We have gone ahead and in one fell swoop changed all the small scans to big scans on the Books page (if anyone finds any broken links please let us know). In last month's newsletter we asked for scans of any of the books listed on the Short Stories page, that we don't currently have online. Two big Farmer fans and collectors, Dan Getz and Lee J. Barrie both sent me about a dozen scans. These you can identify, if you take the time, because they are almost the only big scans on the Short Stories page. Anyone else got any scans for us?
Last month we updated the PJF Recommends page but forgot to mention it on the index page. This month we are getting (at least partially) back to science fiction. Phil has given us a list of the books that had the greatest influence on him as a child. There are not too many surprises for anyone who has read much Farmer. The question I have posed for him next month should be full of surprises because I can only imagine what a few of his answers will be. I asked him to name his ten favorite science fiction books, or stories, written since 1952.
And now to the part of the update you've all been waiting for; what new, previously unknown and therefore not on this website, goodie have we found this month. Actually this month our most interesting find only contains two letters from Phil. But then the whole book is mostly made up of letters from science fiction authors so what can we expect? The book in question is PITFCS: Proceedings of the Institute for Twenty-First Century Studies. The Institute was basically a fanzine, for pros only, which Theodore R. Cogswell put out in his spare time between 1959 and 1962 (with the final issue appearing 17 years late in 1979) and it was a place for science fiction authors, editors and other insiders to communicate. Check out this website about one of the long running debates carried out in PITFCS to get a better idea of what this was all about. I believe you can buy a copy here and I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the history and "behind the scenes" discussions of science fiction. You can read both of Phil's letters on the Letters page, but since they mostly refer to letters that appeared in previous issues, they will only whet your appetite for the whole book.
Also previously unknown to us was the fact that the poem The Pterodactyl, which we always thought was first printed in the July 1965 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, was actually first printed in Sky Hook #16, the Winter 1952-53 issue of a fanzine we have never even heard of! You may be wondering, if this is Phil's official page, why didn't he mention it to us that we had the wrong information? Phil has spent very little time online and has never explored all the nooks and crannies of this web site. Plus he trusts that we have accurate information...ah well, we try.
We have added fourteen new items to the Reviews page, including a positive review of INSIDE OUTSIDE by none other than Theodore Sturgeon, which was sent to us by long time fan and web page contributor Craig Kimber. We have also added a review of VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL that you may have heard about before. In May 1975, when everyone was still wondering just who wrote VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL, a review appeared in the UCLA Daily Bruin, where the reviewer claimed that the book had to be written by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. It just so happens that one week earlier Phil had been at the school as a guest speaker and had told the audience that he had written the book. The paper had to print a correction.
Speaking of the streak, back in March we reported that our discovery of the month was the poem Job's Leviathan. We also said that this was first printed in the fanzine First Fandom Magazine #4 (in an amazing coincidence just two months after learning that Phil was a member of First Fandom, we found out that he is going to be one of this year's First Fandom, Hall of Fame Award winners). However, the poem was actually first printed in the fanzine JD Argassy #58.
As you may have noticed if you clicked on any of the above image links, the scans that came up were rather large. As has been explained previously this web page began with small image scans of 36 dpi way back in 1996 when I didn't have very much disk space. When Rick came on board with funding for real web hosting, with unlimited disk space, we began adding larger scans (75 dpi) which were only accessible through the thumbnail pages. Click these for examples: Thumbnail, 36 dpi and 75 dpi. What we have done with this update is to start adding links directly to the larger 75dpi scans as we will slowly replace all of the smaller 36dpi scans on the page. Rick wanted to do this from the beginning but I (Mike) resisted because with a dial up connection the 75dpi scans can take a little while to load. However, over the next couple of years I think that 56K dial up connections will become as rare as 9600 baud modems are now. Plus on the smaller 36 dpi scans it is very hard to make out much detail.
Unless we hear cries of protest that for some reason you like the smaller scans, we will be changing the links on the Books, Short Stories, etc... pages from the smaller images to the bigger ones. This is going to be slow as many of the items on these pages will need to be rescanned. This month Rick sent me about twenty scans of magazines and anthologies which have been added to the Short Stories page. Since we already had all first appearances online, these were all for reprints. If any of you fans have a book or magazine that is listed on this page that we don't have a scan of, please send a 100 dpi scan of it to email@example.com. Once we start getting more of these scans we will start adding thumbnail pages to the Short Stories page. Rick also sent me a scan of an Uncorrected Proof of THE DUNGEON Volume 1.
We've also added larger scans to some of the items on the advertising page. We now have both the front and back covers of the many Ballantine paperbacks with Farmer ads on the back. Three of them we got from a long time science fiction collector who is selling off some of his collection on ebay. His user id is abacoan, and he should have more stuff for sale in a couple of weeks, and hopefully he will find more Ballantines to scan for us.
We have also added a few items to the Excerpts page. One is a scan of the magazine Secret Hours, which has an excerpt from LOVE SONG. We have also added a listing for SCIENCE FICTIONISMS, a book which is full of quotes from science fiction authors. I think that I have seen Farmer's quote somewhere before, but I have no idea where. If you know, please tell me!
The most exciting news this month is the announcement of the forthcoming book; CREATIVE MYTHOGRAPHY: AN EXPANSION OF PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER'S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE, edited by Win Eckert. This is also a hot topic on our PJF Forum.
We did get a little bit of a surge from the fourth airing of the Riverword TV Pilot on the scifi channel. As I type this the hit counter says 54,698 which is 2,907 for the last month, a little more than the 2,000 - 2,500 we usually get.
We did it again! Another monthly update, and once again we can report that we have found something to add to the web site, and to our collections, that we previously did not know existed. If you have been reading these updates for a while, you know that while we like to learn of articles about Phil and book and story reprints that we had not seen before, we love to find things written by Phil that were previously unknown to us. This month we discovered a book review, written by Phil, that was printed in the New York Times Book Review. Rather than add this to the articles page, we went ahead and created a new web page, Reviews by Philip José Farmer, and moved a few items over from the articles page to keep it company.
The PJF Recommends page has been updated. I guess Phil enjoyed this month's question because, without any prompting, he also sent us a list for next month: If he was going to be stuck on that island with only ten books (instead of the complete works of ten authors), they would be... you'll have to wait until next month to find out. Sensing from feedback that fans want questions more related to scifi, I have sent Phil some scifi related questions but we will have to wait until September to see what he comes up with.
We finally did a complete overhaul of the Interviews page so that it is now the same format as most of the other pages. We also have seven more interviews listed for a total of eighteen. Reading all those interviews also helped us discover four new events to add to the conventions page. It was a slow month for reviews as we only added nine new ones.
While searching some online databases through my local library's web page I found two newspaper reviews of the play based on Phil's Hugo award winning novella Riders of the Purple Wage. Hopefully we will be able to find more online reviews and articles through these great new resourses.
The New PJF Forum is already bearing the type of fruit we have been hoping for. If you check out the section of Interesting and Rare PJF items for sale you will find the manuscript for The Felled Star available for sale. The two parts of The Felled Star were serialized in Worlds of Tomorrow and eventually became the first half of THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT, the second book in the Riverworld series.
Speaking of things for sale; if you have not visited PJF's Basement, you might want to do so before we run out of stock. We only have three signed copies left of THE WORLD TIERS Volume 1, and only five copies left of RG Magazine.
For those scoring along at home the hit counter, as I type this, says 51,791, nearly 2,500 in the last month. It will be interesting to see if there is another surge in hits with this months airing of Riverworld.
We've talked on this page in the past about how we love discovering things Phil wrote that we didn't even know existed. This isn't quite as good as that, but we do seem to keep finding something new every month. We occasionally come across reprintings of Phil's stories that we didn't know about, but they are usually pretty recent and therefore not listed in any of the bibliographies. British fan Simon Luffrum told me about his copy of the December 1964 issue of Venture, which reprints The Alley Man.
Here is an interesting thing to consider about the above paragraph; you probably read it and either thought "so what" or "I need to find a copy of that". If you thought "so what", you are still sane. If you thought "I need to find a copy of that", you are either a serious collector or on your way to becoming one.
We have added 15 new photos to the Photo Gallery. All of these photos came from Phil and Bette Farmer from their personal collection. We have also added 14 new reviews to the Reviews page. Two of which came from long time fan and contributor to this page Craig Kimber. Don't forget, if you have some reviews that I do not have the text of online, you can type them up and send them to me, and get your name mentioned here.
And now, finally on to the big news of the month. As I describe in some detail on the new PJF Recommends page, this is chance for Phil to share his vast knowledge in all fields of literature. As soon as we get the PJF Forum fixed I will start a thread asking fans for questions to ask Phil. Until then, if you think you have a great question for Phil, just email it to Mike. Since I promised not to bother Phil too much with this, he will only be answering one question each month. This month I asked him to name his ten favorite mystery writers. As you will see, unless someone comes up with a better question, I have already chosen next month's.
Having just spent a week at the beach I had less time to work on the page this month and I have run out of things to talk about. Scouring the used book stores on St. Simons Island, Georgia, I did find a Ballantine printing of FIRST PERSON PECULIAR by T.L. Sherred, which has an ad on the back cover for TIMES LAST GIFT. I have not had time to scan this and add it to the Advertising page, but I will before the next update. That is something else you paperback collectors out there can help me with. If you have old Ballantine paperbacks, look at the back cover, if there is an ad for one of Phil's books, and I don't have it listed please send me a scan of it. Please send a 100 dpi scan as I plan on rescanning all of the items on the Advertising page in the near future and replacing them with larger images.
The hit counter, as I finally finish typing this update, says 49,353, which is nearly 3,000 hits to this index page since the last update.
If you go back and look through the What's New Archive, or if you have been visiting this page for years and have a good memory, you will find that when we first became official we promised a couple of new additions to the web page. One was a PJF Timeline and the second was a Photo Gallery. We kept not getting these pages done, and kept saying on these updates, "Maybe next month...", until we finally stopped mentioning them all together and hoped people would forget about them. Last month we finally put the Timeline online, even though it wasn't 100% finished (not that any page is ever finished around here). Rather than do as we should have, and work on the Timeline page for the past month, we finally made enough progress on the Photo Gallery page to put it online!
This is the coolest addition to the page since we started adding thumbnails and bigger scans. Full credit for this page needs to go to Bette Farmer for sharing all these great pictures and memories. The best part is that we are just getting started. We have 36 pictures online right now, but by this time next month the page could be twice as long! If time permits, we might even have more pictures online this weekend.
Well, we thought the big news this month was going to center around the Excerpts page. First I (Mike), finally found a copy of the September 1992 issue of Amazing, which contains an excerpt from THE CATERPILLAR'S QUESTION. Then, just on the chance that there might be a chapter on Phil, I checked out a copy of CLASSIC SCIENCE FICTION WRITERS, edited by Harold Bloom, from my local library. There was no chapter about Phil as this book dealt with much earlier science fiction writers. However, each chapter in the book contains a series of essays and excerpts from longer works about each subject. In the chapter on Edgar Rice Burroughs, there is a short excerpt from TARZAN ALIVE! As we have said in the past, we just love adding items to the web page that we didn't even know existed. Just in case you are new to this web page, it is being run by book (and magazine, and fanzine, and convention program, and ...) collectors. This page began as a visual catalog of my (Mike's) collection and just grew out of hand from there.
We managed to add 15 new reviews to the Reviews page, as well as about a dozen listings for reviews we didn't already know about. The Conventions and Events page has grown quite a bit and now has 36 events listed. If you know of a convention Phil attended and it is not listed on this page, please let us know. If you have a copy of the program book or any photographs, please scan them and send those to us as well. This is one of those pages that we know is not complete and may never be finished.
Last month we auctioned off the last two signed copies of RG Magazine on ebay and they went for $46.07 each. Right now on ebay we have the last seven unsigned copies of RG Magazine for $10 each. This auction will end on May 14th, a little after 8:30 in the morning. As I say in the auction, unless you go to Bermuda and get extremely lucky, this is probably going to be your last chance to find a copy of this magazine.
On last month's update we mentioned how in a usual month we had about 2,000 visitors to this index page. Last month we had almost 7,000 because of the publicity from Scifi Channel's airing of the Riverworld TV Pilot. The exposure continues to be good for us, as I type this the hit counter says 46,414, which gives us 3,714 hits since the last update.
However, even with such strong ratings, there is at this time, as far as we know, no plans to produce a series. So, please tune in on the 13th. Hopefully from word of mouth, this showing will have higher ratings than the first showing. But that is only going to happen if you watch it (possibly for the third time) and tell all your friends to watch it. Also if you want to comment on the movie, you can do it on our PJF Forum, or the Not For Hire: The Unofficial Riverworld Homepage Forum, or you can go to the Riverworld page at IMDB. But, the place where it will probably do the most good is at the Scifi.com Bulletin Board. Their search engine is not working so you have to hunt around to find the messages that have already been posted. Here are a few pages with posts; Recent Sci-Fi TV MO-Ri, SCI FI Channel 00-00, SCI FI Channel Qu-RO, Recent Sci-Fi Movies NE-wh. There are probably dozens more, but this will get you started. Assuming the people at scifi.com pay attention to what is posted on their bulletin boards, this is where you want to go to tell them you want a Riverworld Series.
This bit of news will only be of interest if you are reading it before 11:00 PM (est) April 10th. On ebay we have up for auction, two signed copies of RG Magazine. Click on the link for details about this very hard to find item that every Farmer collector will want to add to their collection.
We did manage to get a little work done to the web page this month. With so many new visitors to the page, mostly looking for information about Riverworld, we finally got around to updating the Series Page. Instead of just a link to the individual series pages we have added some details to this main series page. Hopefully anyone visiting there to find out about Riverworld will find another series that interests them.
While we did not add any new Reviews this month, we did add links to the reviews page directly from the Books, Books Edited, and Short Story Collections, pages. These links are right next to the thumbnail links for each entry (if we have a review online).
In the works for months and months, and not quite finished, we are finally putting online the Philip José Farmer Time Line. Full of biographical information, this page is a good place to start reading if you are a new fan of Phil's, and will probably contain lots of new information for even the long time fan.
As you probably already know, a pilot for a Riverworld series aired on the Scifi Channel March 22nd. If you missed it, you can see it when it is shown again on April 13th. Reaction from the majority of fans who have posted their comments on our PJF Forum and on the Forum of Not For Hire: The Unofficial Riverworld Homepage have been less than favorable.
This is understandable considering the number of changes made in order to get the Riverworld story to film. A few of the changes seemed completely pointless, such as introducing horses to a world whose only non-human life (not counting Monat and the "ethicals") is fish and worms. Changing the name of Sam's boat to the "Go For Broke", from the "Not For Hire" and having Gwenafra be the only child resurrected on Riverworld.
Some of the changes made sense in that they helped move the story along. Having staggered resurrections allowed us to skip over the ten years it had taken for Valdemar's army to get to it's current state and the six years it took Sam to build his boat. Having the, mostly unseen, "ethicals" mysteriously take care of instantaneous language translation means we didn't have to watch the characters struggle with that barrier.
The biggest complaint seems to be the substitution of the uninteresting astronaut Jeff Hale for Sir Richard Francis Burton, hard driven explorer of the Nile and translator of 1001 Arabian Nights. As some astute fans have pointed out, Jeff Hale is actually replacing both Burton and Peter Jarius Frigate, alter ego of Philip José Farmer and the character who gives the modern perspective of events.
Most fans would, of course, have rather seen the movie stay true to the books. A 2-hour pilot could have been made of the first half or so of TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO, the first book in the Riverworld series. Instead the pilot actually tried to cram the entire first two books of the series, BODIES and THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT, into too short a time and had to make too many changes to do it.
Some fans, and Phil Farmer himself, once they get past the changes, are pleased with the movie. Four people that I know of, that have not read the books, enjoyed it very much. The best thing about the show is that it has brought the attention of Phil's writing to the TV generation. This web site had a 48-hour period that had as much traffic as an average month. Amazon.com had sold out of the latest edition of TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO by noon Sunday, putting it as their #35 best selling book at the time, it has since fallen back down to #2985 due to lack of available copies. THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT, THE DARK DESIGN and THE MAGIC LABYRINTH are now all out of stock, and all three made it into the top 200 ranking Sunday or Monday. GODS OF RIVERWORLD did not have a sales surge because it was already out of stock and for some reason it is not listed on Amazon's Riverworld Page.
ABEBOOKS.COM, the best web site for finding used books, had over 1000 copies of TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO available last week, they now have only 342. All in all we are pleased that Riverworld has finally made it to television. The next step is to hope that the pilot is picked up and made into a series. If you think it should be, please go to scifi.com and let them know.
The hit counter, as of 10:15 on March 25th, says 40304, that's 4245 hits higher than it was on March 11th.
If you click on the Scifi.com schedule, you will see that the movie is being shown twice, at 9:00pm and at 11:00pm on March 22nd! You can also check out scifi.com's Riverworld Page. Sunday I sat through what is probably the worst science fiction movie of all time, Flash Gordon, on the scifi channel just in case they might show a commercial for Riverworld. They did and it was worth it.
Back in September 2002 we reported here that we had discovered an article by Philip José Farmer that no one seem to know existed. "Report" appeared in Luna 6 and is now listed on the Articles Page. Then in October 2002 we reported that, previously unknown to us, exerpts from LOVE SONG had been printed in two different adult magazines. That information was added to the excerpts page. This month we are thrilled to report that we have once more added to the site information about a work by Phil that no one seem to have known existed. This time the work is a Poem titled "Job's Leviathan", which appeared in the fanzine First Fandom Magazine #4, June 1961.
If you know of any item by or about Phil that is not listed on this web page, please tell us! Back when I started the Unofficial page in 1996 people constantly emailed me information about things that I did not have listed on the web site. Phil has contributed so many articles to so many fanzines over the years it is has been really hard to find them all. Until I received my copy of First Fandom #4 in the mail, I had no idea that Phil was a member of that organization. Now I have to keep my eyes open for more copies of that fanzine, which are very rare because they were only distributed to members.
We have two new pieces of Fan Art on the page, the Snoligaster and Batwing. Both are drawn by Mario Zecca and both were inspired by THE STONE GOD AWAKENS. It has been a while since I read this book and I don't remember the Snoligaster. However the Batwing is pretty much how I'd pictured it and reminds me of some the pictures Roland Trenary did in his fanzine Normal Bean.
Once again Zacharias, webmaster of the The International Bibliography typed up a bunch of reviews for us. Rias also gave us information on another where another 31 reviews can be found in British magazines and fanzines such as Paperback Inferno, Paperback Parlour and Vector.
Speaking of Zacharias, he first reported on his web site that ibooks is reprinting the 6 book Dungeon Series in three volumes. They are also reprinting THE ULTIMATE DRACULA, THE ULTIMATE FRAKENSTEIN and DANGEROUS VISIONS.
With numbers once again probably swollen from people coming to the page everyday since the 9th looking for this month's update, the hit counter now says 36059.
As you can see on the Scifi.com schedule, the movie is being shown twice, at 9:00pm and at 11:00pm on March 22nd! I would have updated the index page earlier in the day but I wanted to call Phil and Bette to get their reactions. Bette answered the phone so I told her first, she was very excited and said "You couldn't have said anything that would have made me happier". Phil who has been made cynical about Hollywood over the years said "It certainly makes us happy, if it comes true. I'm steeling myself for it, I imagine they made some changes". Even with an airdate announced only 39 days away, Phil won't believe it until he sees it.
Also at scifi.com you can find the complete text of The Sliced-Crosswise Only-On-Tuesday World at their Classics Page. This much reprinted story, which was originally published in 1971, is the prequel to the Dayworld trilogy. There is also a link to the story from their Archive Page.
The big news this update was going to be that we have added over 120 new reviews to the reviews page. As usual several of them were typed up by Zacharias at The International Bibliography and he also found several more online reviews that we have linked to. The bulk of the reviews came from Craig Kimber from such periodicals as; Booklist, Publishers Weekly, Voice of the youth advocates, Kirkus Reviews, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. These make for very interesting reading as they come from outside the "science fiction community". I was a little surprised at the mostly really positive reviews of NOTHING BURNS IN HELL, a story that has been mostly ignored by the science fiction world, because of course, it is a mystery novel.
Because the reviews page is now getting so big, if the time can be found this month, it will be split up into individual pages. We will also add links to the reviews page, directly from each entry on the books page. Eventually these individual pages for each book will contain more information about the book, such as back cover and dust jacket blurbs and listings for more comprehensive articles about the book. However, much like Phil himself, we never seem to have the time to do all the great ideas we have.
In celebration of Phil's 85th birthday on January 26th, about a dozen of Phil's fans pitched in to get a star named Dantes Joy. If the meaning of this name escapes you, drop everything right now and go read NIGHT OF LIGHT. Just like everything else around here, it was sent to him late, but he should be getting the certificate today or tomorrow. There was some controversy surrounding this gift and the fact that only the companies who sell the star names keep records of these purchased names, and actual astronomers ignore them. But we felt that Phil would get a kick out of the gift anyway.
With numbers probably swollen from people coming to the page everyday since the 9th looking for this month's update, the hit counter now says 33650.