SFF

The Best of R. A. Lafferty

Tor. Feb. 2021. 288p. ISBN 9781250794819. $30.99; pap. ISBN 9781250778536. $18.99. SF
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Lafferty (1914–2002) was an influential short story writer of the “tall tales” school, who flourished in the 1960s through the 1980s. His work garnered a host of prestigious awards, but Lafferty was best known, and is still celebrated today, as a “writer’s writer,” for all the authors he inspired and influenced. This collection showcases the best of his stories, and features introductions and afterwords by writers he influenced, including Neil Gaiman, Robert Silverberg, Connie Willis, Kelly Robson, Nancy Kress, and John Scalzi. Kress’s intro to “Continued on Next Rock” is particularly poignant, and the story stands out, as do “Eurema’s Dam,” “Sky,” and “In Our Block,” introduced by Gaiman.
VERDICT The stories in this collection sum up the quintessential Lafferty, but the standouts in this volume are the heartfelt introductions. Readers wondering about this writer who influenced their current favorite authors, and those who have seen references to this influential author but are having difficulty finding his work, as much of it has gone out of print, will enjoy this collection.
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