never quite loud enough; he was brimming
with a kindness that was never insufficient. At the closing of the 2012
Fuller Award Ceremony I caught Gene Wolfe alone before leaving, and, with a
crack in my voice and a tearful grimace on my face, kneeling down below his
seated figure, I said, “You’ll always be my hero, and I love you, Gene.”
Some things can never change, though no one can straighten what God has
made crooked.

On Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 4:53 PM Ab de Vos <foxyab at casema.nl> wrote:

> What a shock, but his life and work are complete now. I wonder how Marc is
> taking it.
> Op 16-4-2019 om 01:33 schreef Jane Delawney:
> Very sad news. Condolences to his family.
> JD
> On 15/04/2019 18:56, aaron wrote:
> I just saw this. I can't believe it. I pray for his family.
> On Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 12:09 PM Fred Kiesche <godelescherbach at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Tor is reporting that Gene Wolfe has passed away.
>> --
>> F.P. Kiesche III
>> Husband, Father, Good Cook. Reader. Keeper of abandoned dogs. Does not
>> fit into a neat box or category. "Ah Mr. Gibbon, another damned, fat,
>> square book. Always, scribble, scribble, scribble, eh?" (The Duke of
>> Gloucester, on being presented with Volume 2 of The Decline and Fall of the
>> Roman Empire.) Blogging at Bernal Alpha. On Twitter as @FredKiesche
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> --
> Aaron Singleton
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