Raphael Aloysius Lafferty, more commonly known as R.A. Lafferty, was an American author of Science Fiction
. He is most associated with the state of Oklahoma, where he spent most of his life, although he was born in Iowa. Something of a late bloomer, he first started publishing fiction in his mid forties, midway into a successful career as an engineer and well after a stint in the army during World War II
. Lafferty's fiction is blatantly anti-realistic, taking as its model tall tales, oral folklore, and standup comedy more than mainstream fiction or non-fiction, and the Fourth Wall
is frequently broken
. He is also one for Mood Whiplash
, and his stories and novels often start off in the comic realm before switching to tragedy or horror and maybe
Tropes associated with R.A. Lafferty's work include:
- Christianity is Catholic: Lafferty was a lifelong Roman Catholic and theologically conservative, and religious themes show up in a lot of his stories.
- Contemporary Caveman: The recurring character of Austro, a bona fide Australopithecus.
- The Fair Folk: The creepy children in The Reefs of Earth are supposed to be aliens, but behave more life enigmatic and mischievous fairies.
- The Hidden Hour: The former kind of time in "Days of Grass, Days of Straw"
- Historical-Domain Character: Thomas More in his debut novel, Past Master.
- A Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Read: A scientist creates a device that helps to see others' subjective impressions in "Through Other Eyes" and uses it to see the way a woman he believes himself to be in love with does. He doesn't like what he sees, and it's mutual.
- Plausible Deniability: A supercomputer in "What's the Name of That Town" reveals that there used to be a city called Chicago that was destroyed in a horrendous accident. As soon as the story is told, all the listeners forget, as does the computer.