(urth) This Week in Google Alerts: R.A. Lafferty

Dave Lebling dlebling at hyraxes.com
Mon Apr 16 15:23:58 PDT 2012

I beg to differ on Wolfe in the alternate universe where he never wrote 
the Severian books. The Fifth Head of Cerberus, Peace, his 
Doctor/Island/Death stories, and whatever would have become of the Long 
Sun and Short Sun ideas w/o the Urth books to contaminate (in a good 
way) them would have ensured his place in the pantheon regardless.

Dave Lebling

On 4/16/2012 10:55 AM, Marc Aramini wrote:
> --- On Mon, 4/16/12, Gwern Branwen<gwern0 at gmail.com>  wrote:
>> From: Gwern Branwen<gwern0 at gmail.com>
>> Subject: Re: (urth) This Week in Google Alerts: R.A. Lafferty
>> To: "The Urth Mailing List"<urth at lists.urth.net>
>> Date: Monday, April 16, 2012, 7:27 AM
>> On Sun, Apr 15, 2012 at 10:38 PM,
>> Marc Aramini<marcaramini at yahoo.com>
>> wrote:
>>> if they did something similar with Lafferty I would
>> almost certainly invest in it if the cost were at all
>> reasonable, as I feel like the vast majority of his work is
>> simply unavailable.
>> Probably:
>>> Mike Resnick had this to say about a visit he made to
>> Lafferty's digs in the mid-1980s:
>>>> When I visited his house down in Oklahoma, I opened
>> the guest closet to hang up my coat—and saw a 3-foot-high
>> pile of manuscripts.  He told me they were his unsold
>> books, he had just turned 70, and he wasn't writing another
>> word until Virginia (Kidd, his agent) sold all of
>> these.  She found a little press up in Minnesota, but
>> she never did sell them all.  She used to cry on my
>> shoulder that she and I and four dozen others thought he was
>> one of the greatest short story writers alive . . . but she
>> couldn't find 10,000 people to buy his paperbacks or even
>> 500 to buy his signed, numbered hardcovers.
>> Well! One hopes Gene&  Rosemary have better estate
>> planning than
>> that... At least we don't have to worry about a huge
>> unpublished
>> backlog since as far as I know, Wolfe only has a few things
>> that
>> haven't been published judging from interviews.
>> -- 
> Lafferty is in many ways the opposite of strange one hit mega-successes like "Confederacy of Dunces" - with Lafferty, so much material there but for all intents and purposes unmarketable.
> Gene at least had one series that had true and lasting mainstream appeal, but I fear without that he might have wound up in much the same position of obscurity as Lafferty, and by no means is New Sun the sum total of what Gene had to say to the world. He had one or two early novels that never saw the light of day, but as far as I know those manuscripts no longer exist.  Gene won't leave behind a bunch of unpublished stuff, unless he starts scribbling a whole lot in the next few years and it is not accepted.
> Fame is such a random thing.  Flannery O'Connor will never be forgotten - Lafferty might.
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