Brief and spoilertastic notes on fiction I have read
I grew up in Northern N.J. too! Played chess, loved sci-fi. We are both Lafferty fans. I even met him at a WorldCon in Baltimore, the only WorldCon I ever attended, and primarily it was to meet him. And I published some of his letters in my zine, Theistic Evolutionists' Forum. After meeting my hero I learned he was a creationist. Always knew he was Catholic, but a creationist? He is his own person as they say. Not even like other creationists. He even blessed me by composing a wonderful Laffertyesque opening to a little short story I'd composed which was a Lovecraft parody. But his opening made it more. I emulated his style more closely in another short story titled, Pavlov's Dog Died for Your Salivation. Gaiman also wrote a short story in Lafferty's style (not that I am comparing my amateur writing to Gaiman), something about a Fire bird if I recall. I also met Mark Smith, author of Samurai Cat short stories and artwork, who read for us a brilliant Woody Allenesque tale about how Samurai Cat cut Cthulhu down to size, all composed in Lovecraftian language. Very humorous time, me and a few others in his hotel room at the Con hearing him read his own stories aloud. Ah, the high spirits and giggles of youth. http://www.samuraicat.us/wp-content/gallery/samuraic-cat/scport25.jpghttps://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/52/22/b8/5222b8ac5990a9d6a0184b4899d2de46.jpg Others I read included Wolfe, Zelazny, Bester, Van Vogt, Asimov, William Tenn ("The Seven Sexes of Venus"). I guess those were from our generation or had achieved notoriety by the time we were adolescent readers. But few wrote as uniquely as Lafferty. I also ran across some non-sci-fi writers with unique styles like Chesterton (big influence on Lafferty as he told me), Tom Robbins, Woody Allen, Kurt Vonnegut, probably a few more I can't recall at the moment. But the way Lafferty kept one off one's feet like in Fourth Mansions, so many odd feelings just out of reach, was surreal. I even read Laff's best-selling novel, Okla Hanali, which he said "didn't put him on easy street, but on easy alley" for a while, about a native american. And read his book on the Arian Christian barbarian king, Alaric I believe. Chris Drumm used to publish little booklets with previously unpublished Lafferty pieces and poems. I owned a few of those in the past. I also have a page of favorite quotations from Terry Pratchett whom I took to later in life after reading Good Omens: https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2015/03/terry-pratchetts-guide-to-god-genesis.html Later learned from Gaiman himself that he and Terry Pratchett had read Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and thought to themselves that they could write something like that too. So they alternated writing chapters of Good Omens, consulting with each other to make the work fit together. It was high fantasy in the Douglas Adams style. Wonderful. That's about all I can recall right now from that time in my life. Good times. Today I guess I watch too much fantasy and sci-fi on TV or in movies. Don't have the craving for fiction like I used to. The non-fictional world is growing increasingly weird both politically and in terms of AI, biology and other sciences, hard to keep up with it all. Cheers and Best Wishes to a fellow lover of "the classics." And I really like your line, "I invite readers to extol my sagacity and deplore my ignorance in the comments."By the way, speaking of unique writers, have you tried All Trivia by Logan Pearsall Smith? https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2011/08/logan-pearsall-smith-quotations-related.htmlAlso try https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2012/09/quotations-from-brian-jay-stanley.htmlOr for loads more fun... https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/search/label/Favorite%20Quotations%2FAphorisms
Thanks for the kind words and cool reminiscences about Lafferty. I think one of the exciting things about SF is that it encompasses writers with very diverse backgrounds and philosophies.
Oh, just recalled John Sladek, quite a wonderful and unique sci fi satirist, including one based on Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics, titled, "Broot Force." Also wrote Roderick and Roderick at Random about a young Artificial Intelligence, the first of it's kind, growing up among humans, and trying to pass as one. I didn't see him on your list at right. Also found this about how Good Omens was written: https://youtu.be/oeyjn3EaHAM
I also agree with you concerning Camp Concentration by Disch which blew me away as a young reader. And since you mentioned so many of Gerrold's short tales, I recall enjoying David Gerrold's novel, The Man Who Folded Himself. Ah David Gerrold, author of the Tribble episode of the original Star Trek. Fun memories.