Remembering Gene Wolfe (1931 – 2019)

Gene_Wolfe-2005In his worldwide hit “American Pie” from 1971 singer and songwriter Don McLean sang of “the day the music died”, refering to the death of rock’n’roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. Richardson in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, in 1959.

April 19th, 2019 could justly be called “the day science fiction died”. With the passing of Gene Wolfe the last of a great influential generation of science fiction writers born in the 1920ies and 1930ies has gone and a founding and shaping era of the genre has finally ended.

The last decade has seen the death of a number of great science fiction writers, among them Brian W. Aldiss, J.G. Ballard, Thomas M. Disch and Ursula K. LeGuin. Gene Wolfe was, in my humble opinion, the greatest of them all, a subtle and refined artist that I admire like no other writer in science fiction and fantasy.

Gene was what you call a writer’s writer, far too little know to a wider audience but revered by a devoted circle of readers and, even more, by his peers who may learn for decades to come from the literary skills that he displayed in his two most important masterpieces, The Fifth Head of Cerberus (1972) and the four volume The Book of the New Sun (1980-1983).

It will be hard to fill the gap that these writers and especially Gene Wolfe have left. The world of imaginative fiction is poorer without him.




Kurd Laßwitz Preis nominations

The Kurd Laßwitz Preis is the most important German science fiction award, bestowed by the science fiction professional in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. I have received the award three times, in 2000 for the translation of Iain M. Banks’ Feersum Endjinn in collaboration with Horst Pukallus and in 2008 and 2011 for my novellas “Der Moloch” and “Die Schwelle”.

Award trustee Udo Klotz has recently announced the nominations for 2019. I was honored to note that I have been nominated in the special award category, together with Ronald M. Hahn, Helmuth W. Mommers and my subsequent co-editors Olaf G. Hilscher, Frank Hebben and Michael Haitel, for the founding and continuation of the German science fiction magazine Nova which is on the market since 2002.

Nova has fared well on this year’s KLP shortlist. No less than three stories from Nova have been nominated in the best story category: Heidrun Jänchen’s “Baum Baum Baum” and Thomas Sieber’s “Enola in Ewigkeit” (my favorite) from Nova #25 as well es Thorsten Küper’s “Confinement” from Nova #26.


Live music at Second Life art sim

Asmita Duranjaya is a prolific virtual artist that I have collaborated with numerous time. She has invited me to play two tracks of electronic live music during the next of her monthly Fracticularium events in Second Life, inventive live animations using fractal patterns and images.

My gig will be on Monday, March 25th, starting at 1:00 pm Second Life time / 22:00 CET. The landing point is here.


Live music at protest event in Second Life

My fellow writer Thorsten Küper has organized a virtual protest event against the planed revision of the European copyright law that would result in significant restrains of the free Internet. I have been invited to contribute half an hour of electronic live music.

The event will take place in the 3d Internet world of Second Life on Sunday, March 24th, beginning at 20:00 CET. The landing point for my gig is here.


Collaboration with Horst Pukallus republished

Horst Pukallus, one of the best writers and translators in German postwar science fiction, has supported me for many years and I would be nothing today without what I was honoured to learn from him. In 1989 we published our collaborate novel Hinter den Mauern der Zeit, a science fiction thriller and tribute to Philip K. Dick inspired by rumors that Dick had feigned his death in 1982 to live in hiding. Apex Verlag has just republished the novel in print and as e-book.



First novel republished

My first novel Rubikon, a first contact story with philosophical accents, was first published in 1984 when I was 22 thanks to the support of my editor and later collaborator Ronald M. Hahn. Self-critical as we writers are I regard only a few parts of it as interesting today. It has thus suprised me that the book seems to have left an impression on some readers, among them my friend Christian Dörge who has just republished the novel as paperback and e-book at Apex Verlag.


Nova 27 published

p.machinery has just published issue #27 of Nova, a magazine for contemporary German science fiction short stories founded by Ronald M. Hahn, Helmuth W. Mommers and me in 2002 and today edited by Michael Haitel and me.

This time it’s a themed issue based on an idea by our former co-editor Frank Hebben. We invited a number of writers to submit modern utopias or at least stories with an optimistic future outlook. As we had hope they all found unusual modern approaches to what may seem as an outdated subgenre of the fantastic. None of their stories presents a smooth portrait of an ideal society.  They instead either depict the downsides of working, but not perfect social orders or they discover utopian prospects in otherwise dark dystopic settings.

The issue includes new stories by Dirk Alt, Marcus Hammerschmitt, Frank W. Haubold, Frank Hebben, Martin Mächler, Frank Neugebauer, Barbara Ostrop, Tobias Reckermann and Thomas Sieber, a translated guest story by C. Stuart Hardwick (USA) and insightful essays by Andreas Heyer and Horst Illmer.