LOOK AT Gene: a genial smile (the one they named for him), pixie-twinkle in his eyes, a reassuring mustache. Listen to that chuckle. Do not be lulled. He holds all the cards: he has five aces in his hand, and several more up his sleeve.
I once read him an account of a baffling murder, committed ninety years ago. "Oh," he said, "well, that's obvious," and proceeded off-handedly to offer a simple and likely explanation for both the murder and the clues the police were at a loss to explain. He has an engineer's mind that takes things apart to see how they work and then puts them back together...
My essay on How to Read Gene Wolfe (of which those are the first two paragraphs) is up at the F&SF website. And so is Michael Swanwick's essay. And so is Michael Andre-Driussi's. I recommend getting the magazine in question, of course. Meanwhile, I just got sent a proof of Gene's next book, called, I think, Pirate Freedom. (Gene Wolfe and Pirates. Two tastes that go great together.)
(It was the matches on the ground, by the railway tracks, that Gene pointed to, in the old press clipping murder case, that cracked it; but of course by then the tramp was ninety years dead...)
Here's the cover of A Walking Tour of the Shambles, which I post because it has a Gahan Wilson caricature of me and Gene on it. Gene is the one with the moustache. I am the one looking troubled.