Neil Gaiman, in his obituary of the obscure SF author, described R.A. Lafferty, pictured above in a portion of his personal library, as “a genius, an oddball, a madman.” He “never fit,” Gaiman wrote, ” as an sf writer as a fabulist or as a horror writer, although his work was sold as such and he won the Hugo Award and the World Fantasy Award. He was a genre in himself, and a Lafferty story is unlike any story by anybody else: tall tales from the Irish by way of Heaven, the far stars and Tulsa, Oklahoma.” You can get a taste of Lafferty’s work, which should be more widely known, below.
Roy Campbell, pictured at right, a poet rather than novelist, is another obscure writer that should be better known. Campbell’s obscurity is not so much that he wrote as a “genre in himself”. Instead, he became known in literary circles, specifically the Bloomsbury Group, as a supporter of unpopular, read politically incorrect for the period, causes.
An interesting fact about both Campbell and Lafferty is they were both devout Catholics. Did this affect how some in the publishing world treated them and their work? It is certainly something to think about.
Commentary and Criticism:
- Books & Culture reviews Jonathan Franzen’s first novel since The Corrections: Freedom
- Old Men Don’t Forget: Tibor Fischer on The Misogynist by Piers Paul Read and Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes.
- So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish – Novelist Mike Resnick on the final issue of Jim Baen’s Universe.
- 9 Strong, 1 Weak – Lars Walker on why a Writer’s Digest top ten list of “strong” writing tips is really a top nine list.
- Sherlock Holmes: Books vs. Movies
- Scott Spencer’s Small-Town Maelstrom – The author of Endless Love on his new novel and inspiration from car trips, townspeople and pet dogs.
- Wall Street Journal to Launch Book Review Section
- Canadian Literary Magazines take a hit under new federal funding regime
- World’s most expensive book goes up for sale – John James Audubon’s Birds of America … is to go on sale at Sotheby’s.
The Writing Life:
A bit of poetry:
The Making of a Poet
by Roy Campbell
In every herd there is some restive steer
Who leaps the cows and heads each hot stampede,
Till the old bulls unite in jealous fear
To hunt him from the pastures where they feed.
Lost in the night he hears the jungles crash
And desperately, lest his courage fail,
Across his hollow flanks with sounding lash
Scourges the heavy whipcord of his tail.
Far from the phalanxes of horns that ward
The sleeping herds he keeps the wolf at bay,
At nightfall by the slinking leopard spoored,
And goaded by the fly-swarm through the day.