I've read a handful of Lafferty stories in the past few weeks that I haven't gotten to here. I don't feel as strongly about any of them as I do about the following, one of my favorite Lafferty stories so far.
Yesterday, I read "The Weirdest World."
It belongs to that small subsection of sf tales presenting a 'first contact' tale from the point of view of the non-human. This type of story is often humorous (Terry Bisson's "They're Made Out of Meat" was my first and still best exposure to this type of story.) It's definitely humorous here. [As an aside, here's a reminder to myself to look for a list of such stories. I'm sure I've read at least half a dozen. I'm just as sure that I can't remember any more titles!]
The narrator of "The Weirdest World" is grounded from his spaceship due to a case of space-ineptitude. It is only through "his" (the sex is questionable, I think) observations and his first meeting with some "giant grubs" that the reader becomes aware that the narrator is non-human. He is blob-shaped (I fail in every imagining.) The humans who find him are "giant grubs" who "travel upright on a bifurcated tail."
As the blob interacts with his environment, he meets new friends, acquires wealth, falls in love, then loses it all. All in a few pages. The reversal at the end is both sad and funny. A snake curtly saying, "I wish I could get my indigestion back" is the pinnacle (nadir?) of black humor in this story, so very darkly funny.
The straight funniest moment comes earlier with Lafferty indulging in a bit of subtly off-color humor. He already clearly established that the blob keeps his head down below and his "tail" above. When the blob meets a nightclub singer, the following interaction occurs:
"I want to rub your head for good luck before I go on," she said.
"Thank you, Margaret," I replied, "but that is not my head."
There's plenty more to love about this story.
In its descriptions of "the weirdest world," we are forced to re-assess the mundane things we take for granted. Through this light-hearted lark of a story, the "sense of wonder" at the heart of sf beats strongly, renewing our own hearts to beat along. We look at our surroundings through new eyes, amazed at the world once more.