R.A. Lafferty

Wide-ranging and resistant to classifications of genre or style, R.A. Lafferty can best be labeled, with little room for argument, as brilliant. He spent the better part of his life collecting stories, from the South Pacific during his years in the army to working class yarns from his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. These would later be incorporated into the short stories for which he is best known, frequently bridging science fiction, tall tales, and historical fiction. Folktales and myth animate his characters, whether they be persecuted robots or vagrant mathematicians scratching theorems onto butcher paper in a meat market’s back alley. His three dozen novels chronicle everything from the Fall of Rome to the decline of futuristic utopias not yet born.

A signature off-kilter voice put Lafferty on the short list for Hugo, Nebula, and other top-tier science fiction awards. He challenged readers to keep up with his references to historical figures and the occasional quotation in any one of the languages in which he was conversant, but instead of holding his audience at an academic arm’s length, he drew them in with his charming hucksters and poverty-stricken geniuses who demanded sympathy.

Learn more about Lafferty on his website.

Bibliography

  • Standalone
    Sindbad: The 13th Voyage
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    East of Laughter
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Serpent’s Egg
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Annals of Klepsis
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Aurelia
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Not to Mention Camels
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Okla Hannali
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Arrive at Easterwine
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Fourth Mansions
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Past Master
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    The Reefs of the Earth
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Standalone
    Space Chantey
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    The Best of R.A. Lafferty
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    The Man Underneath: The Collected Short Fiction
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    The Man with the Aura
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    Iron Tears
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    Lafferty in Orbit
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    The Man Who Made Models and Other Stories
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    Ringing Changes
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    Other Short Story Collections
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    Does Anyone Else Have Something Further to Add?
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    Strange Doings
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Collections
    Nine Hundred Grandmothers
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Non-Fiction
    The Fall of Rome
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Novellas
    Apocalypses
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Coscuin Chronicles
    The Flame is Green (#1)
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Coscuin Chronicles
    Half a Sky (#2)
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Argos Mythos
    The Devil Is Dead (#2)
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Argos Mythos
    Archipelago (#1)
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Argos Mythos
    More Than Melchisedech (#3)
    R.A. Lafferty
  • Argos Mythos
    Dotty (#4)
    R.A. Lafferty
     

Reviews

Standalone

Okla Hannali
"This curious and wonderful tall tale contributes to the apocalyptic revision of American history that began with LITTLE BIG MAN and BURY MY HEART AT WOUNDED KNEE. It's the tale of Hannali Innominee, a 'Mingo' or natural lord of the 19th-century Choctaw Indian [and] a capacious, indomitable giant of the ilk of Paul Bunyan [...] Lafferty tells it straight: how the Choctaw nation, once removed, reconstituted itself and thrived in Indian territory [...] how there came a schism between the rich, part-white, slave-owning, moneylending Choctaws and the 'feudal, compassionate, chauvinistic' full-blooded freeholders like Hannali; and how during the Cilv War, the Indians were manipulated divide-and-conquer fashion in helping destroy each other."

Kirkus

"[OKLA HANNALI] is elemental Americana and a great deal of fun."

Wall Street Journal

"The use of the epic form is unusual and effective, and Lafferty's humor is both subtle and boisterous: he writes with warmth and sympathy for the Indian. This is a valuable addition to the growing literature on the subject."

Library Journal

The history of the Choctaw Indians has been told before and is still being told, but it has never been told in the way Lafferty tells it [...] Hannali is a buffalo bull of a man who should become on of the enduring characters in the literature of the American Indian.

Dee Brown, historian and author of Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee

“It’s an American classic.”

Voice Literary Supplement

Arrive at Easterwine
“Mindbending, at times hilarious.”

Publishers Weekly

Fourth Mansions
“Of all the contemporary authors generally considered to be part of the fantasy and science fiction genres, Lafferty is without doubt the most original.”

Supernatural Fiction Writers

Past Master
“As with everything the man writes, the wind of imagination blows strongly, with the happy difference that in a novel he can reach full gale-force. Lafferty defies categorization; his work is unlike anyone else’s. This is a great galloping madman of a novel, drenched in sound and color.”

Harlan Ellison, Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker award-winning author

“Marvelously inventive […] Profound wit and high adventure.”

Roger Zelazny, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Chronicles of Amber series

“It is a minor miracle that a serious philosophical and speculative work should be written so colorfully and so lyrically. There is, happily, no way to categorize the book: it has elements of science fiction, of pure fantasy, of poetry, of historical fiction; it is sharply critical and marvelously gentle; very serious and irrepressibly funny; profoundly symbolic and gutsy-realistic by (unexpected) turns. A first-rank speculative work.”

Judith Merril, author of Shadow on the Hearth and Future People

Collections

The Best of R.A. Lafferty
“Lafferty seems a neglected seer […] and this book deserves a wider audience than it’s found so far.”

Los Angeles Review of Books

The Man Underneath: The Collected Short Fiction
“While generally categorized as a science fiction writer, R.A. Lafferty was — to use the old phrase — sui generis. His gonzo stories, with their surrealist plots and jacked-up diction, revel in excess, bizarreness of every sort and parenthetical winks to the reader. You don’t so much read these absurdist tall tales as let them wash over you.”

Washington Post

“Indeed, all of the short stories, Lafferty’s primary métier, are getting reprinted. But they are not appearing in economical formats designed to attract newbies. Of the novels, both extant and unknown, we hear not a word. Still, what has been achieved is nothing to sniff at, and I, for one, am extremely grateful [...] You get tales that are at once postmodern and ancient; funny and tragic; capricious and predestined; broad yet subtle. They would seem to accurately convey the nonpareil mind and heart and weltanschauung of the writer himself.”

Locus

Iron Tears
"In these wonderful stories Lafferty unfailingly puts us, in his own words, 'into a different juxtaposition with all things else in the world.' Nobody else does it better. In fact, nobody else does it at all — not like this. Lafferty is one of a kind, a magician of strange images made fleetingly recognizable, of familiar emotions made strange and new and haunting. A delight."

Nancy Kress

"The stories in IRON TEARS are alive with the strange combination of beauty and inexplicable terror and wonder found only in dreams."

James P. Blaylock

"I love this book [...] Lafferty is our unheralded American García Márquez [...] a word-slinger totally out of sync with today's slim-fast reductive rhetoric; a sly old buzzard who conjures up fables as lurid as Bible stories and tells them in a tornado of words wild enough to drive wood splinters through a windshield."

Terry Bisson

Other Short Story Collections
“While generally categorized as a science fiction writer, R.A. Lafferty was — to use the old phrase — sui generis. His gonzo stories, with their surrealist plots and jacked-up diction, revel in excess, bizarreness of every sort and parenthetical winks to the reader. You don’t so much read these absurdist tall tales as let them wash over you.”

Washington Post

“Indeed, all of the short stories, Lafferty’s primary métier, are getting reprinted. But they are not appearing in economical formats designed to attract newbies. Of the novels, both extant and unknown, we hear not a word. Still, what has been achieved is nothing to sniff at, and I, for one, am extremely grateful [...] You get tales that are at once postmodern and ancient; funny and tragic; capricious and predestined; broad yet subtle. They would seem to accurately convey the nonpareil mind and heart and weltanschauung of the writer himself.”

Locus

“Lafferty seems a neglected seer […] and this book deserves a wider audience than it’s found so far.”

Los Angeles Review of Books

Nine Hundred Grandmothers
“Wild, subtle, demonic, angelic, hilarious, tragic, poetic, a thundering melodrama and quest into the depths of the human spirit […] R.A. Lafferty has always been uniquely his own man.”

Poul Anderson, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of The Queen of Air and Darkness

Non-Fiction

Novellas

Coscuin Chronicles

Argos Mythos

Awards & Accolades

Collections

The Best of R.A. Lafferty

Non-Fiction

Novellas

Coscuin Chronicles

Argos Mythos