Religion does not much figure in SF: what faith a writer gives credence to does not usually matter. Here, as in much else, Lafferty stands more or less alone. He is a Roman Catholic, and beneath the exorbitant playfulness of his tales works an engine of judgement.
Lafferty is a moralist. More than that, his wildest flights not only affirm moral truths that should govern behavior; they also represent an ambitious attempt to delineate the universe in terms consistent with a sense that the whole of material reality is a kind of divine theater, that our actions are part of a cosmic drama.
In the 1960's, Lafferty looked for a while as though he was ambitious to become a central figure in SF literature, but he soon took flight - today it can be frustrating work trying to buy Lafferty books.
The progression of titles is a map of his course away from the mainstream.
In Past Master (1968), Sir Thomas More is translated into a future utopia in order to try to save it, but manages mainly to repeat the sins that may have caused his execution.
Space Chantey (1968) is a hilarious rendering of Homer's Odyssey as Space Opera, and Fourth Mansions (1969) paints a violently baroque picture of human history as a drama whose godlike protagonists hide in secret organizations and manipulate humans, for good or for evil, from behind the scenes.
Arrive at Easterwine: The Autobiography of a Ktistec Machine (1971) is the story of sentient - and blasphemously soulful - computer.
Lafferty's later works makes even Fourth Mansions look simple. In series, novels, stories, and sermons that enlist every kind of fable, traditional tale, and live or dead mythology imaginable,
Lafferty continues to construct rich, zany, dark parables about our human condition.
SF is only one of the tools that he uses to get at the truth, to tell God's great drama.
(Science Fiction: The Illustrated Encyclopedia, JC)