ui generis is an overused phrase, but it is the only one for R.A. Lafferty. If Not to Mention Camels is any indication, he has a mind like no one else on the planet. This novel is identified in one printing as "a wild trip through time and space," and on another as "a science fiction fantasy"; his fiction is sometimes described as "tall tales," sometimes as "mythic," sometimes as "moral"-and every phrase is true, yet inadequate and misleading. There are moments when Not to Mention Camels may bring Kurt Vonnegut to mind, or Avram Davidson, or Philip K. Dick; but only rarely, and only for nanoseconds. R.A. Lafferty does not write like anyone else, and what he writes is shelved as science fiction because it's the only remotely accurate label.|
Unsurprisingly, Not to Mention Camels is difficult to summarize. Its premise is that there are "dozens of billions of life-supporting worlds" scattered across the universe, and/or coexisting in the same place in different universes. One world, the Prime World, may be the model or source of all worlds. True original souls may be rare; most people may be reflections of those few real souls--and everyone may exist in every world, perhaps sequentially, perhaps simultaneously. Not to Mention Camels follows the joyous, monstrous, compelling cult figure initially known as Pilger Tisman through four (or perhaps more) of his lives/worlds.
Source: Cynthia Ward, Amazon.com.