What to make of Chapter Six of Space Chantey?
In chapter six, "raw murderous reality" breaks into Lafferty's contrived world. A horrible realism presents itself in the "gang-shag" of Aeaea, the "brutish murder of a concept and a person." It is sad and horrible and quite frightening. In the context of a long whopper of a tall tale, what does it mean that this is the place that Lafferty invokes reality? When all of the men (and woman) have so thoroughly become animals that there is no humanity left in them. I don't want to make too much of this, but it's there to reckon with. Things get very serious for a moment.
"But now the murder howl had gone over the space-ways, and they were all outlaws to be hunted. And decent people would no more give them haven."
Further, it's obvious throughout the chapter that Lafferty is tearing down a philosophy, "total subjectivity," but I don't have the training to put a name on it or to know who Lafferty is poking fun at. I'm afraid that I often confuse Contingency with Accidence and I never have been able to fit any Primary Essence into Quiddity. My eyes glaze over as I babble on.
The carnal reality of the animals is a pointed contrast to the "thinking makes it so" subjectivity of the witch. Material reality cannot be wished away. And the way in which this message comes across is brutally direct. And as horrific as things get, Lafferty still got a deep chuckle out of me at "Aeaea, whichever is you, the voice in the air, or the bloody thing on the ground, there is a flaw in your philosophy. You really are dead, you know."
Philosopher friends, I'd love to hear from you about this chapter.