SELECTED LETTERS
Dear Leland:

  I read the copy of your Kol Hillel article...with great interest of course. I finished my first...novel and am almost finished with the second one. Two novels in one month and numerous interruptions, the Westercon, our house burglarized, two days in court testifying after they they caught the poor wretch, and the landing on the Moon--which I had to watch, schedules or no schedules, a most emotional moment--and other intrusions which cannot be avoided. Plus doing research and working out theories...on this projected book about Tarzan, similar in concept and design to Baring-Gould's Sherlock Holmes of Baker Street. Crowley Pub. is interested, but I have to sell them on the idea that there are enough problems and enough scholarly or semischolarly articles on Tarzan, that there is a big audience, etc. I am planning on sending two RQ's with the Tarzan articles as part of the selling package. And a copy of the article from the fanzine Escape, which contains a reprinted article from Baker Street Irregulars. This article is very funny; it "proves" that a crotchety old taxi driver in The Hound of the Baskervilles was Tarzan's grandfather.

  Re The Lovers. Sigmen, as I remember my ideas when I wrote TL, was not Jewish or was at least only partly descended from Jews. He was mostly of Icelandic stock, which would be Norwegian and Irish. And you are right when you say that the Western Talmud had little to do with the Talmud. The idea was that Sigmen was more the Southern Baptist fundamentalist type who had done some reading in the Jewish "scriptures" but was by no means a scholar. His Western Talmud and other works were "spinoffs" or takeoffs at ninety agrees to the originals, and his time-theory religion idea was based on Dunne's books about time, Christ and Judas, Ormuzd and Ahriman, misconceptions of the ancient Hebrew religion, rather distorted rationalizations, etc. The basing of the religion on time travel gave the religion a "scientific" basis. About as scientific as that of Christian Science. Sigmen, of course, was psychotic but was powerful enough to impose his psychoses, disguised as religious "truths." And the Zeitgeist was right for acceptance of his ideas. In a way, he was a later Joseph Smith-Mary Baker Eddy...

  Philip Josť Farmer

  Without denying the failure of Free Enterprise in Saskatchewan and the U.S., I'd say our closest approximation to the Western Talmud is the Communist Manifesto, which (to quote A.J.P. Taylor) "must be counted as a holy book, in the same class as the Bible and the Koran." // Again I refer to Pete Weston's Speculation, whose current issue contains excellent reviews, by Charles Platt, of our correspondent's latest two books, Image of The Beast and A Feast Unknown (each $1.95 from Essex House, 7311 Fulton Ave., North Hollywood, Calif 91605). This last title is especially commended to students of Tarzan or Doc Savage, since it features both.