I'm very happy to see that some of the more obscure stories are already showing up, even those collected only in the Chris Drumm paper chapbook format from the early 80s (these are like little zines really - quite a cool DIY 'punk rock' sort of format in my opinion, but the typewriter lettering is a little hard to get into as a reader, to really feel like you're reading a genuinely published story and not just someone's unpublished manuscript). The story 'Jack Bang's Eyes' is one of my favourites, especially because of the wonderful chimpanzee character Flip O'Grady. It's the first story in Drumm Booklet # 13: Snake in His Bosom and other stories.
I could wish they had at least one more story from Lafferty's 1971 collection Strange Doings besides 'All But the Words', and also at least one more story from his 1974 collection Does Anyone Else Have Something Further to Add? besides 'About a Secret Crocodile', and perhaps also one more from the 1991 collection Lafferty In Orbit besides 'The Skinny People from Leptophlebo Street' (and these are probably not the stories I'd have chosen from those collections if it was only going to be one). But I am happy to see a number of stories that I first encountered in the under-appreciated 1984 collection Ringing Changes: 'The Ungodly Mice of Doctor Drakos', 'Days of Grass, Days of Straw', 'Parthen', and 'Rivers of Damascus' (two of them being ones I'd definitely have picked). As I said Nine-Hundred Grandmothers provides the lion's share of the collection with three more stories in addition to the two I've already mentioned: 'Frog On the Mountain', 'Narrow Valley', and 'Thus We Frustrate Charlemagne', the latter two consistently considered classics and 'Frog' being another very worthy choice in my opinion.
Then again, I guess this series is really only for those who are already dedicated fans, since it's gonna cost a pretty penny per volume and run into five or six hundred dollars to collect all twelve books. To be perfectly honest, huge fan that I am, I'm going to have to really scrape pennies (and maybe auction off a few children) to keep up and collect each one as it comes out. And that's the only way to be sure of being in on it apparently. This first run is limited to 300! Presumably the subsequent volumes will be similarly limited in number. (If any rich readers want to sponsor my collection, I can promise the Lafferty Library in my hands will go to very good use and be thoroughly reviewed and publicised to the further fame of Lafferty! The rest of you, stop judging my beggarly kowtowing to the wealthy!)
I'm gratified to see 'Parthen' and 'Six Fingers of Time' on this opening list as I've championed them as good starting points over the years and most of my fellow Lafferty fans have demurred. Also, I'm very happy to see 'Days of Grass, Days of Straw' as it deserves to be widely known as one of Lafferty's very, very best.
Looking over the list again, it's also good to note that Lafferty's inimitable bending of space, time, and persons are all represented in these stories - the way he goes sideways and ultraviolet with the classic science fiction and fantasy tropes of time travel and multiple worlds and alien contact and planetary expeditions. There are also several of his Native American-centric tales and those featuring animals to pleasantly odd effect. Also included are tales showcasing how he can stretch and shrink both people and places at will.
All in all it's very exciting! 'This is beginning, this is happening! Let no least part of it ever forget the primordial tumble that is the beginning!'
I'll conclude with the photo of Lafferty the first volume includes, which I've never seen before and I find just lovely.