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Space Chantey

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  78 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
Rediscover Hugo and Nebula award-nominated author R.A. Lafferty with this rollicking reimagining of Homer's Odyssey! Set in the far future, Space Chantey chronicles the adventures of Space Captain Roadstrum and his crew, on a journey through galaxies resonant with myth and peril as Roadstrum valiantly battles to return across the cosmos to Big Tulsa, the Capital of the Wor ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published June 28th 1976 by Dennis Dobson Books Ltd. (London) (first published 1968)
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Jack Tripper
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it

Here's the cover of the 1968 Ace Double I have (the other novel included is Pity About Earth by Ernest Hill). The Lafferty portion is 123 pages long, the other is 132. ETA: Hmm I guess there IS a separate listing for this edition. Oh well, I'll just leave this here since I'll probably just be reading Space Chantey anyway.
Nov 08, 2007 rated it liked it
A charming if roughly-hewn science-fiction retelling of The Odyssey. Actually, more of mutated reinterpretation than a retelling, light on the science on heavy on silly, surreal and occasionally badwdy fable-ness. In fact, several times the characters comment on how improbable their adventures are (especially their many escapes from doom).

An example adventure: the protaganists land on a planet populated by seemingly Neaderthal giants who travel about on immense floating disks and who kill thems
Joseph Andros
Eric Tanafon
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Space Chantey would be a great book for most authors, but for Lafferty, it's only so-so. His love of the grotesque spins out of control in this very odd Odyssey retelling. And there are some things about the plot that bothered me because they clashed so much with Homer (note to self or any other future readers: the time to enjoy Space Chantey is NOT just after you've listened to Ian McKellan narrating the full Odyssey). (view spoiler) ...more
Printable Tire
Feb 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
As straight and narrow a tale as Lafferty can produce, and even so skewed and shaggy. Laugh out loud funny at times, and it has an ending! (though, being an epic, the ending has no ending). Space Chantey is a strange parody of Jocks in Space (Buck Rodgers, Flash Gordon, Star Trek, et al.) and the Odyssey, but whereas a lesser writer would go simply literal with such a conceit (here's the planet of sirens! Here's a planet of cyclops!) Lafferty elevates both source materials and transmigrates and ...more
May 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bob Rust
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Space Chantey retells Homer's Odyssey as Space Opera very rollickingly and is the most representative of Lafferty's attempts to liberate sagas by echoing them in a rambunctious, myth-saturated, never-never-land future.
Jonny Spinasanto
Jan 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
This review is from my blog, Under Your Windows.

Reading Space Chantey (1968) was my second time with R.A. Lafferty. The first was about a year ago: I read Annals of Klepsis. My memory of Klepsis is a bit hazy, as I read the entire thing very quickly. It's mainly a jumble of laughably long names, ghost stories, and lots and lots of dialogue. It was written in such an odd, vague way that there are no really concrete memories of the story left in my mind. That must sound like a negative, but I real
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"There are two kinds of silliness. Something can be frivolously silly or deeply silly. This is very deeply silly."

My Father's comments after I urged a copy of Space Chantey into his hands. He considers this every bit as good (and underrated for serious consideration) as the Coen brothers movie made from the same source.

I think he is very much right. In the opening paragraphs, Lafferty asks if there will be a mythology in the future, when computers record every action. Yes, is his reply: In one o
Perry Whitford
May 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
"We should go home, but I could be talked into something else."
Captain Roadstrum.

Those are the words of our alternative Odysseus from the future, just after the completion of his own ten-year war. So this is Homer, Lafferty style - that old sea-song updated as a new space-song, with additional briny currents of Norse mythology swirled into the stew, topped off with a sprinkling of spicy Texan seasoning.

First stop is Lotophage, the land of the Lotus Eaters, where 'it is always afternoon' and the
Sep 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sample absurdity:

"There was Pyotr Igrokovitch with the hole in his head. Pyotr was the most persistent suicide of them all. Following heavy losses in his youth he had shot himself through the head. It had not killed him, but the shot had carried away great portions of the caution and discretion lobes of his brain. The passage through his head had remained open, with pinkish flaps of flesh covering the holes fore and aft.

"Now, whenever Pyotr suffered heavy losses, he jerked out his pistol and sh
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it
-“La Odisea”, perpetrada con humor bizarro y filosofía fantástica.-

Género. Ciencia-Ficción.

Lo que nos cuenta. Tras una guerra que ha durado diez años equivalentes y que ha terminado con diez millones de vidas (pero que económica y ecológicamente ha tenido un efecto saludable), seis grandes Capitanes de Avispas y sus tripulaciones planean la vuelta a casa. Cinco de ellos deciden volver haciendo escala en el mundo Lotophage mientras que el sexto considera imperativo volver a casa con su mujer (cuy
Jun 29, 2011 rated it liked it
An Odyssey in space, where the perils are strange and the men die left and right. The author makes no attempt to make sense or even, at times, explain how the crew extracts themselves from sticky situations. The poetry/chanteys throughout are not particularly good either, unless you mostly judge poems by the uniqueness of rhymes, in which case it's pretty good. This book tries to make up in (sometimes dark) humor and creativity what it lacks in cohesiveness.
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Raphael Aloysius Lafferty, published under the name R.A. Lafferty, was an American science fiction and fantasy writer known for his original use of language, metaphor, and narrative structure, as well as for his etymological wit. He also wrote a set of four autobiographical novels, a history book, and a number of novels that could be loosely called historical fiction.
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