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Review of The Man with the Speckled Eyes by R. A. Lafferty

Reviewed by Stephen Case

Hope is a substance that will fill a vessel of any shape, even the convoluted emptiness that is the present shape of the world.

- “And Walk Now Gently Through the Fire”

R. A. Lafferty’s short stories never quite land. That is, they land in the sense of hitting your gut like a thrown punch. They make a connection, and you either gasp or laugh. But narratively, they don’t land. They don’t come to rest at a conclusion. They don’t tie themselves up with a neat bow.

Lafferty, for those of us late to the party, was a science fiction author who made a splash with his short stories and novels in the 60s and 70s, being considered a part of the “New Wave” until people figured out he was a conservative old man (and a Catholic, no less) from Oklahoma. He continued making a splash after this was known, publishing dozens of stories, though people were less certain about categorizing him. They still are, though he’s developing more of a following, especially as authors like G…

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