Saturday, February 4, 2017

Fourth Mansions Reading Club

Leading up to LaffCon2, we've decided to try something new here: a virtual book club.

In honor of Kevin Cheek's efforts to promote Lafferty and in celebration of his LaffCon2 attendance, we've decided to spend some time thinking together about his favorite novel. There will be much other talk at LaffCon2, but we thought that it'd be nice to also have a communal focus on one novel this year in addition to the general talk.

The good news is that we are doing this. It's happening. We're going to do our best to have a conversation about Lafferty's Fourth Mansions. This will include weekly commentary here on this site. Expect spoilers. This is casual commentary and meant as a general guide to any reader who may initially be disoriented by Lafferty's dazzling prose and his slightly unorthodox plotting. My goal for this commentary is to stimulate further thought. I very much desire professionally rigorous academic papers and presentations examining elements of the novel. This casual commentary here is not that. Take it for what it is and join in the conversation.

The bad news is that if you don't already own a copy of Fourth Mansions, your only online option for buying a copy is the secondary market, where prices have exploded in the past few years. Fourth Mansions used to be one of the novels that could be found for fairly inexpensive prices. Now, it's regularly fetching $20+ prices for used paperback versions. Ugh. If you keep an eye out for deals, they are still there to be had, but they are harder to find. Used copies can be found at the usual spots. Amazon. Ebay. AbeBooks. 

There is an e-edition available to you if you live in many markets outside of the US. If you do live in the US, there are inconvenient and not-quite-completely-legal-even-though-you-are-paying ways to get around region restrictions if you desire this e-edition. The Gollancz ebook version is available via

How are we doing this book club thing?

February is the month for obtaining a copy of the novel if you don't already have one.

March, April, and May are for obsessively reading and re-reading the novel.

There are 13 chapters in Fourth Mansions. We'll read (and read and re-read) one chapter a week. Or read the entire novel once each week. Either way, we'll only focus on one chapter a week.

Fourth Mansions reading group posts will begin here on March 7th.

March 7th - Chapter 1
March 14th - Chapter 2
March 21st - Chapter 3
March 28th - Chapter 4
April 4th - Chapter 5
April 11th - Chapter 6
April 18th - Chapter 7
April 25th - Chapter 8.
May 2nd - Chapter 9
May 9th - Chapter 10
May 16th - Chapter 11
May 23rd - Chapter 12
May 30th - Chapter 13

Finally, if you've made it all the way to the end of this post, you are now eligible for our great Fourth Mansions giveaway contest. I have two paperback copies of the novel that I'd love to give away. Here are the rules, all honor system.

1) You must not already own a copy of the novel. Don't be greedy.
2) You must agree to read the novel.
3) You must leave a comment on this post specifically noting that you'd like to win a copy.

This "contest" will run from today, February 4th, through the end of the day next Friday, February 10th. On February 11th, I'll wake up, write down all of the names of those who have left comments, assign a number to each, and then roll a die. Two lucky winners will be contacted and will each be sent a copy of Fourth Mansions. Hooray!

Feel free to share this contest with everyone.


  1. I would be very interested in a copy. Fingers crossed.

    Even though I've written on RAL, I've never been able to get a copy of this book. I've found rarer titles, but never this one.

  2. I haven't read this one yet. Would love to join the discussion. Hook me up with a roll of the dice, please. Thanks!

  3. Love the site and don't own any original Lafferty books, I'd love to have a go and win one of the paperbacks. Especially with this story.

  4. Matt! Steven! Mike! Thank you, all three of you, for entering our contest. Two out of the three of you will be winning copies of Fourth Mansions. I was hoping for many more entries, but the odds are better for you lucky few now.

    I'm a little late, but I will now roll a d4 and see who the lucky winners are.

    1 = Matt
    2 = Steven
    3 = Mike
    4 = reroll

  5. I've uploaded the (incredibly exciting) video of the die rolls to my personal Instagram account. Rolling a d4!

    Spoiling the excitement of watching the video, here are the final results: 2, 4, 4, 2, 3

    Sorry, Matt. :-(
    I really do hope that we see you at this year's LaffCon!

    Steven and Mike, send me an email with your mailing addresses.

    1. Oh well, not my day! Hope the other two enjoy; I'll find a copy one of these days.

      Thanks for your generosity in running the contest.

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