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The Fifth Head of Cerberus: Three Novellas (Paperback)
Tor Essentials presents new editions of science fiction and fantasy titles of proven merit and lasting value, each volume introduced by an appropriate literary figure.
Far from Earth, two sister planets, Saint Anne and Saint Croix, circle each other in an eternal dance. It is said a race of shapeshifters once lived here, only to perish when men came. But one man believes they can still be found, somewhere in back of the beyond.
In The Fifth Head of Cerberus, Gene Wolfe skillfully interweaves three bizarre tales to create a mesmerizing pattern: the harrowing account of the son of a mad genius who discovers his hideous heritage; a young man's mythic dreamquest for his darker half; and the bizarre chronicle of a scientist's nightmarish imprisonment. Like an intricate, braided knot, the pattern at last unfolds to reveal astonishing truths about this strange and savage alien landscape.
With a new introduction by O. Henry Award winning author Brian Evenson
About the Author
Gene Wolfe (1931-2019) was the Nebula Award-winning author of The Book of the New Sun tetralogy in the Solar Cycle, as well as the World Fantasy Award winners The Shadow of the Torturer and Soldier of Sidon. He was also a prolific writer of distinguished short fiction, which has been collected in such award-winning volumes as Storeys from the Old Hotel and The Best of Gene Wolfe.
A recipient of the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement, the Edward E. Smith Memorial Award, and six Locus Awards, among many other honors, Wolfe was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2007, and named Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America in 2012.
BRIAN EVENSON is the author of a dozen books, most recently the story collection The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell (2021). His penultimate collection, Song for the Unraveling of the World (2019), won the Shirley Jackson Award and the World Fantasy Award and was a finalist for the Ray Bradbury Prize. Other recent books include A Collapse of Horses (2016) and The Warren (2016). His novel Last Days won the ALA-RUSA award for Best Horror Novel of 2009. His novel The Open Curtain was a finalist for an Edgar Award and an International Horror Guild (IHG) Award. His 2003 collection The Wavering Knife won the IHG Award. He is the recipient of three O. Henry Prizes, an NEA fellowship, and a Guggenheim Award. His work has been translated into more than a dozen languages. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches at CalArts.
“A richly imaginative exploration of the nature of identity and individuality.”—Malcolm Edwards, The Science Fiction Encyclopedia
“One of the major fictional works of the decade...With its elusiveness and beauty, [it] haunts one long after reading it.”—Pamela Sargent
“A truly extraordinary work. One of the most cunningly wrought narratives in the whole of modern SF, a masterpiece of misdirection, subtle clues, and apparently casual revelations.”—David Pringle, Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels