Current reads. I’m in the middle of a reread of The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas; I got a cool used copy at a local bookstore named Poor Richard’s. Wonderful place. Leatherbound, gold leaf, little ribbon bound into the…uh…binding. I just finished the third issue of “Black Gate.” I have yet to be impressed with any individual piece of fiction, but I think I’m going to start subscribing. They take all kinds of chances, they attempt to do everything, and they do it in an enjoyable way. Further note on the fiction: I have yet to completely dislike any of the stories, either.

I’m reading Lafferty in Orbit, a collection of R. A. Lafferty stories as they appeared in “Orbit” magazine, at work. He’s One of Those Writers. You know, One of Those. I’ve been hunting the mystery of the author R.L. since 1998, when I read “The Unprocessed Word” by John Varley, in Blue Champagne. I don’t know if anybody’s noticed, but I’m a huge nerd about this kind of thing. I’m a huge nerd about a lot of things.

I read the book at work because it’s not safe to get more than 15 minutes of Lafferty a day. Under no circumstance read more than one short story per day. Neverthless, celebrate him as you go:

“The coffee had a good aroma and a jolting, fair taste. It was coffee to wake up by. But the cup felt funny, and Duffy supposed (looking at it out of the corner of his eye) that it looked funny. Well, coffee-people are entitled to get new cups when they will.

“The coffee-lady was an unmarried young lady, a very much unmarried lady, an intense and relentless young lady. She hovered over Duffy, as she often did. She was waiting for a reaction, or she was intent on draweing a reaction.

“‘Don’t you spoil it,’ she said irrationally. ‘Everyone else has accepted it just the way it is without even looking at it. It’s the Great Day, so I know that I can do it. I know I can do it, if you and two or three otherslike you don’t spoil it. What I have is a lot of faith. You can’t create something new like this without faith. A lady has to have a lot of faith if she doesn’t have a husband.’

“‘True, Charlotte, quite true,’ Melchisadech said. He saw now that what was funny about the coffee cups; there weren’t any coffee cups. There were five other men in the place, listless, rather sleepy men, and all were drinking coffee without cups.”

—R. A. Lafferty, “Great Day in the Morning.”