Tom La Farge, fabulist

Selected Works

Manual part 2
Homomorphic Converters
The second pamphlet of 13 Writhing Machines examines the reuse of one form in order to compose a second. "New wine in old bottles.'
Manual of Constrained Writing
Administrative Assemblages
The first pamphlet in my manual of constrained writing, 13 Writhing Machines discusses forms not normally used in creative writing.
Travel memoir
relates the struggles of two Americans, and of the two chameleons they were given, to adapt to a foreign habitat. Forthcoming from Proteotypes in 2010-11.
Fabulist Fiction
The Broken House, Skin
These two novels continue the "Mole Place" novels in another key, one that blends the human and the animal.
Animal fiction
The Crimson Bears
Two young bears go on a pleasure trip to a city inhabited by many kinds of animal, but find themselves in danger: Bargeton is threatened by invasion from without, civil war within.
A Hundred Doors. Volume 2 of The Crimson Bears
The two young bears are caught up in a night of riot and confusion.
This novel tests the power to recreate oneself through metamorphosis against the power of fate.
Collection of tales.
Terror of Earth
Versions and subversions of medieval beast-fables and fabliaux.

The Crimson Bears

In 1998 The Crimson Bears (both volumes) was translated into German by Hans J. Schütz and published as Die Zitadelle des Goldenen Bären by Klett-Cotta Verlag in their "Hobbit-Presse" fantasy series that also includes Gene Wolfe, Jeff VanderMeer, Mervyn Peake, Peter S. Beagle, and J.R.R. Tolkien.

Here are some excerpts from a review of The Crimson Bears by Don Webb in the AMERICAN BOOK REVIEW Vol 15, No. 6, Feb.-March 1994.

A Sip of a Restoring Cordial

If this book had been written seventy years earlier, it would've been one of the great treasures of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy Series edited by the late Lin Vrooman Carter…, giving us such delights as Vathek and the novels of Hannes Bok. Those books of high fantasy and richness of language--along with Tolkien--caused the birth of the high fantasy tradtion in current American publishing. Of course most fantasy makes the sensitive reader gag because it is a copy of a copy of a copy of the real thing. The Crimson Bears is the real thing. When this book… is reprinted, it will likewise be the source of a new Nile.…

In fact the mark of good fantasy is twofold. First, the use of a language such as never was, but shoud've been. A language of rich, ringing Latinisms that we would have had our ancestors' ancestors speak. Second, a pacing--deriving not fro the commercial novel…--but from the dynamics of poetry. La Farge in his dedication of the book to Wendy Walker says that she taught him pacing, so we all owe a debt to her (and the craftier of us will go and study her work for this secret of magic).… This language is pure magic--it makes one aware of the essential parts of oneself. Those who are touched by the words, but not capable of them, will attempt again and again to recreate them. In a fantasy of the rank of The Crimson Bears a true transfomation is achieved, and in seeking that same ecstasy, toehr writers will poduce paler and paler imitations. But such is the nature of religion. But I am not entirely dissatisfied with the religion, since it improves the imaginary past of our language. For I also in my private and secret moments turn to such an imaginary past as a sip of a restoring cordial.