Sometimes the Telling Makes the Tale

Cover of "Fourth Mansions (Ace SF Special...

Cover of Fourth Mansions (Ace SF Special, 24590)

“There is entwined seven-tentacled lightning. It is fire-masses, it is sheets, it is arms. It is seven-colored writhing in the darkness, electric alive. It pulsates, it sends, it sparkles, it blinds!

It explodes!

It is seven murderous thunder-snakes striking in seven directions along the ground! Blindingly fast! Under your feet! Now! At you!

And You! You who glanced in here for but a moment, you are already snake-bit!

         It is too late for you to withdraw. The damage is done to you. That faintly odd taste in your mouth, that smallest of tingles which you feel, they signal the snake-death.

Die a little. There is a reason for it.”

The first paragraph of “Fourth Mansions” by R. A. Lafferty

I love the way this man wrote. He sings to you in his prose. He breaks all the rules and yet it is still prose. I think I will enjoy this book. I have no idea if this opening paragraph will connect to anything else in the story. It is a storytellers call for attention to gather an audience, and I have not been disappointed yet by any of his stories. Some are better than others, but they all have a quality of play and laughter, sometimes very dark, infused in the words. He is a storyteller. His stories have a voice that sings of a love of language and tales told by a fire. A grinning voice that comes at you from many angles. I read his stories because he tells them so well with what seems like the ease of water flowing over pebbles. He grabs you like a carnival barker then keeps you moving through the maze of his story. You don’t have time to think to much about details. It’s the language and the movement that matter. The telling makes the tale.

This entry was posted in Check this out, Fiction, my museum of inspiration, Other peoples words, Telling Stories and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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