A small collection of essays by one of the masters of weird tall tales. Given Lafferty's fictional propensities it is hard to say if he is having us on with a few of these. He is skeptical about the physics of black holes, questions whether life exists anywhere other than Earth, and argues that ocean levels might be higher during ice ages rather than lower. The best pieces are when he writes about fiction, and science fiction in particular.
My favorite line is when he describes mainstream fiction as "an invalid masquerade of the world" because "it wears masks identical to the faces under the masks." I am reminded of the lines from the Wallace Stevens poem: "They said, "You have a blue guitar,/ You do not play things as they are."/
The man replied, "Things as they are/ Are changed upon the blue guitar." I don't read fiction to read about average people doing normal things. I want the masks to be different than the faces. I want things as they are to be changed by the storytelling. I want stories that come from down the slippery cellar stairs. It is kind of dark and scary down there but there are still treasures to be discovered.