Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fool's Ranking

I've now read twelve Lafferty novels. (It's been a while since I counted, but I think that my short stories read count is up around 170--out of 220+ published!)

As deep as I am into Lafferty, I still feel like a newbie. So much to read. So much to learn.

Here's how I'd personally rank the novels if someone asked me today. The order would probably change by tomorrow.

1. Archipelago
2. Sindbad: The Thirteenth Voyage
3. My Heart Leaps Up
4. The Devil is Dead
5. Fourth Mansions
6. Not to Mention Camels
7. Annals of Klepsis
8. Serpent's Egg
9. Arrive at Easterwine
10. Past Master
11. The Reefs of Earth
12. Space Chantey

If someone wanted me to assign star or number ratings, that's easy. Each of these books is a perfect 10/10 or five stars out of five stars. I have not yet met a Lafferty novel which has disappointed me. They have confounded me, but never disappointed. There are some stories that I can take or leave, that I've definitely felt lukewarm towards, but I've never felt that way about any of the novels (except maybe Aurelia--sorry, Gregorio!--which I started and did not finish).

Eleven published novels left to go!:
More Than Melchisidech
The Flame is Green
Half a Sky
The Three Armageddons of Enniscorthy Sweeney
Where Have You Been, Sandaliotis?
East of Laughter
The Fall of Rome
Okla Hannali
The Elliptical Grave

So, by my count, that's 23 published novels? Right? Am I missing anything?

And then 14 unpublished novels? And six unpublished novel fragments?

I'm planning on reading Aurelia next, then I'm not sure. Maybe More Than Melchisidech and Dotty. It's possible that before this year is over, I'll get serious and write an essay on one specific aspect of the Argo Cycle, an idea that I've been rolling around in my head for a while. I need to read MTM and Dotty before I can feel good about starting this.


  1. I've read seven of the novels you mentioned and Okla Hannali, which I can't praise enough.

  2. I suspect Okla Hannali may be his best novel, but my favorite is still (still, even after deep-ending into int for LaffCon2) Fourth Mansions.

    My ranking would be utterly arbitrary after position 2, and merely reflect my whim and mood of the moment. Of course, I've never let that stop me:

    1. Fourth Mansions
    2. Okla Hannali
    3. Arrive at Easterwine
    4. The Devil is Dead
    5. Space Chantey
    6. Past Master
    7. The Fall of Rome
    8. My Heart Leaps Up
    9. Archipelago
    10. The Reefs of Earth
    11. The Three Armageddons of Enniscorthy Sweeney
    12. The Flame is Green
    13. Half a Sky
    14. Where Have You Been, Sandaliotis?
    15. Sindbad: The Thirteenth Voyage
    16. Annals of Klepsis
    17. Serpent's Egg

  3. Sure is joyful to be a fool, isn't it!

  4. OK, I'll play.
    1. Past Master
    2. Fourth Mansions
    3. Okla Hannali
    4. Archipelago
    5. The Devil is Dead
    6. The Reefs of Earth
    7. Space Chantey
    8. Arrive at Easterwine
    9. Enniscorthy Sweeney
    10. Sandaliotis
    11. No to Mention Camels
    12. Annals of Klepsis
    Apart from the first five, my memories are not particularly clear; I read them a long time ago. At the moment I'm more than half way through "More than Melchisedech", and finding it rather disappointing. It won't break into my top five.

  5. Impressed you guys have both read My Heart Leaps Up. I've got those chapbooks but still haven't got round to reading them. I'm quite sure I would have by now if it was in a nice bound edition.

    I'm still saving Sindbad as the last (published) sf novel by Lafferty that I still haven't read.

    Anyway, I want to be a joyful fool too!

    Alas, after assembling the below extremely arbitrary list, I've found this is not as much fun as I anticipated. It's almost impossible for me to make this list. Almost every one of these moves far up and down the list from moment to moment as I reconsider and reconfigure.

    1. Annals of Klepsis
    2. The Reefs of Earth
    3. The Devil is Dead
    4. The Three Armageddons of Enniscorthy Sweeney
    5. Past Master
    6. Arrive At Easterwine
    7. Fourth Mansions
    8. Okla Hannali
    9. East of Laughter
    10. Space Chantey
    11. Where Have You Been, Sandaliotis?
    12. Aurelia
    13. Not to Mention Camels
    14. Archipelago
    15. Serpent’s Egg
    16. The Flame is Green
    17. More Than Melchisedech

  6. Oops. Posted mine before I saw that Bob had posted his. My first is his last! Not surprising at all. This happens frequently among Lafferty fans.

  7. I love all of these lists. :-)