Saturday, August 15, 2015

Lafferty News (Issue 4)

I've missed passing on a whole lot of Lafferty news since the previous issue (in January!).  Some of it is now frustratingly misplaced or forgotten.  So I'm just going to dive in, starting with the most recent:

It's extremely rare that I get an R. A. Lafferty Google Alert, but I got one this week:

Let's Talk About It, Oklahoma continues with Lafferty's 'Okla Hannali'

Lafferty's Choctaw novel is the 'second book in the Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma series “Many Trails, Many Tribes”' we're informed.  Second book!  It's being presented by one Dr. Greenstreet, 'a former professor of Communication Studies at East Central University'.  So it's great to see both a popular and academic engagement with Lafferty's material.  I also enjoy the news article's quick description of Okla Hannali:  'Part historical novel and part tall tale, European descendant R.A. Lafferty gives another perspective on Native Americans with an interesting twist on the Western genre.'

It seems that Oklahoma has really begun to take on her native son since the This Land Press article on Lafferty last year.  In March of this year he was inducted into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame, though this fact was mainly carried as a Neil Gaiman news item (e.g. here and here).  Still, the tone of Gaiman's wonder and joy at being involved in the recognition of his childhood hero is just right.  “I get to tell you something which makes me ridiculously happy,” one blogger reports Neil saying. “Lafferty has been inaugurated into the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame.”  The same reporter notes that Gaiman's reading of Lafferty's story 'Seven-Day Terror' made quite an impact on the packed audience:  'By the end of it, I imagine that anyone who hadn’t read Lafferty before, including me, was going to find one of his books as quickly as possible.'  Quite a number of people were tweeting similar responses to the reading as well.  The Zarrow Center for Art and Education also displayed Lafferty's wonderful office door collage during Gaiman's visit as well (and some of Lafferty's papers were also exhibited as part of the events).

Last week on Episode 10 of the Okie Geek Podcast, Lafferty was given a brief mention (from about 42:15) as a great short story writer (again on Gaiman's recommendation - the podcasters hadn't read Lafferty).  They listed him on their blog post about that episode as well.

This is a much better ongoing regional ripple effect than seems to have happened when some in Oklahoma honoured Lafferty back in 1995.

In other developments:  back in June Andrew Mass revealed another snippet from the Lafferty documentary he's putting together:  a slice of a much longer interview with Harlan Ellison (of which I've seen a bit more, and it's wonderful).  Andrew writes about the interview here.

Michael Swanwick wrote a bit about Lafferty's and Ellison's one-sidedly stormy relationship back in May, concluding:  'if you want to insult Harlan Ellison and get away with it, it's the simplest thing in the world:  You just need to have earned enough of his respect to pull it off.'

That's it for now, except to furnish some proof for a statement I made a few posts ago that the award-winning, bestselling author Jeff VanderMeer is now a Lafferty fan.

Please let me know of anything you think is newsworthy about Laff that I've neglected to mention here.

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