Gary K. Wolfe

GaryGary K. Wolfe (b. 1946) is one of the foremost scholars working on science fiction today, as well as a prolific reviewer, editor, biographer and conversationalist on issues SF. Currently he is Professor of Humanities at Roosevelt University’s Evelyn T. Stone College.

Wolfe earned his B.A. in English in 1968 from the University of Kansas and his PhD from  University of Chicago in 1971. His first book The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction explored the SF genre as a form of presenting human knowledge at various degrees of certainty. Wolfe’s Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Glossary and Guide to Scholarship (1986) was one of the earliest collections of the terminology of SF scholarship, and he has maintained his interest and contributions to terminological discussions ever since. A single-author study on Harlan Ellison, The Edge of Forever, came out in 2002, written in collaboration with Ellen R. Weil.

Since 1992, Wolfe has written a monthly review column for Locus Magazine, and the texts are collected in Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996,  Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001 and Sightings: Reviews 2002-2006. Since the summer of 2013, he has also had a regular science fiction review column for the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row. Wolfe’s most recent book is Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature, which received the 2012 Locus Award for nonfiction.


Wolfe has received the Pilgrim Award from the Science Fiction Research Association, the Distinguished Scholarship Award from the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts, the Eaton Award from the Eaton Conference on Science Fiction, the British Science Fiction Association Award for nonfiction, and the World Fantasy Award for his critical writing.


As an editor, Wolfe has worked particularly on the American Science Fiction anthology series for The Library of America, covering classic writers from the 1950s. Science fiction fans are also familiar with Wolfe’s voice from the indispensable weekly Coode Street Podcast, which he has co-hosted with Australian editor Jonathan Strahan since 2010.


Coode Street Podcast (

Salon Futura interview (

Locus Magazine review of Leena Krohn’s Datura (


Literary criticism and essays

The Known and the Unknown: The Iconography of Science Fiction (Kent State University Press, 1979).

David Lindsay (Starmont House, 1979).

Critical Terms for Science Fiction and Fantasy: A Glossary and Guide to Scholarship (Greenwood Press, 1986).

Harlan Ellison: The Edge of Forever (with Ellen R. Weil, Ohio State University Press, 2002).

Soundings: Reviews 1992-1996 (Beccon Publications, 2005).

Bearings: Reviews 1997-2001 (Beccon Publications, 2010).

Evaporating Genres: Essays on Fantastic Literature and Sightings (Wesleyan University Press, 2010).

Sightings: Reviews 2002-2006 (Beccon Publications, 2011).


As Editor

American Science Fiction: Four Classic Novels 1953-1956 (2012) Library of America. Including The Space Merchants, Frederik Pohl and C. M. Kornbluth, More Than Human, Theodore Sturgeon, The Long Tomorrow, Leigh Brackett, The Shrinking Man, Richard Matheson.


American Science Fiction: Five Classic Novels 1956-1958 (2012) Library of America. Including Double Star, Robert A. Heinlein, The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester, A Case of Conscience, James Blish, Who?, Algis Budrys, The Big Time, Fritz Leiber.