Saturday, December 31, 2016

See you all in 2017? We hope so.

All of us here at LaffCon Planning Committee Headquarters wish all of you a delightful 2017. We dare to hope that you'll clear your calendar and plan now to be at LaffCon2 in June. The following photo may or may not have been doctored by someone with poor photoshop skills. The following photo may or may not accurately represent the sort of things that will happen at LaffCon2.

(FoL Editor K. Cheek providing a seat for R. Lafferty)

Here's to everyone keeping their New Year's resolutions this year. Let's all lose a little weight, drink a little less, and celebrate Lafferty a lot more in 2017.

“It was on New Year's that Finnegan stopped drinking. He did not drink again till they were in Freetown, Sierra Leone on January 26. He had never been able to go all the way through January, but this time he was very near it.”
-R. A. Lafferty. The Devil Is Dead.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Documentary

Many who made it out to LaffCon1 named Andrew Mass' documentary footage as one of the highlights of the day.

If you haven't already been over to his website to watch some of this footage, you should do so now. Go watch the wonderful interviews that Andrew has posted there. Seriously. Go.

Here's the news: Andrew has confirmed that he will be in attendance at LaffCon2. He will have more footage. Lots of it.

Be there. June 10, 2017.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"I’m almost afraid to find what idiocy Freddy has busted this time."

LaffCon2 is happening.

Mark your calendars.

June 10th, 2017.

This next year, we're planning on diving deep into a close reading of Lafferty's Fourth Mansions.

There will be more than that at the con, but not less. Fourth Mansions talk will be the main event.

Unfortunately, Fourth Mansions is no longer in print (though a digital edition is available outside of the U.S.) and affordable secondhand copies have become scarce. Take our word for it; it's a book worth splurging on. Buy a copy. Read it multiple times. Write every day to the Locus Science Fiction Foundation and let them know that you want to see print copies right now so that you can buy copies for yourselves and for your family and friends.

We are open to any and all ideas for discussion.

Some possible topics/panels:

Kevin Cheek (yes, that famous West Coast Feast of Laughter editor!) on the form and function of repetition as narrative device in Fourth Mansions.

Gregorio Montejo on Lafferty's "mystical epistemology" via Teresa of Avila.

Daniel Otto Jack Petersen (if we can get him to cross the Atlantic again) on integrating the monsters before they integrate you.

YOU on your favorite aspect of Fourth Mansions.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

"Certainly dead men cast shadows. That's what history is about." -R.A. Lafferty

"All writers should be funny-looking and all stories should be funny."
-R.A. Lafferty

LaffCon1 is over. We are grateful that so many people showed up and that so many people expressed so much joy. Thank you all for playing with us in the enormous shadow of Ray Lafferty. 

Intelligent conversation does not need to be dull. I think that we were mostly successful in keeping things funny throughout the day. I know that we were mostly funny-looking, at least as evidenced in our group photo.

There has been a demand for the booklets. These booklets were made as thank you gifts for those who supported the con by being there. But there are many of you who could not be there for many good reasons. You have asked for the booklet. They are available now to be purchased at cost. As ever in Ktistec Press endeavors, we make no money on this. We have invested much and only hope for a return in many Lafferty fans continuing the conversation.

The booklet is still intimately tied to the con. It does not make sense apart from the con. Yet it can still be enjoyed as is. Specifically, the full color illustrations by Lissanne, Andrew, and Gregorio can be found in print nowhere else.

Find it here:

What I ask is that, if you buy this booklet, you also buy a couple more titles by those talented individuals who have freely contributed to the booklet...

Chasing the Pheonix by Michael Swanwick
Not So Much, Said the Cat by Michael Swanwick

Speaking of the Fantastic II by Darrel Schweitzer
Scweitzer MegaPack

If you need a distraction from your concentrated Lafferty reading, these are the distractions for you.


We also have some audio!

There may be more eventually; Right now, we definitely have some good audio from the "Lafferty Studies" panel at LaffCon1.

Check it out here:

More than anything, all of us involved in "Lafferty Studies" hope for more and more participation. If you are reading Lafferty thoughtfully, we want your contributions.

Check out Feast of Laughter:

Please, please, please. Continue reading Lafferty. Please, please, please. Write about Lafferty. And when you do, send those written submissions to Feast of Laughter.

Or, even better, start your own Lafferty journal. Shut us down completely.

We welcome any and all complementary and competitive research. All that we care about is that R.A. Lafferty's work is preserved and understood and brought forward into the future.

There is still much work to be done.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

"If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly." -G.K. Chesterton

LaffCon1 is happening in less than one week. Most marketing opportunities have been missed.

Those who will come, will come. Those who would have come if we had been featured on the perfect morning television news program, well, those folks probably wouldn't have come anyhow.

If only we had blogged more.... Alas, we did not.

Those of you who do come can expect swag.

Swag. Free stuff. Really cool stuff. Fun stuff.

Just for showing up.

Buttons. Masks. Booklets. CDs. Cards. Stories.

More than that, you can expect human beings. Flesh and blood and failures. And outrageous fun.

Doors open at 9:30am. Be there.

Activities continue through 5pm.

After the official con, everyone is welcome to join in on post-con festivities at a still yet-to-be-announced post-con facility. More failures are to be expected. More outrageous fun is to be had.

See you there.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


It is my happy honor to announce another guest to LaffCon.

Who is it?

Raphael Aloysius Lafferty.

Kind of.

Sort of. 

In his introduction to his book Speaking of the Fantastic II, Darrell Schweitzer writes of the book as "TIME-TRAVELING WITH A TAPE RECORDER."  "... a book like this is a form of time-travel. It lets you go back in time and read what Peter Beagle  was thinking before he had completed Tamsin, or where Philip Jose Farmer was in his career in 1984. Three of the interviewees, Sheffield, Lafferty, and Walton, are, alas, no longer with us. What you read here comes close to being their last testaments..... Here are voices from the past."

While it's true that the printed page makes for a good documentary record, this transcription of a conversation still feels more like an event at a distance, removed from itself, rather than the event itself. What if, instead of a book, we actually could "time-travel with a tape recorder?" What if at least our ears could be transported to another location in space and time to eavesdrop on an unedited conversation between two individuals? Failing that, what if a stretch of the past could be gathered up and condensed and then broadcast to all of our gathered present ears simultaneously? I don't understand the science behind it (it is indistinguishable from magic, I say), but it is true. We have discovered a form of time travel.

As hard as I tried, I could not actually get Ray to agree to come to LaffCon. Thanks to Darrell Schweitzer's time machine, however, we will be privileged to welcome The Voice of Lafferty Past.

Ray is likely a bit chagrined that this ghost-aspect has agreed to make an appearance.

In the afternoon panel session on "Documenting Ray," I promise to rip open a hole in time and space and make the past present to all of you. I will uncap a bottle (resembles a lamp, a bit) of strong good stuff and deliver a snort of concentrated Ghost-Ray into your ears via a patent pending otological chrononautical apparatus. Surely, your ears are itching to receive such a gift. 

Quite seriously, this is an important piece of oral history. 

The audio featured at LaffCon1 is the audio recording of Darrell's interview with Ray which was the basis of the print transcript in the book Speaking of the Fantastic II. Buy a copy of the book to support Darrell. You'll also get a lot of good reading, including an interview with LaffCon1 Writer Guest of Honor Michael Swanwick.

Unfortunately, this treasure was preserved here on this earth "where moth and rust doth corrupt." We have lost the latter half of the interview to cassette tape corruption. What remains, however, is a wonderful 14 minutes of conversation that has been digitized and will hopefully be preserved far into the future, when some poor grade school student in the 26th century will have forgotten whether Lafferty or Shakespeare came first and finally gets it right because she remembers her tech history and recalls that the world has 14 minutes of Lafferty's voice in its digital treasure box and none of Shakespeare's.

We are all indebted to Darrell Schweitzer for his generosity in sharing this important recording with all of us. Thank you, Darrell. 

Oral history is often a neglected and underutilized field, though we have the amazing tools to preserve so much. In the case of Ray Lafferty, whose fiction is widely regarded as owing to oral storytelling techniques, it is a great gift to hear the man's voice and the rhythm of his speech. This one recording from late in Lafferty's life may not be as special as if we had a recording of him telling a whopper of a tale to army buddies in the mid-40s, but it's what we have and it is indeed precious. 

I am very grateful for its existence and look forward to sharing this audio with all of you at LaffCon1.

Hear you there.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Alternate Poster

An alternate black and white version of the Laffcon1 poster with illustration by Anthony Ryan Rhodes.

Registration is now open for Laffcon1. See the Registration page on this website for more information. Doors open at 10:00 A.M. the morning of June 4th, 2016.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

You need to be preregistered?

Well, no.

But please, pretty please, register as early as you can.

This is not a necessity. We will turn away no one at the door (unless we start breaking the fire code numbers; that would be incredible). If you're Neil Gaiman and want to keep it a surprise that you're attending LaffCon1, well, by all means, please do surprise us on the morning of June 4th. Everyone else, please register now if you think that you'll make it.

Pre-registration is encouraged! It is preferred.

From the original lovely poster found here:

"Registration is preferred and begins May 2, 2016. Participants must register online. Go to, click on the "Program" tab at the top of the page. Click "Adult Programs" and register for LaffCon1."

Why is it preferred?

Quite simply, because it'll be nice to have a rough head count of how many are planning on attending so that we can provide a better experience by doing things right like ordering enough refreshments!

We've obviously opened up the registration earlier than May 2. If you go to the page today, change the month box to June and you'll have an easier time finding LaffCon. A big THANK YOU to all of you who register early!

Go to Click the Program tab near the top of the page. Click Adult Programs from the drop down menu. Change the month to June by using the month box near the top of the page. See LaffCon1? Click on that beautiful little "Register" button to reserve your space now. There are many spaces available. :-)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Who are we?

If you've found your way here, you are likely familiar with the work of R.A. Lafferty. You are just as likely to be unfamiliar with those of us who will be at LaffCon.

We love Lafferty. That is why we're throwing this party (disguised as a lit/sf con) in his honor.

But who are "we"? Who will be at this party that you are invited to join?

The LaffCon Planning Committee consists of:

Me. I am doing my best at pretending to be an expert con organizer.
John Owen comes home each evening to the golden cliché: the u.n.d; the p.h.; and l. and u.w.; and the s.c. (seven more would have been too many). Just to live is a happy riot. He is well known in the future for having barely succeeded in establishing the Northeast Lafferty League, which has grown to cover the Northeast quadrant of this galaxy. On all of the planets, his name has become a byword for any grand success achieved based on wild enthusiasm coupled with poor planning and lack of any applicable skill set. John blogs infrequently about R.A. Lafferty at

Robert Bee is our gracious host in New Jersey.
Robert Bee is a freelance writer living in New Jersey. For his day job he teaches computer classes at the Mercer County Library. He has published over 30 short stories, book reviews, and essays in magazines, e-zines, and anthologies such as The New York Review of Science Fiction, The Internet Review of Science Fiction, Outer Darkness, Parchment Symbols, Blue Murder, Parageography, Alienskin, Glyph, Cabal Asylum, Welcome to Nod, Nocturnal Ooze, Dark Krypt, and Kings of the Night.

Gregorio Montejo is our resident scholar.
Gregorio Montejo is a professor of Historical Theology at Boston College. His research interests include Thomas Aquinas, Christology, and Trinitarian Theology. Montejo is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Society of Biblical Literature. Most recently, he gave a presentation on “Re-imagining God’s Apophatic Form: Aquinas, De divinis nominibus, and the Pauline Corpus” at Villanova University’s Patristic, Medieval, and Renaissance Conference (PMR).

Anthony Ryan Rhodes is the face of LaffCon.
Fortunately for us, we've only ever seen him with his Lafferty mask on. A native Tulsan, Anthony is a dabbler in Lafferty illustration (

Our confirmed guests include:

Our Writer Guest of Honor is Michael Swanwick.
On his blog, Michael describes himself as a "Writer of fantasy and science fiction novels and short fiction. Dabbler in criticism and biography. Winner of various awards. Mad about writing."
If you don't know who Michael Swanwick is, then you haven't been paying attention to science fiction for the last 30 years. For our purposes, here is the to-the-point bio statement from FoL2: "Michael Swanwick is the multiple-award-winning author of such books as Stations of the Tide and Gravity's Angels. He has been a Lafferty admirer, fan, and supporter for longer than many of his readers have been alive." 
Please read his essay Despair and the Duck Lady.

Our Artist Guest of Honor is Lissanne Lake.
Lissanne is a full-time freelance illustrator, and has been one for over 25 years. She has done over 100 book covers, plus magazine covers, gaming card illustrations, and an entire Tarot deck (Buckland Romani Tarot) plus outdoor murals and figurine designs, and many other things. (Artists are a versatile lot!) She lives in North Bergen, NJ with her partner Alan and a small bossy dog. You can check out her paintings on her Facebook page, the Fantastic Art of Lissanne Lake, and you can find many Lafferty illustrations in the albums there.

Our Lafferty Ghost of Honor is Mary Mondo.
(In the room also was a spirit named Mary Mondo. She was seldom apparent, even as a spirit. But she did show up on the spirit-anagnostes, a sophisticated instrument.)
[The LaffCon planning committee is working furiously on obtaining a spirit-anagnostes. If anyone has a lead in this regard, please contact us as soon as possible.]

And other worthy guests!
We are especially pleased to have two guests who have contributed greatly in documenting the life and works of Lafferty.

Andrew Mass is currently working on the world's first feature length documentary about R.A. Lafferty. A clip of his interview with Harlan Ellison can be found at the film's blog:

Rich Persaud is the creator of the important website, He is also a member of the Ktistec Press editorial board. Please get lost for a while at


Last but not least, none of this would be happening if it hadn't been for David Cruces creating the Facebook group East of Laughter: An Appreciation of R.A. Lafferty. David's getting a big ol' hug from me when I get to meet him face-to-face for the first time.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Invitation to LaffCon1

Dear Science Fiction Fans, Do you love science fiction? Do you love R.A. Lafferty? We do and we are throwing a party. Please join us at LaffCon1. When? June 4th, 2016. 10am-5pm. Where? Mercer County Library, 2751 Brunswick Pike, Lawrenceville, NJ. Cost? Free. Even if you’ve never heard of Lafferty, there is a good chance that one of your favorite authors has praised him. Neil Gaiman, Terry Bisson, Gene Wolfe, Poul Anderson, Theodore Sturgeon, Roger Zelazny, Alan Dean Foster: all have praised Lafferty. In the past few years there has been a renewed interest in R.A. Lafferty. This renewal includes a new journal/”bookzine” (, an active Internet community (, and now a conference/celebration ( The Locus Science Fiction Foundation has obtained the rights to the Lafferty estate and is working to make all of Lafferty’s work widely available. It is an exciting time to be a Lafferty fan. The idea for LaffCon was born when several of us in the Facebook group recognized that we were within driving distance of one another on the East Coast. After much talk, our simple desire of getting together for a drink became a full day party filled with Lafferty talk. We think that we’ve got a good line-up and we hope that it will be of interest to both the longtime Lafferty fan and the neophyte. “There is, among those familiar with Lafferty’s oeuvre, no doubt that it contains some of the best fiction of our times. All agree that it deserves to be read and loved by generations of readers to come. But will it be?” -Michael Swanwick,
Michael Swanwick has generously agreed to be a guest at the conference. The wondrously kind Lissanne Lake, an artist that some of you may recognize (most notably for our concerns, she is the artist of the beautiful Lafferty in Orbit cover), will also be there. Andrew Mass, a filmmaker based in NY, is working on a Lafferty documentary (see footage, including an Harlan Ellison interview, here: Also, you’ll get to interact with a handful of the worst case Lafferty nuts, a few of those involved with Feast of Laughter. Panel discussions, which will hopefully include active audience participation, will include topics such as Lafferty’s relation to the New Wave, Lafferty’s relation to the fine arts, and an exploration of Lafferty’s biography. We hope to see you there. Stay tuned to for continued updates. Thank you for your time and consideration. John Owen, On behalf of the Northeast Lafferty League and the LaffCon1 planning committee.