Major Series

The three main settings of R.A. Lafferty's writings are the past, the present, and the future. Though that may seem simplistic, each corresponds to one of the major story clusters Lafferty developed over the course of his career: the historical Argo Mythos, the contemporary Tulsa tales focusing on the Institute for Impure Science and its associates, and the outer-space stories set in the Particular Universe and its Seventeen Inhabited Worlds. (Please see Eric Walker's GreatSFandF for the initial breakdown of these categories.)

The Argo Mythos explores the building, preservation, and sometimes destruction of The World through the historical interventions of the ship Argo and the members of its crew. The two primary concentrations of the Mythos are the The Devil Is Dead trilogy and its related novels, starring Finnegan, Melchisedech Duffy, and their cohort across various levels of reality; and the Coscuin Chronicles, about the counter-revolutionary adventures of culture hero Dana Coscuin in 19th-century Europe and South America. Offshoots in this category include any tale told on or about an island, as well as any touching on Lafferty's experiences in the Pacific theater during and after World War II.

Much of Lafferty's fiction is set in Tulsa, perhaps most notably his stories about The Institute for Impure Science, featuring the ambulatory machine Epiktistes, director Gregory Smirnov, Valery Mok, and their colleagues (in here also are the stories about Willy McGilly). Linked to these stories are those about another group of Tulsa intellectuals, a casual club-type bunch who meet at the house of Barnaby Sheen. This coterie, which comes to include the young Australopithecus Austro, is dubbed by Lafferty The Men Who Know Everything; he himself is the one member who does not know everything. Connected to these stories is the cross-generational novel In a Green Tree, a biography of Sheen and others from kindergarten on, as well as most of his stories involving child prodigies or ghosts.

The Particular Universe comprises all of Lafferty's outer-space stories. These include tales of Gaea-Earth adventurers (such as Captain Roadstrum and his men) visiting other planets, and of outer-space adventurers (such as the Puca) coming to Earth. The Seventeen Inhabited Worlds are those which are habitable by humanoids; among these are Astrobe, Camiroi, and Klepsis.

Though Lafferty's use of alternate universes and modes of perception makes it impossible to place all these works in a single, coherent timeline, there are connections between all of the writings, with the Tulsa of his day as the baseline reality from which all the others diverge. As Walker notes, "The fanatic, with patience, could probably link all of Lafferty's works." This wiki aims to track all of those links.

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