The first time I read Gene Wolfe’s The Shadow of the Torturer, it was for a college class on fantasy and science fiction literature taught by another author whose books and teaching method I hated in equal measure. As much as I disliked him, and the class he taught, he actually introduced me to one of my favorite authors. I spent the majority of my time in college avoiding any real work or learning, as I mostly took courses where I was at least familiar with the material. Wolfe made me feel stupid. I tried harder after that class.
Much before I went to college, I supported a brief infatuation with visual arts, spurred by my discovery of Yoshitaka Amano -- an artist who provides images for video games and anime yet quite highly esteemed by critics and fans. Neil Gaiman likes him. Neil Gaiman also likes Gene Wolfe. Yoshitaka Amano mostly draws nancy-boys and fairies and the sort of stuff that makes guys like Christian Nutt squeal in delight. Gene Wolfe writes brainy science fiction with almost transparently Catholic themes that offended a good portion of the class for which I was required to read The Shadow of the Torturer. Put em' together and tell me that you didn't just imagine something along the lines of David Bowie rocking out in Papal vestments and Star Trek make-up to a synth-rock doxology of his own writing.
It isn't that I now dislike Amano or his artwork. It's just that seeing something that I liked far more as a thirteen year old mixing with something I came to as an older, hopefully (though not likely) somewhat wiser person fills me with a certain inexpressible dread.
I’m even more terrified by how much I like the combination.
Severian looks like he came out of Final Fantasy back when Final Fantasy didn’t embarrass me so much. Writing about current Final Fantasy can make you feel like you need to assert your masculinity.
Writing about Wolfe will make you feel like you need to proof-read.