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Past Master [Unknown Binding]

R. a Lafferty
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 191 pages
  • Publisher: Rapp & Whiting; hardcover edition (1968)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OIDE50
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 6,739,760 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Comic SF with something to say 20 May 2003
Format:Paperback
Nobody writes like Lafferty, and you either love it or you hate it. Personally, I love it. No other SF writer makes me laugh more often, or gives me more to think about. Past Master is set mainly on Astrobe, a Utopian planet gone sour. Since time travel has recently been invented, Astrobe's leaders decide to bring back none other than Thomas More (inventor of the original Utopia) to diagnose their problem and put it right. His adventures in this future world are a hilarious romp, with plenty of deserving nails clouted firmly on the head along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly original, with a unique time traveller 10 Nov 2010
By R. F. Stevens HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Past Master is an idiosyncratic book, written in a strange style, which takes a while to acclimatise oneself to. But once up to speed with Rafferty's language, the story is difficult to put down. I recommend setting aside a couple or more uninterrupted hours to best savour the flavour!

Thomas More is brought forward in time to solve a political problem on a supposedly utopian world, but the puzzle is not as simple as that. In some ways his presence is merely an excuse for everything else that goes on between a diverse cast of human and alien beings, all beautifully crafted and who leave a lasting impression in our mind. But then their actions are even more peculiar, and we need to travel right to the end of the book, through all of the book, to be able to comprehend what is going on. Skimmers beware, it really does make sense, but only if sufficient time has been allowed to read it properly.

Underlying the main theme of high adventure is a foundation of wit in various forms, sardonic, raucous, tender, even tragic, depending on the circumstance and individuals. The flavour of the narrative adds to the atmosphere, and once inside the story I would not want it any other way.

This is a book every SF enthusiast should have read, perhaps even owned and treasured. I bought my Ace copy, as shown here, when it came out in 1968, and have just enjoyed reading it again. I forget how many times I have re-read it in the intervening years.
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