If you have never read any of R. A. Lafferty’s unique stories, you’re in for a treat. Lafferty is usually pigeon-holed as a “science fiction writer” but he’s as much a science fiction writer as Borges is. The man wrote dazzling stories that warped reality in humorous and disturbing ways. Think Kafka on crystal meth. Nine Hundred Grandmothers is R. A. Lafferty’s largest collection. Most of his best work can be found here: “The Six Fingers of Time,” “Name of the Snake,” “Narrow Valley,” “Through Other Eyes,” and, of course, the title story. Try these mind-bending short stories on for size. You’ll be glad you did!
Nine Hundred Grandmothers
Land of the Great Horses
Ginny Wrapped in the Sun
The Six Fingers of Time
Frog on the Mountain
All the People
Primary Education of the Camiroi
Slow Tuesday Night
Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne
Name of the Snake
Narrow Valley
Polity and Custom of the Camiroi
In Our Block
Hog-Belly Honey
Seven Day Terror
The Hole on the Corner
What’s the Name of that Town?
Through Other Eyes
One at a Time
Guesting Time


    1. george Post author

      I just came into possession of a handful of Lafferty’s works, Scott. You may be seeing a few more reviews in the coming weeks.

  1. Todd Mason

    He was brilliant as an sf writer, and brilliant beyond sf…no one told tall tales in various modes with greater gusto, not Twain nor Kipling…though in fantastic fiction, Avram Davidson was like him at times, Robert Sheckley or “William Tenn” at their most antic, maybe William Kotzwinkle in certain moods…most of Lafferty’s work is fantasy, but he ranged into crime fiction, such notable historical fiction as OKLA HANNALI, and contemporary mimetic (always his own mimesis!). You’d have to be pretty blinkered, as an old friend of mine was when I gave her a copy of this book, to refer to it, as she did, simply as “good ol’ science fiction”…but, like Borges, he was hardly alien to the form, just simply one of the best we’ve had. Lovely cover by the Dillons, as well, as with most of the first set of Ace Specials.

  2. Steve Oerkfitz

    Great book. Just reread it a couple of years ago. Would love to see someone like Subterranean press republish some of works in nice editions. Wildside has a few things available but they are a bit hard on the eyes.

  3. Steve Lewis

    A few quotes?

    When very young, Hannali would sit on the black ground and chuckle till it was feared he would injure himself. Whatever came over him, prenatal witticism or ancestral joke, he seldom was able to hold his glee. In all his life he never learned to hold it in.

    — Okla Hannali (1972)

    The war was finished. It had lasted ten equivalent years and taken ten million lives. Thus it was neither of long duration nor of serious attrition. It hadn’t any great significance; it was not intended to have. It did not prove a point, since all points had long ago been proven. What it did, perhaps, was to emphasize an aspect, sharpen a concept, underline a trend.

    On the whole it was a successful operation. Economically and ecologically it was of healthy effect, and who should grumble?

    And after wars, men go home. No, no, men start for home. It’s not the same.

    — Space Chantey (1968)

    It was their way of defying that tricky place Earth. That place will hurt you if you let it get the hop on you. They spooked the Earth spooks away with their stories. They whistled in the dark.

    — The Reefs of Earth (1968)

    You could go on and on, and I wish he had. The best of the Ace SF Specials, though, was PAST MASTER, 1968, in which Sir Thomas More is brought from the past to save an idealistic space colony in the future. R. A. Lafferty wrote it, and I’ve never forgotten it.

    — Steve

    1. george Post author

      You might be right, Steve. I haven’t read PAST MASTER in decades. I need to go back and reread it. It may trump NINE HUNDRED GRANDMOTHERS.

  4. Drongo

    My favorite Ace SF Special is Wilson Tucker’s YEAR OF THE QUIET SUN, but a lot of the books in that series were wonderful. Terry Carr did an outstanding job.

    Lafferty truly is a forgotten author. Glad you picked him, George, and I’m glad that Todd mentioned the hugely talented Dillons.


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