The Man with the Aura: The Collected Short Fiction of R.A. Lafferty Volume 2!

laffertyvol2

Huzzah! It is time! Man, this thing took awhile to get out. Well, a year. But there are to be twelve volumes to this series and if each one takes a year to get out…

Here is the write up from the site if ya didn’t follow the link. [An aside: my spell-checker always red underlines “ya” (did it again!). I’m sorry but I think it is time to grant ya word status. People say ya instead of you and ya instead of yes. If not word status then it should at least be included as a word in spell-checkers!]

SYNOPSIS

In a career that began in 1959 and continued until his death in 2002, R.A. Lafferty garnered the admiration of authors and editors including Robert A.W. Lowndes, Harlan Ellison, A.A. Attanasio, Gene Wolfe, Michael Swanwick and many, many others. His body of short fiction is comprised of well over 200 stories and, despite his vast popularity, there was never a concerted effort made to produce a comprehensive collection of his short fiction, until now.
This is the second volume in a series that will run to a dozen, collecting all of R.A. Lafferty’s short fiction. Whether it be well-known stories such as Narrow Valley or more obscure work such as The Man Who Made Models, all will be collected here in the Lafferty Library. Each volume will feature close to 100,000 words of Lafferty’s fiction and each volume will feature an afterword by series editor John Pelan and a guest introduction by a notable author in the field of fantastic fiction.
This first volume includes an introduction by Harlan Ellison, an afterword by John Pelan, and photographs of R.A. Lafferty. This item is now shipping.

I am not quite sure his career spanned until his death. If I remember correctly he suffered quite a big stroke in 1994 or so and ceased writing. I would like to think he was still pecking away but I do not think he had a career at that point. Also the synopsis says this is the first volume, it is the second. The first, released last year, was The Man Who Made Models. That was reprinted just this week and is available again.

Table of Contents

laffertyvol2contents

This will be a treat as I only own already two of these stories. One, GINNY WRAPPED IN THE SUN, I have in Robert Silverberg’s 1974 collection MUTANTS. The other OLD HALLOWEENS ON THE GUNA SLOPES is from the Lafferty collection: THROUGH ELEGANT EYES: STORIES OF AUSTRO AND THE MEN WHO KNOW EVERYTHING.

Of the last story, I am a little puzzled as to why it is standing alone in this collection as it belongs with the other stories in THROUGH ELEGANT EYES. They are related although not exactly serially. If I remember correctly each of those stories follow pretty much the same characters with Lafferty making small cameos. He is THE MAN WHO KNEW NOTHING.

Just remember when you finally get the whole collection to read the stories as they appear in the original collection. OTOH On the other hand, I didn’t read them out of sequence, so perhaps they work that way as well. Heck, maybe they first appeared in a completely different order than the one I read them in in the collection.

The only other short story collection I have of Lafferty (besides the now two volumes from Centipede Press) is GOLDEN GATE AND OTHER STORIES.

Note – get it from the publisher! My order from Amazon totals $80. I also ordered one directly from the publisher (yeah, I know there are only 300 copies issued – if it sells out and you really need a copy, contact me here! What an asshole! Hey, it is better that a fan and collector skins ya (there it goes again) than a limited scarce copy is bought by someone with no clue what he’s getting and tosses it away because it is not as cool as the next STAR WARS tie-in novel) and that, with shipping, is only $50.

What is Amazon doing charging $30 above cost? Talk about skinning!

Also do NOT order it from Barnes and Noble. They screwed me out of my order. In October I placed an order at the store to be delivered to the store – guaranteed delivery. I paid for it that day in the store. In late December I get an email saying the publication date had been changed and I had 24 hours to click a button telling them I still wanted the item or the order would be cancelled. I got that email (people work and such things) 29 hours after it was sent.

Alright, so you cancelled my order. But I paid for it! I can understand if I hadn’t paid yet. After a week we took the receipt and the emails to the store with us. It took an hour arguing with the store manager about getting our money back. Finally after calling “corporate” about getting our money back he tells us it will be credited to our account in 3 business days. That was a week ago yesterday.

Tomorrow is going to be a bad day for him. As someone who has spent THOUSANDS of dollars there over the years and a member I do not appreciate being fucked by this dinosaur. Have they never heard of Amazon? Alibris?

Anyway. Can’t wait for it!

I should contact the publisher and ask about his longer fiction. For instance his TALES OF MIDNIGHT: MORE THAN MELCHISADECH, running at 103 pages, is a whopping $425 for Amazon’s single available copy! And that is just part of a series that I doubt more than a handful have ever read as a whole. As far as I’ve been able to tell, it would take well over a thousand dollars to complete this tale. 

And this doesn’t cover the unpublished stuff no one has seen – except for those that hold the rights.

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4 responses to “The Man with the Aura: The Collected Short Fiction of R.A. Lafferty Volume 2!

  • danielottojackpetersen

    So excited! Thanks for putting this good news in my inbox. It was the first thing I saw when I woke up the other day. I have to pay around $90 (£60) to get it here in the UK. It was my ‘big’ Christmas present this year (now very belated).

    The Barnaby & co. stories did indeed appear separately and in rather random order. I’ve collected all but one story that’s in Elegant Eyes. They are some of my very faves by Laff and, for me, haven’t suffered from being read in random order (though I would dearly love to own Elegant Eyes and read them all together in one book). ‘Barnaby’s Clock’ was the first one in that sequence that I ever read and I loved it instantly – the introduction of that odd cast – the spook girl, the lifesized sawdust-filled doll, the australopithecine boy, the four men who knew everything and the one who didn’t, etc. – and their very, very odd adventures. Only Lafferty could’ve come up with it.

    • bensira587

      Ah, I am glad you got it then. I started to harass the publisher (a bit) when my pre-order from Feb 2014 got delayed in October again.

      Funny thing. I happened upon Elegant Eyes, and thus Lafferty, quite by accident. I had never heard of Lafferty before attending NORWESCON in 2011. In the general auditorium they have a panorama of vendors, several of them book dealers, and one in particular B. Brown and Associates. He had, among an assortment, two books (Golden Gate and Other Stories and Elegant Eyes) that stood out from the rest both from the exterior and interior (wherein resided the Lafferterian artwork). I mistook the price for $10 a book and so bought them. Getting my credit card bill the next month I saw that I was charged $100 per book. So I called the bookseller (not having read any of it yet) and complained. And he said:

      “You might want to look up what it is you bought.”

      Lo and behold, alright, I had something of a collector’s item. A couple of months later I decided to read one of the stories in a fit of boredom. And I wouldn’t sell them for anything now that I have found that world. What a great ripoff!

      I see on Amazon there is a copy for $49.99 (US) and other prices going up.

      My copy is supposed to be here tomorrow. It is like anticipating a feast!

  • danielottojackpetersen

    Dude, that is the most incredible story of someone’s introduction to Lafferty I’ve ever heard! Ha! Wonderful! I wondered why those were the only two collections you owned – seemed slightly odd. They are great collections (with some great artwork). I wish they were affordable and more numerous so that more people could be introduced to Laff so, ahem, ‘elegantly’.

    Amazon UK is currently informing me that the delivery estimate for my copy of Aura is April! I had to wait months after everybody in the States with vol. 1 as well. Oh well, as long as it gets here I’m happy! (It’ll arrive about the time I turn in my dissertation on Laff, so it’ll be a nice reward.)

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