Just read the news bulletin that R. A. Lafferty died on Monday.

I was just thinking of Lafferty this past weekend, because we received a submission that reminded me of one of my favorite Lafferty stories. I pulled out my battered copy of Nine Hundred Grandmothers and poked through it a bit, then did a search on the ISFDB and located the story in my illicit copy of Aldiss's Galactic Empires, vol. 1. (Illicit because the cover is torn off; I bought it at a flea market, years before I learned that such books have been reported to the publisher as destroyed, and thus haven't ever been paid for. If it were still in print, I'd buy a legitimate copy to make up for it.) Lafferty was one of the great stylists; his voice was unique. It would be impossible to mis-identify the authorship of a Lafferty story.

Even his name was marvelous. Rafael Aloysius Lafferty—a name to conjure with. They don't make names like that any more.

It's been a long time since Lafferty was well enough to write. I saw him at a convention once; he was treated with great respect, but it seemed clear that he wasn't really up to being there.

But half a dozen of his stories remain among my favorite stories in the world. I'll miss him.

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