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Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews

Fourth Mansions

Copyright 1969 by R. A. Lafferty

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SOJALS rating:     
one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point one SOJALS point    Superb (5/5)

I first read this in 1980 and most recently on the 5th October 2006

Fred Foley is an unassuming and over-enthusiastic news reporter. His girlfriend Biddy - Bedelia Bencher - is charming and fun and vital, but she has a secret life.

Biddy is a member of a profoundly dangerous group that threatens its members as much as it threatens the world, and the risks to the world are immense. Biddy is being sucked more and more into this evil confederation.

Now Freddy does not want to hurt anybody, but he wants his Biddy back.

But it is not about that. It is about a people who seem to have lived for centuries and how it's very unhealthy to inquire too deeply about them.

But it is not about that either. It is about the immortal demigods who guard the mountain doors of our world against evil invasion.

Now Freddie discovers the world is more that than he or almost anyone else had ever expected.

A book that is in my top 10 ever, and my recollection of it suggested it may supplant "Lord Of Light" as my favourite reviewed book ever, and even "Dhalgren" which tops the ranks of not-yet-reviewed novels.

However, it wasn't quite as coruscating as when I first read it, but that may have to a large part been that this time I did it without the drugs. Back then one loitered, twisting and looking around, on every single word, draped in scintillating colours, imbued, suffused, with meaning and echoes of other more ancient truths. Now of course, that is it still completely true, but the meaning isn't quite so dramatic, it's just the meaning of the word and its derivation is simply where it comes from.

So it remains in my top ten, because there is something so magical about this astounding book. But you may not enjoy it as much as I did.

Or is this novel just about a young man's journey out of a paranoid delusory world into normal sanity.

Loaded on the 16th December 2006.
Cover of Fourth Mansions

Reviews of other works by R. A. Lafferty: