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Wolfe’s tetralogy The Book of the New Sun was the most acclaimed science fiction work of the 1980s. In 1990, he delivered his second collection of short fiction to universal acclaim. With over 30 stories in a variety of genres—SF, fantasy, horror, mainstream—many of them offering variations on themes and situations found in folklore and fairy tales, and including two stories, "The Cat" and "The Map," which are set in the universe of his New Sun novels. Wolfe's deconstructions/reconstructions are provocative, multilayered, and resonant.
"Fiction as dense as a neutron star—and just as powerful. I enjoyed every page of Endangered Species."—The Washington Post Book World
"Quite simply, the best single-author collection you will see this year."—Analog
"An excellent showcase of Wolfe’s literary skills."—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
"Wolfe, whose tetralogy The Book of the New Sun was the most acclaimed science fiction series of the 1980s, offers his second collection, a hefty volume of over 30 stories in a variety of genres—SF, fantasy, horror, mainstream. Many of them are variations on themes and situations found in folklore and fairy tales; Wolfe's deconstructions/reconstructions are provocative, multilayered, resonant. Occasionally, too, they seem intentionally enigmatic. Two of the stories, ‘The Cat’ and ‘The Map,’ are set in the universe of his New Sun novels. ‘A Cabin on the Coast’ tells of a promising politician who loses his lover to the fey folk living in the sea. He strikes a bargain for her return, promising to undergo 20 years of servitude. When his lover finally returns, he has lost his youth, and with it, we assume, his future. ‘In the House of the Gingerbread’ is a variation on ‘Hansel and Gretel’ rewritten as a contemporary detective story; and ‘The Detective of Dreams’ is an Arabian Nights tale as told by G. K. Chesterton—its spiritual subtext is made explicit in the end. A predominance of excellent stories makes this a rewarding book."—Publishers Weekly
"Genetic engineering brings mythology to life in ‘The Woman Who Loved the Centaur Pholtus’ and ‘The Woman the Unicorn Loved,’ while a college experiment in social systems goes dangerously awry in ‘When I Was Ming the Merciless.’ Wolfe's second collection of short stories exemplifies the sometimes elusive, always challenging vision of an author whose love of language exceeds the boundaries of genre. For most libraries."—JC, Library Journal