Saturday, June 4, 2011

Tall Tale Pro Wrestling and an Interview With A Genie In A Bottle

Today I discovered Lafferty's short story 'Ifrit' online HERE.

It's from the collection Iron Tears, which I ordered a few years ago and never received. (I've since heard this has happened to others.)

This is one of my favourite short stories by Lafferty I've ever read. It's full of laughter and wonder. No one can tell a tall tale as well as Lafferty. He starts with outrageous 'pro wrestling' scenarios (in which the common notion that 'it's all fake' is used to hilarious effect) and ends up with a lightly but movingly mythopoeic interview with a Genie, conducted within his bottle. The story then finishes on a really weird but characteristically dark and exuberant note with 'lions in the sky'.

I've always strongly suspected that there are more truly astounding gems out there by Lafferty in the remaining collections I still don't own (Golden Gate and Through Elegant Eyes are two more major ones I still need to obtain), not to mention many more in s.f. magazines and anthologies that have never been collected in a Lafferty volume. (E.g. 'In Deepest Glass' and 'Symposium' are two of his best stories and I've never seen them but in the obscure 1970s multi-author anthologies I found them in.) This story proves to me afresh that searching out every last Lafferty story I can find is so totally worth it.

I highly recommend 'Ifrit' - go read it! (It's a fairly short read at only ten pages.) As the story itself says:

'If you are of brave heart as well as honest heart, try it. You have nothing to lose except your own orientation and perhaps your life. And you stand to gain a whole new way of looking at things.'

Indeed, this aptly describes what lays before us in reading any and all of Lafferty's fiction.

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'It was all strong talk with the horns and hooves still on it.'
(R. A. Lafferty, The Devil is Dead)