Saturday, April 13, 2013

'World, world, world, water, water, water, glub, glug, glub'


'The turtles in the tank I was put into did have a sound basic philosophy which was absent in the walking grubs. But they were slow and lacking inner fire. They would not be obnoxious company, but neither would they give me excitement and warmth. I was really more interested in the walking grubs.

[...]

I talked to the turtles while Eustace was painting my portrait on tent canvas.

"Is the name of this world Florida?" I asked one of them. "The road signs said Florida."

"World, world, world, water, water, water, glub, glug, glub," said one of them.

"Yes, but is this particular world we are on named Florida?"

"World, world, water, water, glub," said another.

"Eustace, I can get nothing from these fellows," I called. "Is this world named Florida?"'


-R. A. Lafferty, 'The Weirdest World' (first published in Galaxy Magazine June 1961; also collected in Does Anyone Else Have Something Further to Add, 1974)

3 comments:

Kevin said...

Wow, Lafferty was in good company in that issue of Galaxy! Pohl & Kornbluth, Herbert back when he could write and a tour-de-force from Cordwainer Smith. Have you read "Mother Hitton's Little Kittons?" That is one story that is difficult to give a synopsis of. On the surface, it is a straight-ahead SF yarn, but underneath it is a meditation on effectiveness vs. cruelty in the face of cultural and economic need all culminating in a bit of horror that could curl your bear clear up to your eyebrows.

"Weirdest World" is one of the first Lafferty stories I ever read, and still remains one of my favorites. The cynical view of humanity it gives by having a complete but eloquent naive as narrator I have always loved!

Kevin said...

"curl your beard clear up to your eyebrows." Why doesn't spellchecker ever know what I meant to write?

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen said...

Yeah, Laff was side by side with a lot of greats in the 60s mags and 70s anthologies (seems like almost every one of the latter I own include one of his stories and one of Gene Wolfe's stories - often Michael Bishop too).

No, I still haven't read that one by Smith. In about three weeks when my exams are finished, I plan to go on a Cordwainer binge!

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