Every writer has a pantheon of Favorite Super Writers. For me, it's people like Flannery O'Connor and John Steinbeck. They're writers who I look at and think, "I could never write as well as them." Every time I read one of their stories or novels I learn something. I can read and re-read their books over and over. I've read East of Eden probably ten times. I've read some of O'Connor's short stories twenty or thirty times.
Once I find one of these writers, I read everything of theirs I can find. Their stories, novels, essays, interviews, everything.
Gene Wolfe is one of those writers for me. He's amazing. I don't always understand what's happening in his books, but I always love them, and I can't wait for every new book of his coming out. I've found all of his old stuff, read it all. Except for one book. I've never been able to find his first novel, Operation Ares.
But this week I found a copy! I was buying my kids a couple books at Powell's and I dropped by and there it was. Three bucks!
I'm pretty excited, not least because many people agree that it's one of Wolfe's least accomplished novels. Which means there's this slight chance that I might read it and think, "I could beat that."
I'll keep you updated.