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R. A. Lafferty

"About A Secret Crocodile"
© Galaxy, Aug 1970
Does Anyone Else Has...1974

"All The People"
© Galaxy, Apr 1961
900 Grandmothers, 1970

"And Name My Name"
© Orbit # 13, 1974

"And Read The Flesh Between The Lines"
© Universe # 4, 1974
Through Elegant Eyes, 1983
--foreign short story : 1995 Seiun
--/ cool sf story

© Whispers, Dec 1976
Iron Tears, 1992
--/ cool f story
--/ humour award

"Brain Fever Season"
© Universe # 7, 1977
Through Elegant Eyes, 1983

"Bright Flightways"
© Chrysalis # 3, ed. R. Torgeson, 1978
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award
--/ style award

"Continued On Next Rock"
© Orbit # 7, 1970
Strange Doings, 1972
--short story : 1971 Hugo
--novelette : 1971 Nebula
--short fiction : 1971 Locus /3
--international sf : 1972 Ditmar

--/ cool sf story

"Eurema's Dam"
© New Dimensions # 2, 1972
Golden Gate And Others, 1982
--short story : 1973 Hugo W (tie)
--short fiction : 1973 Locus 16 (tie)
--foreign short story : 1975 Seiun W

--/ cool sf story

"Ginny Wrapped In The Sun"
© Galaxy, Aug 1967
900 Grandmothers, 1970

"Interurban Queen"
© Orbit # 8, ed. D. Knight, 1970
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea: small trains instead of cars

"The Man Who Never Was"
© Magazine Of Horror, 1967
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award

"The Man Who Walked Through Cracks"
© Chrysalis # 3, ed. R. Torgeson, 1978
--/ idea award


"Narrow Valley"
© F&SF, Sep 1966
900 Grandmothers, 1970
--short story : 1999 Locus All-Time Poll /40
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award
--/ humour award

Here is the typical "Lafferty-yarn": perfectly skewed piece of nonsense, wrapped in a dead serious narrative with a brilliant idea in the center and an eye for cracked grandiosity. In this story he investigates a very peculiar geological phenomenon, mixing it with the dream-logic of typical tall tales. Check out this quote: "It is a continental fault coinciding with a noospheric fault," said the scientist. "The valley really is half a mile wide, and at the same time it really is only five feet wide. If we measured correctly, we would get these dual measurements. Of course it is meteorological! Everything including dreams is meteorological.... There is a clear parallel in the Luftspeigel sector in the Black Forest of Germany which exists, or does not exst, according tho the circumstances and to the attitude of the beholder. Then we have the case of Mad Mountain in Morgan County, Tennessee, which isn't there all the time, and also the Little Lobo Mirage south of Prisidio, Texas, from which twenty thousand barrels of water were pumped in one two-and-a-half year period before the mirage reverted to mirage status. I'm glad I was able to give a scientific explanation to this or it would have worried me." Some call Lafferty a genius, some dissmiss him as too oblique. As one reviewer says: "That problem is exacerbated by the fact that under superficial consideration he looks easy... readers and critics should make some effort to look beneath the hood to see what was what, otherwise his complexities--of both language and meaning--end up dismissed as just nonsensically bad ordinary writing. As a thirsty drinker expecting the taste of a soda pop might well spit out in disgust a mouthful of vintage brut champagne, so might an SF reader expecting typical SF reject vintage Lafferty."
review: 12-Sep-06 (read in 2001)


© Galaxy, May 1973

"Primary Education of the Camiroi"
(Camiroi series)
© Galaxy, Dec 1966
Nine Hundred Grandmothers, 1970
--story: Best SF 1968 list
--/ cool sf story
--/ idea award: super education curriculum

"Puddle On The Floor"
© New Constellations, ed. T. Disch, 1976

© Galaxy, Dec 1961
Strange Doings, 1972
--/ cool sf story

"Selenium Ghosts Of The Eighteen Seventies"
© Universe # 8, 1978
Iron Tears, 1992
--novelette : 1979 Locus /15

"The Six Fingers Of Time"
© IF, Sep 1960
900 Grandmothers, 1970
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

"Slow Tuesday Night"
© Galaxy, Apr 1965
900 Grandmothers, 1970
--short story : 1966 Nebula
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ idea award

"A Special Condition In Summit City"
© Universe # 2, 1972

© Shadows, ed. C. Grant, 1978
--/ fourth place sf story
--/ wonder award
--/ idea award

"St. Poleander's Eve"
© Chrysalis # 4, ed. R. Torgeson, 1979

"Thieving Bear Planet"
© Universe # 12, 1982
Iron Tears, 1992

"This Grand Carcass"
© Amazing Stories, Nov 1968
Does Anyone Else Have Something Further to Add?, 1974
--story : Best SF 1969
--/ cool robot sf story

"Through Other Eyes"
© Future, Feb 1960
900 Grandmothers, 1970
--/ cool sf story

"Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne"
© Galaxy, Feb 1967
900 Grandmothers, 1970

"The Ugly Sea"
© The Literary Review, Fall 1960
Strange Doings, 1972

"You Can't Go Back"
© IASFM, Sep 1981
Iron Tears, 1992
--/ cool sf story


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Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Exceptional British Scifi Artwork from the 1950s

Space Pulp Art by Ron Turner and other British artists

Pulp Pleasures: Eando Binder

Great space adventure fiction from the 1930s
"Where Eternity Ends" and other rare gems

Epic Fantasy: the Start of the Journey

Part 2 of our "Best Classic Fantasy" series
incl. works by Henry Kuttner, Tolkien, etc.

Strange Shadows: Best Classic Fantasy

Fantasy "glitches in the matrix",
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Classic Cyberpunk SF Novels: Reviews

Neal Stephenson, William Gibson, K. W. Jeter, et al
(awesome must-reads)

10 Possible Sources of "Avatar" in Classic Science Fiction

Going beyond the obvious "Dances with Smurfs"...
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"Steampunk" Anthology: Full Review

some truly crazed stories in there...
(plus artwork by John Coulthart)

"Dune", Plus Often-Neglected
Other Novels by Frank Herbert

"Dune", plus some overlooked gems:
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Universe at Play:
Two Must-Read Novels of the Fantastic

"The Yiddish Policemen's Union" by Michael Chabon...
and David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas"

Two of the Most Entertaining SF Novels from the 1980s

"Vacuum Flowers" by Michael Swanwick...
and Tim Power's "The Anubis Gates", of course!

"The Body Snatchers" and Other Alien Pods

Fiction by Jack Finney, Vance, Simak and Bloch
mind impostors and emotion imitators

Exploring the Noir and the Grotesque

Jack O'Connell "The Resurrectionist"
and other newest examples of the bizarre

Overpopulation, Sex and Sensibility

Robert Silverberg's "The World Inside"
and other classic sf blasts

H. P. Lovecraft "At the Mountains of Madness"

and other masterpieces of terror
including original illustrations

"Constellations", edited by Peter Crowther

original anthology, 2005
full review: mind-bending stories

The Ultimate Guide to New Writers of SF&F

more than 2,000 writers, 1990-2009
Ratings, awards, web links

The Surreal Office

"The Situation", "The Cookie Monster"
Weird fiction by Jeff VanderMeer and Vernor Vinge

Mind-shattering Novels of Philip K. Dick

"UBIK", "Now Wait for Last Year", etc.

Theodore Sturgeon's "More Than Human"

There’s a problem with this new gestalt being: needs a conscience.

Jack Williamson's "Legion of Space" Series

Classic Space Opera
The ultimate weapon, controlled by a gorgeous woman

Astounding Stories, August 1934

Jack Williamson, Nat Schachner, "Doc" Smith
Epic space opera gems and horror surprises

Rare Pulp SF&F, Issue 3

Leigh Brackett, Fritz Leiber, Vic Phillips
Rediscovered gems of wonder & adventure

William Gibson's Novels

"Pattern Recognition", "Neuromancer"
A Fractured Delight...

Alfred Bester "The Computer Connection"

"Bester was the mountain, all the rest of us..."
Pyrokinetic writing in one neat package

Two Novels by Samuel R. Delany

"Nova" and "Babel-17"
New Wave Milestones, and then some.

Theodore Sturgeon's "The Cosmic Rape"

(and more reviews of his fiction)
Classic SF at its best and most humane

Travel Distant Worlds!

Vintage Space Travel Posters, and more.
Part 3 of Pulp Sf art series...

Alastair Reynolds' Epic Novels

"Chasm City" and "Revelation Space"
And it's only the beginning...

Rare Fantasy Gems by C. L. Moore and Henry Kuttner

Hidden Gems of Pulp Fiction
When two star writers become husband and wife

Grand Old Times... in the Future

Overview of Pulp Art
A Loudly Lurid Universe of Sci-Fi Illustration

Exclusive: Interview with Nancy Kress

From High Fantasy to Hard Science Fiction
A Spectrum of Wonder

Jack Vance

"To Live Forever"
and other Vance extravaganzas

Alastair Reynolds

"Pushing Ice"
Cosmological "noir" chase across space

Charles Stross

"Missile Gap"
Mind-bending Cold War world-building

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 2

Rare stories from the "Age of Wonder"
incl. David Keller, Horace Gold etc.

Ultra-Rare Serials from "Fantasy Magazine"

"Cosmos" + "Challenge From Beyond"
incredible line-up of writers

Hidden Gems of Pulp SF, Part 1

Neat & Rare Stories
incl. the mad rally story "The Racer"

Astounding Stories, June 1935

Full Issue Review
incl. Gallun, Schachner, Campbell

Astounding Stories, May 1941

Full Issue Review
incl. Heinlein, Asimov, Eric Frank Russell

Horace Gold; P. Schuyler Miller

"Apocalyptic Blockbusters"
"Inflexure" and "Spawn": guilty pleasure

Interview with John C. Wright

Plus his advice to new writers
Adventures in Space & Magic

Frank Belknap Long

"The Horror from the Hills"
Great Lovecraftian Weird Novella

Interview with Jeff VanderMeer

Plus his Recommended Reading List
A Triumph of the Bizarre

Alastair Reynolds, Part 2

More "Galactic North" Stories
A Mixture of Hard Sf, James Bond & Jaws...

Alastair Reynolds Review

"Galactic North"
staring down infinity...

Most Shocking Article

"Holey Fools" by M. Christian
Warning: Gross Subject Matter

Alfred Bester Review

"The Stars My Destination"
"...nail it to the Retro Hugo voting board..."

Larry Niven Review

"Neutron Star"
"better get GP alien ship hull"

Poul Anderson Review

"Ensign Flandry"
"or how to start a sub-genre..."

Thomas M. Disch Review

"The Squirrel Cage"
"...seriously mind-bending stuff..."

Henry Kuttner Review

"Mimsy Were the Borogoves" (The Last Mimzy)
"...great storyline for a pretty average movie..."

Robert A. Heinlein Review

"The Moon is the Harsh Mistress"
" caused a tooth ache, and put my brain on freeze..."

Frank Herbert Review

"Destination: Void"
"...a layered cake of ideas and a scientific extrapolation on a genius level..."

Harlan Ellison Review

"The Abnormals"
"...editors slapped the most outrageous titles on his stories..."

James White Review

"All Judgement Fled"
"...the tension is palpable, soon to grow almost unbearable..."

Grand Adventure Strikes Again

Space Opera Article, by Avi Abrams
Based on Arthur Clarke's "Against the Fall of Night"

William Gibson Review

"Burning Chrome"
"...sheer pyrotechnics and exuberance of style..."

Ace Double: Murray Leinster

"The Pirates of Ersatz /The Mutant Weapon"
"...the characters might as well be cats or hamsters..."

Astounding Stories, May 1935

Pulp SF Magazine Review
with many original illustrations

Also read recent posts:
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Space Adventure Article



"SF&F Reading Experience" is part of "Dark Roasted Blend / Thrilling Wonder" family of sites. We try to highlight the most entertaining and rewarding science fiction and fantasy, with emphasis on memorable reader experience, not necessarily general acceptance by the critics. Have fun, and delve into our extensive ratings and reviews!

Most reviews are written by Avi Abrams, unless otherwise noted. Reviews also appear on our unique historical retrospective page Wonder Timeline of Science Fiction. Feel free to submit your own review, if a particular story is not listed here.

All major OFFICIAL AWARDS are highlighted in BLUE
("winner" has a letter "W" by it, otherwise it is a runner-up only)

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--/ first place :
--/ second place :
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--/ cool : (equal to fifth place)

These awards are given in the following categories:
- novel :
- series :
- novella :
- story :
- collection :

Also, there are our personal STYLE / GENRE SPECIFIC AWARDS. These reflect the story's content and the lasting impression on the reader:

--/ wonder award
sense-of-wonder, "visual intensity" and inventiveness

--/ idea award
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--/ romance award
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--/ humour award
funny and cool

--/ emotion award
touching, lasting impression, sensitivity

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altogether wild

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--/ rare find
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