(urth) OT: Lafferty recommendations

Adam Stephanides adamsteph at earthlink.net
Wed Jul 25 09:06:01 PDT 2007

Lafferty is one of my very favorite authors. I would start with _Nine Hundred Grandmothers_, his first story collection; it's his most new reader-friendly collection, and probably also his most consistent. Then probably _Strange Doings_, his next collection. _Lafferty in Orbit_ is good too, but SD has the advantage that you can probably find it cheap by hunting in used book stores. (_Ringing Changes_, another collection, is also good.) I'll also second the recommendation for _Apocalypses_.

Keep in mind that Lafferty is a very different writer from Wolfe. If I were going to describe him in one word, it would be "exuberant," as opposed to Wolfe's deliberateness. Conversely, Lafferty's work doesn't require the close reading that Wolfe's does. Also, Lafferty was even more conservative, politically and religiously, than Wolfe (he was a creationist, for example), though this is almost invisible in much of his fiction, including the collections I suggested.

Lafferty's catalogue as a whole is in a sorry state. In the 80s and early 90s, there were several small presses publishing Lafferty. Then, for some reason, they all stopped at around the same time (leaving two series up in the air), and most of what they published is probably unobtainable now except at collector's prices, if at all. There are also a lot of good stories that were afaik never collected. Somebody needs to publish The Complete Stories of R. A. Lafferty. (I'd like to see all the novels in print, too, but that's probably asking for the moon.)


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