Bernard Wolfe

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Bernard Wolfe (August 28, 1915, New Haven, Connecticut – October 27, 1985, Calabasas, California) was an American writer.

Wolfe was educated at Yale University, and worked in the United States Merchant Marine during the 1930s; in 1937 he served briefly as secretary to Leon Trotsky during the latter's exile in Mexico.[1] During World War II he was employed as a military correspondent by a number of science magazines, and then in 1946 he began to write fiction. Wolfe was the co-writer of musician Milton Mezzrow's autobiography Really the Blues.


He wrote several novels, and plays, mostly for television, but is known primarily for his 1952 science-fiction novel Limbo. Because Limbo was set in the then-distant future of 1990, the original British edition is titled Limbo '90. The publisher claimed that Wolfe had written "the first book of science-fiction to project the present-day concept of 'cybernetics' to its logical conclusion".[2] David Pringle selected Limbo for inclusion in his book Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels.[3] J.G. Ballard praised Wolfe's "lucid intelligence" and claimed Limbo helped encourage him to start writing fiction.[4]Boucher and McComas, however, received the novel poorly, calling it "pretentious hodgepodge" and describing its theme as "a symbolically interesting idea . . . never developed with consistent or convincing details."[5] P. Schuyler Miller gave Limbo a mixed review, describing it as a "colossus of a novel" while faulting its "endless talk."[6]

Selected works[edit]


  • Really the Blues (1946)
  • Hypnotism Comes of Age (1949) [7]

Novels and collections[edit]

  • Limbo (1952)
  • The Late Risers, Their Masquerade (1954)
  • In Deep (1957)
  • The Great Prince Died (also published as Trotsky Dead) (1959)
  • The Magic of Their Singing (1961)
  • Come On Out, Daddy (1963)
  • Move Up, Dress Up, Drink Up, Burn Up (short story collection)(1968)
  • Logan's Gone (1974)
  • Lies (1975)

Short stories[edit]

Many of his short stories were published by Playboy Magazine, and two stories placed in Harlan Ellison's Again, Dangerous Visions anthology.


  1. ^ Isaac Deutscher, The Prophet Outcast: Trotsky, 1929-1940 (Verso, 2003: ISBN 1859844510), p. 460.
  2. ^ Editor's jacket notes for Wolfe, B., "Limbo '90", Penguin: 1961.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ J.G. Ballard, "From Shanghai to Shepperton," Re/Search, 8/9:112-124, 1984.
  5. ^ "Recommended Reading," F&SF, February 1953, p.73
  6. ^ "The Reference Library," Astounding Science Fiction, January 1954, pp.149-50
  7. ^ "Hypnotism Comes of Age". Retrieved 26 January 2014. 

External links[edit]