This page contains a list of where all the known reviews of Philip José Farmer's books have been printed. Our resources are limited so there are probably many hundreds of reviews out there that we do not know of. Since most of the book reviews we have are many years (if not decades) old, we have decided to reprint them here. If anyone finds a review they wrote, or printed in their magazine or fanzine, and they would like it removed, please email us and we will do it immediately. This page should be expanding rapidly so check back often.

Fantasy & Science Fiction, October 1957

(Ballantine, $2.75; paper 35¢) Saga of escape by land-sailing windjammers across the vast plains of a colorful feudal planet. Wonderfully lusty and roistering adventure story, with a shrewd hero, a magnificent heroine, and acutely inserted s.f. details - one of the year's most entertaining tales. (Anthony Boucher)

Infinity, November 1957

(Ballantine 35¢) Here's a disappointment, from one of science fiction's most brilliant and least predictable writers.

Farmer's celebrated magazine stories; "The Lovers," "Mother," "The Night of Light," are richly dark with psychological meaning. The Green Odyssey is a pastel pastiche, superficial and half-hearted, of Tarzan, Conan, Hubbard's Caves of Sleep and heaven knows what all else. What color it has is borrowed without improvement. Like some of de Camp's lesser works the story is set on an alien planet for no very evident reason; with minor changes, it could as easily have taken place in medieval India right here on Earth.

The element which is specifically science-fictional is shoveled in: Green is that king cliches, the castaway space-traveler. Hearing that some other spacemen have been captured and are being held as demons in a distant kingdom, he leaves queen-mistress and slave-wife (but the later tags along with her six children) and ships out on a merchant "roller"—a sailing vessel on wheels. This is an ingenious notion, given the absolute flatness of the alien plain, but its interest lasts just as long as the first description of it, after which the "rollers" begin acting exactly like ordinary vessels. In which case, of course, the plain might just as well have been an ocean to begin with. "A difference that makes no difference is no difference."

Farmer's characters are sharply defined, but have nothing to do. Green himself is a reluctant lover and hero, the type of the comic adventurer; but he is propelled by the author through a series of notably unfunny adventures. His wife, Amra, is a majestic white-goddess figure; the plot gives her a couple of minor rescues to perform offstage, when the hero might better have gotten himself out of trouble; otherwise she has no function except to deliver standard dusky-belle line over and over—you know, "White man sail away in big boat, forget poor Cheeta." The merchant, Miran, a wonderful blend of optimism and greed, has a supernumerary's role; and so on. The story winds up in a blaze of Tom Corbettism: the floating islands which roam the plain turn out to be abandoned lawn-mowers (honest), left over from a time when the plain was one gigantic spaceport. By taking over one of these, Green mows down his enemies, rescues one of the castaway spacemen, etc, etc. The whole thing is miserably dull and must have been drudgery to write; the author's private jokes (e.g., calling the merchant clan Effenycan and their god Mennirox) don't help. (Damon Knight)

Venture, November 1957
Satellite, December 1957
Astounding, January 1958

(Ballantine Books, N.Y. No. 210. 1957. 152 pp. 35¢) I must be about the only fan now alive who not either enthralled or appalled by the publication of Philip José Farmer's "The Lovers" back in 1952. The reason's simple: I've never read it. The story appeared just in time to go into a carton when I headed to Pittsburgh, and it's still there. The book that Shasta promised never appeared, and neither did the prize-winning Shasta-Pocket Books novel that followed. "The Green Odyssey" is, therefor, the author's first book in print—and I still don't know what all the shouting is about.

These are the adventures of Alan Green, spacewrecked on a far planet that is overrun with feudal human societies. He is the latest mate of a Amazonian slave, Amra, official leman of the Duchess Zuni of Tropat, and on the whole doing quite well in a precarious position when he hears that a rocket come down in a far country, a few thousand miles away across the grass sea of Xurdimur. The two "demons" on the ship will be executed if they don't prove their innocence by dying first. So Mr. Green—the title is a pun—schemes valiantly to get himself to Estorya in time to rescue the Earthmen and hitch a ride home.

The plot, the settings, the trappings are strictly by Edgar Rice Burroughs out of Robert E. Howard (Amra? Zingaro?), but the whole thing is curiously flat and unexciting. It's as full of detail as an officially approved Russian painting, and adds up to as little. (Incidentally, though no sailor, I have my own doubts about how effective one steering axle would be on a roller-ship, where there are thirteen other pairs of wheels plowing along straight ahead.) Miran, the freebooting merchant, should be a real character, but he isn't. Neither is Amra, with her brood of assorted brats sired by assorted nobility and others. Neither is Green. In fact, the only really likable character is a black cat-goddess with a taste for beer, picked up after shipwreck on one of the wandering islands of the Xurdimer.

"Rollicking science-fiction adventure," the blurb calls it: "uproarious" . . . "hell-bent" . . . "swashbuckling" . . . "sheer fun." These is was not, although it could have been. What was with "The Lovers" that blew up such a storm? (P. Schuyler Miller)

Galaxy, January 1958

(Ballantine Books, $2.75) At first glance, this would seem to be a routine space opera, complete with heroic tenor, particularly since a symbiote makes the hero virtually invulnerable. But maybe you have also noticed lately the revulsion of many authors of the John Carter-Kimball Kinnison brand of hero.

The Farmer boy is big, handsome, blond and strong, a castaway on a planet of short, dark people. He is also lazy, cautious to the point of timidity and not very bright. A good thing he was supplied with his GI symbiote that increases strength, repairs wounds and replaces lost parts and also that he managed to pick up an Amazon of a native wife, a slave like him, who combines beauty and intelligence with five kids, one of them his.

He has managed to get himself installed as a gigolo to the local duke's voluptuous but bath-needing wife, and overhearing that two strangers have come from the sky in a strange ship and are being held in a distant city, he arranges passage there with a merchant ship captain.

Though a slave, he gives the captain a financial plan that offers sufficient gain to overcome reluctance to help a fugitive. He thinks he's lamming on his wife, but she's a heap smarter than he is.

The story has a flavor of the de Camp's famous series, the nautical atmosphere being supplied by an interesting concept in dry-land shipping -wind rollers, sailing vessels of the plains.

Farmer throws in pirates for plot and floating islands for mystery and almost makes a mish-mash of the ending, but doesn't.

Analog, January 1961

(Beacon Books 277 1960 190 pp. 35¢) (see STRANGE RELATIONS for the beginning of this review) The symbolism is there, too, in "Flesh," but in line with the publisher's policies, just about everything in the book has an overt sexual motive or meaning. A starship which has left Earth about 2100 A.D. returns after eight centuries to find the planet a parched cinder, with a few oases of human civilization on a more or less pastoral level. This culture of the thirtieth is based on a fertility cult that incorporates just about everything in "The Golden Bough," with embellishments from the author's fertile. Peter Stagg, giant red-headed captain of the returned ship, promptly has antlers grafted on his skull, is adopted into the Elk fraternity, and as the year's "Sunhero" is launched on a six month's career of servicing every eligible "mascot" or virgin in the DeeCee kingdom. His triumphal northward march will bring him to Albany at the summer solstice, where the hideous Mother of Pigs will castrate and slaughter him, sending the Sun back into darkness from which a new Sunhero will rescue it at the winter solstice.

For the surface reader in search of such entertainment, this is simply the story of one prolonged orgy—a dream fantasy made real—with colorful and plausible detail, and with a small amount of melodrama thrown in, as Stagg falls in love with a captured mascot from the pseudo-Catholic Casey kingdom of Boston, is taken prisoner by the Pants-Elf homosexuals of Pennsylvania—a foul libel!—and is pursued by the hunting pigs of Mother Alba. Meanwhile, in subplots, Stagg's fellow spacemen try to fit themselves into the sex-centered society. Those who dig psychological symbolism can carry things to still another level, and delight in what the other says symbolically that the can't get by with in simple Anglo-Saxon. Finally, since Farmer is a serious writer, he is undoubtedly saying something about the psychological nature of man and human society, but quite without the finesse and suave subtlety of "Father" and "My Sister's Brother." After all, that's not what Beacon pays for.

New Worlds #184, November 1968
Kirkus Reviews, February 15 1968

(Doubleday 68-11784) Eight hundred years later, ten starship men return to an earth that erupts with pagan rituals, fraternities and fertility rites. Peter Stagg is adopted as this year's "Sunhero," initiated into the local "Elks" and a pair of antlers is grafted on his head which give him "the biggest case of satyriasis known to history." As he bounds along the thorny and horny path, at one point he takes on all of what's left of Boston's delicate daughters. But then he falls in love with Mary Casey, captive from Caseyland and can't get past her chastity belt. These are just some of the numbing visions devoted to satisfying man's more delinquent daydreams. Flushed Flesh….

Publishers Weekly, February 19 1968

(Doubleday 68-11784) Doubleday's catalog calls this "one of the all-time science fiction novels long out of print, now completely re-written by the author." We have no personal knowledge of the original version, but this one seems a steamy tale blending allegory and fertility rites with life in a futuristic world. Stagg, the Sun Hero, the Horned King, with the aid of antlers that give him erotic strength beyond dreams, is driven by an inexhaustible compulsion to scatter his seed and repopulate the desolate world. The thing he objects to, however, is the ritual death forecast for him when he meets the Moon Goddess. This all seems pretty old-fashioned in terms of much of the science fiction being written today.

Library Journal, April 15 1968

(Doubleday 68-11784) Peter Stagg (note the last name), with his nine crewmen, returns to earth after an absence of more than 800 years during which time he has been exploring space. He and his men have been frozen for much of this period. Earth, in the meantime, has experienced the Desolation and reverted to the stone age. The state religion is a fertility cult; the capitol in Washington (now Wazhtin) has two domes in honor of the Great White Mother, and the Washington monument also has sexual implications. Stagg is made the sun-hero of the population, made up mostly of women, and, as any good stag would, has a wild time with all of these willing women before his death. If you like your science fiction on the gamey side this may be for you. (Paul E. Edlund)

Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 1968

(Doubleday, $3.95) Philip José Farmer’s FLESH is "a revised and expanded version of a novel by the same name first published by Galaxy Publishing Corp." The original copyright is 1960. It is my uninformed, outsider’s opinion that the revision and expansion have been minimal and that the book might have been very good if more time had been spent on it. It is a satire (part of the time), an adventure story (part of the time), a celebration of primal appetites (ditto) and a primitive society created out of whole cloth along the lines of Frazer’s GOLDEN BOUGH (likewise). Farmer seems never to have settled on a consistent attitude toward his material; none of the versions of the book listed above manage to mesh with any of the others. Most promising but worst achieved is the celebration of primal appetites (eating and sex) – arch when it should be coarse and coyly evasive when it should be specific. The book keeps heading into erotic scenes and shying off at the last minute. And some very unpretty things lie under the "comic" surface: mass castration, death by rape, and the ripping apart of children, to name a few. The book gives the impression of a naturally austere, cultivated and somewhat morbid sensibility trying to portray Rabelaisian simplicity and heartiness with all the forced go of an unhappy conventioneer. There are vivid flashes of imagination that no one but Philip Farmer could even come near, but even so, it isn’t a good book. It does his reputation particular disservice because it could have been one. Readers especially interested in Farmer can simply consider it early Farmer and read it as such. Others will probably wish it were less uneven and confused. (Joanna Russ)

Analog, November 1969

(Signet No. T3861; 75¢) Philip José Farmer, on the other hand, is back with a pair of semi-SF books which he and the publisher intend to be pornography and are consequently pricing at appropriate prices: $1.95 each. From where I sit, they are pure juvenile exhibitionism. In his "Flesh", first a paperback, then a hardback, now back again as a Signet paperback, Farmer was projecting some of the fertility rites of ancient times into our future, mixing in ome molecular biology, and writing a bawdy but good yarn. {see IMAGE OF THE BEAST for the next part of this review}.

Vector, Spring 1970
Locus #130, December 29 1972

(Signet Q5097, 191pp., 95¢) This is a revised and expanded version of the original which came out in 1960 (or maybe the original was cut and this restores some of the deletions). Basically, we have a starship crew returning to Earth with the traditional centuries long time lag to find the eastern shore of America to be a society believing in the Mother Godess with some technological ramifications. Farmer must have had lots of fun writing this because I had quite a bit reading it. (Tony Lewis)

Review by Christian "naddy" Weisgerber
Review by Mondo Ernesto
Science Fiction Review #42, January 1971

(Timestop! Lancer 74616 75¢) The Sam Moskowitz blurb on the cover of this new edition of a novel originally published by GALAXY in 1957 describes it as a "fast-moving cloak-and-dagger novel of the future", and for once Sam cannot be accused of exaggerating. It is decidedly fast-moving. The story is set in a future where the Earth is divided between the totalitarian Haijac Union and several independant states and federations attempting to avoid absorption into that empire. Its principal character, Dr. Leif Barker, is a top level secret agent working within the Haijac Union to subvert and destroy it, and from the first to the last page Timestop is a fast-paced story of his efforts to remain one step ahead of the Haijac authorities.

The Haijac Union is a theocratic dictatorship, dominated by the hierarchy of the Sturch, the institutional body of a "scientific religion" founded some generations earlier by one Isaac Sigmen, who is supposedly traveling through time and is scheduled to manifest himself on the occasion of Timestop and reward his faithful followers. (One of the avenues by means of which Barker's espionage network is undermining Haijac society involves the propagation of rumors that Timestop is imminent.)

The religion is provided with an Anti-Christ in the person of one Jude Changer, who is aso able to travel through time and is engaged in sowing evil and undoing the work of the holy Sigmen. The initials J.C. which appear frequently as graffiti, often at the scene of some serious mischief, are suspected to refer to Jude Changer. They might also, however, be the initials of Jacques Cuze, allegedly the leader of a (literal) French underground headquartered in the ancient sewers and subways of Paris. Or J.C. might refer to Jikiza Chandu, the founder and profit of the Bantu church. All of these elements, in any event, form opposition to the Haijac Union.

Leif Barker's difficulties begin when the mauled body of Halla Dannto is rushed to the hospital where Dr. Barker and his "wife", Ava, work. The extraordinarily beautiful Halla is the wife of a high Sturch official and, more important, an agent of the same intelligence bureau as Barker. His orders are that, if Halla Dannto is dead, he is to conceal the fact until her identical twin sister can be substituted for her. This he does, in an environment where everybody is suspicious of everybody else, and with the added difficulties of a passionate husband and a cold, cunning, ultra-suspicious secret police official haunting the hospital corridors. He also manages to complicate things further by falling in love with the counterfeit Halla, disobeying the instructions of his own superiors and getting involved with a group of Bantus living a shadowing existence in the abandoned Paris subway tunnels. Ultimately, Barker manages to escape with Halla to Bantuland, and there, presumably, they live more or less happily ever after.

Beyond this fairly conventional plot, Farmer offers a couple of (for him) characteristic touches: a sexual theme, and a few analytical pot-shots at religious intolerance. Halla and her sister have a surgically-implanted organ in their abdomens which generates a stimulating electric shock during intercourse. In an oppressive society of sexually frustrated men—made that way to render them easier to control—a woman capable of thus turning on a man is an invaluable agent. The antithesis of that society is the Bantu community-family, which functions like a Hippie commune with the additional bond of telepathy. There is one scene in which they are practicing a ritual of love, which, I am quite certain, but for the time and place in which it was written, would have culminated in something very like the giant daisy chain of Blown.

Farmer does a good job of depicting a rather unpleasant future society, and the writing is technically sound without being either beautiful or brilliant. Characterization is generally sharp, but the author goes a little overboard in portraying Barker as a somewhat pompous figure.

Timestop is worth reading if you hadn't read it in its earlier incarnation as A Woman A Day. Or, for the matter, even if you had. (Ted Pauls)

Constellation #5, 1978

(Timestop!) Quite simply, Farmer's 1984, a doctor works as a spy in a society ruled by oppression and "big brother". The scene is France during the future. A clever novel with many interesting facets. Unfortunately not one of his best, as it gets a bit boring, especially as the plot appears to thicken. If you like Philip Jose Farmer try it, if not give it a miss.

Paperback Parlour, December 1978
Locus #236, August 1980

Books Received: (Berkley, $2.25 220pp, pb) Reprint novel (Beacon 1960), also known as TIMESTOP and as DAY OF TIMESTOP.

Amazing, September 1960
Worlds of If, September 1960

Philip José Farmer's Strange Relations (Ballantine) is a collection of five short pieces arranged in the form of a family album: the stories are Mother, Daughter, Father, Son and My Sister's Brother. (The last two have had their titles forcibly wrenched into conformity with the pattern.)

Farmer is an important writer, who repays study. He is, it is true, an acquired taste, but that is only another way of saying that he is his own writer instead of being a copy of someone else. In his work are several highly individual qualities - one, an explicit curiosity about reproduction and elimination; two, an astute knack for inventing alien biology; three, an obsessive concern for the subconscious wounds which express themselves in the human sum called "personality."

Nearly all of Farmer's aliens are meticulously and brightly drawn. Nearly all of his humans have pockets of rot in their brains which seep through, polluting their actions. No matter what great struggles his characters may engage in in the physical world, their real battle is always with the wild black storms that scourge their minds. (Frederik Pohl)

Analog, January 1961

(Ballantine Books 391-K 1960 190 pp. 35¢) "Strange Relations" is a collection of five novelettes and short stories published between 1953 and 1959. It demonstrates the author's talents far better than than the newer novel, "Flesh," and at the same time is a show-piece of sexual symbolism and variation. "Mother" and "Daughter," from Thrilling Wonder, open the book. They are companion stories about the intelligent molluscs or land-oysters of Baudelaire, females all, whose reproductive cycle is unlike anything on earth except the symbolic phantasmagoria of dreams. In the first and better of the two stories, mama's boy Eddie Fetts, wrecked on Baudelaire with his classically dominant mother, literally retreats into the womb of the monster he names Polyphema and spends the rest of his life there, fathering her litters in the strange manner developed by her species. "Daughter" is told by one of these offspring, her father's favorite, who took one of his nursery tales to heart and thoroughly quashed one of the most dangerous predators of the planet. This yarn might be taken as the author's tongue-in-cheek demonstration that a good writer can turn anything into an acceptable SF story—even "The Three Little Pigs."

"Father," the third in the collection, was in Fantasy & Science Fiction in 1955. It is by far the most impressive in the book, and the best of the author's stories that I have read seen-since his classic "The Lovers" appeared just as I was moving to Pittsburg, and I never read it. It is also one of the rare science fiction magazines with a religious theme—a world of all-female creatures, except for one male humanoid giant who is in a way creator of them all. Two priests, in the crew of a ship forced down on Abatos, are taught the art of raising the dead. One, Bishop Andre, is to take Father's place while he carries the gift of resurrection to the rest of the galaxy. But the more worldly Father Carmody begins to probe a little deeper, and to uncover disquieting things.

"Son," from a 1954 Argosy, where it was called "Queen of the Deep," is a time-marking short story about a man swallowed by a Russian submarine that is run by an electronic brain. He, of course, finds a way to outwit the machine and escape. "My Sister's Brother" from Satellite 1959—it was "The Strange Birth" there—comes close to the quality of "Father." A man on Mars finds and underground, or at least encased society of strange creatures, with a bizarre sexual cycle vaguely suggesting that of the social insect, and with these Martians a strange, seemingly sexless womanoid creature of entirely different type. The storyline is rather inconsequential; what counts here is the ingenuity with which the biology of these aliens has been worked out. Again, for the Freudian, sexual symbolism is poured in with a lavish hand to flavor the outlandish stew. (see Flesh for the rest of this review)

Vector, June 1961
Books and Bookmen, December 1966
Locus #167, November 20 1974

Books Received: (Avon/Equinox 10578, 189pp., $1.95) Collection of five of Farmer's trail blazing novelettes from the Fifties including the excellent "Mother." Ballantine first published the book in 1960 and here it is as the first volume in the "SF Rediscovery" series. It's certainly an important book in the development of SF, but I wish there was a critical introduction saying why. The stories stand up very well after 20 years even if the shock value is no longer there. Recommended.

Futures, April 1975
Delap's F&SF Review #2, May 1975
SFRA Newsletter #40, May 1975
Galaxy, September 1975
SF&F Journal #86, February 1976
Amazing, October 1961
Fantasy & Science Fiction, October 1961
Analog, January 1962

(Ballantine Books, New York. No. 507-K, 1961, 160pp, 35¢) In the summer of 1952, just as I was packing to move to Pittsburgh, Philip José Farmer's "The Lovers" was published in Startling Stories. The original novelette was probably the most talked-about story of the year; if there had been Hugo's then, it would surely have won one. Now, expanded into a novel, it gets another chance, and if it should be the winner for 1961, the award will mean more than it would have ten years ago.

"The Lovers" earned its original notoriety for two reasons. First, and perhaps foremost, it was a science-fiction story in which sexual relations played the central part. Second, there was a potent sexual gimmick that I don't feel able to reveal even now. Old fans know what it is, but a new generation is entitled to that last slug in the wind.

Now Mr. Farmer has strengthened his story by building up the structure of the Sigmen society of 3050 A.D., which is also the setting of his recently published "A Woman a Day." The latter book, as various readers have pointed out, is an expansion of his follow-up to "The Lovers," originally published as "Moth and Rust," and dates from some three hundred years earlier.

This portrait of a warped, puritanical, hierarchical social order is a major achievement of science fiction. The world of these two books is more intensely realized than Robert A. Heinlein's "Future History"; it is almost as real--cruelly real--as the world of Orwell's "1984." It goes without saying that we can see the insanities and perversions of our own time distortedly mirrored in this world that Sigmen made and left to fester, for that is the mode and purpose of apocalyptic science fiction. It also follows--since that appears the author's crusade-- that the illogic and hypocrisy of our own sexual code is exaggerated to the point where the hero, Hal Yarrow, is walled off from any kind of normal relations--by Twentieth Century standards, at least--with his wife, or any other woman. Taboos, prohibitions, rituals--this is as hag-haunted a future as anyone has shown us.

Then, on a distant planet whose intelligent arthropods are to be destroyed to provide lebensraum for the Sigmen world, Yarrow comes up hard and suddenly against a woman who knows nothing about the kind of conditioning he has had. Little by little the barriers are broken down, little by little Yarrow becomes more human--and then the sky falls.

It's a tour de force, it's a landmark, and it's only the beginning of what Farmer can and probably will do. It's too bad that the book is published only as a paperback.
--P. Schuyler Miller

Vector, Summer 1962
Renaissance #4, Fall 1972
Moebius Trip, January 1973

(Ballantine #02762 - 160pp. - $1.25) In a copy of RIVERSIDE QUARTERLY which lies buried somewhere in the mound of boxes which presently houses my library, there appears an article on Philip José Farmer's THE LOVERS. By the end of the first paragraph, the reader has been instructed not to read further before reading the story. Readers of the article must have been few, since the book was then unavailable. Happily, Ballantine has seen fit at last to correct this situation and those lacking a copy are advised to get one as soon as possible.

Anyone who has read the Moskowitz histories knows of the sensation caused by the novelette's publication in STARTLING STORIES during 1952. Don't think that it is graphic sexual descriptions that caused the uproar, as I had been led to think; this isn't even soft-core porn. It is instead a reader's treat in which characterization and idea receive equal attention.

This is the realm of one Hal Yarrow, linguist and joat, and also of his meeting and forbidden love for Jeannette Rastinac of the planet Ozagen. It is the domain of the Sturch (gee, Phil, where do you get your neat slang?) and Hal's gapt, Pornsen. Enter it.

If you are fortunate enough not to know the plot, there is a well constructed mystery awaiting you and an ending which takes the old story of love in a repressive society (1984) and rejuvenates it as only SF can. I judge that the actual novelette begins with chapter 6, for those interested. The earlier chapters are, structurally, the weakest part of the book and can be skipped if they bore you.

I trust that this was the part Phil meant when he said that he wanted to revise the book, but Ballantine wouldn't let him; publication costs wouldn't justify it. Still another reason SF doesn't "measure up" to the level of the mainstream.

Farmer writes two kinds of books: in is strictly an adventure story, perhaps even a single draft, written to maintain financial stability while he works on the other, a more serious undertaking. This latter reeks of polish and creation-pains and it is hear that THE LOVERS stands. The world of Ozagen lives, is coherent and credible. The central thesis of the story is biologically sound, a similar situation occurring among certain lizard and salamander populations. (Did you know that?)

My favorite line in the whole book has to be, "'You're damn shib I am'"

(Is there anyone still reading this? Why aren't you reading THE LOVERS?)

Item: Blurb from the back cover...
"Ballantine Books Twentieth Anniversary Classic Science Fiction Celebration...In 1961, [Farmer] wrote and published the full-length novel based on "The Lovers." And in 1972, Ballantine Books is proud to bring this classic work back into print."

Ballantine Books: aside from the outrageous $1.25 cover price, if you are so proud and this so much a classic, why is that eleven years elapsed between printings? Both are inexcusable. THE LOVERS should have been in print full-time, just as are the Clarke books. Under such circumstances, I might accept the price. If it wouldn't sell, I could accept the denied permission for revision. In combination, they are incompatible and reprehensible.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1 1979

(Del Rey 28032-6, hardcover reprint) Before the publication of this story in shorter form in 1952, only the genteelest of biological premises ever showed their faces in science-fiction magazines, but The Lovers (first in book form in 1961) may now seem like pretty tame stuff. Hal Yarrow, product of a sexually repressive theocracy, leaps at the chance to accompany a mission to the newly discovered alien civilization of Ozagen. Here he meets the beautiful Jeanette , apparently the offspring of an earlier Terran explorer and a native humanoid. Their clandestine affair, carried out against the background of a secret Terran plot to wipe out the indigenous population of Ozagen, culminates in disaster brought about by Hal's ignorance of Jeanette's true biological ancestry. Farmer's busy circumstantiations of the puritanical Terran culture and the Ozagen reproductive cycle, even though apparently revised for this new edition, do not wear very well, but it's good nonetheless to have this ground-breaking book in print.

Publishers Weekly, February 1 1979

(Del Rey 28032-6 hardcover reprint) "Since the early '50s, no SF novel has more often been described as taboo-breaking than this one," remarked PW. Farmer speculates about alien sexuality and the possibility of love between human and alien. We concluded that the work has "interesting settings, depth of characterization and a concept that still has the power to amaze. This landmark book belongs in every SF collection."

Publishers Weekly, March 19 1979

(Del Rey 28032-6 hardcover reprint) Since the early '50s, no SF novel has more often been described as taboo-breaking than this one, now in hardcover for the first time. Sex was almost nonexistent in SF until Farmer began to break down the barriers with his speculations about alien sexuality and the possibility of love between human and alien. Despite at least one structural problem inherent in the plot, the novel holds up well. It has interesting settings (both the planet Ozagen and the religious tyranny on Earth the hero comes from), a depth of characterization that was rare when the book was new and is still not as common as it should be in SF and a concept that still has the power to amaze. This landmark book belongs in every science fiction collection.

Booklist, September 1 1979

(Del Rey 28032-6 hardcover reprint) This is the first publication in hardcover of a major novel in the sf genre and it has been revised by the author for this edition. Its theme is the sexual attraction of human Hal Yarrow for a beautiful native of the planet Ozagen; and its 1961 magazine publication marked a permanent departure from the Calvinistic mores of the sf mode called modern science fiction in the 1940s and 50s. Acceptably written and equipped with an ingenious plot and explosive sf premise, this is a book of which many have heard. It thus comes equipped with a built-in audience. It is also, of course, mandatory reading for all those interested in the evolution and nature of sf as a literature. (Algis Budrys)

When Hal Yarrow, a member of the Big Brother society of the future, dares to think "unrealistically" and falls in love with a human-looking insect, his love proves to be both his salvation and undoing. A fine science fiction tale recommended for older teenagers.

Future Life #15, December 1979

($8.95 in hardcover from Del Rey/Ballantine) One place where the world got ahead of SF is in matters sexual. In the ’40s and ’50s, our heroes were clean of mind, saving damsels in distress – and the universe – for no more than a kiss on the cheek. Philip José Farmer struck one of the first blows for freedom with The Lovers. When this story of human-alien love first appeared in 1952, it generated so much controversy that Farmer felt compelled to expand it to book length.

Now with several sorts of sexual revolution behind us, The Lovers can be read as a tale of love, death and first encounter – instead of just an iconoclastic exercise for shock effect.

Farmer’s 31st century America is rigidly controlled by the Sturch – a combination of church and state with the most repressive characteristics of both. Here, everyone has a highly specialized job, a spouse and a personal guardian angel something like a live-in policeman/priest. Our hero, Hal Yarrow, doesn’t like any of this and jumps at the first opportunity to escape it all – a trip to the distant planet of Ozagen.

A linguist, Yarrow is supposed to study the native Wogglebugs’ language under the care and keeping of his guardian angel, Mr. Pornsen. But Yarrow encounters Jeanette, a fabulously feminine alien and, throwing off a lifetime’s conditioning, dumps Pornsen, the Sturch and the whole expedition for love.

The sex here is so discreet that you wonder how anyone could have been offended, even 20 years ago. This combination of foolish love, the strangest evolution on record, and Farmer’s fabulous style won him a Hugo as 1952’s most promising young writer. His subsequent body of work, including the best-selling Riverworld series, shows that the fans in those days knew what they were talking about. This is an important book in the history of SF and one that still holds up as an interesting and entertaining tale. (Bob Mecoy)

Thrust #15, Summer 1980
Paperback Inferno, December 1982
Ace Double Reviews, 53 by Richard Horton
Analog, August 1962

(Ballantine Books, N.Y. No. F-588. 1962. 176 pp. 50¢) The three novelettes collected in this volume have the strong maverick brand of the author's unconventionality on them. One, "The Captain's Daughter" - originally published in the October 1953 Science Fiction Plus as "Strange Compulsion" - is Farmer and science fiction at their best. The third, "The God Business," is Rabelasian fantasy. The opener, "The Alley Man," is another example of the innate variety of science fiction.

The idea of a surviving Neanderthal man has been used many times in science fiction, and I think I am safe in saying that no two stories have been alike. L. Sprague de Camp's "The Gnarly Man" and my "Old Man Mulligan," planned at the same bull-session, were completely different, and "The Alley God" is utterly so. It is a robust, rambling comic tragedy of a dying species, trying to keep its heredity straight, clinging to its old legends, holding its own against the G'yaga, the False Folk who have inherited the Earth. The roaring, rutting, one-armed Old Man Paley who lives on the city dump and hunts the Old King's hat of power through its alleys, who guzzles beer and seduces social workers with equal facilities, is Alley Oop as seen by Eugene O'Neill. The story is negligible; the character is everything.

"The Captain's Daughter," on the other hand, is pure science fiction - an intensely detailed biological mystery, one of the strange reflections of sex which the author has adopted as his hallmark since "The Lovers" appeared. It is as craftily and solidly fitted together as the best locked-room mystery John Dickson Carr ever constructed, and forces you to create an image of the strange thing that possesses the Captain's daughter, from the accumulating evidence of what it does to her.

"The God Business," from Beyond, is fantasy of a style that was popular in Greek and Roman times and deftly revived by Thorne Smith. A bottle of the legendary brew of a Celtic god, let loose in central Illinois, has converted the valley of the Illinois River into a Never-Never Land of demigods out of Pogo and Apuleus, where symbols take flesh and the dead may rise. Into this place of solidified hallucination, stark naked by way of a disguise, venture an irrascible agent of the Food and Drug Administration and a Major in the Marines, female. What follows they bring upon themselves - which is another way of saying it was fated, or planned by the Great God Mahrud, nee "Bull" Durham.

If you've learned by now that you never know what to expect from a Farmer story - then you know what to expect in "The Alley God." (P. Schuyler Miller)

Amazing, September 1962

(176 pp. Ballantine Books. Paper: 50¢) This is a rather disappointing trio of short novels. Each story contains both good and bad elements – enough good ones so that it is possible to be entertained and enough bad ones so that no lasting impression is made.

In the title work, the author has created a memorable blood-and-guts character called Old Man, who possesses probably the most astonishing family tree this side of Venus. But the character of the girl sociology student who is supposed to be Old Man’s antithesis is not nearly so strong as it could be.

The second tale is, to my mind, the weakest of the lot. It is cast in Farmer’s familiar biological-sexual framework, but in this instance it’s not a very striking or original example of this genre, which is so much the author’s personal hallmark. Perhaps this is a format not capable of limitless variation, though I find it hard to believe. For those readers interested, it is called The Captain’s Daughter and is another story revolving around a type of human parasite.

In the third story, Mr. Farmer tries for something very different – humor so broad that it’s almost farce. The main trouble is that it is a bit too drawn out. Titled The God Business, it is a fantasy about a place in Illinois transformed, by some highly developed wishful thinking on the part of a college professor, into a land of bacchanalian orgies. Most of the action occurs as the armed services bring all forces to bear to put a halt to matters.

I hope that Mr. Farmer has better, or rather, more consistent, good fortune next time around. (S.E. Cotts)

Cypher #3, December 1970
Science Fiction Review, #22, June 22 1964

(Ballantine U2192 1964, 156 pp. 50¢) This interesting, amusing, and, at times, confusing fantasy novel covers a vast array of topics ranging from sex to philosphy. It concerns humans on an obscure world called Hell which, evidently, had been constructed in the past by a gradually dwindling race of fiends, who are now the slaves of mankind. Jack Cull's natural curiosity leads him to attempt to discover the secret of the world where nonexistence is nonexistent. (Gene Rider)

National Review, August 11 1964

(Ballantine U2192) Philip Jose Farmer who once set the whole science fiction world on its ear with an extraordinarily powerful story called The Lovers, in the days when everyone thought the field had no glands, has again turned his considerable skills to the end of disturbing, unsettling, sometimes puzzling, yet completely fascinating the reader. Any attempt to describe in detail this world (or hell) or this plot (or fable) must fail; Farmer barely manages it in and by the book. Is it satire? Very probably. Does it contain a warning? For some, surely. It is one of those rarities which yields to the degree the reader participates in it; which gives back quantitatively what the reader brings in - but gives back something vastly different in kind. It is rife with horror that intrigues, with blood which somehow does not come off on one, with apparent sacrileges which may well be admonishments to those who have lost devotion. An oddment. A most worthwhile oddment. (Theodore Sturgeon)

Moebius Trip, May 1975

(Equinox, $1.95) This 11-year-old novel is about Jack Cull in Hell, a curious other-world existence that Farmer has created which is filled with wonder, with puzzlement, and which has some curious similarities to his Riverworld.

Here is a hollow sphere, with the living-space on the inside. Up in the middle of the sphere is the sun (always, of course, directly overhead). Cull has an apartment in a tower of one of the cities; out his window he looks over the desert to mountains but the terrain curves upward, fading away into the distant "sky."

While Cull must shave with a flint razor, he has the use of a telephone:

(Telephones in Hell? Why not? They were the work of those who had been here before man, "demons." There was a vast complex of lines over the city; lines strung, not on wooden poles, but on the gargoyle faces that jutted in profusion on the front of every building or else on the branches of the rocktrees.)

Yes, the "demons" had been there first. But as Earth's population of humans expanded, more and more of them (it was supposed) had died and come to "hell." And the "rind" of hell has to keep expanding (earthquakes are frequent) to make room.

The fiends, once masters, had long since become slaves.

The humor in these pages is subtle, Farmer at his peak -- surpassing Hank Kuttner at his best.

Leaving for work, Cull notes that a falling stone has killed someone; he joins the expectant crowd. An ambulance comes to pick up the dead man. Disappointment; "X" has not come this time. "X" is, apparently, something not human.

And people killed here didn't stay dead; the ambulance -- with silent, unknown propulsion -- took away the corpse but it was expected that within a few hours the man would be back, alive.

All are naked in Cull's city, with the same age and body (with certain exceptions) as when they "died." There is no one under twenty, however, and no one ages; all are sterile. Diseases, insanity, have disappeared.

Buy oddity continues to pile onto oddity, in this outre tale. The reader cannot help but be intrigued, is forced to read on in ever-building fascination. What is going on here? What is going to happen? This is truly "a book that cannot be put down."

In a remarkably few pages Farmer has created an incredible environment. Then, Cull arrives at work, answers his phone, and the game is afoot.

Suffice to say that Cull and two others, after "X" is torn apart by a mob, go on a chase into the sewers, finally into and down an air shaft, and then ----

Then comes the discovery that their world -- this "Hell" -- is artificial, a titantic ship! They can look out a port and see the stars.

They manage to make it back to the interior. New earthquakes have flattened their city. And then, they capture the "demon" who had fled with "X's" head; he admits that he is not really a demon, but an extraterrestrial humanoid. And he reveals that this "world" is controlled by powerful beings of great antiquity.

The humanoid escapes, as more quakes come, the a "final" cataclysm; gravitational attraction ebbs and everything floats freely into the inner void. Eventually, Cull and his two friends drift into a large mass of stone, tubing, etc., which they enter, reaching a control center. Cull finds that he can use certain discs to create duplicate "X's." This brings contact from the "Outside," from one of a race 50,000,000,000 years old, who reveals much, including the fact that his kind have long since perfected the artificial "soul."

"We are what you would call highly ethical beings. We are not just interested in our own kind and its preservations...."

Things, though, are not quite as simple as you might suppose. The ancient race of Immortals has set up "soul" stations throughout all creation, supplying souls to all creatures (because if left to their natural fate, death would bring total obliteration). This "Hell" is one such station, its occupants being ethically conditioned while awaiting the births of the creatures to whom they'll become attached.

So it is with Cull and his cohorts. But as I said, there is more to it than that....

And how much of Farmer's explanations for this setup will parallel his final "Riverworld" explanations? Will his background Immortals-Ethicals here be behind the setup there?

It will probably be quite some time before we get the answer to that.

But all Riverworld addicts will want to -- must! -- read this yarn, Inside Outside. It may very well give you at least a hint of what is to come. (Edward C. Connor)

Locus #174, June 3 1975

Books Received: (Avon Equinox 22830, March, 156pp., $1.95) #7 in the Rediscovery series is a fascinating novel first published in 1964. Farmer was obviously tinkering with the Riverworld series when he wrote this and it contains all the concepts he used later plus an actual ending that pretty well explains things to some degree. Recommended. The cover by Jack Wyrs in impressionistic of something.

Science Fiction Review Monthly #3, May 1975

(Avon, $1.95, Reprint) Farmer and Robert A. Heinlein, throughout the course of their respective careers in SF, have had a fascination with the idea of immortality and the transmigration of souls. Stranger in a Strange Land and I Will Fear No Evil, both by Heinlein, and Farmer's Riverworld stories are major examples. Inside Outside is another.

Jack Cull lives in Hell, which is populated by resurrected humans and demons and ruled over by The Authorities. He remembers his life on Earth vaguely and has adapted to his hellish existence by getting a job with the local equivalent of Bell Telephone (combined with the Secret Service). Hell is much like Earth, except for the demons and the periodic earthquakes. And the fact that no one knows quite what is going on - it may be Purgatory, not Hell, for instance. So Jack, Phyllis and Fyodor (who may or may not be a Russian writer whose last name is Dostoievsky) set out on a journey into the bowels of Hell to track down the mysterious X, who may or may not be Christ, still in hell, because -- oh, never mind.

If this is beginning to sound a bit like Riverworld, well, it is. A fact that illuminates Farmer's career as a writer is that Riverworld was originally a single book, written in the 1950s -Farmer's first SF novel. He won a prize for it from a publisher that promptly went out of business and didn't pay him. Riverworld remained unpublished until the 1960s, when Farmer began to re-write it as stories and novels. Meanwhile, it must have struck him that he could do a kind of Riverworld in reverse in Inside Outside.

The world is actually the inside of a spherical shell in space, with an unmoving light source that dims regularly (at night). Jack and his companions discover that humans and demons alike are prisoners. Then, in a final switch, the transmigration of souls is explained and the whole thing turns out to be different than we thought - but that need not be given away here.

Inside Outside is a justifiable SF rediscovery - original, sloppy, provocative, hard to classify - a Farmer novel. It is one of those SF books that is better in the seventies somehow than when it came out in 1964. And a pleasant way to pass the time until we get the final novel in the Riverworld series next year. (David G. Hartwell)

SFRA Newsletter #40, May 1975
SFRA Newsletter #43, September 1975
SF&F Journal #86, February 1976
Science Fiction Review #33, November 1979

(Berkley Paperback, 169 pp., $1.75) This is a reissue of Philip Jose Farmer's grizzly little tale of life in a unique version of Hell, which was first published in 1964. Jack Cull (jackal), a sexy lady and a character that's supposed to be Fyodor Dostoevsky but comes out more like Mr. Natural, are caught up in a revolution that literally sweeps Hell off its foundations.

Fast paced and gripping despite plenty of "theological" small talk between Cull and Fyodor, Farmer's short novel starts out as pure fantasy but ends up science fiction if you can buy the all-powerful pseudo-science that's revealed in the end. Jack Cull is convincing enough and Fyodor is an amusing cartoon, but the sexy lady is so nondescript as to be nonexistent. Too bad Farmer didn't make her at least as real as Cull -- if he had this would be an outstanding novel than just above average.

Nevertheless, it's a good read. (Neal Wilgus)

Locus #240, December 1980/January 1981

Books Received: (Gregg, $11.95, hc) Reprint novel (Ballantine 1964); "a kind of RIVERWORLD in reverse". New introduction by Lou Stathis. This library edition, offset from the original text, is the first hardcover edition.

Paperback Inferno, December 1982
Science Fiction Review, #29, September 28 1964

(Pyramid, R-1055 1964, 143 pp. 50¢) This novel opens on the Moon as agents of the South Atlantic Axis stage an attempt to take over the System by destroying the Russian-American Soviets. The Ultimate Weapon is set off on Earth, effectively obliterating life. An intra-Soviet struggle between the American and other remaining factions of the survivors on Luna begins, while hanging over the Soviets' heads is the knowledge that the Axis fleet was in space, probably near Mars, at the time of holocaust.

The book is notable only for the interrelations of the characters; the science is not explained and the future society is not as fully developed as it could be. A good time-passer, but not memorable. (Robert W. Franson)

Locus, #71, January 6 1971

(Pyramid T-2260, 75¢) This appears to be a potboiler, written hurriedly in 1964 during one of Farmer's less productive periods and reissued for heaven knows what reason by Pyramid this year. The idea upon which the story is based is by far the most interesting thing in the book: a variety of Terran colonies on the moon and elsewhere continue to exist after a devastating nuclear war, and carry on the hostilities of their parent societies. But Farmer does little with the idea after presenting it, and the novel sort of drags along for 140 pages. (Ted Pauls)

Luna Monthly #26/27, July/August 1971

(Pyramid T2260, 1970. 143p. 75¢) Earth is virtually wiped out by nuclear blasts, leaving survivors on the moon, Mars and some other off-planet colonies, as well as a few very scattered remnants in deep caverns and on the sea bottom. International politics -- only the names have been changed from today's bloc-building -- continue after the bombs. The survivors engage in senseless squabbles, barely political considering the number of people left; moon base against moon base, wiping out some of the people the bombs missed, before the hero finally triumphs.

This book moves very rapidly, and is basically an action story. Farmer seems to be saying that humans will fight, even if there are only two left in the world. I've seen better elsewhere. Read this as a space war adventure, if at all.

Locus #180, October 27 1975

Books Received: (Garland ISBN 0-8240-1408-1, Oct., 155pp., $11) Photo-reproduction of the 1970 Sphere edition. This book, first published by Ace 1965, is the first volume in Farmer's "Tier of Universes" series. It's good Burroughs type adventure fiction, but I can't really see it as an important enough book to rate this hardcover reprint.

Science Fiction Studies, November 1975

(Garland Publishing, $11.00) Farmer was at his best in the magazine stories of the 1950s based on biological speculation, such as those collected in Strange Relations (Ballantine pb 1960). In the first half of NIGHT OF LIGHT he is close to his best (which makes the book well worth attention), but in its second half he gives us merely a series of violent adventures which add nothing that could not have been said in five or six pages. In THE MAKER OF UNIVERSES we have van Vogt's favorite plotline, the amnesiac protagonist who turns out to be a god, together with another series of violent adventures out of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In the SFRA Newsletter #43 (Sept 1975) there is a review by Mary S. Weinkauf from which I learn that Farmer writes "mythic fiction...for grownups who know Notes from Underground, Freud, Jung, and Plato," which may well be why I have never been able to read most of his fiction. (R.D. Mullen)

SF Booklog #7, January/February 1976
Science Fiction Review Monthly #15, June 1976

Garland, $11.00 (Reprint); and The Maker of Universes, Garland, $11.00 (Reprint) As with other titles in The Garland Library of Science Fiction, Lester del Rey's selection of work by Philip Jose Farmer is curious. No matter how high the quality of the work chosen by Del Rey, the fact remains - Farmer is best known and generally appreciated for his early (mid '50s) experimental work combining sex, biology, and traditional science fiction themes. In Seekers of Tomorrow, Sam Moskowitz credits work like The Lovers and the stories collected in Strange Relations as the cause of a "traumatic revolution contributing toward the maturation of science fiction". And in Billion Year Spree, Farmer's early forays into sexuality are described by Brian Aldiss as "breaking tabus before the s/f field knew it had them". Indeed, Farmer's early work represents one of the few generally recognizable landmarks in the modern history of science fiction, but, whatever his reasons, del Rey chose to reprint examples of Farmer's later work.

Maker of Universes (1965) is the first of the five volume Kickaha-Wolff series (followed by The Gates of Creation, A Private Cosmos, Behind the Walls of Terra, and the yet to be released Lavalite World). It's a poor choice for an $11.00 hardcover, despite its merits, unless Garland plans to follow with publication of the remaining volumes, but series and monetary considerations aside, it's a stunning book with its marvelously complete and intricately detailed World of Tiers inhabited by some of the better-drawn and unusual characters of the genre. In this, the first volume, Robert Wolff finds and uses an alien instrument to gain access to a parallel universe and then attempts to unravel the mysteries of world built in tiers, each one apparently representing a different period of Earth's history and/or mythology.

See NIGHT OF LIGHT for the rest of this review.

All considered, more significant or singularly outstanding examples of Farmer's work might have been chosen, but both of these volumes are representative of his better work in the 60s and deserve a place on the serious reader-collector's shelves. (L.J. Knapp)

Analog, December 1977

(Ace, 247pp. $1.50, reprint) And speaking of the works of Philip José Farmer, there's another series of his again available - and one that shows the fine inventive turn of mind he has in a quite different form. This is his "World of Tiers" series. These began in 1965 and numbered five books altogether. (For some reason, I never found the fifth, so I'm hoping to rectify this lapse soon.)

Ace Books, in its most welcome new policy of putting the best of its backlist out again rapidly, is now issuing the series on a one-a-month basis. So far, The Maker of Universes and The Gates of Creation are available (247 pp. and 188 pp. respectively, each $1.50.)

These books deal with a decadent race who once mastered all science. Each Lord, as he calls himself, can now literally build himself a private universe - a pocket universe, as it is called - to his own design and with its own laws of physics. The first book shows us Robert Wolff being called into one of these universes - a world laid out something like a Babylonian ziggurat. The Lord had peopled it with all sorts of mythical beings, abducted from Earth or created. And now the Lord is missing, and the universe is going to hell in a hurry. Wolff and the mischievous Kickaha the Trickster set out to rescue damsels and restore order. It's a romp of adventure and marvelous inventions. After that, the second book takes off on another wild romp as the Lords fight each other in their own vicious way through a perfidious ubiquity of pocket universes.

The books are totally lacking in significance, relevance, or symbolism - and they are just pure fun to read. (Lester del Rey)

SF&F Journal #90, May 1978
Locus #238, October 1980

Books Received: (Phantasia Press $15.00 220pp hc) Fantasy adventure novel first published by Ace in 1965. This first volume of the "World of Tiers" pentology has been specially revised for this 1200-copy limited edition. There is also a new introduction by Farmer. 200 signed and numbered copies are available for $25.

Review by Christian "naddy" Weisgerber
Fantasy & Science Fiction, September 1965
Universe #6, November/December 1975
Paperback Parlour, April 1977
Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review - Vol.1 No.4 - May 1979

(Berkley, New York, 1979, 201p, $1.95. ISBN 0-425-03953-6.) Farmer takes his inspiration from the famous "lost" colony of Roanoke, Virginia, where the first white baby in North America, Virginia Dare, was born. He speculates that the colony may have been transferred to another world, together with a ship that also disappeared about this time (1588), and a large caravan described in Ibn Khulail's History of the Turks. All of these people are settled on a planet named Dare, the "second planet of a star classified as Tau Ceti by the moderns." The Roanoke colony lands on a continent named Avalon. Farmer then picks up the story with the Roanoke descendants. Dare is a world where such mythological creatures as dragons, werewolves, unicorns, and humanoids with horsetails still exist. The colonists have lived in relative peace with the goldenmaned Wiyr (also called "Horstels"), but now there's a movement afoot to kill the natives and grab their land. Jack Cage gets involved almost simultaneously and by chance with the horstel killers and a beautiful member of the native species. The background is well developed, the action competently handled. Those who enjoyed Farmer's Riverworld stories will also enjoy this. Recommended. (Robert E. Margroff)

Science Fiction Review #32, August 1979

(Berkley, 1979, 201 pp., $1.95) This is apparently the work bought but never published by Startling Stories in the early 1950s which is described by Sam Moskowitz in SEEKERS OF TOMORROW. The title in those days was A BEAST OF THE FIELDS, which strikes me as a better one. I don't know if the book has been revised since it was written, but if so Farmer did it on a whole series of off days.

It is decidedly minor, and had it been published by Starling in the wake of his other two novels of the period, THE LOVERS and MOTH AND RUST (variously retitled since), I think the readers would have been disappointed. The main problem is that the plot runs continuously and dangerously close to standard cowboys and Indians. There are some good science fictional ideas, notably a huge underground being in whose "horns" one can live symbiotically, and there are some rather charming intelligent dragons, but none of these are integral to the story. It's the old favorite about the young man caught up in the unjust war between the settlers and the natives and unable to decide which side he's on.

Conrad Richter did a bang-up version of it in THE LIGHT IN THE FOREST. Farmer's is a lot more superficial, with strictly one-dimensional characters and so much action that in a stricter sense very little happens. Nothing interesting goes on between the people involved.

There's a very rudimentary interspecies love affair, but, especially when compared to THE LOVERS, it seems flat and unconvincing. The title, by the way, isn't daring you to read this book (which has a naked lady on the cover), but refers to a planet named after Virginia Dare, the first English baby born in North America. The Roanoke colony was spirited off to the stars, it seems, for reasons never quite made clear.

Also, for unclear reasons, the descendants of the settlers seem to be Roman Catholics and used to hearing masses in Latin, even though 1588, the year the colony was "lost" was also the year of the Spanish Armada, and being a Catholic in Protestant England was less fun than being a Communist in America in 1950.

Of course, the book maintains a certain level of readability, but Farmer has done a lot better. (Darrell Schweitzer)

Locus #240, December 1980/January 1981

Books Received: (Gregg $11.95, hc) Reprint novel (Ballantine 1965). First hardcover edition; library binding and good paper. New introduction by Moshe Feder & David G. Hartwell.

Analog, December 1977

(Ace, 188pp. $1.50, reprint) And speaking of the works of Philip José Farmer, there's another series of his again available - and one that shows the fine inventive turn of mind he has in a quite different form. This is his "World of Tiers" series. These began in 1965 and numbered five books altogether. (For some reason, I never found the fifth, so I'm hoping to rectify this lapse soon.)

Ace Books, in its most welcome new policy of putting the best of its backlist out again rapidly, is now issuing the series on a one-a-month basis. So far, The Maker of Universes and The Gates of Creation are available (247 pp. and 188 pp. respectively, each $1.50.)

These books deal with a decadent race who once mastered all science. Each Lord, as he calls himself, can now literally build himself a private universe - a pocket universe, as it is called - to his own design and with its own laws of physics. The first book shows us Robert Wolff being called into one of these universes - a world laid out something like a Babylonian ziggurat. The Lord had peopled it with all sorts of mythical beings, abducted from Earth or created. And now the Lord is missing, and the universe is going to hell in a hurry. Wolff and the mischievous Kickaha the Trickster set out to rescue damsels and restore order. It's a romp of adventure and marvelous inventions. After that, the second book takes off on another wild romp as the Lords fight each other in their own vicious way through a perfidious ubiquity of pocket universes.

The books are totally lacking in significance, relevance, or symbolism - and they are just pure fun to read. (Lester del Rey)

Paperback Inferno, April 1981
Luna Monthly #26/27, July/August 1971

(Belmont B75-2016, 1970. 176p. 75¢)"The Gate of Time" is a nice blending of science, fanasy and myth as modern day Iroquis meets his ancestors as an accident in time throws him out of the twentieth century. The frustration of his knowledge, no longer 'modern' and the knowledge of the world in which he finds himself is played off neatly against his growing realization and gradual acceptance of new values. Roger Two Hawks may remind some of Andre Norton's protagonist in "The Beast Master," which is all to the good -- both are fine characters, as are both fine books. (David C. Paskow)

Paperback Parlour, April 1977
Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review - Vol.1 No.6 - July 1979

(TWO HAWKS FROM EARTH, Ace, New York, 1979, 311p, $1.95. ISBN 0-441-83365-9.) An abridged version of this work, called The Gate of Time, was published in 1966 by Belmont. This new version restores Farmer's original title, includes three chapters which extend the story's ending, and reinstates several violently sexual passages which were edited out of the original edition. This is a parallel universe story in which Roger Two Hawks, a World War II bomber pilot, is transferred into a similar, although less technologically advanced, "Earth." Since the other world is also at war, the bulk of the story concerns Roger's alliances with and escapes from the many factions who wish to exploit his technical knowledge. Mediocre fare, of interest only for Farmer enthusiasts. (Jerry L. Parsons)

Fantasy & Science Fiction, May 1967

(Berkley 50¢) In NIGHT OF LIGHT Philip Jose Farmer is concerned with the nature and significance of ‘miracles’ and ‘divine manifestations’, and the ethical and theological conflicts posed by diverse manifestations in a universe in its ‘realities’. Farmer has tacked together two widely separated episodes in the career of John Carmody, the criminal-turned-priest with whom many F&SF readers are familiar: the book suffers not only from the characteristic stiff joints of such novelets-become-novel, but also from the unhappy improbable-quasi-caricature feeling so many ‘series character’ stories seem to acquire in the introductory scene-setting sections and of course, there are two such bits to get through in this one. But the last halves of both sections are integrally related and powerfully modeled, in full depth and dimension. (Judith Merrill)

Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, February 1973
Locus #190, June 30 1976

(Garland 0-8240-1490-X, 160pp., $11) Photo-reproduction of the first edition (Berkley 1966). This is the first hardcover edition of one of Farmer's odd imaginitive novels. It's part of the Father Carmody series and is a successful blend of fantasy images and SF themes. I'm glad to see it finally in hardcover. My paperback copy is falling apart. Limited edition, good paper.

New Worlds #166, September 1966
Science Fiction Review Monthly #15, May 1976

(Garland, $11.00 Reprint) As with other titles in The Garland Library of Science Fiction, Lester del Rey's selection of work by Philip Jose Farmer is curious. No matter how high the quality of the work chosen by Del Rey, the fact remains - Farmer is best known and generally appreciated for his early (mid '50s) experimental work combining sex, biology, and traditional science fiction themes. In Seekers of Tomorrow, Sam Moskowitz credits work like The Lovers and the stories collected in Strange Relations as the cause of a "traumatic revolution contributing toward the maturation of science fiction". And in Billion Year Spree, Farmer's early forays into sexuality are described by Brian Aldiss as "breaking tabus before the s/f field knew it had them". Indeed, Farmer's early work represents one of the few generally recognizable landmarks in the modern history of science fiction, but, whatever his reasons, del Rey chose to reprint examples of Farmer's later work.

In Night of Light (1966), Farmer combined his use of sexual material with an equally unaffected use of religion. The protagonist, John Carmody, travels to the planet Dante's Joy to investigate its religion, the worship of a continually reincarnated god called Yess and his mother Boonta, and a regularly recurring madness and loss of communication tied into the religious rites. With the help of special equipment, Carmody hopes to stay awake during The Night, a period of intense solar activity and radiation that results in intense psychic activity when the unconscious mind's archetypal images are given physical reality and loosed on the planet. Carmody experiences gods, demons, archetypes, symbols, and mythical realities sufficient to cow Freud, Jung, and Campbell. As with much of Farmer's work, Night of Light is an intensely interesting action tale set against an incredibly bizarre, almost hallucinogenic background that warrants re-reading and closer examination.

See THE MAKER OF UNIVERSES for the rest of this review.

All considered, more significant or singularly outstanding examples of Farmer's work might have been chosen, but both of these volumes are representative of his better work in the 60s and deserve a place on the serious reader-collector's shelves. (L.J. Knapp)

Science Fiction Studies, November 1975

(Garland Publishing, $11.00) Farmer was at his best in the magazine stories of the 1950s based on biological speculation, such as those collected in Strange Relations (Ballantine pb 1960). In the first half of NIGHT OF LIGHT he is close to his best (which makes the book well worth attention), but in its second half he gives us merely a series of violent adventures which add nothing that could not have been said in five or six pages. In THE MAKER OF UNIVERSES we have van Vogt's favorite plotline, the amnesiac protagonist who turns out to be a god, together with another series of violent adventures out of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In the SFRA Newsletter #43 (Sept 1975) there is a review by Mary S. Weinkauf from which I learn that Farmer writes "mythic fiction...for grownups who know Notes from Underground, Freud, Jung, and Plato," which may well be why I have never been able to read most of his fiction. (R.D. Mullen)

SF Booklog #7, January/February 1976
Son of WSFA Journal #119, January 1974
Son of WSFA Journal #125, February 1974
Paperback Inferno, August 1982
Biased and superficial Science Fiction reviews
Science Fiction Review #28, November 1968

(Ace G-724, 25¢) It is almost impossible to criticize any reasonably well done adventure fantasy of the ERB school—you either like it or you don't. If you don't, then you can put down the characteristics of the school itself. If you do, you can defend them. But there isn't much you can say about an individual book except to point out how well the author operated within the rather restrictive format.

To have swashbuckling adventure you have to have phoney swashbuckling, adventurous heroes and villians. You can't use real people except as minor characters; if you try, the effect isn't worth the effort. (For instance, the hero of Glory Road is Heinlein's attempt to combine a swashbuckling hero with a clearly drawn "real person", and that's all Oscar Gordon is, a combination—elements of several types of personality thrown together in one body.) And you can't even use the real swashbucklers of history as an example—they're all such mean, brutish, immoral bastards the reader wouldn't want to identify with them. So all that's left is to use a personality type that exists only in literature—the stereotyped violent but virtuous hero. (And that's why villians are usually so much better portrayed.)

A Private Cosmos is the third book in Farmer's "World of Tiers" series. The other two are The Maker of Universes and The Gates of Creation. If you haven't read the first two books, you really should before you read the third—the series is set in this very complex universe that's hard to figure out even when you read the books in order. All three are in print from Ace right now, or at least Bookmaster has all of them displayed.

In any case, the whole series is worth reading. If you are an ERB fan, though, maybe you'd better not read it—"The World of Tiers" is Farmer's attempt to write washbuckling adventure fantasy in the ERB vein, and he shows Burroughs up just about any way you judge the stories.

I have an idea that Farmer designed his "World of Tiers" universe with a fairly lengthy series in mind, and it's the best fantasy universe I've encountered outside Tolkien. First, there's the world itself—an artificial construct of "The Lords", an alien super-scientist race who act as movers behind the scenes in all the books. Farmer has constructed his world in tiers, each tier with more area than an Earthly continent and with its own distinct civilization(s), each people patterned after some people on Earth or from some other sf or fantasy series. (Farmer has lifted elements from just about all his competitors, and manages to use each element as well or better than its originator.) Then there are the Gates—teleportation devices built by the Lords—which allow his heroes to pass from one tier to another and allow the Lords to get around behind the scenes.

(Of course some of the Gates lead to Earth, which is how Kickaha—Paul Janus Finnegan, the hero of A Private Cosmos got into the "World of Tiers" in the first place. And there is some indication in Cosmos that the fourth book of the series will be set, at least partly, on Earth.)

The real fantasy element is the science of the Lords, who are portayed as the typical hedonistic, lazy, and generally neurotic descendents of the creators of all the shiny machines. Only in this case they aren't actually descendents: all the Lords in the series so far are around ten thousand years old—immortal. The swashbuckling elements are provided by Farmer's heroes, and by the inhabitants of the Tier World itself—the technological level of the world being pre-gunpowder, with swords, etcetara being the order of the day.

You can see the complexity of the background from my brief sketch, but you can't see the details that make the series the best of its kind—just a bout every background detail Farmer brings in comes from either the real world or from other sf or fantasy. For instance, A Private Cosmos starts on the Amerind level of the Tier World and is peopled with Amerinds of various types, from tribes of Plains Indians to the more civilized Tishquemetmoac, who seem to be patterned after the Incas. The rest of the details are straight anthroplology, history, archeology, etcetera. As I say, a good deal of the appeal of the series comes from sorting out the various details and trying to figure out which element is based on fact, which is lifted from a particular piece of fiction, and so on. In any case, the elements are fitted together reasonably well...well enough to keep the plot moving swiftly and provide believable motivation for the action. Of course, virtually all the action is deus-ex-machina: the protagonist rarely does anything on his own initiative, but just rolls with the punches and tries to get out of trap after trap and fight after fight. He always triumphs in the end, but his actions from beginning to end are all defensive. As far as I'm concerned this is perfectly all right. I don't think any other type of story could be set in this type of universe.

The story line of A Private Cosmos isn't particularly believable in summary, (and I'm not going to summerize it) but the action keeps your eye moving fast enough so you don't notice. The details of background keep the inquiring part of your mind busy, so reader identification is almost total, which is about the best the writer of adventure fiction can hope to achieve.

All three "World of Tiers" books are a hell of a lot of fun to read, and I'll even recommend them to more "serious" sf readers who don't usually go for ERB-type adventure fantasy. (Earl Evers)

Vector, May 1971
Science Fiction Review #29, January 1969

(Essex House 0108, $1.95) To a lot of unperceptive people this book will seem a come-down for Philip Farmer, a descent into simple pornography. And to a person who can see only the sex in a book where sex is used as a tool, then the issue is settled and the work labeled.

Except that Philip Jose Farmer is not a simple man, not is he a simple writer, and any book he writes is always more than it seems.

The Image of the Beast begins sometime after 1970 with the city of Los Angeles covered by a penetrating green smog. Private detective Herald Childe is in the folm room of the L.A. Police Dept. He views a film showing his partner's shocking murder: a woman using steal teeth half-severs the man's penis at the moment of ejaculation, and a man dressed in formal clothes, a cloak and blue sneakers enters, cackling, and finishes the "beheading". The film ends with the message: TO BE CONTINUED. The film has been mailed to the police.

Herald sets out to find the weird killers.

On the surface this is a grotesque private-eye story. Yet what are we to think of a name like Herald Childe? And on the title page the book is ammended: (An Exorcism: Ritual 1). And we learn on the opposite page that there will be a continuation of The Image of the Beast titled Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind.

What happens when Childe finds the mand the woman of the film in an old, secret-passaged mansion in Beverly Hills? He encounters a very horny ghost, a woman with an incredible snake-like creature living in her womb which emerges to enter her throat during a solitary sex act, plus assorted werewolves, witches, vampires.

Is there erotic sex in the book? Yes, some. Mostly the sex is too strange, and humorous, and grotesque, and mind-stopping to be arousing. The text may produce an erection or two in readers, but Farmer's intent isclearly not pornographic. He is using sex as a tool, perhaps as a weapon, as symbol; using it...for what purpose? Toward what end?

I'm not sure. The book ends with death and destruction of the mansion by fire. Herald kills or causes to be killed most of the supernatural creatures in the old house, yet the book is obviously only an episode, part of a larger whole, because so many, many questions are left unanswered, and in the end Childe is marked for further contact with the Outside forces.

There are indications that the supernatural creatures are aliens who come into our universe through cracks, rifts, "gates" in the "walls." But this is presented as theory and speculation.

In a postscript Theodore Sturgeon mentions shock at encountering in the book the woman who has sex with the creature in her womb. He had never run across an image of that nature before. Yet Farmer used this same idea in his novelet, "Open To Me, My Sister," in 1960.

Until I have read the forthcoming Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind I must withhold a final opinion of the series. There is more to it, I suspect, than meets the eye. Perhaps more to it than meets the mind. (Richard E. Geis)

Amazing, July 1969

(Essex House, North Ho1lywood. Calif., No. 0108, 1968. 255pp., paper, $1.95) It is 1970 or not long after. A terrible smog holds Los Angeles in its grip. And somebody has captured Harold Childe’s partner, put the man through sexual tortures and mutilated him, and then sent a filmed record of the tortures and mutilations to the L.A. Police Department.

Harold Childe is a private detective, and he was about to ditch his partner. But, stomach still writhing from his viewing of the film, he vows to get the person or persons unknown who have done this terrible thing. He is working with a cop named Bruin.

"'See you,' Bruin said. He put a heavy paw on Childe's shoulder for a second. 'Doing it for nothing, eh? He was your partner, right? But you was going to split up, right? Yet you’re going to find out who killed him, right?'"

Right. And thus opens Philip Farmer’s The Image of the Beast.

In his eloquent, if misplaced, postscript to the book, Theodore Sturgeon asks that we not label — ah, Label — this book. And he preaches us a sermon on the terrible consequences of Labelling — which, apparently, can be ranked as a Major Sin and perhaps the Cause of Mankind’s ills. I think it is a shame that Farmer did not have the opportunity to read Sturgeon’s message before he wrote the book in question; we might thus have been spared one of the most lugubrious attempts to combine sex and science fiction ever written.

If we avoid Labels in judging the novel, what are we to make of its slapdash pastiche of three old-fashioned pulp genres — the private-eye story, the 'spicy' horror story, and the monsters who turn out to be from another dimension — all served up between lip-smacking sex scenes?

"A handful of poor tilted souls," Sturgeon tells us, in reference to the pornographic scenes, "will drool wetly all the way through, skipping all the living connective tissue and getting their jollies out of context." He seems to feel that these readers will be missing the "Truth" of the book, but I suspect they will be better rewarded than those of us who had hoped for a novel of some genuine merit.

Let’s talk about some of those Labels we have been cautioned against. To begin with, there is the label the publisher has placed on the book. Along with a price-tag which automatically brands it a sex-novel (no one pays $1.95 for a cheaply produced paperback for any other reason), the front cover is blurbed "A Remarkable Adult Novel." Now, anyone who browses the newsstand in these enlightened times knows very well what an "Adult" novel is, and the juxtaposition of this blurb with the adjacent price-tag underlines the point. Opening the cover we find a page on which the sole legend, in very black type, reads "This is an original Essex House book — the very finest in adult reading by the most provocative modern writers." A page further, in a biographical sketch of Farmer facing the title page, we encounter this remarkable opening phrase: "PHILIP JOSE FARMER spurted on the scene in 1952..."

So perhaps those "poor tilted souls" may be forgiven the waste of their buck-ninety-five on a book which purports to seek after Truth. After all, even the device of a postscript or introduction is no novelty to them; a great many of the works of hard-core pornography presently flooding the newsstands have similarly erudite introductions, all designed to give weight to the publisher’s fondly-held notion that these are indeed works of "redeeming social value". (A much better case could be made for the actual value of pornography, qua pornography, than the present-day hypocritical stand these publishers so half-heartedly pursue.) And after all, the book does indeed contain a number of sex scenes, all of them written with exactly the same monotonous attention to lubricious detail which the sex-book reader has come to expect in his purchases.

But what about that "living connective tissue" of which Sturgeon spoke? What of the book’s "context"?

Dreary pickings, actually, and the quote from Officer Bruin should tip a hint in that direction. Farmer writes from one of the most brilliantly untrammelled imaginations I’ve ever known, but he has often seemed lacking in that self-critical faculty which would allow him to shape and edit his own work. The results have usually, in recent years, been abortive and Farmer’s hallmark has been the imprisonment of his glowing ideas in wooden and inflexible prose. Farmer is a classical case of the "uneven" writer.

I’ve rarely encountered any real sense of involvement between Farmer and his fiction — his protagonists are usually unendearing and he often places them in emotionally sterile settings — and perhaps the reason in his intellectualization of Theme and his apparently determined desire to write Literature rather than Entertainment. Whatever the causes, he manipulates his characters unmercifully, often in flagrant contradiction of the motivations he has previously established for them, or — as in the case of this book — he sets them to walking woodenly through his plot without the whisper of life to them. Harold Childe (a name only slightly less ham-handedly Symbolic than Bruin) is explained to us on several occasions, but never demonstrates the slightest personality, talent at his profession, or intelligence. He is a faceless automaton (despite the fact that everyone notices his resemblance to Lord Byron, of all people!) and he exists solely to allow the reader a handy vehicle for vicarious adventures.

Unfortunately, the story itself is cobb1ed together from some pretty hoary o1d plot ideas, as previously noted, and Farmer tells it without a sense of pace, movement, style or color. What could at least have been passed off as "camp" is merely dreary.

Under the circumstances, what fare best in the book are the sex scenes. In his descriptions of mutilation, torture and horror, Farmer evokes the psycho-sexual with a vivid imagination (the implication of which I will leave for others to analyze). But nobody ever told Farmer that sex could be realistically described in terms not weighted with all the cliches of hackwork pornography, and so even these, his best scenes, suffer from inept writing.

Under the circumstances, Sturgeon’s perorations on behalf of this novel are not merely presumptuous, they are unfairly patronizing. Thus, in the long run, not one, but two reputations will suffer from the publication of The Image of the Beast. (Ted White)

New Worlds #192, July 1969
Fantastic, August 1969
New Worlds #194, October 1969
Analog, November 1969

(Essex House No. 0108; 255 pp. $1.95) {continued from a review begun with FLESH} In one of the new books he has a theme vaguely related to his alien sex stories of twenty-odd years ago, which mixed with a limping private-eye plot and stops at regular intervals for a slobber of exotic sex. This one is called "Image of the Beast". For your $1.95 you get the kind of paper and binding that go with class paperbacks—this is permanent pornography, evidently—and comments by Theodore Sturgeon, who seems to wish he were defending a better story.

In "Image," which may be one of a series if the faithful buy it, private eye Herald Childe sets out to find out what manner of monsters killed his slob of a partner by, among other things, biting off his penis in a moment of good fun. Said monsters turn out to be strays from that old stereotype of SF, the parallel universe. Vampires, werewolves, and one wench that the original Bluebeard knew. But it's a bad book, and the sex and sadism don't help it. {see A FEAST UNKNOWN for the rest of this review}.

Cypher #4, April 1971
The Science-Fiction Collector #8, October 1979

(Essex House, paperback, 1968) Philip José Farmer is no stranger to the pages of The Science Fiction Collector. In our fifth issue, we presented a bibliography of his work. Certainly the rarest of his works are the adult novels he wrote, which were published by Essex House. THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST was the first book by him published Essex House. Subtitled AN EXORCISM: RITUAL 1, the book is a strange amalgam of the surreal, the erotic, the grotesque, and the bizarre. The hero, whose name is an unlikely Herald Childe, is a private detective who is trying to find out who was responsible for his partner's mutilation and death, and, more importantly, why.

What seem at first to be a mixture of standard occult and weird beings (werewolves, etc.) and unexplained monsters, turn out to be from parallel universes. Their true intents and visages cannot be known by man, but materialize as grotesque physical caricatures of man, with strange sexual appetites.

In the course of an exiting though bizarre novel, our hero escapes with his life, having defeated or destroyed many of the foe, yet having also lost something himself. The book ends with as many questions unanswered or newly set, as it began with.

A lengthy postscript by Theodore Sturgeon provides perhaps the best explanation of the novel, along with a diatribe against those who would Label - in this case, those who would label this book as pornography, or science fiction, or whatever. I agree thoroughly with him that a work such as this transcends ordinary labelling.

While on one level, it may be read as pornography (although the scenes set are more grotesque than erotic), it may also be read as science fiction. Most of all, however, it may be read as allegory. The characters are symbols from the darker side of man, and the novel is a quest for truth. (J. Grant Thiessen)

Thrust #14, Winter 1980
Paperback Parade #13, June 1989

(This review is taken from the article Essex House: The Rise and Fall of Speculative Erotica)

THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST (1968) is a tongue-in-cheek horror cum porno sf thriller set in an eerie smog ridden Los Angeles where Herald Childe, a laconic gumshoe down on his luck gets involved in gruesome encounters with a curious sexual underworld where Farmer blends vampirism and alien invaders to good effect. If the symbolic structure of the book is somewhat awry at times, the shock effects and perverse encounters Farmer literally scatters throughout the plot are genuinely original.

Farmer calls both THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST and BLOWN (1969) its less assured sequel (where Forry Ackerman and his famed book collection become major characters), excorisms, and one supposes that what needs exorcising is the beast in man, the terrifying Dionysian destructiveness his hero encounters.

The images Farmer uses are outrageous: we see the detective's partner being castrated by a beautiful woman with a set of false iron teeth and a sinister, almost parodic Dracula figure; another major character has a snake-like symbiotic character living in her vagina. Farmer had of course become a past master at outre' "biosexopsychic" situations in his earlier books and better short stories, but the editorial carte blanche of Essex House allowed his imagination to take full, fluent flight. It is not always in the best of taste, but he is certainly a master of startling speculative concepts. (Maxim Jakubowski)

SFX, #86, January 2002

(Creation Books, 319pp, £9.99, ISBN 1-84068-028-8) (with BLOWN) With a cover that says "Busty naked woman sprouting human-headed snake from the nether-regions", and a gory opening sequence that'd make Clive Barker reach for the sick-bag, it's clear that subtlety is well and truly off the menu. Not a book for the weak of stomach, this collection of two 1960s erotic horror novels comes from Philip Jose Farmer, best known for the mindbending Riverworld series, but also the man credited with introducing explicit sex into SF. Starting of as a pastiche of hard-boiled crime fiction, the two books quickly zoom off into an uncanny and violent world of their own, all the while spiced with a mixture of hardcore sex and gruesome splatter.

Image of the Beast kicks off in a smog-choked Los Angeles, where world-weary detective Herald Childe is on the trail of his partner's killers. The clues lead him to the house of the mysterious Baron Ignescu, where Childe is understandably surprised to find himself abducted by a gang of perverse shape-shifters and forcibly ravished by a sex-crazed ghost. Events get even dafter in Blown, when after having been thoroughly abused and escaping the shape-shifters, Childe discovers that they're actually a warring gang of aliens, and that he himself is their new leader (thanks to being a descendant of Lord Byron). The result is plenty of orgies and accidental monkey-sex, before the saga comes to an utterly peculiar and cosmic conclusion.

With barely a page going by without some graphic carnal shenanigans, the overall effect is like a psychedelic remix of Channel 5's dodgy late night "adult dramas". Despite all this, the book is saved from being one-dimensional horror porn by the power of Farmer's grotesque but brilliant imagination, and the fact that he's obviously not taking any of it remotely seriously. (Saxon Bullock)

SFF Sandcastle, 8-18-07
Luna Monthly #2, July 1969

(An Essex House Original (0121), with postscript by Theodore Sturgeon, "for adults only", 1969. 186p. $1.95) Well, this one is really in class by itself and there is nothing handy to compare it with. Farmer is a superb storyteller, as always and his narrative gallops at breathtaking pace. I can't see this story boring anyone, although it may offend some with delicate stomachs.

Plotwise it is something of a mish-mash. Sturgeon points out in his postscript that Farmer is exploring the relationship between violence and sex, and Sturgeon draws the conclusion that unlimited violence and unlimited sex add up to unlimited absurdity. That would seem to make this an absurd book since it has both, but one must halt and observe the author's tongue in cheek, which is the most innocent place for it in these pages. Certainly he carries the proposition close to the logical end with a hero who can only have an erection, and ejaculation, when killing someone, a condition he came by honestly, having inherited it, more or less, from his father, Jack the Ripper.

Actually, both he and his father were victims of the same elixer of youth, whcih like the miracles of modern pharmaceutical science had its own side effects.

The plot is a pot-pourri of myth, legend and fictional characters durable enough to have become legends, all blended together. The main character here is Tarzan, but a Tarzan who expects to live to be 30,000 years old by virtue of the elixer if his Jack the Ripper proclivities do not get him bumped off. The elixer is supplied by a group of ancients called the Nine, many of whom are at least 30,000 years old and who certainly numbered amongst them such individuals as Wodin and lesser-known gods.

The mayhem in this little tale is beyond belief -- it outclasses many a small war. For a simple duel between two characters the weapons employed run to missles, bazookas, hand grenades, tommy guns, simple pistols and knives of various sorts whil I did not attemp to count the bodies. I'd make a quick guess that it would run to 400 at least. The violence is vivid too. Take as a small example, Tarzan dispatching one enemy.

"With my knife. . or with my fingers, I had cut around his anus and severed it from the connecting tissues. And then, while he screamed, I raised him by one buttock, while holding the end of his bloody anus with the other (hand). I shot him away with my arm, giving him a half-spin, so that until then I ejaculated. Screaming he soared... His intestines approximately 24 feet long, trailed out behind him and then tore loose from his body..."

So much for unlimited violence. Sex? There is considerable sucking of penises and a little eating (actual) of testicles. In the final battle between Tarzan and his adversary, who is similarly afflicted with this problem of erection only during violence -- well you can imagine the diffculties these two would have in a hand-to-hand combat.

Good clean fun, but probably not for the whole family. (Samuel Mines)

New Worlds #194, October 1969
Analog, November 1969

(Essex House No. 0121, 286 pp. $1.95) {continued from a review of IMAGE OF THE BEAST} "A Feast Unknown," on the other hand, is quite good in its own perverted way. It's No. 0121 from Essex—286 pages—same good typography—and it will drive the Burroughs Bibliophiles up the wall. For this is a sexed up pastiche in which the "real" Tarzan (Burroughs changed names, places, et cetera, to protect the innocent and the puritan proprieties) feuds with the "real" Doc Savage, assorted baddies, and a powerful clique of bestowers of immortality, the ageless Nine. Lord Grandrith (whose ancestral castle is near the village of Greystoke) and Doc Caliban have had a puritanical upbringing, and they are acutely embarrassed by the sexual adventures that come their way—the more so since they have both become impotent except when they are trying to kill someone. Farmer debunks both series of stories very logically and plausibly and his four-letter words and multi-lettered sex intrudes less. (For good measure, he has made Tarzan and the Bronze Man half brothers and sons of Jack the Ripper—courtesy, doubtless, of Robert Bloch, who may be parodied in "Image of the Beast.") "Feast Unknown" is pornography only because Farmer intends it to be and because that is what Essex is selling. It could have been a lovely straight parody.

But, until people grow bored with it as they seem already to be bored with open sexual calisthenic on the stage, there'll be more exotic sex and more four-letter vocabulary in much of our science fiction ... in books, at least. If it's well done and belongs to the plot and the situation, no harm done. If it's dragged in for shock appeal, you can forget it. It won't last.

Science Fiction Review #37, April 1970

(Essex House 0121, $1.95) Philip Jose Farmer's A Feast Unknown has a postscript by Theodore Sturgeon which is a craftily worded excuse for a worthless book; if Sturgeon would write so convincingly for a cause, heavens, no telling what the result! Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban are Farmer's slanderous counterparts to Tarzan and Doc Savage in this spoofs that aborts itself with every juvenille analogy, meaningless simile, and tired pun. Farmer does manage to turn sex and violence topsy-turvey, but he screws his values around so much that nothing ends up making any sense and the absurdity becomes so intense as to be, much before the long delayed ending, painful. The book is overstuffed with violence and horror and, like a child overfed with candy mints, the result can be (and in this instance, is) awfully messy. There's a satirical subplot involving the mysterious, world-dominating Nine, as well as various diversionary forays into scatology, bestially and other less appealing sidelines. The book becomes an unhappy glut of any- and everything, finally becoming so exceedingly messy that even Farmer runs out of steam and sperm and just drops it all with loose ends dangling like spaghetti ends. I won't deny Farmer the right to write such drivel because he's proven to me many times that he can write well; I only find it very disappointing that he would willingly claim it under his own byline. (Richard Delap)

This review is taken from Piers Anthony's column, Off The Deep End, which he wrote about Essex House and five of their novels. A Feast Unknown by Philip Jose Farmer. This is a breath of fresh air, after Evil Companions. But it has its own intrigues. The story has similarities to Farmer's DOUBLEDAY item, Lord Tyger, and both, by no coincidence, resemble Tarzan. Lord Tyger might be a Tarzan juvenile—except that children are never permitted to be portrayed as they are, in their natural insensitivity and sexuality, lest this corrupt adult notions. Funny world we struggle in, no? Strangely there is no scene in the ESSEX book that quite matches one in the DOUBLEDAY, in which the heroine gets raped by half a beating crocodile heart. You just never can tell.

A Feast Unknown is a substantial fantasy/SF story, with the jungle-man protagonist reacting to assorted crisis somewhat more realistically than the original Tarzan might. But he does have a sexual hangup: it is violence that makes him ejaculate, not pulchritude. "As the knife sank into the flesh, I spurted over his belly and the knife."

This is a pretty good story, that picked up a Nebula nomination or two and deserved them. But for me there was one major drawback. In the latter portion we are treated to an extended automobile chase/battle. I'm sure it was well done, but somehow it turned me off, and I suspect it offered scant pickings for the hard-core sex reader. Maybe it's that a chase is one way to get from point A to B, and too much chase dilutes the content.

The Postscript this time is by Theodore Sturgeon. "Farmer," he says, "...makes it clear that unlimited violence coupled with unlimited sex is an unlimited absurdity." And I won't argue there. It is violence which makes our society ejaculate, while genuine pleasures are suppressed. (Piers Anthony)

The Gridley Wave 27, May 1970

(A FEAST UNKNOWN Volume II of the memoirs of Lord Grandrith. Edited by Philip Jose Farmer. Essex House. 1969. 286 p. $1.95)

Would you like to read a brand-new Tarzan story? Sure you would! Do you enjoy a Doc Savage adventure? How a super-special epic thriller in which they both appear; a violent physical confrontation between these two legendary supermen of fiction? Wowie!! Speculation can be endless when one considers the possibilities in such a story.

Well, the story has yet to be written, although Philip Jose Farmer almost persuades us that he has done it. If they are really meant to be Tarz and Doc, then they are dwellers in some alternate time-stream. His two might heroes are called James Cloamby, Lord Grandrith, demi-god of the jungle, and Doc Caliban, all-around scientist and fighter against the forces of evil. Doc even has two henchmen whom you may think that you recognize. However, Grandrith and Caliban are definitely not the Tarzan and Doc Savage you know. Grandrith himself admits to the seperate existence of Tarzan, who by the way, and as you should know, is not the same as Tarzan.

The tale is told by Lord Grandrith, whose better-known identity we do not learn. He is the natural son of Jack the Ripper, who as it turns out, is also the father of Doc Caliban. Both heroes are members of a secret organization of near-immortals headed by the mysterious and sinister nine, who seem to be the real rulers of the world. The global intrigues of the Nine are carried out by the rank-and-file, bound to them by the dependance on the elixer of prolonged youth. For reasons of their own the Nine pit Grandrith and Caliban against each other in a contest to the death. The struggle of titans carries on from Africa to England to a terrific and bloody climax, where the true evil of the Nine is eventually realized.

The simple plot outlined above is but the overstory and should be great fun, especially to a bibliophile, if he can refrain from losing his temper at the understory, where the meat is. This is the age of Tell It Like It Is! Say it right out there in cold print with lots of good old four-letter Anglo-Saxon words, so that the previously unread may find his way without difficulty. Don't pussyfoot around coyly speaking about a commodity usally found in a corral; call it something more terse. "A FEAST UNKNOWN" is published by a firm which seems to be making a shrewd effort to combine pornography with s-f, thereby appealing to the purchasers of two of the present better selling types of paperbacks. There should be a large enough Pavlovian response among s-f and ERB fans alone to ensure a good sale without the seekers of blatant sexual situations.

Telling It Like It Is also includes exposing to the light anything currently within the totality of human experience, or whatever may possibly be imagined, no matter how unpleasant. Perhaps Farmer had long had the feeling that ERB, that hopeless old Victorian, both because of the publishing restrictions of his day, and because of the social milieu that formed him, had left a lot untold about his ape-man. Grandrith admits that there was much he kept from his biographer, not wanting to shock him, and who, even if he did suspect, chose not to tell anyway.

You know, for instance, that Tarzan, because of his Mangani upbringing is essentially a loner, with many of the habits and characteristics of the beasts. He has, among other things, their unquestioning reactance to injury, a stoical acceptance of what cannot be changed, and unlike his harried civilized brother, an apparent perfect obliviousness to the passing of time. What Farmer has done here is to throw some light on the murkier implications of environmental indluence upon a while man raise from infancy among a tribe of apes, herein called the Folk. Perhaps long exposure has inured your stomach to a reasonable fortitude while contemplating Tarzan's gustatory delight in slugs and bugs. Your civilized and squeamish stomach must learn to endure the knowledge that there are things much worse than nice fat grubs and worms that a true apeman may eat. Farmer also tells you that your jungle lord not only has feet of clay and gonads of flesh, but most certainly will enter a bathroom for the same purpose as you and I. Also that the entirely uninhibited and guiltless sex-play or pre-pubertyMangani young cannot failt to have left its influence on an impressionable young Taramangani.

It is a shocking book, with gobs of very bad taste, requiring an extremely strong stomach, but it is an honest book. I think seekers of pornography will be disappointed, for it strikes out in that department, even though there are many assorted repellent, perverse and perverted practices on display. The mayhem and brutality in the fighting sequences are about par for today's readers. We cannot advocate entirely the convenient sweeping of unpleasant things under the rug, for the hinges on the lid of Pandora's box are sprung beyond any possibility of closing. Nevertheless, simple good taste and not old lady Grundy should tend to make us go along with Kipling when he observed that, "there are things in the breast of mankind that are best, in darkness and decency hid." (Allan Howard)

Ad-lib: It may surprise P. Shuyler Miller to learn that Farmer's book did not, as he clairvoyantly foretold in his November '69 Reference Library column, "drive the Burroughs Bibliophiles up the wall." At least, not this Bibliophile! Admittedly, I was a bit perturbed at first, then I realized that Farmer's Lord Grandrith was no more Greystoke than JW was Tarz and that Caliban was no more Doc Savage than Doc Savage was the man from Glad! After that, I had a lot of fun reading the book. Frankly, I haven't enjoyed so many belly-hurting laughs in ages...and I'll bet Phil had just as much fun writing it. Maybe after fifty and some years of actually living life, I've learned the necessities and nastiness of it all. Maybe my stomach is tough after years of eating in restaurants, cook houses, grease joints, mess halls, and out of army messkits and various and sundry tins and boxes. I recall the billions of flies on Corregidor and wonder how many I unwittingly consumed along with my C ration. I recall the mutilated bodies of comrades which we found...because the Nips were hungry! What else is in that beef, or pork, or hamburger you had for lunch? Haven't you wondered why your canine friend' s breath is so hot and fetid? Or what the acute alcoholic drinks when he is broke and thirsty? How does your garden grow? Is it all so very repugnant? When was the last time you swallowed your pride. Whatever else Phil's book is, as Al sezs, it's honest, but the casual reader will think it is not dirty enough. Any Burroughs Bibliophile who does not read it and place it in his library--along with the forthcoming sequels from Ace--is chicken....!

Science Fiction Review Monthly #12, February 1976

(Fokker $12.50) "Adults Only." That's the first thing you see on this reincarnation of Farmer's camp send-up of Tarzan and Doc Savage. What? You say that it isn't a spoof; that it's a further extension of the prototype hero-mythos making use of the simulacra of familiar popkulchur figures in order to deepen its racial-subconscious prevelence and provide a traumatizing shock of recognition. Heaven forfend, though I don't doubt that you have a point imbedded there.

For those new to Farmer's naughty books, A Feast Unknown is the ninth volume of Lord Grandrith's autobiography, the first eight of which haven't been written -we're led to believe that they remain hidden, be we know better. In this episode Grandrith (who henceforth will be called Tarzan because it's easier to spell) trots about Africa and England wearing little but a knife and a hyperbolic erection ("Adults Only."). He fights, kills, eats animal wastes, battles Doctor Caliban, the bronze . . . . . . . . you know . . . and ejaculates at every gush of blood. T and DS even come together, as it were, while hand wrestling on a tight-rope bridge over a proverbial yawning chasm. To quote T: "We swayed back and forth in this footless dance." Onan haunts this book! With women both of our heroes are a flop; is it the lack of the wound that keeps them detumesced? Or are they just peculiar?

DS gets T to England, ancestral England, by threatening T's wife, Lady Grandrith; she hasn't been in Africa of late. After much nastiness DS is killed by T. Or is he? No, certainly not. T and DS are now brothers in league against The Nine. Who are The Nine? That's the part I didn't get into above.

All of the routine and cliched plot is tossed off by Farmer with a kind of rapturous insouciance. It's kind of like that wondrously picaresque "Noah" section of the John Huston film, The Bible; the creator is having a ball, and you're invited if you wear the right attitude. But if you are going to wear your serious clothes, don't come, you'll only be miserable.

Odd that this long out-of-print collector's itme shoudl appear simultaneously from Fokker in the U.S. and Quartet books in London. Fokker's edition has naughty illustrations by Richard Corben. The Quartet edition leaves it all to your imagination. (Martin Last)

SF Booklog #8, March/April 1976
Son of WSFA Journal #24, June 1971
The Wold Atlas vol 1 #1, January 1977

(Quartet Books, $4.00) What can I say ebout this book? I can say it's one of the strangest I've ever read, but I haven't read much fantasy. I can call it the dirtiest book I've ever read, but I haven't read much pornography. I think it's great adventure, but once again, I haven't read mush adventure.

A Feast Unknown is brawling, sprawling, exciting, terrific and terrifying. It is weird, strange, fantastic. It is dirty, filthy dirty. It is funny. It is disturbing. It is unique.

But these are just adjectives. Perhaps a plot description and anal­ysis would help.

At first, the book appears to be pornography. Sensationalized pornography. Pornography and vio­lence. There is sex and homosexual­ity. There is cannibalism, castration, rape, and death. Sex and death are both the theme and the plot.

The chief protoganist is one Lord Grandrith, a wealthy peer raised in the jungle by primitive men. He suffers from what he calls a small aberration, a strange mental problem that causes him to ejaculate whenever he kills. He is persued through the book by Doc Caliban, a huge bronze-skinned good-1ooking genius of a crime-fighter (makes you wonder, doesn't it?).

I can't tell you what the plot's about. First, I don't want to beat Mr. Farmer out of his royalties, and second, it would take a good three pages. Suffice it to say that Caliban is chasing Grandrith with murder in his gold-flecked eyes. Grandrith supposedly killed Caliban's cousin, but no one really cares. The import­ant thing is the chase.

But the plot is not nearly so important as the theme. Mr. Farmer sets out to show (and succeeds admir­ably) that sex and death are linked. Thus the reason for the heavy sexual undertones. You don't have to be Freud to see the link between stabbing or shooting and sex. Grandrith's "aberration" is merely one of many visual links.

Perhaps the most confusing and disturbing element, at least to ad­venture lovers, is the darker side of the two heroes revealed for the first time. Grandrith is portrayed as a much more believable wild man than Burrough's version. He runs around naked. He is totally free sexually. Be is animalistic. Cal­iban, on the other hand, is simply crazy.

The spirit that Farmer wrote the book in is hard to pinpoint. Is it, as the forward states, part of the memoirs of Lord Grandrith (read Greystoke)? Or is Lord Grandrith simply Farmers idea of what a Tarzan-like character would act like? Or is it simply a pastiche, written for the sheer pleasure of a Tarzan-­Savage adventure?

Most likely it is a combination of all three. The Voice of Ignorance (yours truly) says, "I like it!" may­be you will too. (Todd Rutt)

Analog, December 1980
Paperback Inferno, August 1988
Paperback Parade #13, June 1989

(This review is taken from the article Essex House: The Rise and Fall of Speculative Erotica)

Farmer's next novel for Brian Kirby was A FEAST UNKNOWN (1969), another of his apocryphal Tarzan adventures, where the Lord of the Jungle is revealed as the son of Jack the Ripper and is seen fighting that other immortal Doc Caliban (a Doc Savage figure) in a bloody, no-holds-barred battle full of sexual atrocities. A companion volume to Farmer's LORD TYGER (1970), TARZAN ALIVE (1972) and the bowdlerised Ace Double LORD OF THE TREE (1970)/THE MAD GOBLIN (1970), A FEAST UNKNOWN sees the first appearance of the Nine Immortals, the secret rulers of the world who will not, I sincerely hope, be Farmer's way-out explanation in solving the final Riverworld mysteries. (Maxim Jakubowski)

The PorPor Books Blog, September 1, 2012
Genre Go Round Reviews, October 27, 2012
SF Crowsnest, November 1, 2012
Luna Monthly #10, March 1970

(Essex House 020129, 1969. 208p. $1.95p) If you go to any West Coast SF conventions, and a good many Worldcons, you are likely to encounter a dignified, silverhaired, gentleman wearing a dark grey business suit, patronly, pleasantly smiling.

He writes pornography.

For Essex House, which puts out Adult Entertainment in quality bindings (would that other paperbacks could be bound so well) Mr. Farmer has written A Feast Unknown and The Image of the Beast and now Blown. Blown is a sequel to The Image of the Beast, and it continues the saga of the Tocs and the Ogs. The Tocs require sex to survive, the Ogs require blood. Both find peculiar ways to satisfy their cravings -- and that's putting it mildly.

Whether Farmer has a personal demon to excise (or exercise) or is just in it for the money or for some other inscrutable reason has been turning out this sort of work, is the subject of a good deal of debate in "the sf community" to coin a cliche. I doubt that very many people begrudge him his right to do so, but from a literary standpoint the work is disappointing. The writing is imprecise and often stilted in Blown; I have yet to read the others) and the action, to a person not used to the excesses of pornography, a little startling at times. As in most pornography, what you end up with is a sexual tour de force, and from a physiological aspect, its a tour de force.

There are two subtitles to the book. They are, "(An Exorcism: Ritual 2)" and Sketches Among the Ruins of my Mind. Take whatever meaning you will from these hints. Farmer has written much better, and very little worse. And yet, it's by far better-than-average pornography. Take your choice. (Greg Bear)

Science Fiction Review #35, February 1970

(Essex House 020129, $1.95p) With the passing from the scene of Essex House, Phil Farmer and other writers have been deprived of a unique market. Essex was a pornography publishing house that was willing—and apparently eager—to purchase novels so far out in the outre bordelands that most straight porno publishers would not have touched them with a ten-foot dildo. Certainly Farmer's The Image of the Beast and Blown are not simply pornography, that is merely their starting point, and any regular purchaser of Essex House wares who blew two bucks on either book in the expectation of being titillated must have been safly disappointed. There is plenty of sex in Farmer's "Exorcism" (Image was subtitled "An Exorcism: Ritual 1"; Blown is Ritual 2), but practically no eroticism. The sex depicted by Farmer is so grotesquely strange as to be, in general, bereft of any capaciy to stimulate.

Blown consists of the further adventures of Herald Childe, and ties up the ends left dangling by The Image of the Beast. It opens with childe following the car in which Vivienne Mabcrough is riding with a man she has picked up. Vivienne, introduced in Image, is an exceptionally beautiful woman whose womb contains a small snake-like organ with a miniature face framed by greasy black hair and a goatee. She is one of a weird group which, in the first book, murdered a close friend of Childe's in a bizarre manner and apparently kidnapped his wife. Entering Vivienne's house, he interupts her perverted tryst with the man and in the process becomes involved in the same kind of situation as in Image. Gradually, Herald Childe learns the truth about the creatures with whom he is dealing—and about himself.

Vivienne, Fred Poa, Standing Grass, Woolston Heepish, Baron Igescu and the other sinister and extraordinary inhabitants of these pages are, it develops, Ogs and Tocs, representatives of two hostile races of a solar system in the Andromeda galaxy. They came to Earth thousands of years ago, via a form of teleportation which requires two elements in order to function: a Captain, a specially gifted member of the race, and a Grail, a chalice made of some ultru-rare and arcane metal. Having killed off each other's Captains in the couse of their hostilities, they were stranded on Earth. They possess a number of powers, including the ability to change shape, and are effectively immortal. (They can be killed but return to life again when conditions are proper.) The Ogs and Tocs account for a good bit of Terran legend, such as witches, vampires, werewolves, fairies, etc. Herald Childe, who, incidentally, turns out to be the son of George Gordon, Lord Byron, is a latent Captain, the only live one known, and hence of great value to both sides. His power is released in a sex ritual, which culminates in an entire roomful of people forming a giant daisy chain. Eventually, Childe transports the whole lot, Ogs and Tocs alike, to a far world and returns to Earth with Delore del Osorojo (whom he met in Image) to live happily ever after.

The novel is marred by one piece of inane cuteness: the Tuckerization of Forrest J. Ackerman. Farmer uses Ackerman as one of his major characters. He does not merely use the name which would not be objectionalble (Dick Geis has used my name, among others, in an Essex House book ((Raw Meat)); he uses Ackerman himself—name, personality, hobbies, occupation, house, etc., described down to the smallest detail—as a character. This is a bit of irrelevant frivolity which, for me, considerably weekened the book. The character is not even necessary, except in one small respect which could equally well have used a greengrocer named Phil Schlabotnick, and the reviewer found the references and Ackermanesque puns an irritation with which he could quite nicely have dispensed.

Other than that, however, Blown is a worthy sequel to The Image of the Beast, with the same use of sex as an entirely different element than it is in most novels (indicated by the somewhat ironic fact that, despicte the sheer amount of sex in Blown, there is not a single sex scene which is extraneous, i.e., that does not bear on the advancement of the plot), the same excellent portrayal of the central character, and the same effective use of a ubiquitous background fact (in Image is was the smog, here it is rain). (Ted Pauls)

Science Fiction Review #37, April 1970

(Essex House 0139, $1.95) In Blown Philip Jose Farmer isn't really writing a sex novel at all. I've finally realized that the book's sub-heading — Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind (An Exorcism: Ritual 2) — really does indicate indicate a self-purge, and since the proceedings involve sex the publisher is only doing the obvious. The novel is a follow up to The Image of the Beast, and awful book of adventures involving private-eye Herald Childe in a series of sex-and horror-oriented shenanigans. Woolston Heepish, a satire on Forrest J. Ackerman, has been replaced in the present book by Forry himself (who, in realiry has to be a very good friend of Farmer's else we'd soon hear of a libel case). There are two alien races, the Tocs and the Ogs (miscegination between which has produced Childe himself), a search for the Grail (a theme being done to death these days in SF), page after page of sexual bladerdash too stupid to be funny, and consistent idiocy (par example — hearing a yell through a roomful of cascading water) that would make the kackest of hack writers hang his head in shame. The book seems only to emphasize the loathing Farmer holds for humanity, self, and any imaginary beings that either may dream up, and the title simply indicates what you've done with your money if you waste it on such trash as this. (Richard Delap)

This review is taken from Piers Anthony's column, Off The Deep End, which he wrote about Essex House and five of their novels. Blown by Philip Jose Farmer. This is listed as the sequel to The Image of the Beast, a novel I have not seen. The subtitle is Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind—and I presume that is Farmer's original title, certainly a far more evocative concept. My rule of thumb is that only the editors with the worst taste in titling insist on changing the author's title, with the result you see here.

(Editors Note: Brian Kirby, editor of Essex House, told me Blown was Farmer's own title for the book. I do not believe Brian changed any of Phil's titles.)

Farmer's style here, to my surprise, is quite unlike that of Lovely or of his own novelette "Riders of the Purple Wage." The prose of Blown is lucid, simple, linear—in fact, pedestrian. Since I know how Farmer can sparkle when he chooses, I am amazed to discover a determinedly dull finish here. It is as though he wants nothing to detract from his story—yet the story, apart from certain remarkable exceptions, is routine science fiction.

Let's skip the routine and concentrate on those exceptions. There is of course the sexual element. The book works carefully into a thoroughly compelling sexual episode. It begins voyeuristically: Herald Childe (others have remarked on the obviously literary symbolism of the name) watches the beautiful Vivienne anesthetize a mark and insert his penis into her anus. Her vagina then opens and a tiny human head emerges, mounted on a snakelike torso. This head glides down and enters the marks anus. Etc. I don't believe I need to point out the diverse elements of this concept; few if any beside Farmer seem able to achieve such effects. Some critics condemn him, some praise him; I doubt many are indifferent.

Ted White has remarked on the confusion of those who fail to differentiate good and bad from type, and condemn a good story because it is of a type the critic doesn't happen to like. I suspect many critics have done this with Farmer's sexual concepts, including white himself: revolted by the aberated eroticism, they believe the writing is bad. I suggest the opposite: this is good writing, for it moves the reader, and plants an image in his mind he can not expunge. Good writing is not at all the same as nice writing.

Another element is Forrest J. Ackerman. No, this is no coincidence of names. I don't know Forry, but I'm prepared to believe this is the Forry. Yet he is so determinedly mundane it's a crime. He resides in the 800 block of Sherbourne Drive. He has a left a party to get out a comic magazine. He has found a rare picture to be missing from his home, and now he is standing in the rain outside the house of Heepish, who has stolen the item, and he's mad. Good God, the contrast with the preceding episode is so sharp it's shocking; it's as though pages from another book have been spliced in. Yet Forry amounts to a co-protagonist with Herald. The two finally interact and consummate the story.

I don't know what Farmer is doing here, but I certainly can't ignore it. I'm certain he is broadening the field in ways not purely sexual, and that must be good. More on that too, anon. (Piers Anthony)

Son of WSFA Journal #25, June 1971
SFF Sandcastle, 8-19-07
Scottishe, # 56, October 1970

(Ace, 71135, 75¢) This is another tale of the artificial worlds created by the Lords. Kickaha is the adventurer who follows a Beller back to an Earth he had left ages ago. It is his knowledge of Earth that may prove useful in tracking down the Beller which could take over all mankind if not stopped. Plenty adventure for him and his companion Lord, Anana. (Ethel Lindsay)

Analog, May 1971

(Ace Books, New York, No. 71135, 188 pp. 75¢) This is the fourth in the series of books Philip José Farmer has written about a race of human or humanoid super-beings, the Lords, who have created a series of independent but interconnecting universes for their own, often grotesque amusement. In the first books the hero was a man from Earth who broke through into a strange universe of levels, rather like a Victorian whatnot, each level seemingly frozen at a different level in the evolution of human society. Roving through the levels was the man or being known as Kickaha - among other names - who gradually usurped the readers' interest and took over the series.

Now he and others are on Earth, looking for the Lord who made our own universe, for other refugee Lords, and for the creature known as a "Beller," whose bell brings destruction on men and worlds. In the beginning he is handicapped by the changes that have taken place in American society in the generation since he last visited us. Later he is fully immersed in the bizarre melodrama of interuniversal manhunting … which is just getting well under way when the book ends.

The result is a lively enough action story, but if you have read the earlier books you are bound to miss the trickster character that made the original Kickaha so attractive. He was the Loki of Farmer's Adgard, and now he seems to have diminished into just another vigorous hero. Maybe he is just resting between exploits. (P. Schuyler Miller)

Son of WSFA Journal #21, May 1971
Locus #87, June 25 1971

(Ace 71135, 75¢) A novel that is essentially one extended chase scene, with hero and heroine attempting to outrun and outwit a bunch of hired guns directed by several imortals called Lords who are somewhat inept Secret Masters. Good writing and excellent pacing make it worth reading as an adventure story, but an overwhelming shallowness prevents it from being anything more than that. It has the additional curious flaw of not ending; it breaks off, halfway down page 188, right in the middle of the action, sort of like a magazine serial. Leaving loose ends for a sequel is one thing, but this is ridiculous . . . (Ted Pauls)

Luna Monthly #26/27, July/August 1971

(Ace 71135, 1970. 188p. 75¢) This wasn't exactly a disappointment. The cover (by Gray Morrow, whp does wonderful ink works) leads you to expect very little, and what you receive is a short step above that. Mr. Farmer has written many fine pieces in the past, but this continuation of "The Makers of Universes," etc., could have used a long passage in the polish/rewrite bin. Some of the sentences and plot protrusions are outlandish for a writer of Phil's background and reputation. To counter that, however, some of the ideas have fascinating possibilities, but just aren't developed or utilized to my tastes. My intuition signals that this was a rush job. Pretty much like the cover -- and I wonder what that does to the old maxim? Not much, I guess. (Greg Bear)

Energumen #9, September 1971

(Ace 71135 75¢) The Farmer's Plow Hits Bedrock: A Review of 'Behind the Walls of Terra'

"Fiction … may be anything that it likes on one condition, but this condition is absolute, that it arouses awe." --W.H. Auden

There is something in Farmer that arouses awe among artists. Choose any one of his Kickaha series covers and see: tempestuous, brawny orgies of outrageous colours and seething smokecones of the unbridled life. They are drenched, with the generosity of a Little Leaguer toward hot dog ketchup, in Fantasy --- and it swirls and it sweeps and it's altogether indicative of the cyclonic spree that Farmer often breeds words in. Unlike anything but Lord Harlan and his co(ho)urts, Farmer writes with galloping sound and fury; but unlike Ellison & Co. who dash the pulse with a mad, tsunami style that batters the sensual dikes loony (stylistically the fantasy Farmer is a sidewalk pedestrian), Farmer whips up a fever of motion --- cavalcades of outré landscapes sliding off into the sea, dizzying pinnacle tours astride a condor, madness, madness, madness as it swells, clashes, explodes … only to rise again somewhere else.

So there is something in Farmer that arouses awe among artists, and that something is madness. But how else do you sway sane in an anti-sane world? … a theory of relativity, you see. But in the cover-up painting for BEHIND THE WALLS OF TERRA, an element of stabilized, sterilized, social-stamp-of-approvalized sanity (ha!) reappears: Kickaha wears laced football trousers as he springs out from a disc contained by the St. Louis Arch. And then we begin to suspect that this is not the freewheeling fantasy of ere, that Farmer the Reformer has now crashed the partysphere of Farmer the Barbarian --- taking the planet's ecology with him.

And would you believe it, that is just what has happened.

Every fantasy teller --- particularly heroic-fantasy-tellers --- must win a stand on reality, even if it is naked rejection. Fantasy is the man-made alternative to reality, and when writers begin posting the colours in the one camp then they must plan to make war on the other. So for Farmer there are moments when truth kowtows to maybe, when the literature of if fulfills a vacuum that the journal of the 5 W's leaves. And if you wanted to wax pretentious, you might even call this the Theory of the Unfulfilled Man. To illustrate, imagine a framed painting, the type the absurdist playwrights love. From a liberal distance up the aisle it seems satisfying enough, but a few investigative steps reveal a distending overtone building in intensity like a Geiger counter tracking uranium until you confront the picture trace to face … and you comprehend that the "portrait" has linear outlines only, and is absent of colour or grace. Reality, says Farmer, has the same bleak look, and only the imagination can dab in the meaning. Without the Braks, Conans, Frodos, and Lancelots, we the living are demoted to a bleak existance of mottled grey.

And mottled grey A PRIVATE COSMOS wrought not, which qualifies it as a prime example of the sort of fiction I was talking about in my first paragraph. Paul Janus Finnegan, alias "Kickaha", is a despondent Terrie who has been accidentally transported to a pocket continuum (shades of Burroughs!), which differs from your run-of-the-mill continuum in that it consists of worlds that are the creations/playthings of the Lords, a mischievous, roguish, thievin' crew of Mt. Olympus cutthroats (all close of kin, bless their navels). As you can see from my abundance of adjectival phrases, what Farmer is engaging in here is soap opera virtually sloshing with the blacks and reds of blood and rage - and it's grand stuff, sirrah, really spectacular. As in the visual "Ben Hur", you know you're being corrupted but those sea battles and chariot races are well worth the trip to hell. Decadence in style, you might say … or "a profound sense of the Sacred and Profane", as Roger Zelazny might say (and does say) about Farmer. And he goes on to prove that he isn't just bandying ritual by going up to the altar and quoting Shakespeare Himself in honor of Farmer:

Lepidus: What manner o' thing is your crocodile?

Antony: It is shaped, sir, like itself; and it is as broad as it hath breadth. It is just so high as it is, and moves with its own organs. It lives by that which nourisheth it; and the elements once out of it, it transmigrates.

Lepidus: What color is it of?

Antony: Of its own color too.

Lepidus: 'Tis a strange serpent.

Antony: 'Tis so. And the tears of it are wet.

(And now that I've invoked Shakespeare, I think I'll go on to observe that sf parlor hacks would do well to bolt themselves into a forest and fast for 90 days upon a book of Shakespeare, surely the rarest creative spirit that ever wielded a magic pen. For carving out of hackneyed woodwork an image that recalls with pungency every sublime impression that we try to capture with elastic made-in-Japan ineptitude, the god is man to none.)

Ay, Farmer is peculiarly Farmer. But being peculiar has its drawbridges: for one moat point, Farmer is dedicated to saving us from reality through the portal of make-believe. This gives him messianic status, as if Harlan didn't mind the crowding. And PJF is personally committed; Paul Janus Finnegan has matched initials with his creator and that 'Janus' ain't there from random dictionary flipping, folks. But Farmer is also beset by deep lodes of social conviction, and has been a virile enthusiast of petition-signing, placard-demonstrating, street-bedding etc. And even though his alter ego Kickaha kicks his heels in a completely divorced world of fantasy, Farmer's social conscience eventually leads him back to the place of his origins --- Earth. And not for an escapist fantasy either.

BEHIND THE WALLS OF TERRA is reduced to the level of a comic-book without the finer tints. And what original witticisms can I quip about comic-book heroes? None, obviously, because it is impossible (no matter what RM Williams may seem to do!) to create out of a vacuum: and the subject of cardbored as well as the substance is devoid of originality. As normally functioning human beings, I think that you have all had daily experiences with shit and its literary manifestations: so call us understood. The only miss-fit now in our puzzle is in the criminal's motive; why should Farmer, heretofore with a clean and honourable record, now engage in Black Market scampdals? (er, ignoring the usual economic reasons. I assume that all writers are desperados for money.)

And I hope I've nudged at the answer. Farmer regularly whisks out of his agrarian background into the concrete cosmos of Chicagoes, where there are Problems To Be Solved. No faerie words in the manhole jungle: any magic to be wrought comes via doughnut-rolled sleeves and precipitation brows … and one of the work utensils is good ol' bulky Satire. Lumbersome and given to belching, perhaps, but it gets the heavy-duty stuff moved. Contrast this with fantasy, which may surfacepreciously be wild and wooly and color-lusty, but is always a fragile fabric in conscious contention against the immediacy of reality. Gentlemen, it is a real task to reconcile a contradiction: and for Farmer, the challenge of raising fantasy and reality side by side in peaceful coexistance was too great. Not that the fantasy/reality hybrid is impossible, mind you, but it demands certain delicate manners from both participants. And Farmer's satire stubbles more into the brawny, stinksweat category.

So there you have it, and I hope you're as dismayed as you should be. One or the other had to writhe, and I'm afraid that in BEHIND THE WALLS both fantasy and satire suffered horribly. Because Kickaha and his broad (one of the Lords) were pretty shaggy characters, and the entire series is roughhouse anyway, Farmer had to depict certain contemporary components of our society (motorcycle gangs, rock bands, etc.) in a rather broad satirical searchlight. Only it doesn't search, it just blinds … blinds Kickaha and, were we that naïve, the readers to the obvious complexities of said issues. Yeah, you get it. Although it's supposed to be satire, it's so crude that it rips up the ground before it even gets near the target. And that's bad; that's reactionary; and frankly, even though you know what a misshot the product is from Farmer's intent, that's disgusting. It pungently reminded me of some of the Goldwater religious tracts that clear-cut fanatics would hand out on segregated streets, only there's no instruction in this. This is merely very poor writing.

And no, I'm not exercising the reviewer's time-hallowed right to hyperbole. This is bad. In fact, I had a list made out of what I thought were the 15 major faults (not 15 faults, 15 major faults) until I realized that everyone has puked on at least one novel this bad in his lifetime. Perhaps not by as good an author as this, or for as charitable a cause, but creatures of this tripe you've stumbled across before. And I doubt that I could educate you further on them.

Oh yes, there is a dissenter to my opinion. Jack West, a 13-year old neofan, writes:

"For fast-paced excitement and adventure, a hundred thrills a page, I have never seen anything like this book … It's the best book I've come across in a long time. I can't recommend it highly enough." (ASHWING 7)

Well, I don't know. Wonder-filled, dewy-eyed sf babes may think this to be heavy stuff, and if so, more power to them. But as for me and thee, old chum, we have better memories of Farmer. (Leon Taylor)

Son of WSFA Journal #43, January 1972
Locus #170, March 15 1975

Books Received: (Ace 05360, Dec., 188pp., $1.25) Fantasy adventure novel first published by Ace in 1970. It's the fourth volume in his "Maker of Universes" series and shows a heavy Burroughs influence.

Locus #174, June 3 1975

Books Received: (Sphere 1975, 3445, 189pp. 50p) First British paperback edition of the fourth and last book in Farmer's "World of Tiers" series. It was first published by Ace in 1970 and is a good alternate world/fantastic adventure series. The cover is awful.

Locus #207, December 1977

Books Received: (Ace 220pp, $1.50, pb) Reissue (Ace 1970) of the fourth book in the "World of Tiers" series. Burroughs-type adventure.

Publishers Weekly, May 2 1982

(Phantasia Press 13-1, 1982) This slightly revised and corrected version is the first hardcover edition of the fourth volume of Farmer's "World of Tiers" series first published in 1970 and still in print in paper from Ace. Although not as ambitious as his better-known Riverworld books, this series has an equally extravagant premise and is certainly entertaining. The World of Tiers is one of many private pocket universes (including our own) created and ruled by the arrogant immortals called the Lords. In this book, Kickaha returns to Earth for the first time in 24 years to help his friend Jadawin, Lord of the Tierworld universe, who has been chased to Earth by a Beller, the one thing all Lords fear. The Bellers can dispossess their minds and take over their bodies. Farmer offers unceasing action spiced with Kickaha's reactions to the changes in America between 1946 and 1970. Farmer has added a marvelously crotchety introduction for this edition, which should be of interest mainly to collectors.

Scottishe, #57, December 1970

(Ace Double, 75¢) These two tales are related concerning, as they do, the Immortal Nine. In the first Lord Grandrith (who appears to be Tarzan in a different guise) is the hero. In the second tale Doc Caliban takes the heroic stand. Both are lined up against the Immortal Nine. According to these tales the Nine can bestow immortal life and have done so to the two men - but they both think the price too high and are determined to kill the Nine. Both tales end with the men teaming up and one can expect a sequel to this adventure series. Plenty of action. (Ethel Lindsay)

The Gridley Wave 29, December 1970

(Ace Books Inc. New York. #51375. 1970 Cover art by Gray Morrow. Paperback 4 1/4" x 7". 122 & 130 pages. 75¢)

This book is a real oddity. Not only does it come in the usual dos-a-dos format of the Ace Double, a by-now-commonplace phenomenon that never fails to fascinate me, but it is the only two channeled novel I seem to recall. The events in these two stories take place concurrently, as seen from two separate viewpoints. It was only that Farmer neglected to break his stories into chapters that prevented me from reading alternate chapters in each to get a Burroughsian flavor.

"Lord of the Treess" is Vol. 10 of the memiors of John Cloamby, Lord Grandrith, whose other identity we have still to learn, although some take him to be the alter-ego of a certain world-famed jungle hero. It follows the vendetta of Grandrith and Doc Caliban, the righter of wrongs, against the sinister Nine, as sworn in Vol. 9 ("A Feast Unknown" by Philip Jose Farmer, Essex House, 1969.) Doc, whose yearly shirt bill must equal the national budget of Botswana, gives third person testimony of his end of the fued in "The Mad Goblin."

Grandrith, off by plane to reconnoitre the Nine in their African headquarters, is shot down off the coast of Gabon, and falls 1500 ft. into the ocean, near his boyhood home, a la the misadventure of Tarzan at the hands of Rokoff and Paulvitch. Naked and armed with but a knife, Cloamby is a one-man army as he takes on the minions of the Nine, who pour all the fruits of technology into the effort to kill him. Along the way he picks up a worthy ally in the statuesque Danish beauty Countess Clara Aekjaer, whom we first met in Vol. 9. Meanwhile, Doc Caliban, accompanied by a couple of recognizable aides, follows his end of the scrap in Germany's Schwarzwald at the hideout of Iwaldi, one of the Nine. The separate trails converge on Salisbury Plain at mysterious Stonehenge for a show-down fight. Unless I lost count, the Nine are now Five.

These two novels are for us, the aficianado. The intrigue, chase, and battles while exciting, are after all, routine stuff. We Bibliophiles should revel in the many allusions and references to a brace of well-known supermen. The infinitely capacious pockets of Doc, out of which he takes his inumerable scientific devices are a never-ending marvel.

Although I can take my pornography or do without it with equanimity, I am happy that Farmer has treated this adventure of Grandrith as straight adventure. Unlike the previous book, Grandrith does not dally in the greenwood with Clara, or if he does, leaves it to the reader's realm of conjecture. Who wants a voyeur in the boudoir? Put this book on your shelf alongside Fritz Leiber's "Tarzan and the Valley of Gold."(Allan Howard)

Worlds of If, January/February 1971

(Ace Double 75¢) Few writers have enjoyed or earned more respect for setting new horizons for science fiction than Farmer. From his first story on, through more than twenty years, he has led his own individual fight to do his own thing as a writer—and he has done so, often exceedingly well. He has also written quite a few stories for the pure fun of adventure and entertainment, but those have also carried a strong element of individuality.

Now he has set about a sort of spoof of two old pulp-hero series—and has alos managed to tell a story (since both knit together to form one mail story) that could well stand on its owne as a first clase pulp job. Goblin deals with the later exploits of a man who is obvioulsy the model for Lester Dent's original Doc Savage; and lord Grandrith admits at once that he is the man whose "biographer" romanticized him as Tarzan.

Both are alive and well today—and, of course, immortal; they have to be to carry on as of old. Doc Caliban even has two men who are the sons of and almost identical with his old friends, Monk and Ham. But these two are men who were once led somewhat astray by a company of the Nine—the evil immortals who secretly control the world—in return for that immortality. Now each in his separate way is trying to stamp out that evil.

Goblin strikes me as a remarkably successful modern episode to tie into the Doc Savage cycle. It works axactly as the originals did and I thik it would have sold (with only necessary changes) to the original magazine on its merit back in those grand old days. The modernizing and Farmer insights into "Doc Caliban" seem to add much and take nothing away from the original.

The Tree Lord episode is more spotty. At the beginning and through at least half of it, I was delighted. Farmer shows every sign of being able to get to the heart of the whole Tarzan legend and to make this character a man both feral and romantic, without distorting much of anything. But then the fact that the two stories are knit into one begins to warp things.

Tarzan always managed to wind up in some wild and wonderous place, from Opar on, with very few exceptions—as in his adventure with the Leopard Men, a distincly inferior job—Lord Grandrith misses the boat here because he has to get back and join forces with Caliban. From the moment he gets out of the pit he becomes only a shadow of the other character—and this doesn't ring right.

But taken as a spoof or even taken straight, the total book is fun to read. And I hope that Farmer will go on to do sequels—though please, Phil, get Grandrith into the wonderlands of the apeman we know, even if you have to take him out of the main scene of Caliban's mission. (Lester del Rey)

Cypher #4, April 1971
Doc Savage Reader #2/3, Spring 1973
Analog, December 1980

(Playboy Press, pages and price unknown / Ace, 374 pp., $2.50) You already know Lord Grandrith. You may not know him by his given name, James Cloamby, or by the name given him by the folk, tls. But you almost have to be familiar with the "romanticized biographies" of him written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, or at least the movies starring Johnny Weismuller, Elmo Lincoln, Gordon Scott, et al., inspired by those books. He wears a loin cloth and has killed lions with a knife - does that help?

Similarly, you probably know about Doc Caliban - again, by another name. Hint: his skin is bronze all over, and he is not suntanned. His exploits have been fictionalized by a number of men who were all named Kenneth Robeson (chiefly Lester Dent).

But the exploits of these two have been so romanticized and bowdlerized by their semibiographers that it becomes almost impossible to sustain belief in their existence much past adolescence. You've probably decided they're imaginary. Fortunately both men have written their memoirs, and the noted writer and hoaxter L. Qeequeg Tincrowdor (who here employs his favorite pen name, "Philip José Farmer") has somehow obtained 3 volumes thereof, two by Grandrith and one by Caliban (Caliban's, with his characteristic pathological modesty, is told third-person). At last the record is set … well, "straight" is not exactly correct.

The first book, A Feast Unknown, was originally published by a now-defunct "quality porn" house in 1969; even in these enlightened times I believe it may succeed in shocking you. The closest it comes to "normal" sex is an early scene in which the Jungle Lord is buggered by a Middle-Eastern captor, and by the end of the book we're into clitoridectomy and testephagia and things that don't even have Latin names. Grandrith and Caliban, you see, have both been given an Immortality elixir, and one of its more outré side-effects is … no, this is a family magazine. Go read the book.

The second two memoirs, Lord of the Trees by Grandrith and The Mad Goblin by Caliban, are published in a single volume by Ace, and in contrast to Feast they are squeaky-clean - but just as violent. They continue the Dynamic Duo's heroic battle with their former masters, the Nine. Perhaps the most chilling group of villains in the history of literature, The Nine are incredibly ancient and powerful immortals, who have secretly ruled mankind for over thirty thousand years. They are so scary that you are relieved to have met only a handful of them by the time the second book closes. Grandrith and Caliban both served The Nine for decades, in exchange for immortality, and were both among 500 "candidates" - a pool of potential replacements maintained in case one of The Nine should be killed. But when they discovered, at the end of A Feast Unknown, that the Nine had been manipulating them and their loved ones in intolerable ways, the Ape Man and the Man of Bronze went free-lance together. In the two Ace memoirs, they each tell the story of their subsequent two-pronged attack on The Nine: non-stop slambang action careens through more than 300 pages, using up enough ordnance and troops for a respectable war, and culminates in a massive nighttime firefight at Stonehenge.

Be warned: both Grandrith and Caliban's accounts end in the same place: midair. This is not fiction, remember? This is fact, and Leo - pardon me, Phil - has not seen fit to release additional installments yet; you'll just have to wait to find out how things came out. (Spider Robinson)

Doc Savage Quarterly #5, April 1981
Science Fiction Review #37, November 1980

(Ace Double Novel, 374 pp., $2.50) Double-format reissue of interlinked Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban novels, dealing with Farmer's revamp of Tarzan and pastiche of Doc Savage. The former is closer to parody with Lord Grandrith coming across as a total braggart, while the latter is too close to the prototype to be really comfortable. In the meantime, the Silent Seven have gained two members and departed from the Shadow series to become the overall menace in both books. Other chracters appearing include Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes series.

On an overall basis, I can enjoy Farmer's adventure writing -- he can keep a good pace and produce effective prose (more than many adventure writers, who often just have the pace) -- but these books just don't swing that thing; the Tarzan inversion doesn't come off funny enough, and the Doc Savage imitation is just that: If Doc Savage is what you want, go get Doc Savage -- there's almost a hundred of the novels available now, in new and secondhand editions, and another eighty-some to come. Farmer's exercises in crossed genealogy are fun in books like TARZAN ALIVE and DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE, but here they're just wearisome. (Steven E. McDonald)

Paperback Inferno, December 1983
Vector, June 1986
Kirkus Reviews, December 1 1969

(Doubleday 79-89108) For those who have always secretly felt that Tarzan was a dirty young man, here is an improbable takeoff about a billionaire madman who decides to create a real Lord of the Jungle. Only his little Lord Tyger becomes the dirtiest little bugger on two or four legs; there are other concessions - dwarf parents, not too convincing as "apes," and helicopters to keep the "experiment" in the hidden valley. In spots quite funny; but the sex scenes, like the landscape, are particularly gamy.

Publishers Weekly, December 29 1969

(Doubleday 79-89108) What starts out as "The Sex Life of Tarzan" winds up as "James Bond of the Jungle" in Mr. Farmer's latest satire. As the novel opens, we find Ras Tyger, clad in a loincloth, stalking his prey through the jungle. In this case the object of his hunt is a 13-year-old native girl with whom he has been having an affair. After a few unpleasant flashbacks to romantic idylls with apes and a chimpanzee, we wade through four or five chapters of descriptive dalliances with almost everything female in the jungle. Some of this is funny, much of it is merely grotesque and silly.

The reader might well wonder whether Edgar Rice Burroughs, to whom the novel is dedicated, would have approved.

Library Journal, March 15 1970

(Doubleday 79-89108) Pseudo-jungle and pseudo-Tarzan with a setting someplace near Ethiopia. The whole business is manipulated by a mad millionaire who read all the Tarzan books. The story is replete with sex, gore, and plain filth. No reason for adding to any library. (Dem Polacheck)

Worlds of If, May/June 1970
Galaxy, June 1970

(Doubleday $5.95) Make no mistake about it—antiestablishmentarianism is bred in our bones. Political expressions of it are mere expressions; what sane intelligent organism can help but resent the necessity to emerg from the womb and set about some ridiculous prescribed exercise whose only reward is subsistence toward the tomb? Which exercise it is is a mere matter of detail; whatever Simple Simon says is basically hateful.

But of course we get along, as time goes by—the real rebels are weeded out before they ever get to second grade. Still, the outrage is well remembered, and nurtured, as time goes by—and kept in a secret place, out of need and in case of opportunity. That, and that alone, suffices to explain the worldwide popularity of Tarzan and his many cousins. That, and that alone, suffices to explain why it might strike a writer as a great notion to go through the intellectual exercise of provin that Tarzan won't work.

Lord Tyger, by Philip José Farmer may be such a book—is says it is—or it may in fact be the reaffirmation of the greatest faith (I think it is, and I suspect Farmer thinks so, too). In any event, it is an entertaining, rich, inventive adventure novel in the best sense, with its most lyrical passages far supassing any effect Edgar Rice Burroughs was ever able to achieve, and approaching the effect that The Jungle Book has on small boys.

What it says it is is a novel about the central figure in an elaborate hoax—a modern child of English nobility who is kidnapped by an immensely rich maniac and raised from infancy in a sequestered part of Africa by people who are paid to say they are apes. This synthetically derived noble savage, usually called Ras Tyger, then proceeds to blow up the whole mechanism, in part because it is already suffering from incursions of outside reality, such as jet planes, and the fact that real apes can't raise human children, in part because he is a noble savage superman whose personality will not abide incursions, and in part because the author's first intention was to have it work out that way.

I'll work back to what I mean by that, starting from here:

All writing consists of arranging a systematic ie so as to achieve a resemblence to truth. This is somewhat more particularly true of fiction than it is of what is called, revealingly, non-fiction. On the other hand, attempting to lie successfully about something the reader knows isn't factually true is a trickly business. It takes more native wit to do that then it does to just give the facts in a plausible order.

Consequently, most fiction—even most good fiction, by "good" writers—proceeds along the level of suspended disbelief, with the reader constantly aware that he is watching a construction, and admiring it on its merits as a construction. You can see this in children watching cartoons on TV, calling the plot turns in advance, and applauding the creator for having come up with the expected turn at the proper time.

Most science-fiction writers, like most writers, write on this level. All writers, without exception, must include this level in their work, if only to create further effects beyond it. It is on this level that we can see, I think, Farmer's intention to set about proving that Ras Tyger would overpower Boygur the maniac, for all Boygur's money and connections. (I am not going even to think very much about the possibilities of a scholarly essay on Farmer's various levels of symbology)

Some writers, including some science-fiction writers, write habitually in such a way that this level does become mere underpinning. Farmer is one of these; a crotchety, difficult man who accepts praise for the wrong things but denies blame of the same kind, and a general all-around secret harborer of thoughts in bad taste which emerge triumphant in his books. What counts about him is that he is an artist (and Lord Tyger offers excellent proof of this) because he does, indeed by preference and nature work on what we can call the level of enforced belief—or, if you need another way of describing the destinction between the constructionist and the artist, on the level of faith.

Ras Tyger lives. It's as simple as that. It may be that Farmer's achievement is in some way made less by the fact that he is only telling us the same thing Burroughs told us and for which we made him at least as wealthy and powerful as Farmer made Boygur. But a piece of art is not only inexhaustable, it is infinite; you can knock hunks off Farmer's acheivements all day—and you probably should; the need may well be inherent in their nature—but you cannot diminish it. Lord Tyger is not on the face of it a major novel, but it lives, it still moves. (Algis Budrys)

Science Fiction Review #39, August 1970

(Doubleday $5.95) Most books written for kids are failures. The adult mind cannot appreciate the fertile imagination or the monumental humility of children. Adults, like Philip Jose Farmer, are esthetically sophisticated; their imaginations whipped into line; their intellects self-admiring. Unlike kids, they cannot appreciate the story for the story's sake alone. They cannot accept the thrills-and-spills, gore galore, scared-shitlessness of it all without a dose of "social significance." Kids can and do because kids are capable of genuine escapism. Consequently, when an adult writes a book for kids, he usually misses them entirely (although he will take a hoard of medallions from adoring librarians). Conversley, when an adult attempts to duplicate a "juvenile" that he loved in his childhood, his book usually fails for the same reason.

Philip Jose Farmer has attempted, and failed, to write an "adult" Tarzan novel.

His Ras Tyger is not bad. He is cool and amusing. His adventures are colorful and exciting. His jungle is credible. There is even a healthy dose of blunt pornography. But the book is about Farmer, not Tarzan. It is about Farmer's skill and wit and boldness, not about the good guys vs. the bad guys. And it is entertaining, but little else. (Paul Walker)

Letter from Paul Walker in Science Fiction Review 40

I owe apologies to Philip Jose Farmer and James Schmitz. When I finished Lord Tyger, I was both impressed and confused. I had read little of Farmer and, if there was something I should have understood (was there some satirical or symbolic gimmick?) I missed it.

The problem was to convince the reader there was something more to it (something I could not quite explain due to my ignorance of Farmer's past writings). If I argue for it as an "adult" Tarzan novel, the anit-Tarzanites would be prejudiced against it. So I felt the best approach was to appear to put it down as a Tarzan novel, then quote one or two scenes that would let the reader discover for himself that book's unique appeal. Unfortunately...

In the last reading, I realized the review was too long, and I was afraid the quotes would not be as provocative out of context as they seemed at first. (In any case, I must have forgotten my original intention of irony.) I rewrote it in haste and it reads as a comparison between Farmer and Robert E. Howard, with Farmer coming off a bad second.

Forgive me!

Philip Jose Farmer is one of the most original and unpredictable of SF writers. His novels and stories are uniquely his, and Lord Tyger is no exception. It is not unforgettable, but it is more thaan "entertaining." It has a peculiar flavor, a caustic tone, a vividness that could come no one else. Yes, it is a sort of "Tarzan novel," but unlike any Tarzan you've met before. The eroticism is wild. The danger smells of danger. The jungle itself is alive with a poetry, both beautiful and sinister. The suspense is suspenseful. The book is never dull. In short, it is a fine read.

I have done it an injustice and I apologize. ...

Luna Monthly #21, February 1971

(Doubleday, Feb 1970. 335p. $5.95) Philip Jose Farmer is like the little girl in the limerick: when he's good, he's very very good; but when he's bad, he's just awful. "Lord Tyger," fortunately, is one of the cases in which he is very, very good. Which is surprising, when one considers he was just awful in his previous Burroughs pastiche, "A Feast Unknown."

The difference is, this time he's written a real story instead of a polemic. Farmerhas a point to make -- but he lets it develope naturally, from the events of the story, instead of trying to clobber the reader with a 'message.' And he appeals to the reader's emotions, instead of sneering at them.

Basically, Farmer is contrasting the myth of the Noble Savage with the reality -- or possibility at least. The story derives from an attempt by a megalomaniac millioniare who takes Burroughs too literally to raise a 'real' Tarzan in a hidden African valley. Ras Tyger, the subject of the experiment, doesn't realize this of course, but it becomes clear to the reader early on, so nothings given away by revealing this.

While discarding those ideas from "Tarzan of the Apes" that obviously wouldn't work (Farmer knows his feralism), plot, mood and character all manage to evoke not only the essential elements of Burroughs' mythos, but also it's deeper roots in the writtings of Kipling and Haggard. And he's managed to combine all this with modern trappings like helicopters and hidden TV cameras.

Ras Tyger's story, like Tarzan's, is that of a search for identity. His natural inclinations repeatedly clash with the unseen megalomaniac's preconceived ideas of what a Noble Savage should be, and with the plan being imposed from above for his future. Much of the conflict involves sex -- but this is handled as logically as the rest, and is a natural part of the story, instead of just a 'shocking' overlay.

The 'mystery' element may be inspired partly by Harry Harrison's bizarre treatment in "Captive Universe" or even Algis Budrys' "The Iron Thorm." This time the reader knows damn well what's behind all the things that mystify Tyger, but the story itself is exciting and well-paced enough to hold attention -- for it own sake as well as for the desire to unravel the details of the Great Big Plan.

One can quibble with a few things -- are Finnish women really likely to be that frigid these days? And the ending is somewhat inconclusive. But overall, it's a fine job of work. Farmer deserves kudos. (John J. Pierce)

Locus #125, October 27 1972

(Signet Q5096, 1972 286pp., 95¢) As most SF fans know, Farmer has quite an interest in Tarzan (to the extent of writing a biography of him) and this book explores yet another aspect of the myth. A rich man, obsessed with the works of Burroughs, determines to receate (?) the situation that gave rise to Tarzan. However, his plan does not proceed as expected - people are people and the young Tarzan-surrogate has considerably more sexuality the his prototype. The story is told from the viewpoint of the young Tarzan - Lord Tyger and we see his world through his limited worldconstruct; it is only later as we gather more information that earlier perceptions become more meaningful. I think that even those who have no interest in Tarzan and who do not consider Burroughs' work to be worthwhile still have to admit that this novel transcends the mythos that inspired it. (Tony Lewis)

The Gridley Wave 38, 1973

(Doubleday 1970 335p. $4.95) A fictional character, with a few strongly drawn exceptions, rarely stands apart from his creator. Even more rarely is there one, as observed by Edgar W. Smith in the instance of Sherlock Holmes, "Who though he never wore the garments of flesh, has taken to himself the very emmanence and essence of existence".

And as is inevitably the fate of real persons, and of celebrities in particular, the public wants to know, "What is he really like?". As someone said, "The taste of civilized man for personal details about each other is unquestionable." There is inquiry into ancestry and antecedants; there is curiosity about his private life, habits, morals, and peccadilloes. When the final word it penned by the originator, the question arises, "Well yeah, but what happened after that?" There is also, "What if..."

Hindsight now tells us that when Philip Jose Farmer's "The Golden Age and the Brass" was published in Burroughs Bulletin #12, a perceptive eye might have foreseen what was to come. The enthusiastic, uncritical Farmer he remembers in that article has given way to the mature, observant writer. He has taken to looking lovingly and unsparingly at what lies beneath, behind, sidewise, and beyond the forthright jungle hero given us by Burroughs.

In his first novel of the "World of Tiers" series (THE MAKER OF UNIVERSES, Ace 1965) Farmer introduces the ubiquitous Kickaha, the eternal Trickster, who admits to being Tarzan in one of his manifestations, or a Tarzan at any rate. Farmer further explores the idea of Tarzan, mythical Trickster in TARZAN ALIVE (Doubleday, 1972), the definitive biography of the "real" Lord Greystoke.

Some aspects of the first person ape-man, thinly disguised as "Lord Grandrith" are probed, sometimes with a long stick, in A FEAST UNKNOWN (Essex House, 1969). Grandrith returns in LORD OF THE TREES (Ace, 1970) and his adventures are followed in a more straightforward fashion. These stories also pursue the idea of "what happened next". Farmer delves not only in Tarzan's post-Burroughs career, but into some o the complications and consequences of being the foster son of an ape. Some of this found its way into TARZAN ALIVE.

LORD TYGER considers the problem of creating a Tarzan-like being to order. Would the jungle waif, as envisioned by Burroughs, and nurtured by an ape, be viable? That is, could he survive those critial infant years in such a hostile environment? More important, could he grow up an intelligent, reasoning being with the examples he had to model himself upon? Would he grasp the idea of speech and language without help and tutoring? All extremely pregnant questions, and Farmer gives them extremely lively parturition.

Boygur, monomaniacal multi-millionaire Tarzan fan, who would answer all of the above questions in the affirmative, decides to try. There are several real life examples to the contrary that should have given him pause, but he may not have know of them. However, with enough millions, you too can repeat the experiment. Steal an infant, establish him in a remote part of the earth, stock it with fauna not natural to the locale, and pay an army of guards, guardians, and observers for about 13 years. Boygur gets his jungle superman, who also turns out to be a lot of things he doesn't want. As any father can tell you, well pleased as he may be with his grown son, the boy never is exactly the way the old man invisioned him as an infant. As Boygur sadly reflected, "Things went their own way". (continued with TIME'S LAST GIFT) (Al Howard)

Zimri, #7, January 1975

(Panther, 50p, 284 pages) The cover says: A brilliant imaginative novel by the author of TARZAN ALIVE." Since I'm not a space-opera-woman you might think that I'm not into fantasy either, righton, I'm not, but I enjoyed this sexy brave new Tarzan very much indeed. Ras Tyger (alias or a modern-type Tarzan) is incredibly real and exciting. He is fluent in four languages... a wild prince this, the ultimate savage who rules his teeming, perilous domain with savagery and mighty sexual prowess from which no native woman is safe - or wants to be. If you're fed up with this tame, weak, piping time of mechanised civilisation, grab LORD TYGER and with delight pass away your time... What the cover said is true, it is brilliant, and it is imaginative, and I loved it. (Lisa I. Conesa)

Starburst, July 23, 2012
Sci-Fi-Online, July 27, 2012
SF Crowsnest, August 1, 2012
Good Reads, August 27
September 24, 2012
She Never Slept, November 1, 2012
Science Fiction Review #40, October 1970

(Brandon House 9BH-6134 $1.95) Time now for an extra added attraction: a review of Philip Jose Farmer's Love Song, just released (after long confinement) by Brandon House (but originally written for Essex House).

It is not science fiction. It is the story of a man who becomes sexually involved with a look-alike mother and daughter. The scene shifts from cruise ship to the women's haunted house overlooking a cliff above the sea.

The supernatural element becomes interesting and provocative in the final third of the book, but Phil abandons it as he ends the novel with a revelation of incest and murder.

The porno in the book is weak and uncertain, with the sex scenes often incomplete and abortive.

This one is for completists and the curious. (Richard Geis)

Science Fiction Review #51, May 1984

(McMillan, 1983, 165p. $40) A limited edition (500 copies) hardcover printing of a minor sex novel Phil wrote for Brandon House of North Hollywood in 1970.

It deals with the occult --- two strange, warped women (mother and daughter) who live in a huge old creaky mansion, isolated, by the sea, and of their weird relationship with the dead pervert who haunts the old house, and with the young man whom they attract and "seduce" in more ways than one.

Loose ends dangle and it is unsatisfying because the intriguing occult aspect which screams for exploration is left hanging as the young man's lust is examined and endlessly frustrated to satisfy the sex-novel priorities.

As a novel, LOVE SONG fails. As a literary curiosity and memento of Phil's time before Riverworld and financial security, it is interesting and intriguing.

Each copy of this edition is numbered and autographed by the author. A copy costs $40 plus 85¢ for insurance. (Richard E. Geis)

Fantasy Review #69, July 1984

(Dennis McMillan Publications, December 1983, 165p. $40.85 delivered. Signed 500 copy numbered edition) What is about the Lundgrens, mother and daughter, living in their Pacific coast mansion in whose windows the ghost of great-grandfather sea Captian Lundgren is wont on occasion to appear? And what is their mysterious aversion-fascination for oral sex? Inventor Jack Weston (the comic actor of that name was not famous in 1970 when this book first appeared as a Brandon House paperback) tries to answer these riddles and bed both women while exploring his own moves and motives to the point of neurosis. This is not a spoof, nor wholly an exercise in episodic pornography, and it has none of the exuberance of Flesh or Venus on the Half-Shell. So where is Farmer going, then, with all his "Gothic Romance" apparatus of shapes-looming-in-the-fog, gargoyle doorknockers, priapic wallpaper, and three different mannered characters who seem imported from a Sloan Wilson novel? The reviewer may only say that this is a mystery in which the very knowledge of specific genre is kept from the reader as part of the puzzlem and that this curious, quirky novel—really a Very Long Story—while not to everyone's taste, will please lovers of the offbeat in popular reading and should therefore be edited, and reprinted in paperback again for all Farmer fans who delight in his inventive turns of mind. (Thom Dunn)

Paperback Parade #13, June 1989

(This review is taken from the article Essex House: The Rise and Fall of Speculative Erotica)

LOVE SONG (1970), destined for the Essex House line, but published by Larry Shaw with the Brandon House imprint, is an unmitigated failure, a would-be gothic melodrama where the male character has a strange affair with a woman and her daughter, "a symphony of overpowering love, uncontrollable passion, and the supernatural forces that shattered three lives!" according to the emphatic backcover blurb... (Maxim Jakubowski)

Locus, #71, January 6 1971

(Ace 78650, 190pp., 75¢) Farmer used to be an extremely talented writer. He seems to have decided that crap sells just as well and is much easier to write. Bad imitation Burroughs. (Charlie Brown)

Scottishe, #58, March 1971

(Ace Books 78650, 75¢) There have been many story devices to take a man into the future; in this one Ulysses Singing Bear is working on a project involving atomic statis. Due to an accident he becomes a man of stone - and awakens twenty million years later. He finds himself being worshipped as a god by a people who are no longer human. He sets out to find if there are any humans left - and embarks on a series of warring adventures. In the end he finds his greatest enemy is - a Tree! (Ethel Lindsay)

Worlds of If, March/April 1971
Son of WSFA Journal #50, March 1972
Luna Monthly #24/25, May/June 1971

(Ace 78650, Nov. 1970. 190p. 75¢) This one has the most god-awful scary-ugly cover I've seen in a long while. It might prove a detriment on the newsstands, and that would be unfortunate, for Farmer has woven an interesting adventure tale. Ulysses Singing Bear, fashionably Indian, is mixed up in a laboratory accident which throws him into a savage future fraught with furry fury, frabjous fighting, and fascinating action (ha!). Very little of any real intellect, but absorbing nonetheless. Josh Kirby's artwork while talented, has enough blood-misted eyes and bared teeth to give many of our younger friends unpleasant night-time preoccupations. (Greg Bear)

Paperback Parlour, February 1977
Constellation #5, 1978

A scientist finds himself waking up millions of years into the future after an experiment goes wrong in his laboratory. What he finds there startles him and leads him to seek out the human race who appear to have become extinct. A fasinating book that flows with imagination. Another of Farmer's novels where he becomes pre-occupied with unpronounceable names and places, otherwise a very good read.

Kirkus, November 15 1970

"Time hangs heavy on the hands of the immortals…" confides an odd manifestation to the resurrected person of 19th century explorer Richard Burton. The aliens have been playing hob with billions of dead humans from all times and climes who are revived young and bald and fated to be manipulated by a giant memory bank. Real historical personages (including Goering) help scatter the bodies. A queasy voyage on the Styx.

Publisher's Weekly, November 16 1970

This is an imaginative science fiction novel which begins with the death of an enfeebled old man in Trieste in 1890. He immediately finds himself resurrected, young again, in an unfamiliar barren land, along with thousands of others, most of them from the 19th century. Our resurrected hero is none other than the explorer-adventurer-linguist, Sir Richard Francis Burton. He organizes some of the resurrectees into a small band and they wage a desperate fight for survival. At one point some of them are captured by a band of savages led by the resurrected Hermann Goering. The latter half of this sweeping novel deals with Burton's immense journey down the planet's great river. But underlying this very practical and thoroughly interesting narrative is the intriguing question, who did the resurrecting, and why? The novel is decidedly challenging intellectually, and Mr. Farmer promises a sequel with Samuel Clemens as its hero.

Library Journal, April 15 1971

In this SF view of Judgment Day, the entire human race finds itself resurrected along the banks of a 20-million-mile-long River. The story follows Sir Richard Francis Burton (1821-1890) as he and those around him react and adjust to the situation, and as Burton (an atheist) seeks a rational explanation for their new existence. The background is unique and well handled; the story merely competent. There are lots of Famous Names, but no characterizations that stand out. Burton's wanderlust sets him moving every time the plot seems to become resolved. Just as he appears about to learn the How and Why of it all, the book ends with a note that V.2 will feature Sam Clemens. An intriguing concept, but not an essential purchase. (Frederick Patten)

This is the first in a projected series of science fiction novels about the Riverworld. Heaven, purgatory or hell, perhaps all three, the Riverworld contains the resurrected remains of all beings who dwelt on earth from the beginning of time till 2000 A.D. The chief character in the book is the famous Victorian adventurer, Richard Burton. Accompanied by a changing cast of characters, including Herman Goering and Alice Hargreaves (the model for Alice in Wonderland), Burton explores the Riverworld and begins what will evidently be a series of encounters with the Ethicals, who control the existence of people in the Riverworld. Much of the book is intriguing and ingenious; occasionally there are minor plot confusions, but perhaps these will clear up with the succeeding volumes. (Judy Faria)

Locus #80, April 15 1971

(Putnam 1971, 221pp., $4.95, Berkley forthcoming) This is Farmer writing at his best and more than makes up for the dreary Ace hackwork and Tarzan stories he's been doing lately. The "Riverworld" stories were excellent when first published 6 years ago and are even better in this smoothly jointed novel form. For those not familiar with them they're about a world where all of humanity has been resurected and is living along one gigantic river trying to figure out why. Richard Burton makes one of the most fabulous heroes I've ever encountered. For the first time in years, I'm eagerly awaiting the second volume in a series. THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT should be out soon, but I can barely restrain myself from raiding the Putnam or Galaxy offices for a manuscript copy. In case you didn't realize it, the book is highly recommended. (Charles Brown)

Son of WSFA Journal #22, May 1971
Worlds of If, May/June 1971

(Putnam's Sons, $4.95) ... In that case - in fact, in any case - one of the "must" books is Philip José Farmer's TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO. This deals with a future which almost certainly isn't going to happen, but one in which a lot of the rigid values are tossed aside for a logic inherent in the story, yet just out of the reader's full comprehension. It sounds wild, and it is; but it's an excellent exercise in building mental flexibility, as well as a pleasure to read.

This is the first of a series which will deal with the "Riverworld". Much of this book was run in the form of novelettes in If previously, but it is now reshaped into a novel, and well worth reading in its entirety.

Riverworld is apparently some kind of artificial planet designed to accommodate an Ouriborus river that winds back and forth through multiple valleys, to meet itself and resume its journey. And to this world, all the human beings who have ever died - from the first Eanthropus to the men who died when the race was exterminated - are returned to life. They are partly clumped by similarity of era and area, but about 10% are randomized, so that dawn-men and even aliens may be mixed with our current types.

They don't know how or why all this has happened. It fits no established religious pattern. And since they are dumped onto this world with no artifacts normal to them, it fits directly almost no social pattern. They are given a source of food - and drugs for those who want - so that this is a sort of welfare world; but beyond that minimum they have almost nothing.

In addition they find that death has not only been defeated, but has been repealed. Oh, a man can be killed, with all the suffering of normal death. On this world, where everything seems to be returning to tribal moralities, there is a lot of the ancient bloody war and killing from the history of man. But shortly after a man dies, he appears again somewhere along the river. He may die a hundred times or more and still go on.

It's a wild and lovely idea, filled with impossibilities that only Farmer would have the courage to try to write. Any other writer I know, if he were clever enough to think of the basic idea, would have abandoned it as too big and too shapeless to turn into a novel. But for Farmer it works.

In fact, it worked long ago when he was just beginning as a writer. This was a story that he must have written around 1950. It was then a single, huge novel. He offered it in a prize contest one of the fan-publishing groups was running and it won. Then, for complicated reasons, it was never published nor did Farmer collect the prize to which he was entitled. But like the characters in his novel, the story was killed only to appear again in another situation.

It was apparently too long for serialization. But eventually Farmer reworked it into a series of novelettes, so that part of it came out in magazine form, considerably altered from the original.

How much alteration that entailed, I do not know. I was once given the original form to deliver to the office in New York. So, for a brief period, I saw the early form of the novel; but there wasn't time enough even to skim it. That is something I greatly regret. Had I known that the manuscript was available, I'd have dropped everything to read it, but the first version had to pass through my hands unread, damn the luck.

I gather that the series now beginning to appear from Putnam's is a further reworking.

This volume is basically the odyssey of Richard Burton after his revival on Riverworld. In that sense it forms a complete story, though much of the deeper thread behind it all remains uncovered. I dislike being left up in the air, but at least history is being presented fairly. Putnam has announced it as the first of the group, and it reaches a resolution of Burton's development, without introducing any artificial false ending or leaving us on a cliffhanger. And maybe I'm just so glad to see it appearing that I'm kinder to this example of split-up publishing than I might otherwise be.

The riddle of how and why is a constant tantalizer in the book. Burton has reason - and apparently for some reason, at that - to know that there are sentient beings behind it all. They have deliberately created Riverworld and managed to revive everyone who lived. He cannot know why they are doing all this. He knows also that they have some kind of spies among the revived humans. One of them apparently is a traitor to the others, which is why Burton was allowed to learn more of the behind-the-scenes activity than the others. But beyond trying to reach the head (or foot, since they are the same) of the river where the planners seem to have their secret headquarters, he can do nothing but attempt in his own logical way to avoid their discovering him.

It's a complicated setup. Until the books are finally all published I can't be sure how well the ramifications are worked out. But the promise behind the premise is wonderful. And even if the end should turn out not quite to justify the means, the means are good enough for me to settle for them.

There is a weakness in the book, of course, as there is to almost any work that involves so difficult a concept. The principal one seems to me to be the use of known characters. We have Richard Burton, who was truly a fantastic human being in real life; he was the translator of the ARABIAN NIGHTS and a great adventurer. We also have Hermann Goering and the woman for whom ALICE IN WONDERLAND was written. She comes through very well, but the historicity of the others bothers me in reading their fictional life here. Burton, as fiction, makes a fine hero for the book; but I find him overshadowed by references to what seems to me a larger reality. Goering has all his weaknesses - but again, the strengths and oddly distorted but real Junker code of the historical figure do not quite fit this picture. Farmer's research is sound - but the real figures just don't seem capable of being fitted well into this box. The wholly imaginary ones always seem to come off better. (Lester del Rey)

Renaissance #3, Summer 1971
Luna Monthly #32, January 1972

(Putnam, 1971. 221p. $4.95) Philip José Farmer is something special among science fiction writers. He is one of those very few who can come with a seemingly endless stream of new ideas and concepts, and has sufficient literary skills to do something with them. In the past new ideas have too often been obtained only at the cost of excruciatingly bad stories ("First Lensman" anyone?) but with more writers like Farmer the sf field might be spared the embarrassment.

"To Your Scattered Bodies Go" is the first volume of the finalized version of the Riverworld stories. It is supposedly based on the three Worlds of Tomorrow novelettes "The Day of the Great Shout," "Riverworld" and Suicide Express," but the changes are so drastic (none of the characters are even the same) that there are few similarities besides the setting.

The basic premise here is that an unknown but highly advanced group of beings have used their formidable scientific abilities to resurrect every human being who ever lived, on the shores of a gigantic multi-million mile long river. (which zig-zags across the surface of an artificially redesigned planet.) The plot involves the quest of Sir Richard Burton and assorted comrades, ranging from a Neandethal named Kazz to Hermann Göring, to find the source of the river and the secret base of the masters of the Riverworld, both of which are rumored to be at the north pole of the planet. This Odyssey format is perfect for unveiling the vast panorama of the Riverworld and its peoples.

This may sound simple, but when you consider it the sociological, philosophical, and theological ramifications of the concept are staggering. Most writers would not attempt it, and of those that would, only a very few would be able to achieve even a moderate success.

One of the basic ideas of the novel is a world in which there is no permanent death. If a person is killed he is resurrected somewhere else along the river on the following morning. Once this becomes known among the inhabitants of the Riverworld, massive revisions in their way of thinking and total worldview should take place, the likes of which can only be hinted at. While Farmer fails to make any really deep penetration into this aspect of the series, he does concern himself with its effects on Burton, who begins to use the suicide/relocation process as a means of transportation through which he hopes to attain the Dark Tower at the north pole. The sequences dealing with his 'travels' through death are some of the most effective in the book.

The sociological possibilities are practically endless, as Farmer has every culture that ever existed co-existing and ready to interact, and again he only really dabbles with it. All of the people simply act like stone age primitives, and it becomes hard to tell the difference between ancient Sumerians and 19th century Europeans, but this may be because Farmer doesn't consider men to be as much products of their societies as some do. Still, it seems that the entire Riverworld project is an immense social experiment, and many stories could be written of the results.

The emphasis of the story is on the character of Burton. His developement is concluded at the end in a satisfactory manner, even if there are many mysteries of the Riverworld left unexplained. But loose ends are excusable because this is only the first volume in what appears to be a very interesting series. (Darrell Schweitzer)

Analog, May 1972

(Berkley S2057, 75¢) RIVERWORLD

Nearly twenty years ago, in 1953, a promising - indeed, an exciting - young author named Philip José Farmer won a fabulous contest with a gigantic book he called "I Owe for the Flesh." You'll find the ugly story in Sam Moskowitz's "Seekers of Tomorrow" and an anagramatic reference to it in the first of a series of books that have finally been hewn out of the original. Now they are called the "Riverworld" series.

The $4,000 prize that Farmer won was offered jointly by Shasta, a Chicago fan-based book publisher, and Pocket Books, then the leading paperback publisher. Farmer never got his money, and the experience nearly wrecked him financially and as a writer. I am sure you know what a comeback he has made after a long period of licking his wounds.

In coming this late to Riverworld, I owe Farmer an apology. The gossip in the fanworld was that the original book was a fantasy - a kind of rationalization and literalization of the Christian idea of Heaven, in which all mankind has risen from the grave in corporeal flesh and is resurrected on the banks of an endless river on some mystic world. Since we don't report fantasy here, I set the first book aside - I hadn't read the parts published over the years in Galaxy and elsewhere - to enjoy some day when I had time to spare. I enjoy good fantasy, but I can read only so much in my spare time.

If I had so much as reached the bottom of the first page of the first book, I'd have immediately discovered how wrong I was. The "Riverworld" series is science fiction - fairly straightforward science fiction - and it is worth reading. Twenty years ago it might have become a classic.

The rumors weren't exactly wrong - or exactly right. As the series opens, the 36 billion men, women and some children who lived between the time of the first sub-men and some still unspecified era after A.D. 2008 have been recreated on the banks of a seemingly endless river that meanders through a strange world. They have not been resurrected in the religious sense. Someone - beings of some kind (and after two books we are still trying to find out what kind) - have recorded the psyches of everyone who ever lived, and have installed them in what would be called android bodies. They awake young, hale, hairless, with all the faults and virtues they had in life, and with all their memories and hangups intact. They act about as you would expect … but it develops that they can't be permanently killed. The individual who dies - even the one who is eaten - turns up somewhere miles away in a fresh body.

This is the brand of originality Farmer had demonstrated before 1953, and it is a brand to which he has by no means relinquished title. In this case, however, I am afraid he has set himself an impossible task.

It would have been easy to develop the Riverworld story through a series of fictitious stock characters. Instead, Farmer uses real people. Richard Francis Burton, the Victorian swashbuckler, explorer, and translator of the "Arabian Nights" is the hero of the first book, "To Your Scattered Bodies Go." (Berkley Books has the paperback edition out now as No. S2057, for 75¢; Putnam may still have the hardback original for $4.95.) Mark Twain - young Sam Clemens - is the hero of "The Fabulous Riverboat" (Putnam, 1971; 253 pp.; $5.95). A large and lively cast of historic personages, from Odysseus to Alice in Wonderland, with at least one extraterrestrial, play a lively part.

To do this right, Farmer would have had to have the talents of an exceptionally good historical novelist, a biographer, and an exceptionally creative SF writer. The latter he is; the others he unfortunately isn't.

This is one story - perhaps the only SF story - in which the premise that realistic characterization isn't needed in science fiction just doesn't work. The Burton of "Scattered Bodies" should be the real Burton - and he isn't. I am quite willing to accept Farmer's scholarship, and believe that the real Burton acted and reacted in the same ways that the fictional Burton does. I know that Samuel Langhorn Clemens was an introspective self-doubter with a bad head for business - and so is he when he tries to build a too-fabulous Twenty-first Century riverboat to pilot upriver against the castle of the mysterious ethicals, with Cyrano de Bergerac and King John of England in his crew. But these resurrected men in Riverworld are ghosts, shadows, not even cardboard cutouts of the originals.

A lot happens and the puzzle grows more tangled by the page. There is internal evidence to suggest that during the past twenty years Farmer has revised and updated his original book substantially, and he may have rewritten it completely. (Clemens recalls information that the "Mysterious Stranger" - a seeming renegade from the "Ethical" creators - never gave him in the interview we have witnessed. There are two different formulas for making sodium nitrate for gunpowder - one unnecessarily fictitious.) I can't buy some of the detail, either: I grew up in Iroquois country, and they adopted captives - they didn't enslave them. I think it is a little sexier and maybe more violent than it would have been in 1953, though Farmer was a pioneer in putting logical sex into science fiction. (Remember "The Lovers"?)

There will be at least one more volume, some time this year, in which Burton, Clemens, Odysseus, Bergerac, and all the other anointed anti-Ethicals confront their creators in their castle at the North Pole. There will be lots of action and lots of ingenious detail, plenty of surprises and a good deal of subtle humor (Hermann Goering becomes a missionary; one of Tarzan's ancestors plays a small part). I fully intend to stay the full course.

But what a book this would have been in 1953, when "Lem Sharkki" loused everything up! (P. Schuyler Miller)

SF Commentary #40, May 1974
Locus #236, August 1980

Books Received: (Gregg, $12.95 224pp, hc) Library reprint offset from the 1971 Putnam first edition. This Hugo winning novel is the first in the famous "Riverworld" series. There is a new introduction by Peter Nicholls with additional comments from Farmer. Individual copies can be ordered from F&SF Book Company. The Gregg Press edition is limited to 500 copies.

Locus #240, December 1980/January 1981

Books Received: (Science Fiction Book Club #2676, $4.98, 217pp, hc) Reprint (Putnam 1971), #1 in the "Riverworld" series. This edition, confusingly enough, is a hardcover reprint of the Berkley paperback, not a reprint of the original hardcover edition. This novel won the Hugo in 1972.

Amazing, May 1981
Denver Science Fiction Book Club
SF Site Reviews: The Riverworld Saga
Review by Christian "naddy" Weisgerber
Alfvaen's Review Page
Tangent Online, October 25 2011
Grasping for the Wind, December 28 2011
BSC Review, January 3, 2011
Seattle PI, April 26,2011
Kirkus Reviews, November 1 1971

(Putnam 79-174635) Second in the Riverworld Series (To Your Scattered Bodies - more to come) in which Sam Clemens, a long time and place away from Hannibal, Mo., is traveling up river with other real (that is they were once) people - Cyrano and Goering and primarily King John (Lackland). There's also one Joe Miller, Sam's blood brother, who lithps. This construct is designed to show that history repeats itself - in the form of a revolt against King John. "It'th that thimple." And thtupid.

Publisher's Weekly, November 15 1971

(Putnam 79-174635) This frantic and funny fantasy takes us on a wild romp across a landscape that Hieronymous Bosch might have dreamed up on one of his bad mornings. It is a planet populated by resurrected people from all centuries and countries. The hero is Sam Clemens, who stands on the deck of a Viking longboat crewed by 10th century Norsemen, sailing up a 100,000-mile river prospecting for iron with which to build a steamboat that will carry them to the land of the Misty Tower, where all knowledge and power lie. There are battles, intrigues, metaphysics and confrontations with a motley assortment of characters ranging from Richthofen to Cyrano de Bergerac. Clever, fast-moving, and really different. Riverworld Series.

Library Journal, January 15 1972

(Putnam 79-174635) Second in a trilogy following To Your Scattered Bodies Go (LJ, April 15, 1971), The Fabulous Riverboat is set in an "after-Earthlife" of resurrected people over the age of five from time immemorial. The main character is none other than Sam Longhorne Clemens, alias Mark Twain, who attempts to build a metal riverboat. His goal, not obtained in this novel, is to sail upriver to reach the Misty Tower and discover the secret of its guardians, the Ethicals. The world Farmer creates has possibilities, but whenever the action becomes stagnant he writes in another historical figure (King John of England, Ulysses, his wife, von Richthofen, etc.), and the novel becomes a redundant hodgepodge of contrived incidents. (Joyce Richter)

Times Literary Supplement, April 12 1974
Locus #104, January 14 1972

Philip Jose Farmer's "Riverworld" series have been written, rewritten and re-rewritten into what is hopefully their final form. The first two volumes appeared this year, TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO (Putnam 1971, 221pp., $4.95, also Berkley 1971) and THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT (Putnam 1971253pp., $5.95). The secon half of FABULOUS RIVERBOAT was also serialized in If, but lacks the impact of the complete book. Parts of TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO were in Worlds of Tomorrow in the mid 60's, but I think this is rewritten. Somebody want to check? Unlike the Leguin and despite Richard Burton and Mark Twain as heroes, Farmer has written a science fiction series with fantasy trappings. Both volumes are rousing adventure stories rich in imagery. I've read them twice so far and I'm anziously awaiting the third volume. Don't miss them. (Charles Brown)

Booklist, April 1 1972

(Putnam 79-174635)In a sequel to To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971. 221p. Putnam, $4.95. 77-136810) Sam Clemens is the protagonist in an intriguing, multicharactered novel set on the planet Riverworld where all humanity has been reborn along the shores of a great river and is maintained by mysterious aliens. Parts of the book have appeared under different titles in If magazine.

Analog, May 1972
Worlds of If, May/June 1972
Moebius Trip #17, May 1973

(Berkley 1973; 256pp.; 95¢) This is Volume II of Farmer's Riverworld series, Volume I being TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO, which won a Hugo last year, beating out such rivals as Le Guin's THE LATHE OF HEAVEN and Silverberg's A TIME OF CHANGES. The setting for Farmer's series is an enormously long river valley on an unknown planet, in which every human being who lived on Earth between 2,000,000 B.C. and 2000-plus A.D. has been resurrected. The hero of this particular volume is Sam Clemens (Mark Twain), whose goal is to build a magnificent boat to carry him millions of miles up river to discover the secret of this world.

At first glance, the potentials of such a setting seam enormous, but unfortunately these prove to be more apparent than real. On the nitpicking side, it could be objected that from the stand-point of realism, far too many of Clemens' antagonists and acquantances are well-known history-book characters of European and North American origin. But the principle drawback is inherent in the story's setting. Uprooted from their historical contexts, the book's characters become basically anonymous and interchangable. The prime villian, the former King John of England, could be any villian in any hack adventure story you've ever read. Removed from the society and circumstances that made him an interesting historical figure, he becomes just one more bad guy whose sole raison d'être is the fouling up of our hero's plans. This lack of authentic context makes all the novel's characters superficial and essentially dull. And this problem is certainly not helped by having everyone in the Riverworld continually supplied with free food and intoxicants, since Farmer thus tosses out the fundemental economic parameter which might have provided the basis for the development of new and interesting socio-cultural contexts in which his protagonists could move.

THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT, then, through the limitations of the setting devised by the author, remains basically a run-of-the mill adventure yarn, with much loud talk and bashing of heads, but with very little in the way of cerebral stimulation for the reader. (Angus Taylor)

Locus #144, June 22 1973

(Berkley 02329, 95¢, 256pp.) This is the second book in what will one day be the Riverworld Trilogy. The first book let Sir Richard Francis Burton discover certain basic truths and mysteries about the Riverworld. The second book shows how Sam Clemens built the fabulous riverboat in the title. Not much more is learned about the general nature of the riverworld, but there's a lot of adventure and a good time is had by all. The style in these two books is different from any Farmer has used before, and I wish he'd go back to the old way. I find it vaguely prolix, and a little wordy in spots. Another thing that worries me just a little is a property always inherent in a project like this: People, like Sam Clemens, Bad King John, Cyrano De Bergerac, and others who you probably already have some sort of emotional tag for show up all through the story. This gives the writer a head start as far as characterization goes, and seems to me an easy way out. This is exciting reading even so, and I'm curious to see how Farmer resolves all this in the third book. (Mel Gilden)

SF Commentary #40, May 1974
Locus #236, August 1980

Books Received: (Gregg, $13.50 274pp, hc) Library reprint offset from the 1971 Putnam first edition. Volume 2 in the "Riverworld" series. This new edition has a critical introduction by Richard Gid Powers plus new comments by Farmer. Individual copies can be ordered from F&SF Book Company. The Gregg Press edition is limited to 500 copies.

Amazing, May 1981
Tangent Online, October 25 2011
BSC Review, January 3, 2011
Locus #80, April 15 1971

(Ace 89237, 1971, 157pp., 75¢) Someone reckoned that Farmer was trying to write a pastiche of ERB's Mars stories without being obvious about it. It could well be. Ishmael himself, shipwrecked from the Pequod, is tossed through a time warp into an age close to the end of the Earth, when the seas have evaporated and marine life has evolved gas-filled bladders to usurp the avian ecological niche. Ishmael is thrown into a nation of native whalers, a weird but recognizable humanity whose society is not unlike that of the Polynesians he had known. In this topsy-turvy world where dirigible whalers hunt dirigible whales, the danger isn't in being dragged under water but in being towed upward into the atmosphere too rarified for men to breathe. Ishmael's new homeland is destroyed before he can reach it, and he takes command of his tribe's remaining ships to lead a retaliatory raid against their enemy so that they can rebuild in peace. The climax is a dirigible battle with hydrogen exploding and bodies and ships falling in flames through the skies. This Ishmael isn't particularly recognizable as Melville's character, but he stands up well enough on his own to make this a highly enjoyable adventure tale set against an extremely exotic backdrop. (Fred Patton)

Renaissance #3, Summer 1971
Erbania 28, December 1971

(Ace Books 75¢) To any readers of Herman Melville's MOBY DICK who think this latest book by Philip Jose Farmer has a familiar sound, they would be right. The Ishmael of the title is the Ishmael of Melville's whaling classic transported to the world of the far distant future.

As the readers of MOBY DICK may remember, at the end of the story the giant white whale destroys the whaling ship Pequod and takes the mad Captain Ahab to his death in the deep waters of the Pacific Ocean. Ishmael, the only survivor of the catastrophe, is saved when the coffin of Queequeg, the South Pacific Islander and star harpooner, shoots up from the depths and gives him something to float on. Later he is picked up by the whaler Rachel and tells his strange story.

The present story starts when the Rachel plunges through a warp in Time and falls to its destruction in the dead Pacific of the far future. This is a time millions of years in the future when most of the oceans of the world have almost completely evaporated. The moon is making its long final plunge toward the Earth as both circle a dying red sun.

Most of the former sea life of the planet has become air-borne and swims around in the air above the former oceans, now mostly a thick salt solution. Ishmael feels at home among the inhabitants of the new Earth as they subsist for food on the air whales by sending out whaling vessels, also air-borne. The life aboard the whalers of the future is similiar in ways, but in other ways it is vastly different.

Those killers of the sea, the sharks, are present and add an aerial menace to the whalers of the air.

Even on land there are dangers from both animal and plant life. Strange as the creatures of the upper air appear to the man from 1840, the animals of the land are even more fantastic. If anything, the world of tomorrow will be even more deadly than that of today.

With Ishmael as their new leader, the people among whom he landed achieve goals they never dreamed of before. They not only overcome their human enemies but enter combat with, and conquer, the deadliest killer of the air, the Purple Beast of the Stinging Death. This is a sort of a combination Portuguese Man-of-War with the octopus, only on a much larger scale. The body of the creature is about a mile and a half in diameter and had long stinging tentacles above and below its body. A single Beast could destroy the population of an entire city or a fleet of aerial ships.

In a way, the story is reminiscent of ERB's Barsoomian stories with the air fleets of opposing foes doing battle in the air. In another way, it is remindful of some of Robert E. Howard's Conan tales with the adventures of the hero in combat with weird lifeforms. However, there is no sword and sorcery action in the book.

Any ERB fan should enjoy this story of the distant future in Time of the dying Earth. (John Harwood)

Son of WSFA Journal #50, March 1972
Luna Monthly #34, March 1972

(Ace 89237, 1971. 157p. 75¢) Phil Farmer possesses a first-class talent and a mind of immense originality, and when he like it he can turn out a book to match the best of 'em (alas, he seldom wants to!). The present novel is an unlikely sequel to Moby Dick that zips poor, water-logged old Ishmael off to a far future Earth seemingly modeled along the general lines of Burroughs' Barsoom, complete with ungainly flying ships, curious critters, and barbaric city-states in conflict. The premise is wacky, the pseudo-Melville narrative style bothersome, but the story is classy fun throughout. As in his World of Tiers novels, Farmer here constructs an enormously interesting and original world and spins a plot that has excitement, mystery, romance, suspence and adventure. Heartily recommended--but it has nothing whatsoever to do with Moby Dick, so why in the world did Farmer bother dragging the references in? (Lin Carter)

Science Fiction Review Monthly #15, May 1976

(Ace, $1.25, Reprint) Fortunately Herman Melville isn't around to see it; his grave (Woodlawn Cemetery, The Bronx) protects him.

If the reader is looking for fiction which has verisimilitude, reason, logic, consistency, invention, enlightenment, style, and all of those things we hopefully do look for then The Wind Whales of Ishmael should be eschewed. Farmer begins his tale with Ishmael (bearing absolutely no resemblance to Melville's unique narrator/character) as the sole survivor of the Pequod - if, of course, you call it survival.

He finds himself in a world of another time; the seas have evaporated and life is more or less inverted. The former sea creatures live in the air, flying instead of swimming; the land, once the ocean bottom, shakes continually and its vegetation is carnivorous though lovely to look upon. Such sea as is left is described as "dead" by the author, although he also speaks of men being sucked under its surface by something. Ishmael, while doing uncomprehending battle with the plants, encounters a girl, Namalee, a princess of course. Namalee's city/state has been destroyed by the horrid Purple Beast of the Stinging Death, and the poor girl wanders. Through some writer's miracle (convenience) Namalee and Ishmael speak the same language; in fact everyone in this future world of the ocean's profundities speaks the same tongue as does our Ishmael. Wonder of wonders.

There are battles with air sharks, an unattractive land creature called the shiveradoo, hungry plants, etc. And Ishmael, with true comic-book heroics, comes to lead the survivors of Namalee's city. A monster airship is built (these vessels navigate by utilizing a series of bladders which ingest meat and create gas which is released jet-like) and battles are fought with another nasty city/state and its fleet of airships. A final Gotterdammerung finds Ishmael and the remaining small yellow men with Swiftian names in heavy conflict with The Purple Beast of the Stinging Death - which they, quite naturally, destroy.

Ishmael becomes King, marries Namalee, defies all tradition and triumphs, presumably to build the new world anew. It is all a great deal of foolish nonsense. (Martin Last)

SF Booklog #10, July/August 1976
Delap's F&SF Review, November 1976

(Ace, 1976 $1.25 157 pp.) Philip Jose Farmer is the premier idea man in the field. Even when he blows a premise for other writers ("After King Kong Fell" for instance), there's still enough there to make you whistle.

This is an instance, maybe a classic one. What happened to Ishmael after the Pequod went down? Well, he ended up in a far future at the end of time, in which the air has thinned, the moon is near, and the sun takes four days to cross the sky.

What does all this have to do with an 1842 sailor? There's the crux of the book. The air is full of whales, and the people who inhabit this future are sailors of the skies. A perfect place for someone left over from the days of whaling and seamanship?

Yes and no. The first fifty pages or so, in which Ishmael finds himself on the dried bottom of the Pacific, his reactions to air sharks, floating plankton and such are fascinating and promise much.

Then the story rapidly breaks down into another man-from-the-past-overcomes-customs-of-the-future tale (complete with raids on rival cities, sword-and-scorcery-like dangers, beautiful priestesses). In short, the novel becomes a story in which any whaler could fit, not just the one with the compassion and magnificence of Ishmael.

There are many references back to Melville's book; indeed some of the symbols return. (Queequeg's coffin turns up, twice, and then is not used again.) It is as if Farmer took a few references and trappings from the novel, put them into the adventure story form, and winged it.

Winging it is part of the trouble. Farmer is faster on his typewriter than most dancers on their feet. The book shows signs of, at least, mental haste. It is a good rousing adventure, its first fifty pages are highly creditable. But because they are, the last two-thirds of the book eventually seem a letdown.

Farmer's othr "book behind/further adventures of a classic" novel, The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (DAW, 1973), reads better in many ways, and shows, I suspect, both more conscious effort and a greater appreciation of the original than this one.

But Philip Jose Farmer almost single-handedly originated this sub-genre of reworking/rethinking classics of sf and pieces of literature and history ("Sail On! Sail On!," the novelette "Riverworld," Tarzan Alive!, "Only Who Can Make a Tree?"), and Wind Whales (originally published in 1971) is part and representative of that form.

Farmer continues to be as much a leader in the field as he found himself to be after "The Lovers" appeared in Startling Stories. He has continued to rethink the tired conventions of the field, he has kept pace with all the new young turkeys, he continues to astound, nay, amaze both readers and writers with the originality of and insights in his work. He is one of the wonders of the field, and he's never really disappointed me yet. The Wind Whales of Ishmael is no exception. (Howard Waldrop)

Amazing Stories, March 4, 2013
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Son of WSFA Journal #117, November 1973
Captain Craft's Blog, October 31, 2007
Publisher's Weekly, February 14 1972

This is something unique. In this book of delightful literary fun and games, Farmer, a well-known science fiction writer, seeks to convince us that the celebrated ape-man of Edgar Rice Burroughs was not altogether make-believe. But Farmer goes one step further than mere literary fun. He takes engaging advantage of the reader's inherent susceptibility to myth. "I propose to show," he states, "that Tarzan is, in many ways, the last expression of the mythical Golden Age, that his life emulated, unconsciously, of course, the lives of many of the heroes and demigods of classical and primitive mythologies and legends." Indeed, Farmer practically drowns the reader in evidence that appears so convincing and strong that you have to keep reminding yourself it's all in fun. The book takes the form of a recapitulation of the Tarzan tales, rearranged to follow his life in chronological sequence, along with Farmer's detective work showing how Burroughs "went out of his way to make sure that the reader thought his Tarzan books were entirely fictional." Farmer traces not only Tarzan's genealogy (with the help of Burke's "Peerage"), but that of Jane as well. An astounding connection between Tarzan and a character in "The Hound of the Baskervilles" is also established. Farmer also discusses Burroughs as satirist. This could lead to the birth of a new Tarzan cult.

Library Journal, April 15 1972

Believe it or not, this well-known science fiction writer herein purports to give the reader the "definitive biography" of the man who is Edgar Rice Burroughs' Tarzan. Farmer painstakingly reconstructs the ape-man's life, "in true chronological order," indicating where Burroughs altered fact to disguise reality and where he wrote pure fiction. In extensive, carefully reasoned addenda, Farmer explores Tarzan's possible relationship to a host of other literary characters who may have been based on real men, including Sherlock Holmes, Doctor Watson, Bulldog Drummond, and many others. Tarzan is seen as a 20th-Century heroic figure having much in common with the mythical demigods of an earlier day, and this book will not fail to please and enthrall his many followers. (Deborah Halprin)

New York Times, April 27 1972

(312 pages, Doubleday $5.95) Superbly Tedious Irrelevance Who in fact was the real John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, better known as Tarzan of the Apes? Was he perchance related to James Joyce's Leopold Bloom? Did he love his "ape" mother, Kayla, and was their relationship a healthy one? Was his conflict with Kerchak, king of the "great apes," Oedipal in character, and did it leave Tarzan emotionally scarred? What of his loincloth-did he wear one or no? If not, what effect did his nakedness have on his "simian" family? What lay behind his frequent boughts of amnesia? And what was the ultimate fate of Queen La and her hidden kingdom of Opar, from which Tarzan drew his vast fortune? Such questions as these have been plaguing practically nobody at all for many years now. So Philip José Farmer's attempt to answer them in "Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke" must be accounted a monument to irrelevance so perverse that is actually fun in a narcotic sort of way. Rarely has so much been written so obscurely about so little, and one can only conclude after surviving his book's druggin tedium that Mr. Farmer, hitherto known as a humdrum toiler in the fields of science fiction, is really some kind of genius of Dada.

Seeking Clues in Burke's Peerage

Evidently, Mr. Farmer long ago became so enchanted with the absurd idea of real-life Tarzan's existence that he set about to establish the ape-man's true identity at whatever the cost to scholarship. He spent four years "tracing lineages through the several thousand pages of tiny closely set print of Burke's Peerage and correlating [my] finds with historical phenomena and the Tarzan books by [Edgar Rice] Burroughs and various works by [Arthur Conan] Doyle and many other writers of fiction or fact. . . ." With pluck and luck he hit on a possibility, received a trans-Atlantic cal in response to his inquiry, and flew to Africa for a 15-minute interview, to be granted in return for his protecting the secret.

"Unfortunately, I spent about five minutes of the interview, though not all at one time, just looking at him. He was the most beautiful, but at the same time undeniably masculine, man I had ever seen. This was so despite the scares on his forehead and neck of which Burroughs speaks and many more on his face and hands that Burroughs does not mention. I was silenced by the exceedingly charismatic force which he radiated even when he was quiet. Perhaps tigerish would be a better term. Something burns brightly inside him." And to think that Tarzan was 80 years old at the time, although let us not forget that he had long since discovered the secret of eternal youth.

What Mr. Farmer has made of amazing discovery is staggering in its lack of implications. In "Tarzan Alive" he summarizes all 24 volumes of the Burroughs's Tarzan stories (carefully expunging any traces of drama that may remain after all these years), and shows how Tarzan's biographer exaggerated and fictionalized in order to protect his subject's privacy. He clears up the less than compelling question of how apes could have raised a human being by arguing that Tarzan's family was actually "a band of language-using pithecanthropoids," whose genitals, incidentally, were equal in size to Tarzan's, so that the fact that he rarely wore a loincloth provoked no invidious comparisons—as if we were worried about that.

On even less vexing questions, Mr. Farmer is mind-numbing. He takes pains to demonstrate how Tarzan could have learned to read Burke's Peerage without the aid of other humans. He argues that Tarzan's unusual childhood left no psychic scars, that "there was no neurotic guilt tainting his passion for Kayla," and that "his decision not to eat Kulanga [Kayla's murderer] was culturally based." He explains why Tarzan's mythic status is equal to that of "Oedipus, Theseus, Moses, King Sargon of Argade, King Chandragupta, Pope Gregory the Great, the Abraham of Hewbrew legend, Romulus and Remus, Telephus, Zeus, and many others." And he proves beyond the shadow of anyone's concern, with the aid of a stupefyingly complex genealogical analysis, that Tarzan was related to the Scarlet Pimpernel, Sherlock Holmes, Bulldog Drummond, the Shadow, Nero Wolfe, and yes, Leopold Bloom.

Could Tarzan Outhit Swoboda?

One might fault Mr. Farmer on a number of minor points. For instance, he compares Tarzan's athletic skills to those of Jim Thorpe, but fails altogether to consider Ron Swoboda. He sites the possibility that W.C. Fields performed his famous juggling act for Tarzan while on a world tour in 1906 or 1907, but gives no consideration whatever to whether Tarzan knew Hemingway, Robert Ruark, Dr. Doolittle or Mr. Kurtz. And his comparison of Burroughs's skills as a satirist to those of Jonathon Swift seems to me to cast his subject into the common herd.

But why fight it? According to A. Alvarez's "The Savage God," Jacques Vaché, an early Dadaist, spend a good hour a day arranging photographs, saucers and violets on a little lace-top table within reach of his bed. Had Mr. Farmer's book been available at the time, Vaché could have made as eloquent a statement against meaning by reading from these pages. To those without esthetic pretentions, it can be recommended as a sleeping pill to be taken 30 seconds before dropping off. "Not poppy, nor mandragora, nor all the drowsy syrups of the world" perhaps, but the next best thing, by gosh, is what Mr. Farmer has created. The question is, did he mean to? Or is it simply that he has taken a marvelous idea and beaten it witless? (Christopher Lehmann-Haupt)

Chicago Daily News Panorama, July 15/16 1972
Galaxy, July 1972

(Doubleday) TARZAN ALIVE, subtitled A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke, is a labor of love by sf's greatest lover, Philip José Farmer. With dumfounding energy and high good humor he has produced a veritable Ph.D. thesis on the real Tarzan, who of course is alive and very busy to this day. With great gobbets of cross-reference and footnotes, addenda and bibliographies, Farmer traces the life history of the man on whom E.R. Burroughs patterned his Tarzan character. A delightful, colossal, stupendous book. (Theodore Sturgeon)

Best Sellers #32, September 1 1972

Tarzan Alive is best described, though vaguely, as a search for the ontological Tarzan. It purports to be the biography of said apeman, and indeed it is. Whether it is the biography of a fictional character or an actual one is another matter. Of course Farmer insists that Tarzan, the grey-eyed killer of lions, is quite alive - remarkably preserved as the result of a witch doctor's paramedical fountain of youth. Further, the author determines that Tarzan's youth was spent among the mangani, a tribe of hominids or infrahumans, whose males were unfortunately afflicted with a self-destructive genetic madness. To my knowledge, this missing link is still missing, but Farmer explains that the mangani's madness has probably caught up with them, thus causing their seeming disappearance. Neither science nor belief can keep up with this book. In fact the only thing at all that might keep a reader reading is what at first appears to be an irrational sense of excitement.

Farmer has written what he calls an "analogical biography." This may mean several things, but in this case it ultimately means that the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs were themselves biographical. The reason given for this conclusion is both simple and simplistic. Burroughs, says Farmer, hints at Greyminster when he dubs Tarzan Lord Greystoke; this therefore suggests that Tarzan is the son of John and Alice Clayton, a young couple in the Greyminster line who disappeared around 1888. To Farmer everything is in the right place at the right time. The trouble is that he never proves anything and goes only a very short way toward making anything at all seem probable even though he claims an interview with the manmyth himself. Clearly it is more important to our author to synthesize a characterization out of the many volumes of Burroughs than to establish Tarzan's existence and circumstances as fact. For the reader, suspension of both belief and disbelief offers the only peace. Tarzan Alive may then be considered an adventure which seeks to establish the integrity of one character who may be viewed as real because imagination treats him that way. The question of existence is, however, beyond the competence of this book. If all this defeats at least a part of the author's purpose, then so it does. In the end it is not the author, not the subject, but the reader who must emerge.

Any final evaluation of this book must depend upon its efficacy as an "analogical biography." As such it is more like criticism than biography and it is more a reflection of Burroughs than a creative piece in itself. Farmer admits that his biography represents "the truth looked at obliquely or in a distorting mirror." It follows more or less that Farmer is strong where Burroughs is strong. Where Burroughs lapses into dubious imitations of Twainian or Swiftian satire, Farmer's effectiveness falters. All things considered, the reader might expect to emerge from this book uncertain of having read anything and yet faintly certain of having enjoyed something. (William P. Murphy)

SFRA Newsletter #16, October 1972
Worlds of If, October 1972

For an example of what can be done by a man who really knows how to ride a hobby we can turn to Philip José Farmer, whose Tarzan Alive (Doubleday $5.95) is like no other book ever created. Farmer has opened a wholly new field of research—one where the absence of data forms no obstacle to the deligent searcher.

I've always considered Farmer to be the ultimate hobbyist of our fieldand have usually found my thoroughly delighted by the results of his steadfast pursuits of his numerous interests. But here is the first example of what he can do when he throws off all normal limitations and gives himself up all the way, in every way, to the completion of his appointed zwounds.

In brief, it is his discovery that the man whom the world knows as John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, (or more familiarly, Tarzan of the Apes), is very much alive. While the possibility was mentioned by Clayton's former biographer and populizer, nobody but Farmer seems to have accepted the hints in Tarzan and the Foreign Legion as the simple facts they must now be recognized to be. Farmer has followed these and other clues to the discovery of the true identity of the man, after which he was able to obtain a brief but illuminating interview with Clayton. Following this , of course, there could no longer be any doubt of the reality of the human being so thinly disguised in the accounts of E. R. Burroughs.

For a normal researcher pursuing routine studies, discovering the simple truth might have been enough. But as a true hobbyist Farmer was unable to rest upon such scant laurels. He pursued his researches into the true life of Clayton and was able to striaghten out the tangled web of confusion Burroughs had introduced to conceal certain facts. He found, for instance, that the confusing matter of Tarzan's having a grown son after only a few years of marriage was the result of confusion involving the real son and the boy adopted by the Claytons.

A whole section of the book attempts—with obvious success—to untangle the fictional confusion from the facts. A few puzzling questions remain, of course, as Farmer admits. But in general I find my own theories in some cases to be confirmed, so I can naturally attest to the accuracy penetrating analysis.

But the value of the book goes far beyond providing an accurate biography of Clayton. The so-called apeman was, after all, only one of a seeing horde of superior characters whose lives deeply affected the pleasure and education of the generation or more of readers. Farmer has discovered the link that unites the "Clayton" family with such famous names as Drummond, Holmes and Wentworth. I am particularly indebted for the information given on the life of Richard Wentworth, since many aspects of his distinguished career have long baffled me and no other researcher has done any serious study of this important part of our history.

Though distinguished by a liveliness of tone and occasional flashes of welcome humor, this volume is a completely scholarly work. Addenda are provided for those who wish to examine Farmer's evidence in more detail. There is a chronology, a bibliography and a most welcome and complete index. For those who have difficulty in keeping the textual matter in clear perspective, there is also a simplified geneological chart.

I trust that copies of this book will survive for at least several hundred years. I like to think of the delight of some future scholar who may come upon this unique work and whose life may be enlarged by the rich treasure within. The effects upon posterity should exceed those the book may have upon its current readers.

And to anyone who ever enjoyed the fictional exploits of Tarzan all I can say is: Don't be put off by anything in this review, the book is a lovely one indeed and pure joy to read! (Lester del Rey)

Luna Monthly #41/42, October/November 1972

(Doubleday, 1972. xx, 312pp. $5.95) This is a fantastic book! I really can't begin to do it justice. It is, as its title indicated, a biography of Tarzan. Mr. Farmer knows his Burroughs and he obviously loved his Tarzan books because he writes with both intelligence and feeling on the subject. This is true of his Tarzan pastiches as well. Someday I would like to meet Mr. Farmer in the flesh and shake his hand for doing such a masterful job.

And now to struggle with describing the masterful job. Briefly put it is a recapitulation of the Tarzan stories, attempting to explain internat inconsistencies and order the adventures. Mr. Farmer plays the Baker Street Irregular game by pretending Tarzan is real and Burroughs was to Tarzan what Doyle was to Holmes. Though Tarzan was a loner he did have relatives and Mr. Farmer gives us the Greystoke family tree. It seems that in 1795 a meteorite crashed near five couples and the radiation made their descendants better than the norm. Tarzan is discovered to be related to Doc Savage, Bulldog Drummond, Lord Peter Wimsey, and Sherlock Holmes, to name but a few of the illustrious members of the line. I am a bit disappointed that there wasn't enough evidence to trace the line to Conan, Bran Mac Morn, or Solomon Kane.

Buried in the great put-on (it had better be a put-on—I'd hate to think such super people did exist) is an important contribution: Tarzan as a traditional figure in myth and folklore. Mr. Farmer traces and points out themes in the Tarzan stories which are common to the traditional folk tale and the Hero tale of mythology. For the price this book is a bargain and anyone interested in Burroughs, Tarzan, or Sherlock Holmes should own a copy. (J.B. Post)

The Mystery Readers Newsletter vol 5 #4, 1972
Locus #129, December 15 1972

(Doubleday, 1972 312pp., $5.95) Tarzan Alive is a definitive biography of Lord Greystoke. It's a fine book of pseudoscholarship and will be a joy for every Burroughs fan as well as others. The verbal sleight of hand which links Tarzan with Doc Savage, Lord Peter Wimsey, Nero Wolfe, Prof. Challanger, Sherlock Holmes, and others is particularly entrancing. (Charlie Brown)

Riverside Quarterly #12, Spring 1973
The Sunday Times, June 23 1974

Up the family tree If you run across this chap with cool grey eyes, looking around 35 (although he was born in 1888); proficient in several languages, including ape and elephant talk; holder of a Second World War old RAF commission; owning estates in the Rocky Mountains, Colorado, Kasmir and Cumberland; and with a savage scar starting above his left eye and running across the top of his head to the tip of his right ear the chances are that fiction really has become fact. You'll have met up with Tarzan.

If it happens don't tell us. Tell the American sci-fi author, Philip José Farmer, whose "biography" of the ape-man—beefy with cross-references, footnotes, addenda and bibliographies—has just been published by Panther books. The RAF commission may come as a bit of a surprise considering the age of Tarzan (Lord Greystoke to his friends) but you may have forgotten that somewhere along the line Our Hero drank an immortality potion.

Even more surprising (but splendidly sustained by Farmer's literary cross-hatching) is news that Tarzan's relatives—all clinging to various sprigs of the family tree—include the The Scarlet Pimpernel, Lord Byron, Sherlock Holmes, Bulldog Drummond and Lord Peter Wimsey. The title of the book is "Tarzan Alive"—and certainly the myth is still going strong.

If futher fleshed-out by the coincidental publication by Pan Books of a lush comic-strip version by the artist Burne Jones of the first Tarzan adventure, "Tarzan of the Apes." The book was originally brought out in Britain two years ago by Paul Hamlyn and sold around 2,000 copies at just under £3. In America a similar hardback version has sold 30,000 copies at £5.

Pan are perfectly prepared to believe that the myth is stronger over there. But they offer a more credible reason for the bigger sale. It's not one that Tarzan-addicts will endorse and it would make his creator, Edgar Rice Burroughs spin in his grave. All the same it makes sense in the sexually liberated 1970's. "Tarzan," say the wise men at Pan, "is very big in the American fag market."

The Sydney Morning Herald, October 12 1974

(Panter $1.90) Truth about John Clayton For a long while students of the recorded history of John Clayton, Lord Greystoke, possibly better known by the less formal title Tarzan of the Apes, have done themselves a disservice by refusing to recognize the shortcomings of Edgar Rice Burroughs episodic (24 volumes over about 40 years) biography.

Now, thanks to Philip Jose Farmer, they are able at once to face up to Burroughs' failings and to reconcile the anomalies in his account.

For instance, many a reader of Burroughs' record must have wondered why Tarzan's aristocratic title is not as well known as that of, say, Lord Longford. It was invented, Farmer reports, to spare the feelings of other members of his family. A little patience and a copy of "Burke's Peerage," he implies, will swiftly reveal Tarzan's true Rank in the house of Lords.

(It is not the only time that this gifted, somewhat eccentric family has been similarly protected. George Bernard Shaw, according to Farmer, disguised Tarzan's grandfather as Sidney Trefusis when writing his novel "An Unsocial Socialist." Dr. Watson, in "The Adventure of the Priory School," conferred the title of Duke of Holdernesse on another member of the family, and for similar reasons.)

Another difficulty was to explain how in "The Beasts of Tarzan," third volume in Burroughs' series, Tarzan's son was an infant at Jane's generous breast (Farmer records her measurements at 38-19-36) while in the fourth he is well into his teens.

Farmer reveals that in 1912 Tarzan adopted a young cousin, John Drummond, brother of Hugh (nicknamed "Bulldog") Drummond. It is this adopted sone who is the hero of Volume IV, "The Son of Tarzan."

Others of Tarzan's relatives include Sherlock Holmes, "Doc" Savage, Lord Peter Whimsey and Phileas Fogg. He is descended, on his mother's side, from Sir Percy ("The Scarlet Pimpernel") Blakeney, and on his father's from various royalties, including Charlemagne, William the Conquerer and, by one account, King David.

Some of the student's worst fears of Burroughs' biography are upheld, as one works deeper into Farmer's scholarly, but never stodgy, study. For instance, all Volume XIII, "Tarzan at the Earth's Core," and most of Volume X, "Tarzan and the Ant Men," must be dismissed as fiction. Not was Burroughs averse to embroidering the truth—as when he turned a couple of Coptic tribesin the African interior into a brace of lost European civilisations.

But in its essentials Farmer's "definitive" account of Tarzan's career will be familiar to the people who bought up the reissued volumes of the Burroughs version of the saga as quickly as they appeared on the bookshop shelves about a year ago.

He confirms Tarzan's antecedents as a member of the British aristocracy (indeed, the addenda—Mr. Whitlam would call them addendums—that compromise about a third of the bookare largely devoted to his lineage and family) and his birth to parents marooned on the African coast. Mr. Farmer fixes the site as a spot in today's Republic of Gabon.

The "great apes" who raised the baby Tarzan, Farmer discloses, were in reality a sort of homo erectus, or missing link. Later, after he had bought a plantation in Kenya, Tarzan disguised the few remaining members of this species as Arabs, and shipped them across Africa to a new sanctuary.

Farmer denies the immortality which Burroughs claimed for Tarzan in Volume XXIII. Burroughs was exaggerating again. The witch-doctor's treatments, Farmer reports, have simply stretched out the aging process so that when Farmer interviewed him in 1971 (in Gabon where he and Jane—who also has had the treatment—have retreated to the rain forest in anticipation of the end of civilisation) Tarzan looked 35 rather than 83.

Much of "Tarzan Alive" simply retraces Burroughs biography, winnowing the fact from the fiction. The remainder comprises a detailed investigation of literary and scientific sources relating to Tarzan and his family, (Did you know that Nero Wolfe, the detective, was the illegitimate son of Holmes and Irene Adler, and thus a distant "Greystoke" relative?)

Mr. Farmer brings to his work a remarkable erudition. About 20 years ago he was the enfant terrible of science fiction, when he bought that genre its first account with sex.

More recently he has behaved as a sort of literary jackdaw, unashamedly converting the characters of other authors to his own purposes. Homer's Briseis (Achilles' girlfriend) appears in one series of tales. Herman Melvile's harpooner is translated a few million years into the future in "The Wind Whales of Ishmael."

"Tarzan Alive" might, of course, be dismissed as just another such exercise in fantasy. Yet even the sceptical must recognize the ingenuity that enables Farmer to assign just about every popular hero in the century prior to 1945 membership in Tarzan's family. Allan Quatermain and Biggles are two rare exceptions.

But none of the true believers will accept such a conclusion. They will be convinced by Farmer's account of his 1971 interview: "He was the most beautiful, but at the same time masculine, man that I've ever seen. I was silenced by the exceedingly charismatic force which he radiated. . ." Who us ever expected less of Tarzan?

Its historical and literary erudition aside, incidentally, "Tarzan Alive" must be recorded also as one of the most hilariously funny books to come off the presses in a number of years. (Bruce Juddery)

SF Booklog #13, Spring 1977
Gridley Wave, October 2005
American Book Review, April 2006
Green Man Review 2006
Library Journal, May 15, 2006

(Univ. of Nebraska. Apr. 2006. 312p. bibliog. index. ISBN 0-8032-6921-8. pap. $19.99. F) The old vine swinger is one of a handful of fictional characters to rank a biography. Such books give the authors the opportunity to expound on the characters, providing background, side stories, and updates not offered by their creator. Farmer's 1972 volume borrows from Edgar Rice Burroughs but also adds to the legend by tracing Tarzan's lineage (his relatives run the gamut from Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes to Doc Savage, the Scarlet Pimpernel, and Nero Wolfe) and extends his exploits beyond the African jungle as an RAF pilot in World War II. Great fun. (Michael Rogers)

Infinity Plus by Claude Lalumière, June 2006
Rocky Mountain News, June 30, 2006
Asimov's, March, 2007
Locus #108, February 25 1972

(Ballantine 02468-0-95, Jan. 1972 201pp., 95¢) This book is two stories in one. The first is that of four scientists who make the first time travel journey, from 2070 AD to 12,000 BC, and how they come to study and gradually adapt to life of the prehistoric people they meet there. It's a good, competent, tale in terms of anthropology and protohistory, and in terms of personal interrelationships. The second story is that of the puzzle surrounding the protagontist, John Gribardsun, the leader of the expedition; a tall, dark-haired gray-eyed Englishman who goes native far too easily and competently for the comfort of the others. Readers who are familiar with Farmer's current hangups will guess who Gribardsun must really be by about page 12, and from there it's an amusing game to ferret out the clues and try to decide whether he is or not. (If this sounds coy, so's the game). Those who don't get it will still find the main story worth the 95¢ by itself. Recommended. (Fred Patten)

Richard E. Geis #1, May 1972

(Ballantine 02468, 95¢) Philip Jose Farmer's TIME'S LAST GIFT lost me early. I found myself starting what seemed to be a potboiler and decided I didn't want to boil any.

Several scientists in a time machine go back to 12,000 B.C. One is a pretty young woman. She is a professor of genitics and zoology with considerable training in botany and meteorology.

When they spot an inhabitant of the time: "I'm so thrilled," Rachel said. "Our first man! The first human being. A Magdalenian!"

And the writing was utilitarian, bland, commercial. (Richard E. Geis)

Worlds of If, May/June 1972
Luna Monthly #43, December 1972

(Ballantine 02468, 1972. 201 p. 95¢) I enjoyed this book. It is light, fast moving, occasionally interesting entertainment, and I ask you to keep these sentiments in mind because they may be the last kind words I have for it.

Philip Jose Farmer's Time's Last Gift is about four far-future explorers who journey into the far distant past (circa 12,000 B.C.). They include a muscular hero, Gribardsun; a brilliant and seductive young female scientist, Rachel, and her psychotic husband, Drummond Siverstein; and there is another scientist named von Billman who is one of those characters put in a novel to give the other characters someone to discuss the plot with. These four crash-land in the past, make the acquaintance of a tribe of cavemen, explore prehistoric France and Spain, and crack up in one way or another before the end. Anyone familiar with Farmer's work will find the plot predictable almost from the beginning, so I won't say more about it.

It is not one of Farmer's best. The style is flat, functional; the characters two-dimensional and largely unconvincing; the plot—well—while the story moves quickly enough, the plot resembles a series of episodes in which this happens, and then that happens, and then something else happens, and finally— Actually, the only real plot is a mystery concerning Gribardsun's origin and his intentions, but as I said, to anyone familiar with Farmer's work, it will be no mystery at all.

To compound its faults, the book was hastily written and contains some of the most clumsy prose I've seen in a while: (page 62) "The very long and fantastically curved tusks, the huge hump of fat on top of the head, the long reddish-brown hairs, and the sheer size of the beasts was very impressive." The 'very's' alone are inexcussable for a man of Farmer's experience, but the 'fantastically curved tusks'??? Just what does a 'fantastically curved tusk' look like?

The most interesting parts of the book are Farmer's descriptions of the world of 12,000 B.C., which seem more carefully written and are, I assume, accurate. The least interesting parts of the book concern the characters who are said to be one thing or another but provide no dramatic proof of their alleged attributes: Gribardsun is reputed to be a charasmatic figure by every character in the book yet is never once charasmatic; and Silverstein is considered crazier and crazier as the book progresses, but aside from objecting to his wife throwing herself at Gribardsun and taking shot at them while they're embracing, he didn't seem very crazy to me.

Well, although I would not recommend this to anyone I still say it was light, fast moving, occasionally interesting entertainment. (Paul Walker)

The Gridley Wave 38, 1973

(Ballantine #02468, 1972 201 p. 95¢) (Continued from LORD TYGER) In TIME'S LAST GIFT a party of four multiple-disciplined scientist goes back from 2070 A.D. to 12,000 B.C. The mission of Project Chronos is to learn as much as possible about th Magdelenian culture and its world in a four year stay. The scientist find their leader, the enigmatic John Gribardsun oddy disturbing. Also this 21st century Englishman seems right at home ini these primitive surroundings. The novel is ostensibly a straight sf story of time travel, planted around the interpersonal relations of the four in the stress of an alien millieu. But it is really Farmer having fun again. Any reader of the BURROUGHS BULLETIN should guess the identity of Gribardsun in the first few pages, so it isn't giving anything away to say that TIME'S LAST GIFT is Farmer's further investigation of another facet of a popular folk hero. It is also the damnest Tarzan story I ever read. Gribardsun is not only his "own grampaw", but yours too! If time is a two-way street, what happens when the Lord of the Jungle meets himself? Even an "immortal" can't fool mother nature.

These Tarzan's of Farmer's have depths to them that you suspected all along, but which weren't always articulated by Burroughs. He was usually too busy telling a story to be bothered with some of the fine subtilties. In all of these manifestations of Tarzan, Farmer is exploring and disecting for the reality behind the golden image of the glorious ape-man. Unlike the way it usually works, this disection leave him more alive than ever.

And, oh yes--Farmer sneaks a remote relation into his "Riverworld" novel, TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO (Putnam, 1971/Berkley, 1971). He is one John de Greystoke, who died in 1305 in the reign of Edward I. Seemingly fascinated by it all, Farmer has certainly gotten considerable milage out of the Tarzan mythos by now, and who knows where it will end? Others may try it, but none does it so wildly was as Philip Jose Farmer. (Al Howard)

Erbania 33 & 34, Winter 1973

(Ballantine, #345-02498-0-095 201 pages 95¢)

"This is Time's last gift.

Modern man will never again be able to travel to this point in time.

We, the crew of the H.G. Wells I, will do our best to thank Time and Mankind for this great gift."

"Here's to the world we love, whatever she may be." --John Gribardsun

With these words the crew of the H. G. Wells I begins an excitung journey in the world of 12,000 B.C.--the Magdalenian period (a period representing the highest paleolithic culture in Europe).

From the beginning the other members of the crew--Robert von Billman, Drummond Silverstein and his wife Rachel--suspect something out of the oridinary about the leader of the expedition, John unhumanness. His charisma or animal magnetism is so powerful that he is obeyed whether one wishes to or not. He adapts to the perid in a manner which is most uncanny. It is almost as if he belongs.

This is, on the surface, a tale of time travel. It is also the story of the decaying marriage (triggered by mental stress due to unknown factors of time travel?) of Drummond and Rachel Silverstein. But, more than this, it is the story of John Gribardsun, a man overcome by the encroachment of civilization in the year 2070 A.D., and of his sadness that there is no longer any fresh air, that the vast wilderness areas have vanished and wildlife (that hasn't become extinct!) is found to exist only in zoos. John Gribardsun--a man so discontent with the world of the future that he spends his fortune encouraging and participating in the research and preparation for the time trip.

To those who have read TARZAN ALIVE and noted that John Clayton's earliest ancestor was a man called Graegbeardssunu, it is quite evident that John Gribardsun is Tarzan of the Apes! But if this isn't enough, Phil Farmer has generously sprinkled enough clues throughout the narrative that even the dullest reader will soon grasp his identity. To the Burroughs fan the book is a joy! One can hardly contain himself every time a clue is dropped ("Ah, hah!"). You begin to lose track of the story just looking for clues--which makes a second reading a must.

Phil does two things in this novel which are paradoxical to the Burroughs fan. he never explains what has happened to Jane and states that Gribardsun/Tarzan was born in 1872. Does Phil secretly go along with the theory that Jane was murdered by the Germans in TARZAN THE UNTAMED? If so, who is the woman that appers in later books in the series? One does tend to wonder why, suddenly, Jane appears so able and self-confident in the jungle, especially when in the earlier books she is so out of place in the jungle and is quite set on weaning Tarzan away from his beloved element.

Was burroughs actually forced by an irate readership to resurrect Jane in the series even though she was dead? There is evidence to support this theory. Edgar Rice Burroughs was primarily a story-teller and not particularly concerned with absolute facts. He was interested in earning a living and when he saw that the readers wanted Jane--he gave her to them in a literary sense.

Did Tarzan take La of Opar as his mate, tutoring her in the ways of civilization? After all, La was deeply in love with the ape-man. And, although first loves are often the fondest, Tarzan was acutely aware of his need for a mate (see "Tarzan's First Love" in JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN). So it would be quite natural for him to turn to La. She was of the jungle--therefore quite compatible with Tarzan, and would not try to take him from his beloved surroundings. This still doesn't explain the absence of Gribardsun's mate. Maybe being immortal causes one's attitude (humanness) to change and Tarzan and his mate agreed to go their own ways when it suited them.*

What of the 1872 birthdate? Did Phil originally go along with the theory for this date--then have to revise his thinking after seeing the diary giving account of Tarzan's birth? However, assuming this book is fantasy, one could just overlook these two points. The figure of Gribardsun is physically and physiologically Tarzan, but the take is in the same vein as Burroughs' TARZAN AND THE ANT MEN and TARZAN AT THE EARTH'S CORE. Perhaps Phil conceived the time travel idea from a remark made o him by Greystoke.

This book is the "springboard" of a new series by Phil on the history of ancient Opar, the first being HADON OF ANCIENT OPAR. Hopefully John Gribardsun, as the series progresses, will reveal the answers to some of the questions.

There are some who have called Phil's Tarzan books 'pastiches'. But a pastiche is a literary composition imitating or caricaturing previous writings. One thing Phil does not try to do is imitate Burroughs. He has expanded and elaborated the concepts, rather than remaining in the confines of Burroughs' concept. Phil's work is uniquely his own. (Robert Barret) *Perhaps a clue lies on page 185. When hearing of Laminak's death, he says, "I can't be bound to one place or to one person."--DPO

Vector #73/74, March 1976
Constellation #5, 1978

Four scientists, one of whom is very mysterious, travel back in Time from 2070 to 12,000BC to study the Earth and its inhabitants.

Farmer develops an interesting and often informative storyline, before gripping the reader in almost unbearable suspense as the book draws to a close. The enevitable twist as the end probably isn't as startling as first expected. Otherwise, a very good Science Fiction Novel in typical Farmer fashion.

SF Commentary #60/61, October 1980
SFBook Reviews, June 15, 2012
Starburst, June 18, 2012
Rip Jager's Dojo, June 18, 2012
SF Crowsnest, July 1, 2012
Trash Mutant, July 8, 2012
DNM Magazine, July 12, 2012
Fantasy Matters, July 18, 2012
Wired, July 25, 2012
My Bookish Ways, August 4, 2012
Moebius Trip #17, May 1973

THE OTHER LOG OF PHILEAS FOGG is exactly what it title suggests...the other story behind Verne's clockwork character who suddenly disrupts his entire existence and goes charging off on an expedition around the world. Those who've read TARZAN ALIVE will have a notion of the type of thing that's going on in a story like this, which seems to be a favorite ploy of Farmer's in recent years: picking up a noted literary character and using him to start the novel. I suppose someone out there might question the legitimacy of this tactic, but, as long as it works as well as it has...

AS might be expected the introduction documents the validity of the story which follows; at the moment, it suggests to me that we might get a hook-up with the Lovecraftian universe (Do you hear me, Phil?) although no such relationship is indicated by the contents of the story. As for the story itself, it's virtually impossible to discuss without giving away information which properly is the author's to give. An intelligent example of picking up all the nuances and irregularities in another author's work and using them to decipher an entirely different story than the one that was originally told, it also shows how to convert a routine adventure novel into good science fiction. Recommended for Jules Verne fans, Baker Street Irregulars and those who enjoy converting literary characters into real ones. It is not necessary to read the Verne story simultaneously to gain full appreciation of Farmer's work, although it might serve to point up the holes that the latter uses to advantage. (Don Ayres)

Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, September 1973
Luna Monthly #53, August 1974

(DAW UQ1048, 1973. 191p. 95¢)Phileas Fogg, Jules Verne's globetrotting here of Around the World in Eighty Days, what not at all what he seemed. In reality Fogg was a human foster child of the alien Eridaneans and their agent in the undercover Earth war against the equally alien Cappelleans. Farmer proceeds to tell us what really happened behind the scenes—reconstructing Verne's novel as the adventures of Phileas Fogg, Eridanean agent par excellence.

As an added bonus to the novel Farmer throws in a brilliantly pertinent addendum. A brief article by a Baker Street Irregular concludes that Captain Nemo and Professor Moriarty were one and the same man. A Shelockian flourish to say the least.

Presumably it's all good clean fun, but the result hardly seems to warrant the effort. A devotee of Verne's work may find The Other Log of Phileas Fogg a fascinating exercise. I found it clever, cumbersome, futile and boring. (B.A. Fredstrom)

Publishers Weekly, January 22 1973

The real story behind Jules Verne's "Around the World in Eighty Days," as told by a Hugo Award-winning science fiction writer. It seems that there was a war going on between two races of extraterrestrials marooned on Earth, the Eridaneans and the Capelleans and their human foster-children. Did you know that Fogg's famous trip was a cover for a major phase in the war? Or the true origins of Fogg, Passepartout, Captain Nemo, and many others? Or why all the clocks struck at 10 minutes to nine when Fogg arrived back in London? The answers to these and other mysteries are finally revealed in this novel.

Renaissance, Spring 1973
Paperback Parlour, April 1979
Alfvaen's Review Page
Starburst, May 15, 2012
Affairs Magazine, June 1, 2012
SF Crowsnest, June 1, 2012
Extraordinary Tales! June 3, 2012
The Tattooed Book, July 13, 2012
City Book Review, August 7, 2012
Bookgasm, August 21, 2012
Kirkus Reviews, July 15 1973

(Doubleday 08488-9) There's everything you ever wanted to know about Doc Savage, superhero of the pulp super-sagas of the '30's and '40's, in this impressively detailed biography by SF writer Farmer who takes his subject seriously without slighting its risible aspects. Doc's devotees already know that henchman Monk has a pet pig named Habeas Corpus but will be enthralled to discover more arcane lore like who Doc's father really was. Nostalgia buffs take note.

Publishers Weekly, July 30 1973

(Doubleday 08488-9) Call it a labor of love or of masochism, but sci-fi writer Farmer has read and studied all 181 Doc Savage pulp "super-sagas" written by Lester Dent and published by Street and Smith between 1933 and 1949; and from them he has fashioned a biography of the hero that is ingenious, sardonic, adulatory, outrageous and funny in turn. Since Dent ground out one of these novels a month and received little or no editing, there are loads of contradictions and inconsistencies in Doc's life, but Farmer takes them in his stride and insists that Doc's creator is as good an "apocalyptic" novelist as men like Henry Miller and William Burroughs. Besides giving us an exhaustive analysis of the Man of Bronze, Farmer dissects his friends Ham, Rennie , and Johnny; the animals Habeas Corpus and Chemistry; and Cousin Patricia Savage. Several addenda give us the Savage family tree, a chronology of Doc's life, and a list of all the novels.

Raleigh News & Observer, September 9 1973
Safari Through Savage Country

(Doubleday, Garden City, N. Y. 226 pp. $6.95) From the 86th floor of the skyscrapper to the center of the earth, we readers voyage. From "The Man of Bronze" in February 1933, to "Up From the Earth's Center" in 1949, Philip Jose Farmer guides us through the 181 adventures of Clarke Savage Jr.

Doc Savage, His Apocalyptic Life is the third volume in a masterwork which studies "poplit," Farmer's term for mysteries, romances and speculative stories. Farmer ably demonstrates his contention that we learn more from the poplit writers about archetypes and the human psyche that we do "...from any hundred of the self-consciously psychological artistes."

Farmer's main purpose is to entertain us as well as himself. "This form of apologia is a lot of fun and hard work." (The Book of Philip Jose Farmer, 1973). To make the book more entertaining Farmer insists that Doc Savage is or was a real person. His actual name was James Clark Wildman Jr. Some of his cousins were Tarzan, Fu Manchu, and Richard Wentworth (who turns out to be G-8 the air ace, the Spider and also the Shadow, Kent Allard).

Farmer delightfully sandwiches history, fiction and speculation together while leading us through Doc Savage country. And he shows us, without reciting all the adventures, that the author Lester Dent (Kenneth Robeson Jr.) shares the "four-fold vision" of William Blake, the awareness of Good vs. Evil.

Readers learn that Doc Savage was using "black light" photography, nerve gas, radar, wire recording and other scientifi inventions decades before the public acquired them. The skyscrapper was actually the Empire State Building. One of Doc's famous five helpers, Monk Mayfair, was also a cousin of Doc's from the Professor Challenger side of the family.

The paternal side of the Savage (Wildman) family Farmer traced in Tarzan Alive (1972). We get the first glimpse of Doc's maternal ancestors in The Other Logg of Phileas Fogg (1973) where we find that Captain Nemo is also Professor Moriarity.

This is the same sort of thought-expanding fun that the reader has as Farmer guides him through the world of Doc Savage. The final adventure, "a very strange tale."

Farmer concludes from textual evidence in the last story that Doc Savage returned to the caverns in Maine and descended to the earth's center "to battle the of Hell itself." (Dante may have discovered similar caverns in Italy.)

We readers don't learn how the grand confrontation ended; Farmer seldom ties a story up like a Christmas package. He certainly has the craft to do so. But, he knows that Good must always strive or it stagnates into Evil. Yet Farmer open-ends his stories so skillfully that the reader's imagination soars while his mind ponders what'll happen next.

Critics, including Leslie Fiedler and Harland Ellison, have referred to Farmer's writing as a feast or a banquet. I think of it as a roaming picnic. Farmer's mind-foods are palatable and habit forming. The imagination expands while the mind excercises. And, our emotions call "more, Farmer, more!" (Scott Whiteside)

Renaissance, Fall 1973
Doc Savage Reader #4, October 1973
Library Journal, October 15 1973

(Doubleday 08488-9) What Farmer did for Tarzan and for Phileas Fogg, he has now done for the "Bronze Giant," Doc Savage. Through painstaking analysis of the entire Doc Savage canon (some 181 stories written by Lester Dent under the name Kenneth Robeson), Farmer has constructed a chronology of the exploits of this famous crime fighter and his pals, while ingeniously explaining away the inconsistencies which are bound to turn up in such a lengthy series. Much of the book is devoted to a description of Doc's laboratory-cum-penthouse on the entire 86th floor of the Empire State Building. The genealogy for Savage not only proves him cousin to every hero from Sherlock Holmes to Bulldog Drummond, but reveals a few such skeletons in the family closet as Fu Manchu and Professor Moriarty. Written with wit and charm, sprinkled with allusions, this is a book to delight both science fiction and mystery fans. (Marjorie L. Peffers)

Houston Cronicle, October 28 1973
A 'biography' of Doc Savage, pulp hero

(Doubleday $6.95) Who is that hero of 181 pulp fiction works with the dark bronze hair, the tawny eyes (with weird golden flecks) and the nearly seven foot frame? Who with his aides, the Famous Five works from the 86th floor of the tallest skyscraper in midtown manhatten? Who, if the truth be known, could be called the Gimmick Man of the Future but not The Womanizer of All Time?

Lester Dent's Doc Savage, of course

It's amazing the amount of time and energy Philip Farmer has put into researching his fictional heroes (his first book chroniclized Tarzan). And, it's equally amazing how far from fictional Doc sounds by the middle of Farmer's book.

One particularly "humanizing" reference mentions that Doc knew Dent and people like him were recording the Savage fight against evil and the curing of criminals. Hence the confusion of details and inaccuracies about Doc's physical appearance. He was threatened enough by evil murderers without more publicity.

Farmer mentions that more authors than Dent wrote the Savage saga — often in such little time and with such little editing as to make the mudtinuing story hopelessly muddled in detail.

Emulating the genre he discusses, Farmer writes a fast moving, meticulously detailed account his second pulp hero, including a family tree (with offspring of parents married and unmarried), a map of the manhattan skyscraper and surrounding vicinity and a floorplan of the 86th floor (reception room, library and operating room included).

And if this isn't enough, in addition to chapters describing Doc's creative gimmicks, the Famous Five, Pat Savage (cousin and only recurring female in Doc's life), assorted pet animals of the Five and the villians with their evil gadgets, Farmer includes an appendix with a short chronology of Doc's life from May 18, 1901, to Nov 12, 1946, and a chronological list of Savage stories.

After all this research, it seems only fitting that Farmer be allowed his dream in life: To write the one Doc Savage story never told but often alluded to — Dos and the Famous Five's escape from the World War I German POW camp where they met. (Pat Phillips)

Rocket Blast Comic Collector #105

(Doubleday & Co., 1973) Once again Philip Jose' Farmer has gone to the pulps for a fictional biography. And once agian his research has been massive. He read the entire series of 181 pulp issues not once, but twice, and then went back again to reread for a third time specific numbers. As with Tarzan Alive, he pretends that Doc Savage was (or is) a real person who has given Lester Dent permission to serialize his adventures, oft times annoyed at the exaggeration and false feets put into the stories. The inside covers contain a family tree or "mythography" which claims Soloman Kane, Captain Blood, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Allen Quatermain, Fu Munchu, Sam Spade, Phileas Fogg, Captain Nemo, Richard Renner, James Bond and Lord Greystoke as Doc's relatives.

Unlike Tarzan Alive, the author takes a great deal of time listing the various inconsistencies contained in the "supersagas". Among the trivial items covered is the construction of the door leading to Doc's HQ. Chemistry's specis classification and the location of the HQ garage door. Although Norman Danberg, Alan Hethway and William Bogart wrote some of the sagas, Farmer considers (with some justification), Lester Dent as the true author and gives an entire chapter to this adventurous author who died of heart failure, not by drowning while treasure hunting as many articles claim.

I've written several articles about Doc Savage, as recently as two issues ago. Others have done the same, so rather than rehash commonly known facts; extracts of little known information, or additional details to be added to the well known facts about "the Man of Bronze" will be presented in this book review.

What of Doc's father? We know that his mother died when he was fourteen months old and that his early years devoid of female influence. The sixth Duke of Holderness had an illegitimate son by name of James Wilder, who posed as the Duke's secretary. After running into a crime which Sherlock Holmes solves, Wilder covers his tracks and migrated to America, where he enters premed school at Johns Hopkins University. He marries and then sires a son, actually the grandson of an English Duke. James Clarke Wilder is actually Doctor Clarke Savage, Sr., surgeon and explorer who, as we know, discovers the ancient Mayan civilization in the first saga. Overbeareved by the death of his wife, the elder Savage subjects his infant son on a training course toward supermanhood until he was twenty. Did Doc Savage fight in WWI, or did only his aides? Farmer advises that Doc did indeed, serve with the air force. Although 15 years old, his mature appearance, six foot one inch, 193 pound body plus fake papers got him into the service. He was already an excellent pilot, having been taught by the "best pilot in the world" Richard Wentworth, who was, at the time, going under his Kent Allard pseudonym (and not yet The Shadow). In March, 1918 his plane was downed and he was captured. After several unsuccessful escape attempts he was send to a special maximum security prison where he met his future aides. In July, 1918 the group escapes and they join their respective outfits. It was shortly after this that Savage meets Flight Lt. John Drummond Clayton (who Tarzan followers will be quick to recongnize). In February, 1919 , Doc Savage returns to his father's alma mater, Johns Hopkins earning his M.D. in 1926, went on to Vienna for additional study in brain surgery and neurology. In 1927 he perfects his criminal cure operation and in 1918, with his father, builds the secret upstate New York sanitarium.

At 29, Doc Savage stood six feet nine and weighed 270 lbs. This, Farmer establishes, are his true measurements despite the fact that there are many inconsistencies throughout the pulp series.

Lester Dent. What about him? He read omnivorously, from poetry to the latest advances in technology and science which accounts for many of his "inventions" which were ahead of their time. An expert telegrapher before he came to New York from Oklahoma (with stops in between including birth in La Place, Mo., Wyoming and Kansas), his life was one of adventure. His philosophy was to learn all he could about something and then abandon it so he could turn his energy to other directions. Although most of his work, especially for Doc Savage, was hidden under the house name "Kenneth Robeson", it did appear by error in "The Derelict of Skull Shoal". Expert Mariner (he did much sailing in a two masted schooner called The Albatross), deep sea diver, gold prospector in death valley, builder of a "dream house" that functioned on gadgetry and electronics, Dent was also in his time, a dairy farmer, partner in an aerial photography business, lectured, Boy Scout leader and all the while, a writer. The other details are, by now, common knowledge about his entry into pulp writing and his disgust in being confined to "trite writing" which prevented him from going on to literary greatness.

Why Farmer spends a whole chapter attempting to prove that the Empire State Building is the actual HQ of Doc and his group I cannot Fathom. If a reader projects himself into the mid 1930s, what other building could it be? What is interesting for Savageites is the diagram of the secret passages to and from the ESB, and layout and details of the fixtures, apparatus, and special equipment housed on the 86th floor. The Hidalgo Trading Co. dockside wharehouse on 34th Street and the Hudson River also gets such treatment, with references to specific stories that it played a major part in. The legality of the Crime College and the people who administered it are discussed in Chapter 8. The Fortress of Solitude is covered in the following chapter, and then Farmer details the aides beginning with Monk.

Offspring of Bladgett Mayfair and Melissa Rutherford (sister of Dr. G.E. Rutherford the famous "Challenger" of Arthur Conan Doyle's stories) Monk got his college training in New York by working as a messenger, his PhD at Columbia or Fordham and on to Leipsig for additional study in chemistry. His first love, as we well know is fighting. When WWI broke out he almost immediately joined the Italian army as a captain. Resigning after being seriously wounded, he served for several months in the British Corps. of Engineers until the U.S. entered the conflict, at which time he transferred into the infantry as a light colonel. He had his financial ups and downs throughout the series, and can be accredited with having been knocked unconscious more than any other team member. Farmer gives the count as 54 times.

Ham, according to Farmer's research, ends his career with Doc Savage at close to sixty years of age. Like Doc and Ham, he has English relatives (in the person of half-brother Oliver Brooks, who lives in South Africe, and is a professional actor.) Ham's favorite oath, "By Jove" may be explained by this lineage. Graduate of Harvard Law School cum laude, instead of going into practice he joins the French Army prior to transferring to the American forces in 1917. There is no evidence of his having met Monk at this time.

Renny does not appear in many WWII adventures with the team. He is kept busy building military installations, airfields in China, bridges in Burma, etc. Decorated by King George VI for his part in converting English wartime industries into peacetime work, he nevertheless ends his career with the group by infrequent outings and in poor financial state.

Johnny, before joining Doc's group in 1931, headed the natural science department of a world famous, but unnamed, university. Johnny's knowledge of archeology and geology is considered so great that Dent admits to Doc taking second place in this knowledge, something the other members could not enjoy. Johnny, despite his appearance, had the greatest appetite of the six, and, for unknown reasons, had a peculiar metabolism that required more water then the average man. He was the fastest runner of the aides, and participates in WWII by working for the Army without rank, perhaps with their CIC. Like Renny and Long Tom, he bows out of the series several years before issue 181 (The Devil Is Jones, November, 1946).

Long Tom is the physical weakling of the group, especially in appearance, but, as Doc Savage readers know, can still take on more then an ordinary share in a fight. A multimillionaire because of his many electrical and radio patents, he nevertheless lives in a slum apartment off a basement laboratory in a hardgut section of New York. He is definitely the tight-fisted member of the team when it comes to money. He got his nickname in WWI when he stopped a German attack on a village by loading up a "long tom" 17th century cannon in the square with scrap metal and firing it at the enemy. During WWII, he dropped out of site, perhaps on a series of spy missions, perhaps on secret scientific work. Dent is not specific on this. By the War's end he has gotten heavier, acquires and ulcer and bows out with number 176.

Farmer spends a lengthy chapter on Cousin Pat, her relationships with Doc and the Team, and her frequent roles in the adventures. In fact, he goes into much detail in discussing the more then 1/5 total (out of the 181) that she has played a part in.

A table of Chronology appears at the end of the book, in which Farmer attemprs to sift clues from the supersagas to determine how long each adventure lasted and what time of year they took place. Finally, he lists the title and date of each story together with the author and whether they have been put into Bantam paperback form. On the point he is in error. As of this date (September 30, 1973), "King Maker", "Roar Devil" and "The Black Spot" have not appeared in the new series, although Farmer indicates they did.

To summerize: if you, as so many others (myself included), have pledged yourself to someday reread them all; this book is a good way to convince yourself to do so quickly. It answers many unknown background questions, confirms certain discrepencies that may come to mind as you read the latest paperback issue; puts into statistical order certain data with makes Doc Savage plausible in his surroundings; and rates as a first classs index to all this is The Man of Bronze.

Son of WSFA Journal #123, January 1974
Doc Savage and Associates #1, February 1975
Chicago Daily News Panorama, August 16 1975
Science Fiction Review Monthly #7, September 1975

(Bantam, $1.25, First Paperback) You'll like this if this is the sort of thing you like.

That's really all there is to say, except to point out the identifying marks by which you'll know if this is your sort of thing. The Doc Savage stories were published in the pulps from 1933 to 1949; most were written by Lester Dent, whose inexhaustible imagination kept the bronze hero and his team of supermen in constant battle with yellow perils, red menaces, and mad scientists.

Farmer begins with a personal introduction recalling his own fascination with the stories, adds a "family tree" that links Doc Savage with Tarzan, James Bond, Fu Manchu and Leopold Bloom, among others, and goes on to treat such specialized topics as "Habeas Corpus and Chemistry" and "Some of the Great Villains and their World-Threatening Gadgets". It's all obsessive, amusing, and handled with the solemn weight of triviality perfected by the Baker Street Irregulars and by dozens of sub-fandoms within SF, I'm not qualified to judge Farmer's accuracy, but there can't be much left to say about the Doc Savage stories after this.

The author calls his exercise "creative mythography". I prefer to think of it as a hobby-horse, an eccentric enthusiasm that kept the pulp readers happy for a long time and is now enriching Bantam: 13 million paperback reprints sold so far, and they're still less than halfway through. There are better things Farmer could be doing as far as I'm concerned, but he obviously enjoyed doing this. If the Doc Savage stories leave you cold, there's no point in even taking this book off the rack. If you like the stories, this will be an invaluable-addition-to-any-collector's and so forth. (Monte Davis)

Locus #180, October 27 1975

Books Received: (Bantam Q8834, July, 269pp., $1.25) This edition of Farmer's quasi-biography of Doc Savage has been corrected and expanded from the 1973 Doubleday edition. It has a general chapter on the joys and importance of adventure fiction, a bioraphy of writer Lester Dent, a biography of Doc Savage, a chronology, and a list of the stories. An important reference book for followers of the Doc Savage saga.

Booklist, November 1 1975

(Bantam Q8834, 1975 expanded) This is a unique book that only someone with the gusto of Phil Farmer could execute successfully - a fictitious biography of Doc Savage, the incredibly popular pulp-fiction hero of the 1930s and 1940s who combined ultrascientific gadgetry with brawn to right wrongs and punish evil-doers. Farmer pieces together the clues to Doc's early life and traces his family tree back to Tarzan and Fu Manchu and forward to Travis McGee. He includes plot summaries, a floor plan of Doc's headquarters, and details of some of the more fantastic Savage inventions. This is not all rollicking burlesque, however, as a complete time-life chronology of Doc's life and a list of the 181 Doc Savage stories published from 1933 to 1949 are also provided. Farmer's introduction is a ringing defense of the kind of popular literature of which the Man of Bronze is but one example. The book originally was published by Doubleday in 1973 but the present expanded edition corrects several errors and carries a current copyright. (Dan Miller)

Washington Post Book World, June 28 1981
Clues: A Journal of Detection vol 2 #2, Fall/Winter 1981
Publishers Weekly, August 20 1973

(Ballantine 23613-0) MEDIUM is a machine which makes contact with entities in another dimension. Its inventor, Western, claims that they are the surviving intelligences of the dead. His cousin, Carfax, says that they are alien beings with designs on Earth. A third cousin, Patricia Carfax, claims that Western stole MEDIUM from her father and murdered him. This family stew generates a lot of action against a world thrown into chaos by the probability of survival after death. An ingenious idea using SF to handle themes usually associated with the occult is weakened by Farmer's excessive taste in violence, some loose ends and a shaky finale that may indicate a sequel.

Locus #153, December 30 1973

(Ballantine 23613, 1973, $1.25) This book is actually one of the novels I enjoyed most this year. It is another of Farmer's novels about human souls, this time about a machine which contacts dead souls, allowing us to speak to the departed, to tap the universe in which they live for power (Issac, are you listening?) and ultimately, to allow the souls to return to bodies. The central character is an ex-detective college prof and all the central characters are relatives. Read this. (David Hartwell)

New Worlds Quarterly #7, 1974
Son of WSFA Journal #122, January 1974
Son of WSFA Journal #124, February 1974
Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, February 1974
Worlds of If, May/June 1974
Moebius Trip #20, June 1974

(Ballantine #23613; 220pp.; 1973; $1.25) Gordon Carfax's troubles all began when he elected to give a lecture suggesting that Raymond Western's marvelous MEDIUM was not a device for contacting the spirits of the dead, as its inventor claimed, but that the "spirits" were the non-human inhabitants of a universe occupying the same space as our own (but "at right angles" to us) who were posing as human dead for their own sinister purposes. His efforts to answer questions from the unexpectedly huge audience soon ended in a riot which catapulted him into national prominence the next morning. As a result, Carfax received two phone calls: the first was from Western, offering to bring him to LA for a free demonstration of MEDIUM, an experience whose five thousand dollar per half hour price tag was far beyond his salary as professor of Medieval History; the second was from Patricia Carfax, a cousin he had never met who claimed that Western had murdered her father to get the plans for MEDIUM.

While Carfax debated accepting Western's invitation because his detective training suspected a trap, Patricia arrived at his home. She explained the circumstances of her father's mysterious death after he had developed the MEDIUM prototype with Western's financial aid and of the attempts that had been made on her life, obstensibly on his orders, after she threatened to expose him. Carfax decides to use his free demonstration to contact her father's "spirit" and departs for LA and his first meeting with the mysterious Western.

A note I have here from Ed Connor (who checked with the author) says that this is the third novel in a series which includes Image of the Beast and Blown (presumably incorporating Carfax or his relatives as central characters; I have neither of these works. Phil?), but it is perfectly coherent without knowledge of previous duo.

As usual, Mr. Farmer uses a solid story line which moves quickly and carries the reader patently along. The action is lively, the characters credible in their conduct and motivation, and the ending a bit disgruntling for its suddenness; on re-reading the last few pages, one finds that the author has sewn the tail neatly together to leave little doubt as to the final outcome unless he were to indulge in the most fraudulent of logic and the facts he has established throughout the book.

The prose is quite adequate throughout, even exceptional at points, but generally does not attain the enviable levels of "The Lovers" and "My Sister's Brother". On the other hand, the rough spots are few and far between; the seance scene is the only one that springs to mind. The final pages are perhaps the more disquieting because of the excellence of the page just before them and as a result of the sudden, jarring halt at which the novel ends, almost in mid-thought.

In general the reader is quickly caught up in the problems of the protagonist and his well sketched antagonist, a capable villian indeed, who permeates the book with his power and charm despite the fact that he is off-stage for much of the novel.... This is, in short, a notable effort of the type that has made its author recognized as one of the finest, most thoughtful practicioners in the sf field today. (Don Ayres)

The Alien Critic #10, August 1974

(23613, $1.25) Philip Jose Farmer's TRAITOR TO THE LIVING is the superior pot-boiling, a highly professional job of high-grade hack-work. Them's compliments, folks.

It is about a machine that maybe can allow communication with the dead, who maybe live in a kind of dreary limbo. (Or are these "spirits" actually alien life-forces lusting to Transfer to living humans?)

Phil works out the possibilities in a realistic, fast-paced, fascinating story-line. He doesn't cheat; the social, cultural, economic and psychological impacts of the machine called MEDIUM are shown. It is set in the near future.

I would fault Phil (I can call him Phil, I met him once at a convention, talked with him on the phone, corresponded) for the too-clever, too-many-switches ending(s). It got to be too wild for credibility. Do people really scheme, plot, plan, and anticipate that far ahead in real life?

Vector #69, Summer 1975
Paperback Parlour, December 1978
Publishers Weekly, May 28 1973

(DAW #63, 1973) The latest in DAW's "Book of…" series gives a self-selection of stories by Farmer, the author who brought sex into science fiction. SF has caught up with him generally, but this group shows that he hasn't ceased trying to shock. Good ideas struggle with pretentious and sometimes awkward writing and sophomoric humor in most of the stories.

Renaissance, Summer 1973
Moebius Trip #18, October 1973

(DAW #UQ1063; 1973; 95¢; 239PP.) As might be expected, we have here the unusual from the pen and typewriter of Philip José Farmer. That is not meant as the pun it may sound at first. The fact of the matter is that few authors have so consistantly tackled odd themes. Furthermore, the volume at hand is different in concept from the previous books of similar title from DAW. The other such books are merely collections of short stories; this one is different.

In essence The Book of Philip José Farmer is a cross-section of his writings from the early days when he first attracted attention (and perhaps notoriety) to the present, complete with notes by the author. His writing has changed over these twenty-odd years and is perhaps most easily observed in an anthology of this type. "The Lovers," "My Sister's Brother," and "Mother" read differently than more recent Farmer. I'm not sure that's altogether good, because there is a certain compellingness about that older style that seems lost in the "newer" Farmer, even with his added wittiness. As the reader will see, there is a great deal of fun to be derived from the more recent works -- the paramyths and the biographies -- but they are different from the earlier stories.

The book breaks down into four basic parts: 1) stories, 2) the polytropical paramyths, 3) essay/biography, and 4) a criticism of Mr. Farmer by Leslie Fiedler. The last should not be new to the readers of MOEBIUS TRIP, since it was printed in #14. The essays consist of "An Exclusive Interview with Lord Greystoke" (from ESQUIRE), "Sexual Implications of the Charge of the Light Brigade" (an excerpt from "Riders of the Purple Wage"), and "The Obscure Life and Hard Times of Kilgore Trout" (from MOEBIUS TRIP). The middle piece is confusing out of context and anyone really interested should be refered to Dangerous Visions, although the page logo is delightful ("Sexual Implications of the Light Brigade"). There is also a mixup in the Trout article; in his introduction, Farmer says Trout's date of birth was clearly in 1906, but in the article itself, the date of birth is given as being 1907 twice. (e((1907 is correct; the date in the introduction should have been altered but was overlooked.))c)

The polytropical paramyths are five short pieces and a prelude (Pre-polytropical Paramyth: "Totem and Taboo"). They depend on their outlandish premises to succeed, since only "Totem and Taboo" really has much of an organized structure in the traditional story sense. The stories are genuinely humorous and delightful to read, but they are not entirely satisfying. Dessert rather than dinner. Capek employed a similar, though not so humorous, approach in his Apocryphal Tales and the fate of most of the polytropical paramyths will probably be a similar anonymity.

In the remaining section, the first in order of appearance, one really sees the uniqueness of this collection: five stories selected for their availability (virtually nil in most cases). They are "My Sister's Brother," "Skinburn," "The Alley Man," "Father's in the Basement," and "Toward the Beloved City." About 150 pages of reading, these alone justify the purchase of the book. None can justly be termed boring and the intricacies of the longer pieces are marvelous. "My Sister's Brother" is set on Mars where Cardigan Lane has lost his crewmates and must set out in search of them. The introduction reveals that the vivid biological detail repulsed John W. Campbell; anyone with scatological reservations need not be turned back by it though. After twice doing that which men must do in the first six pages, Lane doesn't do it again. I imagine the story will have more appeal now than it originally did because changes in attitude have dulled some of the repulsive properties of the story.

So it is with "The Alley Man," a marginal piece of SF which ranks with the finest of Farmer's writings. Today, it might be rewritten with a black protagonist and some revision of the SF element. It remains essentially modern in setting dealing with real lower class people, even including the posibility that there is some sort of psychological element which they use as a defense mechanism. Although Farmer does not see fit to resolve the question of the legitimacy of the Old Man's beliefs, the story does not suffer for it. I cannot see anyone condemning the story though, as Farmer claims in the introduction. The justification of the dislike of any save ethical reasons escapes me, and those are slim reasons indeed. But, as I said, attitudes change. I presume that this novelette formed the core of the Ballantine book The Alley God, but I have no way of verifying this presumption. In any form, read it or be the poorer for not doing so.

The other three stories, competent though they may be, are not nearly of such importance. "Skinburn" uses an interesting premise to produce what I consistantly think of as a spoof on spy stories, even though I cannot justify such an opinion in retrospect. "Father's in the Basement" is just one of those nice little tales that anybody who has ever seriously considered becoming a writer will be a sucker for, like the "Peanuts" cartoons where Snoopy persues his writing career; objective consideration is virtually impossible because the reader can empathize with the writer in question so very readily. "Toward the Beloved City" does not carry as well as the earlier stories, even if it is as inventive. It does, however, contain this immortal string of logic: "'We won't kill somebody because they differ somewhat from us on certain theological matters. Of course, we won't listen to blasphemy. But then you won't blaspheme if you're a Christian.'" (135-6).

There have been few volumes published which present as representative a rainbow of works reflecting the interests and talents of any single author as this one. For those who have no Farmer, this will make an excellent one-volume introduction and it is of the same usefulness to the owner of the small library collection. If the spectrum is incomplete, than the reasons outlined by the author in the forward explain it. It is an exceptional volume in any company and is unreservedly recommended to all readers by this critic. (Don Ayres)

Locus #153, December 30 1973

(Daw UQ1063, 1973, 95¢) Billed as a "new, personal, representative" anthology we find herein that Daw has achieved just that. This is really a basic book for all fans of Farmer and of the Field, containing fiction, articles, commentary all unified by the Farmer style and personality. I hope Daw encourages other major authors to do this. (David Hartwell)

New Scientist, August 26 1976
Vector Review Supplement #1, February 1977
Publishers Weekly, January 8 1982

(Berkley 05298, 1982) Farmer is perhaps most famous for being the first writer to bring, in an adult manner, sex into SF, and make the sex intrinsic to the story. This collection, published in different form in 1973 by DAW - three stories have been replaced by three others not before collected - demonstrates Farmer's proficiency across a wide spectrum of SF sub-genres: the horror story, the SF-detective hybrid, etc. Among the best stories are "My Sister's Brother," in which a man attracted to a humanoid but definitely non-human female on Mars finds himself forced to commit violence against her rather than admit his attraction; "Skinburn," which concerns a hardboiled private eye suffering from a mysterious skin ailment that causes more pleasure the more serious it becomes; and "The Alley Man," an extraordinary, affecting portrait of a Neanderthal man who has survived into the 20th century. There are nine other stories, none less than good, two exercises in fictional biography (another field Farmer pioneered) and an appreciation by Leslie Fiedler.

Booklist, May 1 1982

(Berkley 05298, 1982) This is a revised edition of a collection originally published in 1973, containing here about one-quarter new material. Also, the original edition has been out of print for some time. As for the actual contents, they are quintessential Farmer, playing outrageous games and trampling on taboos for the pleasure of hearing them crush. A few titles: "Skinburn," "Uproar in Acheron," "The Alley Man," "The Freshman." For those collections where Farmer is popular, and that do not have the earlier edition.(Roland Green)

SF & Fantasy Book Review #4, May 1982
Paperback Inferno, December 1983
Kirkus Reviews, July 15 1974

The emphasis in this anthology about men raised by beasts is on fiction with a leavening of editorial commentary. Tarzan of course dominates the feral scene, represented here by Burroughs' tale of how the lord of the jungle discovered God, as well as by excerpts from Farmer's own clever contribution to Tarzan scholarship, "The Memoirs of Lord Greystoke." There is also an article from a defunct men's magazine purporting to have uncovered an historical prototype for Burroughs' character, as well as current variations on the Tarzan theme by Gene Wolfe and Mack Reynolds. Plus an attractive children's story about Shasta's boyhood in a wolf's den and a gloriously absurd saga of a fighter pilot with condors for stepparents. This appealing collection mines a vein of modern myth.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1 1974
Publishers Weekly, August 5 1974

The inspiration behind most of the material in this curious but rather entertaining package of fact (?) and fiction about feral men is Tarzan. In "The Memoirs of Lord Greystoke" Farmer offers the world extracts from the memoirs of the real Tarzan, that's to say the English nobleman's son (true identity concealed) who was reared by "anthropoids" off the coast of Gabon around the turn of the century and whose life story Edgar Rice Burroughs has so inaccurately told. The reader may take the "memoirs" with a pinch of salt, but Tarzan's uninhibited remarks about the mores of his anthropoids and the hypocrisies, particularly sexual, of civilization are diverting and often pointed. Other items include "Shasta of the Wolves" (a Canadian Mowgli), "Tarzan of the Grapes," a witty squib against contemporary attitudes, set in California, and "Scream of the Condor," pulp magazine stuff from World War I but quite readable. Farmer's editorial comments tend to be elliptical and it's not always clear whose leg, if anyone's, he is trying to pull. Bibliography.

Best Sellers, March 1 1975

If you like your men feral and virile, Mother Was a Lovely Beast is the book for you.

What? You don't know what "feral" is? Shame on you! Remember Romulus and Remus, Mowgli, and, the greatest of them all, Tarzan? As defined by Philip José Farmer a feral man is "a human being, male or female, who has been raised from an early age by wild animals or who has survived by himself since infancy in wild country."

Long popular with writers, the feral-man theme continues to fascinate contemporaries. John Barth gives us a parody in Giles Goat-Boy, for Giles is raised by and among goats who prove to be more ethical than the humans he encounters on campus. At another end of the literary spectrum is Mrs. Jean George's Julie of the Wolves (a 1973 Newberry Medal winner for excellence in children's books), a probing story of an Eskimo girl who learns the same lesson as Giles.

Farmer's anthology covers sixty years of fantastic writing. In the collection are an Edgar Rice Burroughs Tarzan short story, stories of men raised by wolves, bears and condors, and extensions of the Tarzan character - including Farmer's own "Extracts from the Memoirs of 'Lord Greystoke'." Farmer has prefaces to each of the selections, and an afterword which examines the feral man in myth and fiction. All in all, Farmer - who wrote the "biography" of Tarzan in 1973 - has created a labor of love.

If you like fantastic literature, and like your men lean, mean, and feral, you'll love Mother Was a Lovely Beast. (Albert J. Solomon)

Locus #170, March 15 1975

Books Received: (Chilton, Nov., 246pp., $6.95) An anthology of fact and fiction about feral man. There are three excerpts from longer works, four stories, one "article," a long essay by Farmer, and a bibliography. It's interesting and would probably be fascinating to Tarzan fans, but it isn't really SF.

Booklist, April 1 1975

Fiction and nonfiction pieces on the feral human theme include a selection from Edgar Rice Burrough's Jungle Tales of Tarzan, extracts from The Memoirs of "Lord Greystoke" edited by Farmer, five colorful short stories, and an article claiming Tarzan's identity was other than Lord Greystoke. Farmer provides a foreword to each piece as well as an introduction to the collection and a concluding essay on feral man in mythology and fiction, both of which offer suggestions for further reading. An intriguing anthology not limited to science fiction fans but suggested for mature readers. Bibliography.

The fascination exerted by accounts of real or imaginary feral man is fueled in a collection of popular writings.

School Library Journal, April 1975

A lovely collection of stories about human children raised by wild animals, gathered together by a leading SF writer. Of course, the most famous feral child is Tarzan, and there are two excerpts from Tarzan books, along with two more "true" accounts of the real person - YA's can make up their own minds. Other stories include one about a small boy reared by condors and a child raised by wolves. The last chapter is a long essay by Farmer on further reading. Offbeat and interesting. (Carol Starr)

Delap's F&SF Review #2, May 1975
Algol #24, Summer 1975

(246pp. $6.95. 1974. Chilton) In addition to his own contributions to literature--original, controversial, destinctive, uneven but frequently exemplary--Phil Farmer has shown great interest in the mythic images created by modern writers of extravagant fiction, and has repeatedly borrowed and manipulated the creations of others to amusing and often illuminating effect. His supreme favorite, to whom he returns again and again, is of course Tarzan of the Apes. He has done a good deal, as well, with Doc Savage, and has lately sought to investigate other such larger-than-life figures.

In 1972 Farmer published Tarzan Alive, a volume in which he offered a "definitive biography" of the Ape Man. Mother Was a Lovely Beast contains further amplification on the subject, Farmer's (or Lord Greystoke's) contribution being a lengthy memoir, largely concerned with the language of apes. There are interesting treatmenst of the Tarzanic archetype by Gene Wolfe and Mach Reynolds, and classic tales of feralism by William L. Chester, Olaf Baker and George Bruce. Bruce's yarn, "Scream of the Condor," is the most interesting, and by far the most audacious. Traditional feral themes include ape-people, wolf-people, bear-people, and more recently even dolphin-people. But the foster-parent in each case is at least mammalian.

Bruce has a child raised by condors! He turns up in France ready to become an aviator in World War I, and of course he can handle a plane the way no other pilot can -- to say the least! - See THE ADVENTURES OF THE PEERLESS PEER below for the other half of this review.

WSFA Journal #85, August 1975
Erbania #37, September 1975

(Edited by Philip Jose Famrer, $6.95, Chilton Book Company, Randor, Pennsylvania, 1974, 246 pages) This is Phil Farmer's first anthology and could be no more apropoa--what with his delvings into the life of one Tarzan of the Apes. The book is called a "Feral Man Anthology", but the truth is that only two of the stories included are feral accounts of humans raised by animals. These two are Shasta of the Wolves by Olaf Baker, which deals with the life of a Canadian Indian babe raised by a wolf, and Scream of the Condor by George Bruce, an audacious account of a World War I flying ace who was raised by condors (the author should be commended for having the audacity to even try to write such a tale and complimented for pulling it off!).

One Against the Wilderness by William Chester is a short story of Kioga, Hawk of the Wilderness, when he was yet a youth, and of his battle with Inkato, the Shamen. Kioga was not raised by the beasts but ran away to live with them in the forests of Nato'wa, a land above the Artic Circle. As Farmer states, Kioga was not adopted by the beasts--he adopted them.

The rest of the book is devoted to Tarzan, Tarzan pastiches and Tarzan parodies. Tarzan of the Grapes by Gene Wolfe is a story of the efforts of the minions of the Law to oust a "hippie" wearing a leopard-skin poncho from the vineyards of California. There is more to the tale than initially meets the eye. Do we have another Boygur who, rather than create his own Tarzan, decides to become myth himself? Relic by Mack Reynolds is a delightfully humorous, yet grim, tale of an aging Tarzan in the cold desensitized world of the future. Elements of this story predate some of the concepts utilized by Phil Farmer in his works of Lord Greystoke. One wonders if Phil might not have found some inspiration here to goad him into his researches into the history of Greystoke. The Man Who Really Was...Tarzan by Thomas Llewellan Jones is also a rather audacious account. Audacious in the fact that the author claims that it was the basis from which Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote TARZAN OF THE APES. Since we know the ERB based his slightly romantic novel on the real life exploits of the man he called Tarzan, or Lord Greystoke, we can only assume this claim by Jones is a falsehood. I don't doubt that there may be some spark of truth in his account of the life of Lord William Mildin, but that he was Tarzan--never!

The God of Tarzan, from JUNGLE TALES OF TARZAN, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, is probably the best short story of the apeman that Phil could have included in this anthology. It details the method by which Tarzan learned to read and weite and also chronicles his quest in search of the Creator (which also seems to be one of mankind's failing pastimes).

Extracts from the Memiors of "Lord Greystoke", edited by Philip Jose Farmer, is the one true masterwork of the whole anthology. For here we have, in the very words of Tarzan of the Apes, his first encounter with J(ane), how he was able to assume his seat in the House of Lords with little or no publicity, his description of the nominids or n'k, his life, sexual and otherwise, amonth them, their language and some his ideas on religion. I found it truly fascinating and have reread it several times. The one thing that disturbed me was what Greystoke has to say about his son, quote: "I've had only child by J(ane),...." and further on: "My son died of jungle fever." By this we must assume that Phil Farmer's hypothesis dealing with Tarzan's son John Paul Clayton, is entirely fictional and must be relegated ot the half-fictional portions of Addendum 2 in TARZAN ALIVE, unless Lord Greystoke favors us with further extracts from his memiors going into more detail about his offspring.

Many ERB fans will find these extracts offensive in that they are somewhat in the vien of the semi-fictional account edited by Phil Farmer titled A FEAST UNKNOWN, which chronicled the adventures of Tarzan after 1968. One would hope that Tarzan are more sophisticated than that, but the sad truth is that many of them prefer to remain in Victorian darkness. (Robert R. Barrett)

Science Fiction Review Monthly #14, April 1976

(Pyramid, $1.25, First Paperback) "A feral man", writes Farmer in the introduction to this volume, "is a human being, male or female, who has been raised from an early age by wild animals or who has survived by himself since infancy in wild country."

Mother Was A Lovely Beast is subtitled "a feral man anthology", and I for one cannot think of anyone who is more qualified to edit a collection of fact and fiction on this theme than Philip Jose Farmer, who has been delving into - and adding to - feral man mythology for over a decade now: in print, that is. His biography of the Apeman, Tarzan Alive, is one of the most gracefully written pieces of scholarship I've ever run across, however fictitious. His A Feast Unknown - reviewed in SFRM #12 - was a hilarious parody of the Tarzan and Doc Savage novels, as was its Ace Double sequel Lord of the Trees b/w The Mad Goblin (inexplicably out of print). And, although Farmer seems too modest to list it in this anthology's selected bibliography of related works, he wrote Lord Tyger, which is simply the best feral man novel ever.

The obvious attraction of feral man stories is their sense of freedom and each of the stories herein included are prototypical of the, well, exhilaration that one assumes goes hand-in-hand with freedom, with life outside the daily rigmarole of industrialized society. The anthology appropriately starts with an enchanting fable of Edgar Rice Burroughs, "The God of Tarzan", in which the most famous of feral men goes in his adolescence to search for God, in the end equating God with his personal relishing of freedom, nature, and justice. This sets the tone of the entire collection. Gene Wolfe writes of hippies emulating the Apeman heroic myth, among other things, in his insidious "Tarzan of the Grapes". Mack Reynolds deals with Tarzan in a future mechanized world, in "Relic". William L. Chester and Olaf Baker tell of characters who run with bears and wolves, in Chester's "One Against a Wilderness" and Baker's "Shasta of the Wolves". There is more, including an essay by Farmer on feral man mythology, but the most impressive of them all - and certainly the most audacious - is "Scream of the Condor" by George Bruce: a man who is raised by condors since infancy becomes an astounding aviator during World War One.

All the pieces reinforce and enhance each other, are all delightfully obscure, and together form one of the most unusual anthologies in recent years, if not ever: it is uniquely original. Try it. (Robert John Morales)

Delap's F&SF Review #16, July 1976

(New York: Pyramid, 1976, $1.25, 253pp, SBN: 0-515-04071) "Burroughs & Co... work with images barely pulled above the surface of the unconscious - vague, self-contradictory and absurd by conscious standards... And yet the impact on the reader is real because the dreams are real... Farmer stresses that the feral man is as genuine an outsider as we are likely to find, thus an ideal commentator on our inside concerns... Farmer takes pains to present the collection well. He has written a comprehensive introduction, forwards for each item, and a closing essay on 'The Feral Man in Mythology and Fiction.' There is even a selected bibliography. In all, the book is worth getting." DF&SFR, May 1975, of the hardcover edition.

SF Commentary #47, August 1976

(Chilton 1974, 248 pages, $6.95) Mother Was a Lovely Beast is the first book in a series of anthologies concerning feral man and society. These stories of children raised by wolves, bears, apes, and even condors glorify the natural life of the wilderness (where, incidentally, the average life-span was only thirty-five years) and serve to illuminate the faults in society we accept as the norm. The feral men, raised outside of society, is able to look "objectively at the discrepancy between the ideal and the real" to an extent beyond that allowed to "civilised" man.

Only two of the eight stories in the collection are by Farmer. But the remainder, tied tbgether by Farmer's forewords, support his theme. ike Simak in Ring Around the Sun and A Choice of Gods, Farmer advocates a life free from the unnatural pressures of technological sooiety; unlike Simak, Farmer prefers his Nature "red-in-tooth-and-claw" (the World of Tiers series is a good example). And like Brunner, Farmer condemns all modern society has to offer, regardless of any inherent merit. This undercurrent courses through all the stories, but the merit of each guarantees the reader enjoyment whether he accepts Farmer's premise or not.

Following Farmer's attempts to validate the "feral-man hypothesis", the reader meets the cliche of the genre - searching for religion - in "The God of Tarzan", by Edgar Rice Burroughs. In the books he has been reading at his parents' shack, Tarzan has found a reference to "God", an apparently all-powerful entity (like an editor?). But he is unable to find out what God means, or what he looks like. In his subsequent search for God, Tarzan finds that those things or people who seem to be God are less powerful than he is: the moon cannot harm him, and the native witch doctor begs him for his life. Tarzan realises finally that God is within each man and thing, and all around them as well; it is the force that causes altruism, love, pity, and respect to win out over the self. The story closes with Tarzan wondering who created evil...

The Tarzan series was the vehicle which Burroughs used to lambast society in the best Swiftian manner. In "The God of Tarzan", Burroughs argues that our conception of God and our formal religions are both attempts to explain away that which we cannot understand. And, on a different level, they provide a means of controlling others for our own profit: the village witch doctor main­tains his position via superstition, as a source of material wealth; the village chief supports the witch doctor as a matter of politics. A fi­nal theme is that there is not a "meaning" of God: it is for each person to find his own con­ception of God, rather than to accept that of others.

"Extracts from the Memoirs of 'Lord Greystoke'", edited by Philip Jose Farmer, is a continuation of the "real story of Tarzan", begun in Tarzan Alive! (1973). "Extracts from the memoirs of 'Lord Greystoke'" amplifies and corrects the history of his early life published by Burroughs, giving Tarzan's views on religion, sex, politics, and society in general. Personal details, such as the size of his erection when he first saw "Jane", intersperse the commentary. He describes the ape society, with reference to language struc­ture, sexual proclivity, toilet habits, and caste system. But this story is really a criticism of society from a (supposedly) neutral viewpoint, rather than the incidental exposition developed by ERB in the Tarzan series. It is a forceful analysis of the hypocrisy, suppression, and slav­ery which maintains society. If only it could be taken seriously.

"Tarzan of the Grapes" by Gene Wolfe describes the hunt for an accidentally created vineyard "apeman" (the result of a press stunt). The pol­ice overkill in attempting to catch this fake Tarzan epitomises the easy refusal of society to accept that it is holding the wrong values; the hunt for the apeman symbolises the extremes to which man will go in order to deny an alternative mode of existence. The story's conclusion may auger a hope that will not be fulfilled.

"Relic" by Mack Reynolds extends the theme of "Tarzan of the Grapes". Superficially, it is the description of an ageing Tarzan displaced by an automated society, a schizophrenic Tarzan unable to distinguish between his real life and that of his fictional counterpart. The re-living of his adventures results in a trail of corpses, but the one person who deduces the truth is ignored. In this lies the key to the story - society does not attack its creation, since then there would be some hope for it, if only because it would be forced to confront its faults. Instead, it turns its back on the truth. The characters are simi­lar to "prexy" in Brunner's The Sheep Look Up, in that they can see only what they want to see. People must face up to the "monster" they have created (their own society), or be destroyed by it. Although Reynolds' technique is not his best, the story is still one of his better efforts.

"One Against the Wilderness" by Willian L Ches­ter and "Shasta of the Wolves" by Olaf Baker, have in common the struggle that feral man faces in choosing between his species or his "people". Chester's "One Against the Wilderness" is the tale of a "reverse" feral man: an orphan white boy raised by a primitive Amerind tribe. As Kioga, he finds himself rejected eventually because he is different, but then adopts the beasts of the wilderness as his friends. The village shamans who lead his expuision keep the tribe in check by regular sacrifices to the river gods. For their own undisclosed ends they attempt a secret sacrifice of another villa1ge orphan, but Kioga rescues the intended victim. In keeping with his reputation as a trickster, he causes the orphan to be reaccepted into the tribe, at the expense of the lives of the shamans. Kioga is a trickster because this allows him the limited hu­man contact he needs desperately. Self-sufficient in the wild, he still desires to be accepted by his own race. It is ironic that only the beasts of the forest will accept him for what he is.

Olaf Baker's "Shasta of the Wolves" is the simple biography of an Amerind orphan raised by a wolf. The excerpts selected by Farmer from the original book detail Shasta's early development, his first recognition of "belonging", and the startling discovery that he is not a wolf, but does not want to be a man either. It is only when the wolves rescue him later from certain death by human hands that he realises with whom he belongs. "Shasta of the wolves" has more depth than "One Against the Wilderness". It describes the search for self and identity by one who has neither. Identity is not defined by external ap­pearances, but by attitudes, and a feeling of being one with someone else. Baker's indirect at­tack on the accepted concept of human individual­ity highlights the shallowness of a man who ac­cepts another's opinions and beliefs as his own, rather than search himself.

The prose creates powerful and definitive word pictures of life with Nature. The Simakian pas­toral scenes are uncluttered by the unnecessary; although images like "brush-grown banks pealing with care-free laughter" are almost cliches by now, they allow one to understand why so many writers find the feral-man plot an attractive vehicle.

"Scream of the Condor" by George Bruce differs from other feral-man stories in that the princi­pal character manages to reconcile his humam and bestial heritages. Craig, a young airman, is facing his first combat in World War I. But his flying ability far surpasses that of the most experienced airmen, while his brooding violence sets him further apart from his fellows. In a flashback we discover that he was abducted by a condor as a baby, to replace a dead fledgling, and learned to fly clutched in the talons of his "foster father". But from the time he was "res­cued" from the Andean Alps, he has longed to regain the air, an end he achieves in the skies over France. "Scream of the Condor" was written as an adventure tale for an early pulp magazine. But this humble origin cannot hide the depth of feeling developed by skilful prose. Craig is well suited for the battlefield, his animal na­ture expressed in every deed and thought. This left-handed compliment to the military continues until the conclusion, when the "animal" attitude. untouched by civilisation, are in reality the most altruistic. As an adventure story and as a comment on the man-beast dichotomy, "Scream of the Condor" is entertaining and thought-provoking.

The penultimate selection is an article describing the life of "The Man who was Tarzan". Thomas Llewellan Jones details the history of one William Mildin, a British noble who was shipwrecked on the African coast when he was 11 years old. For sixteen years Mildin lived with the apes and natives of the Jungle before finding his way to civilisation. Jones claims that Burroughs drew from from the reports of Mildin's ordeal when creating Tarzan. After Tarzan Alive!, I'm not about to believe anything (or reject anything, either).

Farmer concludes the book by tying these stories of feral man into one neat bundle; in his "The Feral Man in Mythology and Fiction". This semi-scholarly essay examines the premises behind the feral-man tales: as rationalisations to explain the acceptance of totemic or mythological animal comnections; as Swiftian satires; or as attractive fantasy/adventure tales. The stories themselves can be subdivided into three defini­tive classes, independent of the stories' purposes: fantasy; realistic; "super-realistic". Farmer's contentions in this regard are less supported than the tales of feral humans they define.

As an attempt to analyse the feralman concept in s f, Mother Was a Lovely Beast is successful. Farmer has presented a well-organised work that is both entertaining and educational. This collection validates the use of the feral-men counterpoint as an effective means of examining society's structures and fundamental beliefs. But to receive the full impact, the reader must suspend his disbelief, and be willing to accept the stilted prose and improbable (?) situations, if only for a short while. All the stories have something valuable to say, and it is not surpri­sing to note that the much-vaunted sentiments of today's "relevant" novels are only echoes of those expressed, in a more readable form, fifty years ago (Bruce's indictment of the human at­titude towards war, and Burroughs' assault on formal religion, for example).

The book is thought-provoking, enjoyable, and readable - all that one can ask of s f, or of any literature.

The Wold Atlas vol 1 #1, January 1977

(Pyramid Books $1.25) Mother Was A Lovely Beast is an anthology of stories exploring the theme of the feral man--wild, unciv­ilized, men in fiction (and at least one in fact) who were one with the beasts. It includes a story by ERB, "The God of Tarzan," and an article (which PJF deftly explodes) claiming to have found the "real" Tarzan. "Relic" is the tale of an elderly Greystoke coping with the future; "Tarzan of the Grapes" sounds like Ceser Chavez. There are also three pulp tales about feral men (including a condor-raised aviator).

Ihe most fascinating section of the book is "Extracts from the memoirs of Lord Greystoke," edited by PJF from the longer work by "John Clayton."

It explores "Clayton's" life among the mangani (called "n'k"), their language, social habits, sexual practices (no, he did not lose his virtue to Jane), and how he snuck into civilization without creating a fuss. This alone is worth the price of the book.

Another valuable contribution to poplit and Wold Newton biography from the acknowledged expert at both. Now, if he'd only get on the ball and finish Riverworld . . . (TJR)

The Armchair Detective vol 8 #2, February 1975
Science Fiction Review #12, February 1975


Phil Farmer has the ability to look a reader straight in the eye, tongue in cheek, and outrageously pull that reader's leg out of true.

And here he is doing it again with THE ADVENTURE OF THE PEERLESS PEER, in which he brings back the retired Sherlock Holmes and chronicler Dr. Watson in service to His Majesty's government during the first World War.

There is an incredibly menacing secret formula, and evil German agent in possession of it, in Africa. Holmes' and Watson's duty—intercept that agent and secure the formula!

To effect this task, however, involves a hilarious & horrendous air trip in huge, lumbering WWI bombers piloted by insane young Americans. Poor Holmes, airsick all the way.

Once over Africa, there is a mad attack on a German dirigible by the psychotic pilot... I dare not mention further incident. You wouldn't believe me.

Tarzan (the peerless peer) figures prominently in the last half of the adventure, of course... A Tarzan you may not wish to acknowledge.

Phil weaves other well-known fictional characters and stories into his plot. He asserts these people and events actually existed. He makes you halfway believe him. His is in the process of reviving and making real almost all the well-known fiction adventurers from the pulp days, and from the 1800's. he is after all 'American Agent for the estates of Dr. Watson, Lord Greystoke, David Copperfield, Martin Eden, and Don Quixote.' To say nothing of Alan Quartermain and Doc Savage. I think G-8 and his Battle Aces are in there, too.... Who knows where Phil Farmer will strike next?

Locus #170, March 15 1975

Books Received: (Aspen Press, Nov., 111pp., $5.50) A glorious pastiche involving Holmes, Watson, Tarzan, Dr. Fell, Henry Merriville, and dozens of others. It's a good Holmes adventure also. The book is a limited edition which is beautifully put together and, from what I hear, almost sold out. If you want a copy, rush a check to Aspen Press at the above address. It's well worth the price.

The El Paso Sunday Times, March 16 1975

(Aspen Press $5.5) Phil Farmer is at it again.

The writer whose science fiction works ("To Your Scattered Bodies Go," "Flesh," "The Lovers") consistantly win awards and are taught in university literature classes, the man who writes non-fiction biographies of fictional characters (Phileas Fogg, Doc Savage, Lord Greystoke, Alan Quatermain), the editor with the wildest imagination in the United States (his last collection was "Mother Was a Lovely Beast," an antholgy of stories about humans raised by wild beasts), is at it again.

This time he has determined to bring together two of his favorite characters in fiction, Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan of the Apes, and he does it in one of the wildest and funniest burlesques published in the 1970s.

Just a taste: Holmes and the faithful Dr. Watson are despatched in 1916 by the British Foreign Office to East Africa in pursuit of a German agent who has stolen a secret formula the British hoped to use to bring the Kaiser's army to its knees. It is a mutated bacillus which, when placed upon sauerkraut, multiplies at a fantastic rate. Should vials of the bacillus be dropped on Germany, the entire nation would be rendered krautless and would soon beg to surrender.

Lost in East Africa, Holmes (growing crotchety in old age, he frequently loses his temper with Watson and calls the good doctor, variously, "you imbecile" and "you blockhead") and his companion are rescued by Tarzan.

As an example of Farmer's sewing together of fragments of World War I lore, plus the renowned inadvertant humor of the dull and dependable Dr. Watson, we have a passage where the Handley-Page aircraft in which Holmes and Watson are passengers is attacked by a dozen of the dreaded German fighter plane, the Fokker E-III.

"Twelve Fokkers coming in at 11 o'clock!" yells the Handley-Page pilot."

"Yes, but what type of plane are they?" asks Dr. Watson. (Dale L. Walker)

Tangent #2, May 1975

(Aspen Press, 1974 $5.50 hardcover only) Mr. Farmer has written another great book, following such famous past works as Tarzan Alive: A Biography of Lord Greystoke and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life.

This book takes place during World War I and relates how the German #1 spy steals the secret offensive plans of Britian. The British government calls Sherlock Holmes out of retirement and sends him out to get the secret back.

Holmes and Watson must take a plane to Africa to intercept the German spy and recover the secret plans for the British. Holmes is very sick throughout the flight, and the somewhat mad pilot (the shadow) just seems to make things worse for Holmes.

Once in Africa, the find Tarzan trying to live through one of those bad days when you wished you had stayed in bed. In one scene Tarzan battles his way into a village to save a girl, and while doing so kills about 12 people. Tarzan grabs the girl and runs out of the village, killing about 12 more natives.

Once out, one would think the girl appreciative for being saved but not so. She yells at Tarzan for grabbing her from the natives because, it seems, she enjoys it. She even has the nerve to ask Tarzan to take her back into the village. All our hero has to say is, find your own way back.

This is just a little of whe the book is like from start to finish.

It is a short book of only 112 page and can be read in a few fun-packed hours. A very funny book well worth the time and money spent. (Jerry Rauth)

Algol #24, Summer 1975

(111pp. $5.50. 1974. The Aspen Press) The Adventures of the Peerless Peer is Farmer at his most playful, irreverent best. The book purports to be nothing less than a hitherto unreleased case of Sherlock Holmes, written by Dr. Watson and merely edited by Farmer. The case in hand is a direct sequel to "His Last Bow," the incident in which, even the most casual Sherlockian will recall, Holmes emerged from retirement to smash a spy ring headed by a treacherous Von Bork, on the eve of the outbreak of World War I.

In The Peerless Peer Von Bork is back, and Holmes and Watson go off on an adventure that carries them by aircraft all the way from England to the African Jungle; along the way they encounter an unending roman a clef of characters including the Shadow, the Spider, G-8, and finally, of course, Tarzan of the Apes.

The book is part effectionate spoof, part sincere tribute, part jape. I found it highly entertaining reading. It is also, I should mention, a very nice piece of book-crafting by a small publisher, with attractive typography, fine-grade paper, and an excellent binding. I am appalled at the amateurish jacket art, however, and suggest that you simply turn the jacket inside-out and present it as a plain paper wrapper to avoid arousing the scorn of passers-by and offense to your own eye. (Richard Lupoff)

The Wold Atlas vol 1 #1, January 1977

(Dell $1.25)For nigh on three years I've been waiting for this book to come out in a paperback edition, and Dell Books finally had the intell­egence to publish it. I have to go on record as saying that it was well worth the wait. Very few men are qualified to write a Sherlock Holmes/Tarzan team-up, but Mr. Farmer stands heads above any other when it comes to qualification.

The book, it should be said, is partially pastich and partially parody. The thing about Mr. Farmer is that he's adept at both. One need only examine The Earth Quake Machine (above) or Barton Werper's Tarzan books to understand the inherent problems with pastiches; as for parodies, there's a tendancy to get rather brutal with the subject, as in Ova Hamlet's "God of the Naked Unicorn." Much to his credit, PJF successfully avoids all the pitfalls of both genres. Not only that, but he manages to inject a plotline that explains certain Wold Newton ambiguities.

The story deals with Messers. Holmes' and Watson's efforts to ascertain a formula capable of rendering saurkaut inedible dur­ing WWI. Due to the bizarre idio­synchrasies of their pilots (two gents by the names of Wentworth and 'Kentov'), they manage to land in Africa with a group of German soldiers. Meanwhile, a certain Lord of the Jungle is searching for the Germans that he believes killed his wife. The two parties come together, and end up in the midst of an undiscovered civilization. Meanwhile, Holmes blacksmails the jungle man and finds the formula. The climax comes when our two heroes are trapped between a horde of savages and a cloud of deadly bees.

It would be heresy to reveal how the day is saved, but it's a surprising and funny solution. In fact, the whole book is surprising and funny, and although Watson's occasional puns are groaners, they manage to evoke a chuckle.

All in all, the book is a marv­elous melee of gags and adventure, and should be enjoyed by Homesians and ERB-ivores and Newtonians of ev­ery stripe. For those of you who've accompanied Holmes and Watson on their miraculous investigations be­fore, you have a new splendiferous novel to relish again. For Holmes ­novices, you have an excellent introduction to that special magic that's passed through the years unscathed.

Encore, Mr. Farmer (Arn McConnell)

The Gridley Wave 74, 1977

(Dell, New York, 1976. Cover art by Gadino, #0042, 127 pp. $1.25) Inquiry into the unchronicled adventures of Sherlock Holmes, once the province of a handfull of mostly amateurs in the pages of such publications as "The Baker Street Journal", of late years is burgeoning fast and furious into the wider media. Even a superficial glance at a paperback stall may turn up half-a-dozen books dealing with the great detective's doings with assorted real and fictional characters. Television and the cinema have also made their contributions.

After involvement with such contemporaries as Sigmund Freud and Jack the Ripper, it is no strain on the imagination to postulate a meeting between Holmes and the man known, among other names, as Lord Greystoke. Philip Jose Farmer brings this about in The Adventure of the Peerless Peer.

The adventure takes place in 1916, not long after the events related in His Last Bow, and while Greystoke was roaming the jungle during his lapse into savagery following the supposed murder of Lady Greystoke by the soldiers of Hauptmann Fritz Schneider. Holmes, together with Watson, is again called from retirement and sent after Von Bork, with no opportunity for another quiet talk upon the terrace. Von Bork has possession of a stolen Allied bacillus formula calculated to destroy the entire sauerkraut stores of Germany and bring that warring country to its knees by starvation. The chase leads down into Africa where takes place this unlikely meeting between these two "who never wore the garments of the flesh but have taken to themselves the very emmanence and essence of existence". Each get the opportunity to aid the other.

Relying heavily on the original investigations of Dr. H. W. Starr into the supposed true identity of Lord Greystoke, as published in The Baker Street Journal" for January, 1960, under the title of A Case of Identity, Farmer takes it a step or two further. Wherein we are confronted with the odd spectacle of the true claimant to a title and estate posing as the former unwitting false heir.

Aside from the above "revelation" there is little to recommend the subsumption of this "adventure" into the acknowledged Canons of wither Holmes or Greystoke, and I am sure this was not Farmer's intention. IT is enjoyable as a light-hearted and occasionally very funny romp, but does nothing to enhance the reputations of the two principal characters. Read it in the spirit in which it is given and be thankful you can always go back to the original vintages. (Allan Howard)

The Baker Street Journal Vol 28 #1, March 1978

(Dell $1.25) The Adventure of the Peerless Peer by John H. Watson M.D., a hitherto unpublished casebook edited by Philip José Farmer, tells how holmes joined forces "with the lord of the jungle to bring down the hellish Huns"-that's Tarzan and Von Bork, respectively. This curiosity, dedicated to Samuel Rosenberg ("who has embroidered for the world the greatest Doylie ever"), has now gone from it limited hardcover edition to a mass Dell paperback printing ($1.25), with a suitably sensationalistic cover. A charmer.

Dr Hermes Reviews, October 23 2001
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The Gridley Wave 52, October 1974

(Daw Books, New York, 1974, #UY1107, 224 pages. Cover and illustrations by Roy Krenkel. $1.25.) When a writer creates a suffucuently beguiling fictional universe, there will be other men of dreams and vision who can see therein a wealth of untold tales and unexploited situations. There are those who trafficed in Conan Doyle's Victorian milieu, and at least one who journeyed into the worlds of E. E. Smith's Lensmen. Jules Verne found the island of the Swiss Robinsons interesting enough to write his own sequels. A. D. Howden Smith did a prequel to "Treasure Island," and most recently Michael Shea chronicled the further adventures of Cugel the Clever in Jack Vance's Dying Earth.

As every reader of Edgar Rice Burroughs is aware, the lost treasure city of Opar, with its beautiful women and brutish, half-demented men is one of his most intriguing creations. The glorious past of its broken battlements and pitiful remnant of population was barely touched on. Philip Jose Farmer sets out to rectify this in "Hadon of Ancient Opar," the first in a series that, hopefully, could have a long run.

In Farmer's world of 10,000 B. C. there are twin inland seas in the regions of the south Sahara and middle West Africa, around which cluster the cities of a high order of civilization. Their capital is the island city-state of Khokarsa in the northern sea, of which Opar is an outpost in the southern. Burroughs said the homeland of Opar was Atlantis, which various theorists and cultists have placed anywhere from west of Gibralter to the eastern reaches of the Mediterranean. But Farmers location, equally as plausible, explains how Opar, now in such an inaccessible god-awful place, was once easily available by water.

Briefly, the plot concerns Hadon, an impoverished but ambitious young man of Opar, who enters the Great Games at Khokarsa. Obstensibly, and according to custom, the winner would get to supplant the current king and get to marry his daughter. But the king, Minruth the Mad, has mounted a pivotal battle in the age-old struggle between matriarchal and patriarchal forces and is in no mind to abdicate. He stalls by sending Hadon on a near hopeless quest in search of the legendary immortal man-god Sahhinder, and a party of people under his protection. Against all odds Hadon rescues Sahhindar's friends, but again is foiled by Minruth's treachery from ascending the throne.

Farmer has created a finely detailed world of 12,000 years ago, and likeable lead in Hadon. While no superman of the stripe of John Carter or Tarzan, Hadon is a capable journeyman warrior, able to make mistakes and profit by them. There are many small real-life touches that add to the enjoyment of the book, such as when a sacred monkey, riding on the shoulder of a priest, does the dirty on him—something little Nimka would never dare to do to the Lord of the Jungle. The continuing saga of Hadon, a sequel to "Time's Last Gift" (see GW #38) should prove equally as engrossing as any Burroughs series. (Allan Howard)

Renaissance, April 1974
Moebius Trip #20, June 1974

(DAW Books 100; 224pp.; $1.25) This is the first book in a new series which will undoubtedly have an extensive and prolific life. The author has included a chronology proceeding from about 13,500 B.C. and a list of major events beginning in 12,000 B.C., the point at which this story starts.

There are also 10 full-page illustrations by Roy Krenkel and three maps -- Ancient Africa; Kemu; and Khokarsa. (The author has emphatically emphasized that the former map was to precede the text but it was placed at the back with all the other reference data.)

Here is an authentic setting: the vast Sahara and vicinity at the waning of the last great Ice Age, when it was a fertile wonderland inhabited by millions of animals & encompassing inland freshwater seas, rivers and lakes.

Edgar Rice Burrough's Tarzan visited the hidden city of Opar, but the reader learned very little of its origins. Now, Phil Farmer takes us far, far back to Ancient Opar, when civilization flourished in the pre-Saharan African continent. Knowledgeable readers will also recognize elements to connect with the work of H. Rider Haggard.

With meticulous attention to detail, the author begins his epic series with Hadon of Opar journeying north to Khokarsa, capitol city of the empire. On the ship with him are several other preliminary winners who are to compete with him -- and others, all totalling 90 -- in the Games, the victor to be eligible to marry the King's daughter, Awineth the high priestess, and become King. (The contests include jumps, dashes, 2-mile race, javelin-throw, wrestling, boxing, swimming and diving, etc., and finally a sword fight to the death.

At present, the Goddess Kho is supreme, but it is rumored that the king, Minruth, backs Resu -- the sun god -- for master.

Another "god" -- Sahhindar -- is rumored to exist, in the flesh. This character travelled in time from the 21st century and helped Khokarsa develop. (This character forms a connecting link with Time's Last Gift.)

The Games progress & Hadon does well. He does, in fact, win the Games. But ----

But, the unexpected intervenes. An explorer who had talked with Sahhindar and been entrusted by him to escort three singular individuals to Khokarsa, has arrived with the news that savages have attacked & perhaps kidnapped the three, he of course escaping.

Hadon receives the news that he is to lead a rescue party; the high priestess (who agrees to marry Hadon) and the king had consulted the oracle at the Temple of Kho and it had so been ordained. So, no marriage, no kingship, until Hadon returns. If he returns.

The quest is detailed with finesse, is exciting and suspenseful. It succeeds; Hadon and party return -- to captivity, since revolution has brought Minruth to power. Escape is made, at least tentatively.

And it is at the point that the book ends. Actually, the ending is a cliff-hanger, ideal for a serial, but not especially appealing if -- as is called for, I think, by the publisher's schedule -- one has to wait a full year for the next part.

Nevertheless, the author has otherwise put it all together here with masterful characterization, adequate plotting and exceptional execution. It tends to put a wide range of lesser present-day series into a more proper perspective.

Here are combined all of the very best elements of E.R.Burroughs, H.R.Haggard, A.Merrit, Nordoff & Hall, Jack London, Conan Doyle, H.G.Wells, and other bookshelf giants. The reader who glories in high adventure, intrigue and historical romance, with lacings of science fantasy, will find this opening round a delight and will positively slaver for more. Be patient; sequels are on the way... any year now.... (Ed Connor)

Son of WSFA Journal #149, June 1974
Locus #160, June 3 1974

Books Received: (DAW UY1107, Apr 74, 224pp. $1.25) Original fantasy novel - Farmer in his Burroughs mood.

World of If July/August 1974
New York Times, September 8 1974

(Daw Books, $1.25) Hadon of Ancient Opar is the work of the tireless and astonishing Philip José Farmer. If "Opar" sounds familiar to you, it's the same city Tarzan visited. With the permission of Burroughs's son, Farmer has done the background of Opar, beginning in 12,000 B.C. and dealing with the adventures of the hero Hadan.

Science Fiction Review #13, May 1975


Rather than watch the MARY TYLER MOORE SHOW I will review a pretty damn good Philip Jose Farmer novel, HADON OF ANCIENT OPAR.

The star of the book isn't Hadon, a nice kid with athletic and fighting skill; it is the ancient world Phil has created, its peoples, customs, its religions and politics...and above all its critical geography.

Phil went to the trouble of writing a history of civilization on the shores of the twin island seas existing in central Africa from 12,000 BC to 10,000 BC. This history is in the back of the book and it enhances your enjoyment of the story if you read the history first and study the maps of the Kemu (northern sea) and the Kemuwopar (southern sea) and Khokarsa island.

The novel incorporates the adventures of Hadon, winner of the Great Games (to-the-death Olympics) and his 300-pound warrior relative Kwasin, the beautiful Lalila, the off-stage Shahindar, the man-God who came from the far future and taught the central African peoples key knowledge and attitudes to establish the high bronze-age civilization of the inland seas.

Hadon is a true hero, but it is Kwasin (rapacious, uninhibited, fierce, a liver of life to the hilt) who seems to have had the most fun in life. Maybe one of these days, when the basic anti-sex and anti-pleasure bias of Anglo-Saxon civilization has changed significantly, the Kwasins of fiction will properly be given center stage and the idealistic, over-controlled, self-sacrificing (fools?) like Hadon will be shoved aside as uninteresting and unrealistic. Granted Hadon is not as idealistic or controlled or self-sacrificing as Heroes of a few years ago, but he still is Too Much in my view, given the short, brutal, dirty lives of 99.9% of the peoples of the era.

Well, that's neihter here not there for this review's purposes. If you like deadly action, a quest, a catastrophe or two, a gripping dungeon escape, a chase, battles and fights galore, coherent exotic religions, customs and behavior, be assured that Phil Farmer does not stiff you in this book; its all there and more.

The Science Fiction Review Monthly #16, June 1976

(Reprint DAW, $1.50) Hadon and Flight To Opar follow the early adventures of Hadon, a hero cast in the classic mold but superior to those around him by a slim enough margin to keep the action interesting and the suspense high.

Like Ras Tyger, Lord Grandrith, Kickaha, and other Farmer heroes, Hadon is a wonderfully complex being, well aware of the sensual nature of a reality in which wounds hurt, sex feels good, rapes are brutal acts of domination, and offal stinks. No mere cardboard creatures, Farmer's better drawn heroes tend to react both physically and emotionally; for them, spilling blood and guts is rarely a simple righteous act, but rather an act which either disgusts and nauseates or exhilarates and vivifies. Given their milieu, they are fully realized individuals.

The Opar setting, later to become Tarzan's treasure city, is but a part of the vast Khokarsan Empire of Hadon's time, 12,000 years in Africa's past. Aside from the cover blurbs, the name, and the location, it is Farmer's creation. In somewhat atypical fashion, he has kept his penchant for interbreeding novels and borrowing characters in check and provides new gods, heroes, cuisine, language, mores, geology, and biology for an ancient kingdom. And as he did with Riverworld and the World of Tiers, he avoids the pitfalls of straight exposition and weaves his background into the action a thread or two at a time.

Leslie Fiedler, a somewhat more than usually sane critic of American letters, has described Farmer as a writer belonging "to an audience which took him off the racks in drugstores or supermarkets or airports to allay boredom - and with no sense certainly that they were approaching 'literature.'" In addition to the obvious Freudian sexual material in Farmer's early work, Fiedler also identifies his use of archetype as a basis for seriously approaching Farmer's work. As if in response, Farmer has created in Hadon one of the fullest realizations of the mythological hero to debut in recent years. In fact, Joseph Campbell's classic Monomyth, a description of the classic archetypal hero and the events typical of his life, may be taken as a guide to these two volumes.

All the necessary motifs are there. After his initial call to adventure and victory in the Great Games of Khokarsa, Hadon has met all the traditional criteria to marry the future queen, Awineth, and rule the entire kingdom. But Minruth, the incumbent king, refuses to abdicate. Thus begins Hadon's initial round of tests, battles, riddles, and journies - a sacred marriage his goal. Hadon succeeds in all things, returns, and after a final confrontation with Minruth, flees with Awineth to the hills, soldiers loyal to the king in hot pursuit.

{This review continues with FLIGHT TO OPAR} (L.J. Knapp)

Paperback Parlour, August 1977
Starburst Magazine, January 16, 2013
Portland Book Review, May 17, 2013
Publishers Weekly, December 16 1974

(Dell 6149) Often in a Kurt Vonnegut novel a character will pause to recall the plot of one of Kilgore Trout's science fiction novels, and Trout himself was a principle character in "Breakfast of Champions," where Vonnegut announced a long goodbye to him and other recurring stalwarts. But here he is again, an author this time, and wouldn't you know that he has a science fiction writer, here Jonathan Swift Somers III, to whom he refers? This novel is a pretty good pastiche of Vonnegut though the paragraphs are a trifle too long and the sex a little too obvious. When the second flood arrives (produced by the Hoonhors, who are attempting to clean up the planet), Simon Wagstaff escapes on a Chinese rocket with his pets, an owl and a dog. During the course of peripatetic adventures Simon wins immortality for himself and pets, joins forces with a beautiful female robot, gains and loses a tail, and is imprisoned for decades. It's fun.

Washington Post, March 2 1975

(Dell 6149) "Fishing for Trout"

Kilgore Trout might have lived out his uneventful life undiscovered in Ilium, New York, if it were not for Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Trout published over 2,000 stories and more than 100 novels, but nobody – not his fabulously wealthy fan, Eliot Rosewater, nor Vonnegut, nor the curator of the Library of Congress’s pornography collection, not even Trout himself – has a collection of his complete works.

Through the synopses offered in several of Vonnegut’s best-selling books we may glean some notion of Trout’s past accomplishments. Basically, he is a satirical science-fiction writer with metaphysical pretensions. His novels string together brief chapters built around grotesque caricatures, enthralling improbabilities, easy ironies, and cheap-shot philosophy. He quotes frequently from the execrable verse of nonexistent poets, and is known, at the slightest opportunity, to throw in a contrived parable from the work of an imagined sci-fi author, a cripple.

Vonnegut, whose body is whole but whose work runs to sci-fi, has admired Trout for a long time. Science fiction writers, as Eliot Rosewater once put it: "the only ones who’ll talk about the really terrific changes going on . . . who really care about the future, who really notice what machines do to us, what wars do to us, what cities do to us, what big simple ideas do to us . . . the only ones zany enough to agonize over time and distance without limit, over mysteries that will never die, over the fact that we are right now determining whether the space voyage for the next billion years or so is going to be Heaven or Hell."

Maybe so. In any case, these seem to be the preoccupations of Kilgore Trout, and Vonnegut, too. And really, Trout has had a profound influence on Vonnegut’s work. Yet while the latter’s books have made him affluent by roundly damning an affluent society, Trout has been virtually unknown. He has lived in upper lower-class squalor, his work published by a pornography house, the World Classics Library, where his text was only used as filler between grainy photographs of copulation, spanking, donkeys – whatever. So it goes.

Now, at long last, one of Trout’s major works, VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL, has appeared in general circulation, ''for the first time without lurid covers!'' the lurid jacket reminds us.

It is the story of the immortal Space Wanderer, Simon Wagstaff, who, accompanied by his dog, his owl, and his beautiful robot lover, wander through space asking sages on sundry planets, primarily, ''Why are we created only to suffer and die?''

I enjoyed this novel. The story rolls right along from one escapade to another, and the philosophy is so thin and sill it never gets in the way. At one point, having received something less than a satisfactory answer to his query from a cannibalistic wise man, Wagstaff explodes: ''You have the same philosophy as a college sophomore’s!'' Trout knows his audience, anyway.

As I read the book, a great many words beginning with ''r'' sprang into my mind. These were the words: ribald, risqué, revolutionary, revolting, raunchy, rowdy, raucous, randy, Rabelaisan. . .

If it had started with an ''r'' I might also have though ''Voltairean,'' for there is a certain Candide quality to the work. The ineffectual, not especially intelligent hero wanders from one allegorical, satirical situation into another. But Trout is no Voltaire, and there is nothing so profound it provokes serious thought; nothing you can sink your teeth into. It's more like cotton Candide.

After all it is the originality of a satirist's vision, rather than the object of his satire that makes his work endure; his powers of invention rather than his philosophical perspective that makes him memorable. We remember Candide and Pangloss, not the ideas of Leibniz they were meant to parody. Lilliput, Brobdingnag, and the Yahoos, though their relationship to 18th-century politics may be utterly lost to us.

Trout recognizes this. his philosophy is only a flimsy pretext for adventure; the Space Wanderer's question-and-answer only a device to keep him moving round from planet to planet. Vonnegut, on the other hand, seems to take himself seriously. He is best when he is like Trout, inventive and right on the edge of silliness, when his fantasy takes over and he writes of Tralfamadore and the chronosynclastic infundibulum. When he writes of war and death and Dresden he is occasionally profound, but more often embarrassing.

Vonnegut once claimed that 'Kilgore Trout's unpopularity was deserved. ''His prose was frightful. Only his ideas were good.'' And in the synopses he gave, he seemed to back up that statement. But VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL does not. Trout's prose is at least as good as Vonnegut's. It is strange (''clouds as black as rotten spot on a banana . . . the horizon had been as broken as a fake genealogy''), but it is lively and inventive and goes by faster than a holiday weekend. Some of the incidents -- obsessed as they are with sex and excrement -- are a little hard to stomach, but the next reissue of Trout, perhaps Oh Say Can You Smell? of 2BR02B is something I'm definitely looking forward to. Thanks Kurt. (Chris Dickey)

Vertex Vol 3 #3, 1975
Science Fiction Review Monthly #2, April 1975

(Dell, 95¢, Original) Eliot Rosewater considered him the greatest science fiction novelist who ever lived. We luckily have Kilgore Trout's work available in paperback form now. Even if Rosewater's opinion isn't shared, Venus on the Half-Shell isn't quite like any other book.

Simon Wagstaff is the Space Wanderer: a man without a planet (all water being precipitated from the atmosphere drowning everyone else on Earth). He finds a Chinese spaceship atop Mt. Ararat equipped with 69X drive. It can travel at 69,000 times the speed of light. Simon sallies forth across the cosmos seeking the answer to his primal question: "Why are we created only to suffer and die?"

Simon is seduced by Queen Margaret of Shaltoon and given an immortality potion. It doesn't provide him with any answers. The Shaltoonians, moreover, have no word for "love".

On each planet he visits, Simon finds that other aliens, the Clerun-Gowph, have been there before him. The clue is always the same one: a gigantic candy-heart-shaped structure millions of years old.

He causes difficulties on Giffard between the pyramid-shaped, earth-bound females and the zeppelin-shaped, gad-about males. They label him "Simon the Sodomite". Here too, he meets a gorgeous, intelligent, female "robot" named Chworktap.

The inhabitants on Lalorlong have turned into tires. Their basic philosophy is: "Keep rolling". The people of Dokall all have tails. Simon is fitted with one before visiting the wizard, Mofeislop, who informs him: "Wisdom is knowing when to avoid perfection".

Chworktap and Simon are imprisoned on Goolgeas, along with literally every native, and don't extricate themselves for 130 years. Such close proximity for so long makes Chworktap tire of Simon. She decides to return to the planet of her creation and fight for the equality of robots. As she puts it: "Time corrupts everything, even immortal love".

Simon continues his quest for 3000 years, finally arriving at the home planet of the Clerun-Gowph. They look like giant cockroaches, and they've been expecting him. Bingo, their ancient leader, knows the answer to Simon's question.

That answer will not be revealed here, though other matters can be mentioned. I can't recall anything since The Stars My Destination that tossed off so many ideas. In the sometimes searing imitation of the style of Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., Trout satirizes many of our daily pre-occupations. Venus is a comedy of sexual mores, an investigative search for Love, a lampoon of people who require answers to imponderable questions. (Simon Wagstaff is a cosmic ass, seldom an asset to any situation. He suffers from Good Intentions.)

Venus on the Half-Shell is improbably-funny for most of its length. Still, everywhere there are references to pain: in aborigines possessing a blue aura, in the stars that power the 69X drive, in mastery and slavery of many varieties. Thereby, for all the joking, Trout's intention appears mainly serious.

Or is it? Knowing Kilgore Trout, one is tempted not to take the book too seriously. It could even be a shaggy God story. (David Pasko)

National Observer, May 17 1975

(Dell 6149) Trout: "It is satirical, lewd, wise – all one could hope for."

From devotees of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels, the name Kilgore Trout evokes a kind of wistful reverence. Trout, the favorite science-fiction author of a good many of Vonnegut’s fictional characters, is himself the antihero of Breakfast of Champions. One learns to know Trout through that book, but one can never know Trout’s own books, by the very nature of things.

Oh, no? Vonnegut fans can now sample Trout’s prose in VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL, an epic adventure in space, published by Dell in paperback.

So now that a Trout work is accessible to living readers, the question intrudes: Who is Kilgore Trout?

The odds are good that he is Vonnegut, but Vonnegut denies it. ''I am not the author of VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL,'' he declares. ''I receive no royalties from the book. I have no financial interest in it.''

Neither Vonnegut nor Dell has identified the ''real'' Trout, however, Vonnegut says he gave the author of Venus the right to publish the book and use the Trout name.

And yet.

There is evidence, external and internal, that Trout and Vonnegut must be the same person. The external evidence is thin but not insignificant.

There is, to begin with, a photograph of Kilgore Trout on the back of Venus. It is an ill-lit engraving of someone sitting at a typewriter and wearing a campaign hat, tinted glasses, and flowing beard. It looks very much like Kurt Vonnegut in a campaign hat, tinted glasses, and phony, flowing beard.

Then there is the matter of the publisher. Dell is the paperback division of Delacorte Press, Vonnegut’s publisher.

The internal evidence is more persuasive. You can’t read a dozen pages anywhere in Venus without becoming morally certain you’re reading Vonnegut. The style is unmistakable. The thought patterns, the plot construction, the use of language, the Weltanschauung – all straight Vonnegut.

Does this mean Vonnegut is dissembling when he denies? Call it, perhaps, schizophrenia.

But what about Kilgore Trout? Now that we have some of his prose at last, what can we say about it?

Trout is everything Vonnegut has implied he was. Venus tells of an earthman who survives a second and more devastating flood to wander the universe, seeking the answer to the riddle of life. The riddle is phrased in typically Vonnegutian terms: ''Why are we created only to suffer and die?''

The story is imaginatively satirical. It is lewd but not obscene. It is wise in a shallow sense. It is everything one could hope for from Kilgore Trout.

Oh, yes. The hero of VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL turns out to have his own favorite author, one Jonathan Swift Somers III, among whose works was a series of stories about a German police dog, Ralph von Wau Wau.

Somers figures as prominently in the Trout novel as Trout did in some of the Vonnegut novels prior to Breakfast of Champions. Get it?

One has an eerie feeling that he is standing in a hall of mirrors. (Walton R. Collins)

UCLA Daily Bruin, May 20 1975

(Dell Publishers, 95¢, 204pages)Trout fishing in the universe

I've often wondered what hemlock tastes like. It's a well-kept secret of course, but my pet theory is that it tastes very much like a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

Open a Vonnegut novel and you'll find an easy-going narrative that sparkles with wit and imagination. It tastes fine going down. But by the time it gets halfway down the esophagus, it has developed a bit of a bite which evolves into a full-fledged kick in the head long before it reaches the stomach.

Venus on the Half-Shell isn't written by Kurt Vonnegut, of course. It's by Kilgore Trout, a long-ignored writer of 117 novels and 2,000 short stories. Only recently, as the editor of Venus on the Half-Shell informs us, has his work received any critical attention, probably because his chief publisher, World Classics Library, specializes in pornography. Without Trout's knowledge or permission, World Classics has been issuing his work into the world between lurid covers and has been placing his stories (none of which have any explicit erotic content) as fillers in "girlie" magazines.

Trout's star is on the rise now, however. His name is becoming well know, probably due to his constant appearances in Vonnegut novels - most recently, Breakfast of Champions. He has certain literary affinities with Vonnegut, he even looks a little like Vonnegut, complete with a civil war cap, as the photograph on the book jacket will attest.

Enough pretending Venus on the Half-Shell is a Vonnegut creation. You can tell by the bite. It's a space age Gulliver's Travels, complete with the obsession with defecation. There's a memory of Homer, a touch of the Ancient Mariner and a re-telling of the Flood Story.

The story begins in 3069 with our hero, Simon Wagstaff, on his girlfriend onn the top of the Sphinx of Giza. It starts to rain, and continues to rain until only the point of the Great Pyramid, 472 feet above the dessert floor, remains above water. Ramona, his girlfriend, is lost in the deluge, but Simon manages to tread water (with the aid of his buoyant banjo) until he comes upon a floating coffin. Pharaoh Merneptah is in it, but that doesn't stop Simon from climbing aboard. He picks up a dog and an owl. Eventually he drifts into an abandoned space ship which, like a Volkswagen, floats. With this space craft he searches the universe, seeking an answer to his primal question: "Why are we created only to suffer and die?"

But before our Space Wanderer can master the controls of his space ship (the instructions are in Chinese), he drifts around until he comes aground on Mt. Ararat. This is what the author says about it:

"Simon had arrived in his ark at the same place where Noah was supposed to have landed. This was a coincidence that could only happen in a bad novel, but Nature didn't give a damn about literary esthetics. The grasshopper voices of thousands of critics had shrilled at Her and then died while She went right on ahead writing Her stories, none of which had a happy ending."

Try to tell me that's not Vonnegut thumbing his nose at the gods again. He thumbs his nose at a lot of people, too, principally the writers and publishers of speculative fiction. But the bulk of the work hinges on a debate about free will and determinism.

At one point in the narrative, Simon drinks an elixir which makes him immortal. He doesn't consider what he is doing because he's confronted with a beautiful Shaltoonian queen who is in heat. But he also receives two vials of the elixir for his dog and owl, and he now considers whether it is right or wrong to give it to them:

"The future might show that they would have been far better off dead. On the other hand - Simon was hopelessly ambidextrous - they might be missing a vast and enduring joy if he denied them the elixir. Who knows? . . . Simon solved his dilemma by pouring out the elixir into two bowls. If the two cared to drink the stuff, they could do so. The decision was up to their limited powers of free will. After all, animals knew what was good for them, and if immortality smelled bad to them, they wouldn't touch it."

Simon eventually finds answers to his primal questions (the list of which has gotten quite long) when he arrives on a planet inhabited by giant cockroaches. I, however, am not allowed to tell you the answers. It's against the rules. If you want to know what hemlock tastes like, you'll just have to chug down a quart of vintage Vonnegut. It may not answer those primal questions, but it does help pass the time. (Steve Ainsworth)

From the May 28th issue of The UCLA Daily Bruin:

Letters to the Editor: Trout Fishing

In your book review section for May 20th, Mr. Steve Ainsworth states that "Venus on the Half-Shell (by Kilgore Trout) is a (Kurt) Vonnegut creation." Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Ainsworth, but t'aint so. It was recently revealed at the University Extension science fiction class that Mr. Philip Jose Farmer is really Kilgore Trout. Mr. Farmer, a brilliant writer in his own right and a great admirer of Vonnegut's work, conceived the idea of actually taking the description of one of Trout's books provided by Vonnegut and writing the novel.

With Vonnegut's approval Farmer wrote Venus on the Half-Shell, which was then published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Due to an unfortunate series of events, Vonnegut later withdrew his permission for the use of the Trout name, so no more Kilgore Trout books will be appearing.

However, it was revealed that Simon Wagstaff, the hero of Venus, has his own favorite science fiction writer, Jonathon Swift Somers III. By a strange coincidence, A Scarletin Study, by Mr. Somers, was recently published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. In addition, Ralph von Wau Wau, hero of A Scarletin Study has his own favorite science fiction writer, whose work will soon be published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction...

I am indebted for this information to Mr. Farmer himself, who appeared on a panel for the May 13 session of Ten Tuesdays Down a Rabbit Hole, the University Extension science fiction class. Chalk up another one, Mr. Farmer.

Mayer A. Brenner



We've been had. It seems Venus on the Half-Shell, reviewed last week in this section, was in reality not written by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., but by Phillip Jose Farmer, author of four science fiction novels. Farmer, with Vonnegut's permission, wrote under the pseudonym, "Kilgore Trout," one of the principle characters in Vonnegut's latest book, Breakfast of Champions. Vonnegut subsequently revoked that permission.

It was a good hoax. It worked. Beyond the (now) obvious mimicking of Vonnegut's style and themes, Farmer got help in the form of some very deceptive promotional material. Furthermore, it seems that the book's sales are dependant on upon the association of "Kilgore Trout" with Kurt Vonnegut.

But not wishing to spoil a good joke (even one at our own expense), we'd like to restate our opinion that Venus on the Half-Shell, in its own right, is well worth reading. Reviewer Steve Ainsworth, last seen hitchhiking north on the Ventura Freeway in search of a large rock to crawl under, maintains it's one of the best books Farmer ever wrote. By the way, hemlock tastes lousy.

(I usually don't comment on reviews and I can even tolerate their misspelling Philip, but to say that he is the "author of four science fiction books" is a bit much. By the time VENUS came out he had published; one mainstream novel, one anthology, two biographies, five short story collections, thirty science fiction novels and won three Hugo awards! And they make it sound like no one had ever heard of Farmer, when he had been a guest speaker on campus the week before. - Mike)

Locus #175, June 24 1975

(Dell 6149, Feb., 204pp.) This picaresque novel is from Trout' most fertile period when book after book spurted from his potent pen. His rediscovery is as important to the field of the Seventies as was the rediscovery of Frederick R. Ewing in the Fifties. Just as Ewing affected the writing of Sturgeon and others, Trout is the main influence on Farmer, Vonnegut, and others. The writing is gee-whiz pulp Thirtie, of course, the plot is hackneyed and the characters cardboard, but Trout's marvelous personality shines through. The cover by Cadino fits the book perfectly.

Galaxy, January 1976

(Dell, 204p., 95¢) Venus on the Half Shell allegedly by Kilgore Trout—I picked this up on the stands out of amused curiosity, but I'm glad it was Galaxy's money I spent on it. Pfeh. The funniest thing about it is the picture of "Kilgore Trout" on the back cover, and you can have that for free. I'm not sure, but I believe I heard somewhere that this was ghosted by Philip Jose Farmer [It was.—Ed] but perhaps I have my hoaxes mixed, and I'd hate to pin this on anybody without proof. The copyright credit goes to Scott Meredith Literary Agency, and so they deserve all the scorn and contempt thereunto appertaining, I guess. Well worth missing—first recipient of the Galxative, a monthly award for reverse excellence, which I hereby initiate as a regular feature. Shaped like a barbed-wire suppository it will stand for all that is rotten in SF—and there ain't nothin' in the rules says there can't be more than one a month. (Spider Robinson)

SF&F Newsletter #11/12, September 1976
Eastern News, September 22, 1978

(Dell Publishing Co., paperback $1.95 204 pages) Science fiction fans are in for an unusual and bizarre surprise when they pick up Kilgore Trout's "Venus on the Half-Shell." Who is Kilgore Trout and what does "Venus on the Half-Shell" mean?

Both questions are hard to answer, but a clue to Trout's genius (or possibly to his eccentricity) is given in the biographical sketch at the beginning of the book.

As of 1974, Kilgore Trout has written 117 novels and 2,000 short stories. Yet until recently he was little known. This regrettable situation is due to Trout's extreme reclusivity and his indifference to the publication of his stories.

"He was ill-advised in his choice of publishers, the chief one, World Classics Library, being a firm specializing in pornographic novels and magazines. This ensured that his works would be distributed only to stores specializing in this genre.

"Yet Trout's work, with one exception, contained no explicitly erotic content. Without Trout's permission or knowledge, World Classics Library put lurid covers on his novels and used his short stories as fillers in 'girlie' magazines."

At last this dilemma has been corrected. "Venus on the Half-Shell" is now available in paperback from Dell, destined to become one of the science-fiction classics of the 20th century.

What makes a book a sf classic? "Venus" is not only a science-fiction epic of the most incredible proportions, but it is also a satiric-fantasy, a clever parody of its own genre. Trout has mastered the fine points of science-fiction writing (such as making up fantastic names and creating even more fantastic creatures), and his "strange new worlds" are truly strange and new even to the most seasoned of sf readers.

What trout has going for him is a touch of insanity coupled with an imaginative sense of humor, a combination which adds a new twist (warp?) to the science-fiction scene in the story of Simon Wagstaff, the Space Wanderer, hero of "Venus on the Half-Shell."

Simon's story is basically a classic one: the quest for Truth is the central theme and motive of his wanderings. And Simon's main question (the answer to which is the central object of his search) is this: "Why are we created only to suffer and die?"

Philosophy students will recognize this as a (if not the) basic question of philosophy, and one to which there is not (as yet) a final answer. Therefore, Simon's is a search one without end.

However, this problem is overcome on the planet of Shaltoon, where Simon, (along with his pet dog Anubis and his pet owl Athena), imbibes the elixir of immortality, enabling him to pursue his goal for as long as it takes.

Along the way Simon encounters a planet of pyramid-and-zeppelin like creatures, recalls the works of Jonathan Swift Somers III (a crazed sf writer whose plots are even wilder than Trout's), and makes a pilgrimage to the castle of Mofeislop, the mad sage of Dokal.

In the final analysis, Simon Wagstaff's story is more than just a mad flight through galactic and intergalactic space.

It is a story of basic human drives and universal values: the presence of beer and sex (in various forms) throughout the universe and the ubiquitousness of philosophical inquiry show that Trout is concerned not only with fantasy and humor, but also, as a student of life, (terrestrial and extraterrestrial), with Truth.

Afternote: Readers of Kurt Vonnegut may recognize the character Kilgore Trout as an invented personality from the pages of "Slaughterhouse Five" and "God Bless You Eliot Rosewater."

But Trout's book, "Venus on the Half-Shell" is a real book published by Dell Paperbacks on real paper. As to the identity of the author (whether or not there really is a Kilgore Trout, or, if not, who is using his name and why), the FBI and the LIMPF (League for the Improvement of Mass Produced Fiction) are investigation. (Robert Welsh)

Amazing Stories, November 27, 2013
Science Fiction Review Monthly #14, April 1976

(DAW, $1.95, Original) Leave it to Philip Jose Farmer to collaborate with two dead Frenchmen.

With Farmer's well known penchant for work that makes the fictitious real (the Tarzan and Doc Savage biographies, the novel by "Kilgore Trout"), it's hardly surprising to find him now capable of making the real appear fictitious. Who ever heard of J.H. Rosny? But alas, Rosny was the collective pseudonym of two brothers, Joseph-Henri Boex and Justin Boex, who wrote a number of novels jointly between 1886 and 1928, many on themes now claimed to belong properly to science fiction. The brothers also wrote individually: Joseph as Rosny aine and Justin as Rosny jeune. Over the years, many French critics have speculated that Rosny aine may be of equal importance in the development of French science fiction to the more popular figure, Jules Verne. To date, little of their work has been found in English.

Ironcastle, Eyimah in French, was first published in France in 1895; it was contemporary with the work of Verne, Doyle, Wells, and Haggard, and somewhat earlier than Burroughs. Hareton Ironcastle, himself, is an American explorer who travels with some close male friends and a quite voluptuous daughter to a hidden and nearly inaccessible part of Africa, a veritable Lost-World-That-Time-Forgot. There are intelligent great apes, evil and cunning Stunted Men, hostile natives, the de rigueur exotic and extinct animal life, and strange intelligent plant life. It is difficult to disavow that notion that Rosny "borrowed" from Doyle, Haggard, or Burroughs, but this is quite literally impossible, and in fact, the opposite may be true.

But this Ironcastle is not a "translation", it is a "collaboration", and one cannot be certain where Rosny ends and Farmer begins. The novel is similar enough to other work by Rosny (see "Another World" translated by Damon Knight in A Century of Science Fiction); but it is also strikingly like much of Farmer's work. Part of Farmer's value as an author is his clever use and re-use of literary devices which reach us on an archetypal-mythic level, and Ironcastle is more than the relatively simple and manifest adventure yarn on first encounters; it is a potpourri of symbol and archetype. But is it Farmer's or Rosny's?

There's a Ph.D. in Ironcastle, somewhere; but for the general reader, it's an exciting story, full of surprises. (L.J. Knapp)

Captain George's Penny Dreadful #392, 1976

(Daw $1.95) Technically this is a novel written by Rosny and originally published in Paris in 1922; the credit reads, "translated and retold in English by Philip Jose Farmer." Obviously there is more in the retelling than any straight translation. For one thing, I doubt that Rosny in 1922 included reference to "the well-known surgeon and explorer, Dr. Savage"--one of Farmer's notable literary hobby-horses.

What Farmer has done is to rediscover the once popular fantasist who was a contemporary of Verne, Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Only one of Rosny's books (a 1909 caveman story) is still in print in English so this retelling of a lost race adventure in the heart of Haggard's Africa should be of interest to scholars as well of fans of Verne, Burroughs or Haggard.

Ironcastle is a Tarzanic adventure novel which culminates with the discovery of an awesome extraterrestrial life form buried in the heart of the jungle. It comes complete with some delightfully old-fashioned illustrations by Roy Krenkel and chapter headings such as, "The Wild Cavern," "Stunted Men and Goura-Zankkas," "The Unrelenting Night," and "In the bowels of the Earth." What more could you ask for? (Don Hutchinson)

Library Journal, May 15 1976

Farmer retells Rosny's classic tale of adventure set in the "darkest Africa" of the 1920's. A troupe led by intrepid explorer Hareton Ironcastle sets off to join naturalist Samuel Darnley, who has reported discovery of warm-blooded reptiles and sentient plants. This familiar cast overcomes tribes of hostile natives, the abduction of Ironcastle's daughter, exotic wild beasts, and hypnotic plants, and eventually meets Darnley, who has discovered the secret of the strange manifestations in the jungle. A real treat for fans of Burroughs and Haggard. (Marjorie L. Peffers)

Locus #190, June 30 1976

(DAW UY1225, 175 pp., 1.25) A translation and "retelling" by Farmer of a 1923 French Tarzanlike adventure by Rosny. Cover is a mnior effort by Krenkel.

The Diversifier #19, March 1977

(DAW, with J.H. Rosny $1.25)(This review begins with FLIGHT TO OPAR)

I wish the problems of IRONCASTLE were that minor. Unfortunately, they are not. This novel is Farmer's rewrite of a 1922 story by J.H. Rosny, blurbed as "the Burroughs of France". Now Burroughs was never known as a literary stylist. Compared to Rosny, though, ERB looks like Shakespeare.

If IRONCASTLE had also a story to tell, the bad writing wouldn't have made that much difference. Good story-telling has been the saving grace of more than one bad writer. Not this time, though.

IRONCASTLE is the name of the lead character, a gentleman-explorer who learns that a friend of his has become lost in an unexplored section of Africa. A garbled report from the friend hints of such strange things as furred, warm-blooded reptiles, Neanderthal men, serpent-men, and sentient plants. All this could have been the basis for a good old-fashioned adventure yarn, but it fails, despite whatever help Farmer attempted to give it. None of the plot-elements connect in any meaningful way.

The story revolves around Ironcastle's expedition to rescue his lost friend. The expedition consists of the usual jungle-story stereotypes; Ironcastle's beautiful-but-head-strong niece; her wealthy, foppish boyfriend, the Uncle Tom chief of the bearers, etc. There is also Sydney Guthrie, a 6-foot-6 giant of a man who performs feats of strength and derring-do worthy of Tarzan. Where Guthrie got his superhuman strength is unexplained.

The climax of the story is pretty unusual, and I would guess more suitable to Farmer than to Rosny. I won't give it away but it's at least as inventive as Burroughs' successive-evolution concept of the Caspak series. However, the climax fails to tie in well with an already disjointed story.

Even Roy Krenkel bats only .500 in these two books. His interiors for FLIGHT TO OPAR were terrific, but he fell down as badly as Farmer did in IRONCASTLE. For example, FARMER includes the recent scienctific hypothesis that some dinosaurs may have been warm-blooded and covered with hair. This idea has interesting possibilities but Krenkel makes the creatures look like crocodiles wearing fright-wigs!

In short, one book is as bad as the other is good. Buy selectively. (Charles Saunders)

Captain George's Penny Dreadful #392, 1976

(Daw $1.95) The distinguished critic Leslie Fiedler has faulted science fiction for failing to live up to its mythmaking potential. Smal wonder that Fiedler is an avowed fan of Phil Farmer, one of the true mythmakers in modern sf.

In his "biographies" of Lord Greystoke and Doc Savage, Farmer displayed his understanding of the nature and importance of mythmaking and of the archetypal hero. In this new series he employs that understanding to great advantage. With the permission of Hulbert Burroughs (Ed's son) he has returned to Burrough's lost city of Opar some 12,000 years before Tarzan, when the Atlantean Opar was in its prime and vast inland seas stood where only the Sahara is now. But the Hadon series is no mere pastiche of a dead writer's work; it is an original, complex, highly detailed example of fictional history.

For all his alleged stylistic crudities (something on which jios critics seem fixated) Burroughs had few if any peers when it came to writing rousing action scenes. Farmer does not attempt to compete on that level. Instead, he gives us a rich, realistic tapestry of a dead time and place which could easily pass as a thoroughly researched historical novel.

Like most of Farmer's heroes (and unlike most others in this limited sub-genre) Hadon emerges as a fully realized individual who is mortal enough to keep the action suspensful. As a plus, there are more of those delightful Krenkel sketches, and each book ends in a cliffhanger. Recommended for the young in heart who are old enough to require a little substance with their escapism. (Don Hutchison)

Publisher's Weekly, May 10 1976

Tarzan had a high old time in quest of the jewels of the lost African Empire of Opar, and Farmer has a higher one with his saga of what the place was like 12,000 years ago. Readers who have encountered Hadon of Opar and his Lalila in the previous book in the series, and mean to read the next one, will get the most out of this, which, taken on its own, has a number of loose threads. But there is enough gore, pulp-style sex, monsters, action and sardonic byplay to keep heroic-fantasy fans happy.

Erbania 38, Spring 1976

(Daw Books, 212 pages $1.50) The second book of the Chronicles of Opar opens with the sounds of creaking and grating---; the long unused muscles and joints of Hadon of Opar comes to life. After leaning upon his sword awaiting death for over two years he must again contend with the minions of Minruth in trying to save Lalila, Abeth and Awineth. His long wait must have weakened his resolve; the blood feeding oxygen to his brain slowed hi intellect. He spends much time trying to figure out ways of abandoning Lalila.

This does not sound like the Hadon from the first volume but after much running around and strenous excercise is blood seems to be flowing again and his thoughts not so sluggish. He gives in to deeds of heroism but, possibly because he has aged, he still reflects on the psychology of life and sometimes we get the feeling Hadon wonders if it is all worth while.

These words, written with evident tongue-in-cheek, might give rise to speculation that I did not enjoy this book. Nothing could be further from the truth. It does not live up to the first book in the series but I feel that the reason is that Phil became more interested in the life and setting of the novel than the further development of Hadon as a hero of heroic fiction. This does not detract that much from the story because the action is, most times, fast and furious and the topography and the detailing of the various races which they come across extremely interesting. Especially the K'ud''em'o, the people of the sea otter who build rafts a mile and a half long and half a mile wide with which to ply the sea.

We are also introduced to the four year old son of Hadon by a temple priestess, Klyhy. His name is Kohr--which gives rise to the speculation that he may become the founder of the city of Kor, ruled over in later years by she-who-must-be-obeyed.

Hadon finally wins his way back to Opar with Lalila, Pag and the rest of his companions and upon closing the book one hopes that we do not have another two year wait for the third volume. One very interesting development happens in chapter 13. hadon comes face to face with Sahhindar the Time Lord. I had been lead to believe that although would figure prominately in these Chronicles it would be as an off-stage actor. It would appear that Phil has revised his thoughts in this matter and I, for one, am very pleased.

The book contains eleven pen & ink sketches by Roy Krenkel which vary in quality. Two of especial note are those on pages 5 and 36. I am sorry to report that the cover painting is not particularly noteworthy Krenkel has and can do better. (Robert Barrett)

The Science Fiction Review Monthly #16, June 1976

(Original DAW, $1.50) {This review is continued from HADON OF ANCIENT OPAR} Flight To Opar opens with the soldiers close behind. Hadon's hard fought victory heralds a second round of adventure with night sea journies, mysteries, hints of magic, secret religious rites, blasphemy, and a climactic Father Atonement when Hadon commits regicide by killing the city-king of Opar. In doing so, Hadon makes his de rigeur visit to the underground and falls into a stygian pool of meateating, blind cave-fish. The story, of course, is to be continued.

Brief and sketchy plot summaries rarely sound as rewarding as the total work they are intended to describe, but as Campbell points out in his Hero With A Thousand Faces, "The changes rung on the simple scale of the monomyth defy description." The changes Farmer has made are both entertaining for a quick read, rewarding on closer examination, and revealing under real explication. (L.J. Knapp)

Science Fiction Review #19, August 1976
SF&F Newsletter #10, September 1976
SF Booklog #12, November/December 1976
Delap's F&SF Review, January 1977
The Diversifier #19, March 1977

(DAW, $1.50) Phillip Jose Farmer is the most audacious science fiction writer around today. Now, I didn't say the best....just the most audacious. Not even Harlan Ellison has managed to pull off such an outrageous list of coups as:

(1) Successfully posing as Kilgore Trout in VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL: (2) Turning the idea of the Resurrection into a science fiction classic, the RIVERWORLD series, featuring such notables as Sir Richard Burton, Samuel Clemens, and Herman Goring: (3) Produce a geneology that "proves" that Tarzan, Sherlock Holmes, and Doc Savage are real people who share the same family tree: (4) Advance the hypothesis that our so-called "expanding universe" is really a mockup created by superscientific interdimentional "Lords" in the Wolff-Jadawin series.

Somehow Farmer has managed to get away with all these things while picking up a Hugo along the way. Recently he has turned his hand to pastiches of Edgar Rice Burroughs. In his latest offerings in this vein, Farmer tills the alluvial soil of African adventure first turned by H. Rider Haggard and subsequently well-plowed by Burroughs. Farmer's results are ambivalent: FLIGHT TO OPAR is very good, while IRONCASTLE is very bad.

FLIGHT is the second volume in the Ancient Opar series, in which Farmer recreates a prehistoric Caucasian civilization in what is now the Sahara and Central Africa. A world-builder par excellence, Farmer has taken a few strands from the Opar of the Tarzan series and woven a cultural and linguistic tapestry far beyond anything Burroughs ever did with the idea. Despite the claims of the inside front cover blurb, FLIGHT is not written "in the style of the master, ERB". On the contrary, Farmer is the master of his own style.

The events of FLIGHT commence immediately from the end of HADON OF ANCIENT OPAR, the first novel of the series. The hero Hadon and the enigmatic Lalila mange to escape the forces of Minruth, emperor of Khokarsa (the ancient civilization of which Opar is a part), only to end up rather reluctantly in the service of Awineth, Khokarsa's fugitive queen. Awineth and Lalila each continue their rivalry over the affections of Hadon, each having a legitimate claim.

To preserve the life of Lalila, Hadon must fight on the side of the queen in a war based partly on sectarian strife and partly on sexual politics. Farmer shows great skill in weaving these basically modern concepts into his narrative without falling into the danger of anachronism...though the Sergeant Bilko-style slang used by Khokarsan military types sometimes sounds out of place in the world of 10,000 B.C. An interesting sidelight is the ingenious use Farmer makes of a well known Burroughs character whose Khokarsa name is "Sahhindar", but whose real name is a thinly-veiled secret.

After some absorbing adventures, Hadon and Lalila wind up in Opar, Hadon's home town. There Lalila gives birth to a girl-child christened with and familiar and incredible name, which provides the book for the next Ancient Opar novel.

This book is excellent fantasy/adventure, partly because Farmer chooses not to simply imitate Burroughs but to create his own interpretation of a few clues left by ERB. To some FLIGHT might seem top-heavy with cultural detail, but then few fantasy worlds have been better constructed than Khokarsa.

My only quibble with FLIGHT lies not with the text itself but with the content of the inside front-cover blurb. In large bold-face type it declaims; "Twelve thousand years ago Africa is not the continent we know now, a land of waterless wastes, infested jungles, and primative villages". Surely the writer of the blurb realizes that there is more to Africa than what he describes. Are Lagos or Nairobi "primative villages"? Is this type of subtle slur really necessary to advertise so excellent a book as FLIGHT TO OPAR?

(for the rest of this review, please see IRONCASTLE)

Paperback Parlour, December 1977
Moebius Trip, December 1977

(DAW Books, #197/VW1238; x+212p; $1.50) FLIGHT TO OPAR is the second volume in Farmer's history of Hadon of Opar (the first being HADON OF ANCIENT OPAR) and picks up exactly where the first left off.

Divergence one: that first volume dealt with the 19-year-old Hadon's victory in the Great Games at Khokarsa and subsequent deprival of the crown and hand of Awineth by the actions on Minruth. Hadon is sent on a wild goose chase for three people who have seen the time-travelling god, Sahhindar, but he succeeds; his return and subsequent escape with Awinethand the rest of his party forces Minruth's hand.

Thus the second novel opens with the kingdom in a revolutionary period as the followers of the Sun God, Resu, try to supplant the goddess Kho and the matriarchal system which places the real power in the hands of the priestesses of Kho rather than with the kings. Hadon has remained behind Queen Aniweth and her fleeing party with the injured woman he loves, Lalila. He hopes to gain time for them by holding a pass.

This ending of the first novel ("He leaned on his sword and waited") is ideal: a proud ending for a hero repeatedly thwarted of everything except honor, if another book were never written; yet an ending which begs for a sequel.

After his valiant stand at the pass, Hadon must attempt to consolidate his party once more and to secure the position of his queen, Awineth; this is the subject of the first section of the book. The rest of it concerns Hadon's flight to Opar so that Lalila may have her child there.

Farmer has woven an exciting narrative which suffers only the most occasional element of boredom. Hadon is a well-drawn character who dominates in spite of the spectacle and the supporting characters do not suffer in comparison — not even the walk-on appearance of a familiar face in chapter 14.

There is sufficient detail and background to make the story enjoyable without having read the first book.

Okay, I've given the novel 'excellents' for plot and character: the next question is, 'Does it mean anything?' Like ZORBA THE GREEK or Homer's ODYSSEY or THE ROOTS OF HEAVEN? My immediate reaction is to answer 'no', but lets keep the question in mind a moment more.

Divergence two: The "Hadon" series represents adoption of Burroughs territory. Allowing for the fact that the Tarzan books are virtually my only weekness in Burroughs' output, how does the Farmer product compare with Burroughs? First of all, there is no problem with mistaken identity: Farmer isn't Burroughs and the two write differently. There is also definitely a greater verisimilitude with Farmer's characters: Hadon particularly, changes far more than any of ERB's characters (appropriately, since the period described ranges from the hero's 19th to 25th year, when a certain amount of maturation is to be expected). Farmer's heros are also more likely to deviate from socialized codes of behavior than Burroughs'. (The defense of the pass at the beginning of FLIGHT is a case in point; ERB's hero wouldn't have broken the code.)

But we have still the same intricate attention to social customs, ritual, and detail that was one of the great strengths of ERB's writing. There is not just the detail of adventure (Joe Millard does a nice job of this for the "Man With No Name" westerns), but the distinctive flavor of the exotic permeating these words as they marbled ERB's. To what extent Farmer has adopted the Master's descriptions and what he has created himself, I do not know. It doesn't matter. The society that forms the background for these adventures is alive and plausible; it exists just around the corner for all its strangeness.

Partway through the Great Games (HADON OF ANCIENT OPAR), I was ready to swear I was reading ERB, though certain touches rendered the theory impossible. Which brings us to:

Diversion three: I asked above if there was anything 'serious', anything 'literary' about this and said that my immediate reaction was that there was not. But then I said that Farmer recaptured the mood of ERB at times. I cannot estimate the full effect of Burroughs on my own attitudes, but I learned much from him. Some I have had to throw off, while other attitudes seem wholly honorable approaches to life. Perhaps there is some confusion with the impact of Homer's ODYSSEY, clearly the most important book in my own psychological make up. That latter work, though, is nothing if it is not a documentation of a culture and its values and of coming-of-age in that culture. If we allow for the fictitious origins of the Oparian society Farmer writes about, the description above describes this work well.

I wonder if Homer's contemporaries felt he had a masterpiece on his hands, or if they just regarded it as I might regard this work (allowing for its origins of course). Are we, as SF readers, seeing them created in our midst for cultures which never exisited outside one man's mind? (How else do you describe THE DEMOLISHED MAN or LAST AND FIRST MEN?) Or are we seeing the ODYSSEYS of the 20th Century etched here as surely as they are in the works of Nikos Kazantzakis or the bloody symphonic conflicts of Carl Nielson and Dimitri Shostakovich? (Don Ayres)

Publishers Weekly, July 25 1977

(Berkley/Putnam) The third in the massive Riverworld series, with a cast of literally everybody who ever lived, resurrected on a planet dominated by a giant river. As before, the principals are Samuel L. Clemens and Richard Burton (the explorer, not the actor) with Clemens pursuing King John and his stolen riverboat, and Burton seeking to join John and find his way to the end of the river and the secret of the Immortals who have contrived the whole setup. Tom Mix, Jack London, Cyrano do Bergerac and Alice Liddell (Lewis Carroll's inspiration) also figure in the action. A dirigible, a hot-air balloon, and riverboats bring most of the characters together in a catastrophe that ends the book, but evidently not the series. Some threads in the design are loose or overknotted, but the dash and grand scope of the project and this installment of it are compellingly fascinating.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15 1977

(Berkley/Putnam) Farmer's Riverworld series (To Your Scattered Bodies Go; The Fabulous Riverboat) may come to an end some day, but at one point in the present installment the figure of twelve is mentioned as the minimum number of books necessary to do justice to the whole scheme. Oh, dear. Certainly the premise is an infinitely usable one: practically every human being born between 2,000,000 B.C. and 2008 A.D. has reawakened as a healthy 25-year-old on an unknown planet that appears to consist of one enormous, tortuous river valley walled by impassable cliffs. The present volume continues the Riverworlders' efforts to conquer the benevolent (or perhaps not so benevolent) prison of the River and the valley. Sam Clemens is still commanding his second riverboat and plotting revenge on King John, who stole the first. A dirigible party including Cyrano de Bergerac is planning an expedition to the legendary stronghold of the planet's unseen masters at the North Pole. Another riverboat crew, headed by Jack London and Tom Mix under noms de guerre, manages to graduate to balloon flight. A few select individuals ponder a mysterious communication to the effect that the entire Riverworld is part of a cruel and cynical scientific experiment. Is it possible that such materials could be boring? Yes, given Farmer's shaky command of English grammar, tin ear for stylistic effects, and general insensitivity to the shape of a narrative. Enough already.

Library Journal, September 15 1977

(Berkley/Putnam) In this third volume of the "Riverworld Series," Farmer's motley crew of historical figures continues to steer its way along a fantastically long river in search of both the river's source and some explanation of the strange "afterlife" which has been granted to humanity. Unfortunately, in the tradition of much pulp sf, Farmer is more concerned with his gimmicks than with their implications. Much more could be done with the clever idea of sending such personalities as Samuel Clemens, Cyrano de Bergerac, and a 20th-Century feminist called Jill Gulbirra on a common journey through an extraordinary world. Richard Burton (the 19th-Century explorer renowned for his quest for the Nile's headwaters and his eccentric translation of The Arabian Nights) also makes an appearance. Recommended with hesitation to libraries that own the first two "Riverworld" volumes; otherwise not recommended. (Rosemary Herbert)

Booklist, October 1 1977

(Berkley/Putnam) The third, but not the last, in Farmer's immensely popular Riverworld series continues the adventures of explorer Sir Richard Burton, Mark Twain, and scores of others who are resurrected along the banks of the multimillion-mile-long River, one of the most imaginative worlds to be found in science fiction. In dirigibles and riverboats, through heroism and treachery, a band of restless explorers attains the headwaters home of the mysterious Ethicals, who apparently are responsible for creating the Riverworld and resurrecting its confused populace. Though enthusiasm sometimes runs the narrative aground, the excitement and imagination sail blithely on. The previous volumes in the series are The Fabulous Riverboat (Booklist 65:649 Ap 1 72) and To Your Scattered Bodies Go (Booklist 68:649 Ap 1 72). (Dan Miller)

Locus #206, November 1977

Books Received: (Berkley/Putnam 399-12031-9, 412pp, $9.95 hc) Original novel - Third book in the "Riverworld" series. It isn't complete though, and there will be at least a fourth one. For all its length, nothing much happens in this one.

School Library Journal, November 1977

(Berkley/Putnam) Not the end of the Riverworld series, this follows the premise set in the provocative To Your Scattered Bodies Go and The Fabulous Riverboat (both Putnam, 1971). Everyone who ever lived, including some of Farmer's fondest heroes from the earlier books (Samuel Clemens, Cyrano de Bergerac, Ulysses) finds himself suddenly resurrected on an unknown planet. In this installment there is more mystery, sabotage, death (it has returned), double dealing, and revenge. The plot thickens until at times it is a mire; however, while this novel does not live up to the high quality of its predecessors, no fan of Farmer's will want to miss it. (Ellen Sisco)

Science Fiction Review #23, November 1977

(Putnam, hardcover, 1977) (From "the Alter-Ego Viewpoint")

"I guess you want me to review a couple books, huh?"

Yes. That would be the thing to do in this space.

"Okay, line them up and I'll knock them down."

The first is the long-awaited third (but not final) volume of the Riverworld series by Philip Jose Farmer. I noticed, Alter, that it took you weeks to finish the book. Howcum?

"Geis, you forgot to mention that the title of the third volume is THE DARK DESIGN."

Sorry. Your opinion of it?

"Oh, shit. Phil Farmer got self-indulgent and thought he should introduce a lot of new minor characters and follow three interwoven plots and make these characters "deep"... especially a woman name of Jill Gulbirra."

Nothing wrong with characterization, Alter.

"Of course not. Except Phil is no great shakes at it and his attempts in this book only slow the pace to a crawl and are in the category of ho-hum and so-what. All his characters are virtually indistinguishable anyway. So much so that I couldn't keep Frigate and Mark Twain and Burton straight in my mind as he switched from plot-line to plot-line."

He also had to repeat himself a lot, reminding readers of past event.

"That's always a problem with writing saga novels like this. New readers have to be brought up to date and old readers reminded of what happened in the previous two books. Look what has happened to Roger Zelazny in his Amber series. A disaster. At least Roger's Amber novels are short. This one of Phil's runs around 190,000 words and all it is is a setting of the stage for the final revelations/confrontations between humanity and the Ethicals who have set up and run the Riverworld planet."

That's your summing up?

"Yeah. At $9.95 this volume is not what it is supposed to be, and it is a disappointment. It is published now in hardback by Putnam's and will appear later in paperback by Berkley." (Richard E. Geis and his Alter-Ego)

Analog, December 1977

(Berkley/Putnam's, 416 pp., $9.95) Of Time and the River: To end the suspense that seems to have plagued a great many readers, let me announce at once that the third Riverworld novel has finally been published! This is The Dark Design by Philip José Farmer.

A lot of time has passed since the first two books in this series first appeared in 1971. During the years since then, I have received quite a few inquiries from readers about various things connected with science fiction—not to mention some on astral projection, religion, and other related subjects! By rough estimate, eighty percent of those ask, "When will the next Riverworld novel appear?"

Or at least, that's the way the question was phrased at first. Later, the queries were simplified to the less hopeful, "Will the next Riverworld novel ever appear?"

I could get no definite answer, even from the author. While time went by, everything was in abeyance. Apparently there was some disagreement between publisher and author on how the rest of the story was to be done. As I gathered, the publisher was unwilling to continue the series in the length that Farmer felt he needed. (This disagreement, incidentally, had nothing to do with the present editor for the publisher.) I found such reluctance hard to understand; most publishers who find themselves with a successful series are delighted to keep it going as long as they can. But at any rate, six long years went by without the third book seeing print.

Ordinarily, after so much time, public interest begins to die down and readers forget. But that certainly wasn't the case this time, judging by the inquiries I received and comments from book sellers who were still finding a continually increasing demand for the book.

Perhaps something like the long delay should have been expected. The whole history of the story of the Riverworld is one of delay, difficulty, and bitter defeat for the author's hopes.

It all began in 1953, almost a quarter century ago. Shasta Publishers was running a contest for the best new novel submitted, offering $1000 of their own money and $3000 from Pocket Books for the paperback rights. This was a princely sum for a science fiction novel in those days.

At that time, Farmer was just establishing himself as a major writer, one with quite unusual ideas. For the contest, he came up with the idea of having all humanity—everyone who had ever lived and died—resurrected along the banks of an enormous river on an obviously artificial world; how they got there the resurectees could not guess, except for Richard Burton, who had caught a glimpse of what went on behind the scenes.

The boldness of the concept and the drama of Burton's search for the truth behind the resurrection were detailed in a novel of about 100,000 words. The novel won the contest, with much publicity and much promises of early publication. (This original version was entitled I Owe for the Flesh.)

Then the publisher began stalling, claiming that the novel had to be rewritten to please the editors at Pocket Books. Farmer rewrote the novel twice, and still did not receive his money. Then he learned that Pocket Books had eccepted the book as it was and had paid in full to Shasta long before. None of this money ever reached Farmer, since Shasta collapsed. The book remained unpublished. And Farmer, who had naturally counted heavily on the money due him, was forced to abandon his writing career and get a regular job.

This is probably the ugliest event in the history of science fiction.

Twelve years later, some of the story received publication in a changed form. Fred Pohl was editing the Galaxy Publications, and he read the book and suggested that Farmer turn it into a series of novelettes which he could publish. (At one time, I actually had the original manuscript in my hands; I picked it up from the office to take it to Pohl at his home. But, damn it, I didn't realize what I had, so I didn't sneak a chance to read it.) A lot of time had passed and Farmer had more ideas to add to the original, so the new series grew to be longer than the original novel. Then he recast the novelettes into two books, which were finally published as To Your Scattered Bodies Go (which won Farmer a much-deserved Hugo) and The Fabulous Riverboat, the second centered about Mark Twain's efforts to build a steamboat to navigate the river. But the solution to the mystery behind the Riverworld was still to be settled in later work.

Then, unfortunately, came the impasse between Farmer and his publisher, while readers apparently waited with very little patience.

Well, The Dark Design is finally with us. It's a much longer book than the previous two—nearly as long as both of those together—and brings the total wordage up to about three times that of the first version. And it still doesn't tell us the promised secret of the Ethicals and what lies behind the whole concept of the Riverworld! There's more to come.

This is a more complex book than the previous ones. The first dealt with Richard Burton, the second with Mark Twain. This new volume deals with both of them, while also introducing a number of new characters who must work out their strange destiny. And there is a rather strange hiatus between events that we saw before and the beginning of the new book. Much time has passed. It is now more than 30 years after the first day of resurrection. And one of the major features of life along the River has changed.

Previously, whenever anyone who had been revived was killed in the numerous fights or accidents during the early years, he was again resurrected somewhere else along the ten-million-mile length of the river. Now this no longer seems to be the case; death, it is believed, is final. Burton, who has used "the suicide express" to cover most of the River, must now guard his life as carefully as any normal man back in the days of Earth. He has returned to the group with whom he began his trip and is now continuing down the river in a boat.

Meantime, Sam Clemens has departed. At the end of the second book, he'd just finished his first riverboat, to have it stolen by wiley King John. But in the intervening years, apparently he has mananged to construct his second boat, the Mark Twain, and to take off down the river in pursuit of his betrayer.

Twain's "colony" at Parolando where the technology to build the boats was developed, is now in the hands of man named Firebrass, who apparently died in 1984. There he has been joined ny Cyran de Bergerac, among others. And there comes Jill Gulbirra, who plays a central part, and who died in 1983.

Watch those dates, incidentally, when you read the book. And don't axpect to find out exactly why you should watch them! But there's something strange going on. Burton had apparently discovered that Earth was destroyed sometime after the year 2000. But, while the population kept increasing and there should be hordes who died towards the end, there seems to be a shortage of people who died after 1983; and among those who gave dates after that for their demise, some at least are suspicious characters.

Among other new characters who are important to this novels are Jack London and Tom Mix. They are joined by Peter Jarius Frigate, another major character. He appeared as a companion of Burton at the very beginning—or someone with that name did. But hold onto your hat.

Frigate is with Burton—has been for many years—on his current trip down the River. And things grow suspicious suddenly; Frigate disappears from Burton's company as a result in 32 A.R.D. (After Resurrection Day). But Frigate—or a man with that name, Peter Jarius Frigate—joins with London and Mix in 7 A.R.D. In the past, he was apparently a writer, one who had written a great deal of science fiction. To belabor what seems obvious, you might check his initials against those of the author of the book. Anyhow, he seems to be two characters, one of whom is probably a real person.

Complicated? That's only the beginning, folks. Obviously, there's a lot more to what goes on in the Riverworld than has shown in the first two books. (If nothing else, the character who appears at the very end of this book is evidence that there is a great deal more to come about which we—and Burton, among others—know very little yet.)

The first book dealt with Burton, who tried to reach the end of this twisting and redoubling River by committing suicide or being killed and then being resurrected—hoping in one return to life to be near the River's end. The second dealt with Sam Clemens-Mark Twain who wanted to reach the end of the river by building a riverboat and steaming downstream. This book details a different approach to reaching the goal, and a more logical one.

The River is about ten million miles long, which would make for quite a voyage. But since it loops back and forth in great horseshoe bends, the distance across it to the source is measured in only thousands of miles. Obviously, the sensible course must be by air. (Overland travel is impossible because all the river is embanked in impassable mountains.)

So Firebrass and his crew at Parolando are now building a zeppelin that will make the Hindenburg look like small stuff indeed. It's the logical solution to the problem of reaching the headquarters of whatever group lies behind all the things going on, of course.

And despite strange betrayals and stranger confusions as to who is and who is not trustworthy, the airship works. I'm not giving away anything when I tell you that Firebrass and his crew do reach their goal. Let's say simply that they don't find yet what they are seeking, exactly. And there's a lot more to the book than their trip.

If Farmer knows what's behind all this, he must be having a marvelous time confusing us with it. (After all this time, I'm pretty sure he knows exactly what goes on; if not, I may strangle him before the other readers can!) And so far, I think the readers will have a marvelous time being delighted and confused by his inventions.

I have a number of reservations. I rather resent having Sam Clemens left without a ship in the second book and finding him happily cruising down the River in the third—having completed his second boat offstage. I wish the second book had been long enough to show him at least making a good start toward building the next boat.

And I'm rather less than delighted with some of the attention paid to Jill Gulbirra. She's a perfectly good character, but to me she remains something of an extra, not having an essential part to play (so far, of course) as most of the other major viewpoints. It strikes me that she may have been given than her due to give us a "female-lib" person, not because the story itself demanded it. I'd rather have seen more of Cyrano, for instance, whi is a totally delightful character as he masters the fine art of handling modern technology.

And one little detail kept annoying me—particularly early in the book—as I read. Farmer is converting the metric system, so everything is given in feet and meters. Okay. But the method is unnatural. I'd guess that Farmer got himself a calculator and very carefully figured each of his conversions. Thus, if he gives a rounded-out figure in feet, he gives far to exact a metric equivalent. A mile is translatted to 1609 meters, say. Somehow that felt awkward; the metric unit should also have been as approximately natural as the english unit—say rounded too 1600 feet. If we approximate a height of 20,000 feet, why make it 6098 meters? It would seem more natural to say 6000 meters—or 6100, if more precision is needed. A typewriter is enough machinery in the writing process; adding a calculator is just a bit too much, dearly as I love the gadget!

Still, this Riverworld is a really grand creation—one of the greatest inventions of science fiction. And The Dark Design adds a great deal to it. It's a book no reader should miss. Let's hope the next book doesn't take so long to be published. I'd like to finish the whole series before I die of old age. (Lester del Rey)

English Journal, December 1977
Montreal Gazette, January 7 1978
Providence Sunday Journal, January 22 1978
Galileo, January 1978

(Berkley/Putnam $9.95) It has been twelve years since we first encountered the Riverworld with its multimillion-kilometer-long River and thirty-six billion resurectees. In To Your Scattered Bodies Go, The Fabulous Riverboat, and "Riverworld," Philip José Farmer follows the wanderings and adventures of Sir Richard Francis Burton, Sam Clemens, and Tom Mix; we have been waiting for the sequel, and it has at last arrived.

This third Riverworld is the longest (412 pages) Farmer has written; in fact properly speaking, it is only the first half of his longest novel, since he cut the original manuscript in half before revising this part for publication. It is also one of his most ambitious and complex books, a concentration of the preoccupations and motifs that he has pursued not only in this series but in all of his work. In addition to the expected Riverworld features—the mystery of the Riverworld and its purpose, adventures in strange and wonderful circumstances, ironic and satiric examinations of human nature, a sometimes revisionist view of historical figures and events—Farmer has put into this book an unusually large piece of himself in the form of fictionalized autobiography and self-examination, for one of the major characters is Farmer's Riverworld avatar, Peter Jairus Frigate, SF writer, punster, would-be Burton biographer, and zeppelin fanatic.

Farmer's heroes have always been more introspective than the usual adventure hero, and in the Riverworld books than tendency is more marked; not only does everyone have plenty to think about concerning the mysteries of resurrection, but the viewpoint characters are all troubled people. The earlier main characters, Burton and Sam Clemens, are driven men, subject to violent actions. They are no more able to accept things as they stand in the Rivervalley than they were on Earth, and this restlessness extends to doubts about themselves and their own motives. To these two we can now add Peter Frigate, who emerges from his sidekick status to become another of the dream-tormented seekers of the source of the River, and Jill Gulbirra, an ambitious and aggressively feminist airship officer.

Some of the complexity of the novel xomes from the need to follow the actions of four sets of characters-the companions of Burton, Clemens, Frigate, and Gulbirra—through gradually converging lines of action. Farmer handles this by reverting to an old narrative pattern, familiar from the romances of Edgar Rice Burroughs and others: the alternate—section (with optional cliffhanger ending) plot. Readers who have been waiting several years for the solution to the mysteries of the Riverworld, however, will be frustrated, for instead of tying the strands together at the end, Farmer finishes with a multiple cliffhanger whose impact is only slightly softened by the final chapter he wrote to provide a transition to the next—and presumably for-real last—volume.

These complications of storyline are only surface complexities, though: what sets the book apart from its predecessors is the way the Farmer deals with the mysteries of the Riverworld and the characters who inhabit it. Anyone who has read much Farmer is familiar with the way he pursues the implications of an idea or the multiple possible explanations for an event or a character's behavior (for an example of this, read his afterword to "Sail On! Sail On!" reprinted in Worlds of Maybe, ed. Robert Silverberg, Dell, 1974). In The Dark Design, this means postulating and considering all the possibilities of the various mysteries involved in the existence of the Riverworld, the purposes of the Ethicals, and the apparent counterplotting of the Mysterious Stranger. As the book's title suggests, most of the implications are sinister, but obscure and twisted, almost impossible to untangle. And as usual in Farmer's fiction, part of the mystery is man himself, the self-conscious, self-examination, self-contradiction creature who cannot deal effectively with his own conflicting desires, let alone the meta-physical riddle of his resurrection and life in the Rivervalley. We spend as much time with the individual puzzlements of Burton, Frigate and Jill Gulbirra as with the external problems. For example, every character whose consciousness we share is haunted by dreams and nightmares whose themes are not the Riverworld itself, but the personal desires and fears of the dreamers. Frigate dreams that he returns to his childhood home only to find it empty—"Everybody, even the dog, had gone off without a word. What nameless crime had he committed?" No matter what the outcome of the last volume, these mysteries, I suspect, will never be entirely solved.

Farmer's best work is always recognized as his own and no one else's, not only because of the endless inventiveness of his fictional worlds—Riverworld, the pocket universe, Dante's Joy, Ozagen—not even because of the way his personal fascinations—airships, Tarzan and the adventure fiction of his youth, linguistics, anthropology—become part of the furniture of his fiction. It is, I think, that he is able to descend into his own subconcious mind and bring back visions that we can share because they are somehow our visions too. This world is the Riverworld, and we are the ressurected ones. As the nonstandard disclaimer as the book's beginning says, "You may not be mentioned, but you're here." (Russell Leston)

Isaac Asimov's SF Magazine, January/February 1978
Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1978

(Berkley/Putnam, $9.95) No one knows what Philip Jose Farmer believes anymore. He is too busy playing games. When well played, as in TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO, they are well worth the candle. But those who fondly believed the "Riverworld" series would end with this third book are in for a stall. And those who expected THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT to be followed by at least a coherent extension of that sub-plot are going to be particularly infuriated by THE DARK DESIGN. This third book simply plucks at old threads, introduces new ones for the same purpose, and, in 400-some pages of text, builds and crashes a lot of machinery, kills some people - apparently permanently - and loses a bunch of others, but goes nowhere.

Farmer has become self-conscious about his idea. THE DARK DESIGN devotes inordinate wordage to rationalizing and papering-over logical discontinuities in the original concept, as if anyone cared about that, or should care. Alternatively, characters come and go, build, crash, are dropped... at one point, Peter Frigate, Farmer's alter ego, promises that the series will contain a dozen books. At this pace, it will need them, but who will read them?

Farmer has all the equipment necessary to deal with life, and in such books as THE LOVERS, he demonstrated that. Now he plays with the appurtenances of his mind. And in this book, he shows that he is tiring of the game. What's left, Philip Jose Farmer? (Algis Budrys)

Science Fiction Review #24, February 1978

(Berkley, 412 pp, 1977, $9.95) THE DARK DESIGN marks the triumph of the novel as Hydra - no matter how many heads Philip José Farmer lops off, two more spring up to replace every one removed. Unmanageable is perhaps the best word to describe this book.

Originally meant to be the final book in the "mystery" phase of the Riverworld novels, THE DARK DESIGN is only part one of the concluding novel. A fourth Riverworld novel will bring the series to an official end though future stories and novels may trace the adventures of various historical personages in the Riverworld.

To enjoy THE DARK DESIGN one should read Volumes I and II (TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO and THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT) first. Since those two novels came out more than five years ago it may prove difficult to remember who's doing what to whom. Even if read fairly recently this may prove difficult for anyone who doesn't have a homebuilt HAL 9000 to keep track of the dramatis personae.

As Farmer's alter-ego, Peter Jairus Frigate, comments, the concept of the Riverworld deserves a dozen volumes. Perhaps the problem is that Farmer, in an effort to complete his masterwork, has tried to jam too much into too small an area.

Maybe, ideally, the Riverworld saga should have been told over a series of 12 conventional sized novels rather than the present tomes which seem to double in size every volume.

The first two thirds of the book move fairly well, earmarked by the clear, action-filled prose which marks so much of Farmer's work. However, while trying to handle three (or four? That depends on just who Peter Jairus Frigate really is) major plotlines with perhaps a half-dozen subplots to each of the major ones, the novel tends to bog down and become not so much incredible as unbelievable.

Characters work literally for years building boats and airships, decades traveling up the River, yet there's almost no feeling for passage of time in the book.

TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO introduced a world without metal, a world with a flint and wood technology. In THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT an iron meteorite crashes in the Riverworld, enabling Sam Clemens to build (over a period of several years) an electric powered riverboat, which is promptly hijacked by Prince John (reading a name and event synopsis of the series makes it sound a trifle ridiculous). THE DARK DESIGN, however, has two riverboats, numerous rafts, schooners, dugouts, and other Rivercraft as well as steampowered machine guns, alcohol powered internal combustion engines, jeeps, printing presses, computers and not one but five - count 'em, five - airships, one of which carries a pair of 32-seat helicopters and a glider!

The Riverworld is relatively at peace in THE DARK DESIGN. Gone are the maniacal warlords of TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO and the THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT. Gone are the grail slaveries. Gone are the "translations" (or mini-resurrections from death).

Apparently Farmer has abandoned these things which he so carefully established in the earlier books in fear of making THE DARK DESIGN's completion an impossible task. Lack of grail slaveries allows the characters to proceed unmolested upriver to the Dark Tower. No warlord enables the Parolandons to complete their numerous airships without fending off invading hordes. No more translations disposes of characters who previously would have gone lackadaisically to their deaths.

It's clear the series has turned into something bigger than Farmer anticipated with when he first began the series in 1972. He uses arbitrary plot twists to forcibly manipulate his characters through their appointed rounds, rather than let the novels take their normal course. To solve a mystery he provides a solution which unleashes another, deeper mystery.

Instead of proceeding in an orderly manner, one feels the River is jerking along, stopping and starting irregularly, capriciously jumping its banks and at times drying up completely.

THE DARK DESIGN doesn't end so much as it's amputated, a cliffhanger thrown in just to keep the pot boiling.

At first glance the novel reads as if Philip José Farmer has bitten off more than he can chew. Yet Farmer is too good an author to reduce perhaps the grandest scheme in science fiction to poor pulp plot hacking. Nothing on the Riverworld is ever as it seems. As Jill Gulbirra, the final captain of the giant airship "Parseval", remarks in a later chapter, "Purposes, cross-puposes, counter-cross-purposes. Wheels within wheels within wheels. Maya lowers seven veils of illusion between us and them." Farmer, through his self-Tuckerization, Frigate, comments on the inherent paranoia of the Riverworld. Even the title of the book is a quotation from a poem (imaginary? I wouldn't put it beyond Farmer) reading, "And still the Weaver plies his loom, whose warp and woof is wretched Man/Weaving th' unpatteren'd dark design, so dark we doubt it owns a plan."

There's much in this novel which needs explaining; all the way from Sam Clemmens' uncharacteristic militaristic bent to Firebrass' strange tiny black sphere imbedded in his head to the mysterious ultra-violet (or lack thereof) tattoos on most people's foreheads.

The mystery of Riverworld is far from solved, though one senses the stage being set. THE DARK DESIGN's main failing is that it is this stage setting, not a truly independent book as the first two were. One can only wait with great anticipation for Volume IV, when Farmer promises to answer all our questions. (Buzz Dixon)

Minneapolis Tribune, March 5 1978
Paperback Parlour, April 1979
Magazine Litteraire #167, December 1980
Tangent Online, October 25 2011
BSC Review January 18, 2011
Green Man Review
Locus #208, January-February 1978

(Ace 441-47420-9, 282pp, $1.75) Original Novel; the fifth and final volume in the "World of Tiers" series. It's a fast moving Burroughs type adventure which reads like somewhat sloppy first draft.

Analog, July 1978

(Ace, 282pp, $1.75) Ace Books has finally completed reissueing all of Philip Jose Farmer's "World of Tiers" novels, and has issues the long-awaited The Lavalite World. I loved the series, particularly The Make of Universes and A Private Cosmos. The cockeyed universe and the rogue-hero Kickaha were delightful inventions. Unfortunately, this latest novel, about a world where nothing at all is stable, seems to lack any enthusiasm. It reads as if the writer had grown weary of it all, and was typing words to fill a contract, no more. Everything is there—characters and events—but nothing seems to matter. I had trouble finishing it. That's a pity, because there was a freshness and enthusiasm about the earlier books that made them unique. And there is still a lot about Kickaha that we don't know, and want to discover. Ah well, maybe someday Farmer will recapture his enthusiasm and give us another book to equal the earlier ones. I sincerly hope so. (Lester del Rey)

Science Fiction Review #24, February 1978

(Ace, $1.50, Dec. 1977) COMMENT: This is the first of these World of Tiers books I've read, and it is the last of the series. There are five in all.

The basic premise of this series is that Lords have created worlds of their own design in pocket universes, where they rule in superb grandeur in a savage, solipsist manner, and these lords also battle among each other, having devices for communication and instant travel to each other's domain.

Earth, it seems, in this schema, is also a creation of one of the Lords.

An Earthman, Paul Janus Finnegan, has become embroiled in these affairs, fallen in love with a renegade woman Lord, taken the name of Kickaha, and battles the Lords on virtually every level and world of the Tiers...

In this final novel, THE LAVALITE WORLD, he is battling the Lord Urthona, and battling the landscape of the planet which is in constant turmoil --- mountains rise in hours, lakes disappear - or form in minutes.... Every year a huge segment of the planet is torn loose and becomes a moon for a while, and then returns to the planet --- with the expected gargantuan upheavals that would entail.

The flora and fauna are varied; the most interesting being varieties of walking trees that have intriguing ways of defending and attacking. The peoples are savages imported thousands of years before from Earth, and who have adapted to the strange, plastic geography.

In the end, Kickaha triumphs over the world's dangers and gets his woman and defeats the Lords.

Interesting series of Wonders and amazes for the reader. In my Sated Reader Mode I suspected that Phil was conscientiously running through all the Dangers inherent on the planet (and the moon) and then wrapped it all up nicely with a happy ending. Struck me as rather mechanical. But wotthehell, I enjoyed it (but didn't believe it for a minute). (Richard E. Geis)

Paperback Parlour, October 1979
Publishers Weekly, February 4 1983

(Phantasia 21-2, 1983) With this fifth (and most recent) volume of Farmer's World of Tiers series, Phantasia continues its program of rescuing popular SF from the limbo of crumbling paperbacks. In the introduction especially written for this collector's edition, Farmer tells us that he has begun and has yet to finish 15 series, ample evidence that the wealth of imagination displayed here is no fluke, but the hallmark of his work. Faithful fans of this series since its inception in 1965 will be relieved at his declaration here that he has every intention of writing two more installments to bring the set to a proper end. This novel continues the adventures of the wily Earthman, Kickaha, in the artificial "pocket universes" of the superhuman Lords. It's a straight-ahead tale of survival in a world where mountains rise and fall in a day, where trees walk and whole chunks of the planet can be pinched off like the globs of stuff in a Lavalite to float away as temporary moons. Although not the best of the series, or of Farmer, this is good fun and epitomizes his skill with wild ideas.

Publishers Weekly, July 9 1979

(Del Rey) As is obvious from his two popular but unfinished Riverworld and World of Tiers series, Farmer loves grand landscapes. This time he has restricted himself to "merely" the whole Earth of the far future, when the universe is collapsing - a setting which allows him to write SF with a fantasy feel, a fashionable combination. The story is the odyssey of Deyv, whose hunt for his stolen Soul Egg (a jewel he believes holds his spirit) becomes a rambling and dangerous search for a way to escape the end of the universe. Along the way he is joined by brave Vana, whom he marries, Sloosh, the erudite plant-man, and the ancient Shemibob, who helps them to their goal. The book suffers for being a shapeless string of interesting incidents which fail to build cumulative excitement. Nevertheless, Farmer's unflagging energy guarantees some diversion for everyone and at least, unlike his other epics, this is self-contained.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1 1979

(Del Rey) A big episodic quest-novel, featuring one of those end-of-the-universe scripts and motley human-and-alien casts that require an awful lot of invention to be halfway tolerable. And Farmer, in rather good form here, provides much (if not all) of what's needed. His protagonists are Deyv and Vana, a pair of semi-savage humans on a sunless Earth nearing the day of final gravitational collapse in the surrounding galaxy. Searching for their stolen "soul eggs" (records of individual electrical potential) with the aid of the mighty plant-centauroid Sloosh, they encounter and find themselves linking forces with a succession of parties responsible for the theft, finally coming to the domain of the alien Shemibob. Eventually Deyv and Vana are able to shed their tribal mentality and join the two aliens in an attempt to help humanity escape to a younger universe. The plot is little more than a peg for exotic landscapes with attendant interesting flora and fauna, and Farmer's writing is undistinguished; but this is one of his more enjoyable recent ventures, with enough pizazz to carry one and all along.

Library Journal, August 1979

(Del Rey) The Earth 15 billion years in the future is the setting of Philip José Farmer's Dark Is the Sun. A well-crafted narrative follows Deyv and Vana through incredible adventures in search of their stolen soul-eggs - mere stones, but essential to primitive man's well-being. Aided by Slooch , a plant-creature, our paleolithic pair transcend their background and ultimately lead mankind from a fast-disintegrating Earth to a new homeland. Farmer's brilliant imagination and narrative skill hold the reader's attention - almost to the end. Recommended.(Rosemary Herbert)

Science Fiction Collector #8, October 1979

(del Rey, 0-345-27684-1 September 1979, $9.95) An epic adventure by this major talent, which, unlike the long-awaited THE DARK DESIGN, does not disappoint. It is at once a trek novel, a commentary, and a novel with intriguingly different concepts. Farmer is as inventive as ever, and it is a joy to sit down with a book which is this much fun, and know that it is 405 pages long. Highly recommended. (Grant Thiessen)

Booklist, November 1 1979

(Del Rey) The quest for their stolen soul eggs leads two primitive humans who inhabit a fantastic and violent future earth to humankind's ultimate salvation through a gateway to a new world. Suggested for older, advanced fans. See also p. 430.

On an earth so far in the future that the universe is dying, Diyv the young tribesman finds his adventures beginning when a Yawtl steals his soul egg. They end only after he and Vana, his mate, save humanity with the aid of an immortal from another star. Farmer's plot technique is identical with that of his popular Riverworlds series; the story proceeds briskly, with fresh inventions on every page, while the characters' original quest grows increasingly complex. The particularly exotic settings and earthlike flora and fauna lend an atmospheric touch. (Algis Budrys)

Fantasy and Science Fiction, July 1980
Locus #236, August 1980

Books Received: (Ballantine/Del Rey, $2.25 407pp, pb) Reprint novel (Ballantine/Del Rey hc 1979). Despite the packaging, this is not a "Riverworld" novel. It's a fast-moving adventure trek story set in a barbarian future. The writing is colorful, but sloppy. (CNB)

Megavore #10, August 1980

(Del Rey, paperback, July 1980) The fan press has been unfavorable to this epic adventure by Farmer. I have read it, and I don't know why. It is a well-handled adventure, satisfyingly long, and wonderfully imaginative. Recommended. (J. Grant Thiessen)

Voice of Youth Advocates, August 1980

(Del Rey) Deyv, of the Turtle Tribe, sets out on a ritual journey to find a mate, but encounters instead a Yawtl who steals Devy's "soul egg" and forces the youth to undertake a journey beyond anything he imagined. Despite the presence of such characters as Sloosh, an enormous, centaur-like, sentient plant; Ferrsh, a blind "witch"; Vana, the feisty young woman who becomes Deyv's mate; and assorted other bizarre life-forms which inhabit the dying Earth and imploding universe, this 405 page novel drags on and on and on - it took me five weeks to slog through it!

There are too many characters thrown in for no apparent reason, and too many "adventures" which really do nothing to advance the plot. Also, the character of Sloosh, who tends to examine and explain everything, becomes quite tiresome after the first 200 or so pages. Deyv and Vana develop very little from their original selves, and every step is explained as if the reader could not figure it out unaided. The creatures who are killed off are all eliminated in the last 50 or so pages, so the remaining characters, and the reader, arrive in the "new world" out of breath, and completely unprepared for that particular turn of plot. (Charlotte Moslander Newman)

Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, October 1980
Science Fiction Review #37, November 1980
Foundation #21, February 1981
Science Fiction Chronicle, March 1981

(Del Rey Books, $2.25 405pp.)This longish quest novel by Farmer is going to disappoint some of his fans, and delight others. Although written as science fiction, set in the dying days of our Earth, the effect is that of a quest fantasy. Mutations and evolution have led to such a disparity of lifeforms, and so much arcane technology has been left in ruins, virtually anything is possible, often verging on the magical.

Deyv is a young man sent by his tribe to find a wife. Shortly after he sets out, his soul egg is stoeln, a jewel worn by almost any sapient being, which interacts with and reflects that person's personality. Deyv sets off in pursuit of the thief, accompanied by his two animal friends, a beautiful girl named Vana, and an animate vegetable giant named sloosh.

This is just the beginning of a grand tour of the world, intelligent sea creatures, virus colonies that from into schooners of the skies, aliens from other worlds marooned on our own, and the quest for the gateway between universes. The reader doesn't have to work hard at this one, just sit back while Farmer parades one wonder after another into view.

This is not a novel of character, but one of adventure. Everyone knows that the good guys will win out in the end, and the menaces are slightly less menacing because of that. Nevertheless, it is a book of boisterous fun and inventiveness, that moves fluidly from one scene to another. (Don D'Ammassa)

Vector #101, April 1981
Quarber Merkur, July 1981
Extro #3, July/August 1982
Paperback Inferno, December 1982
Paperback Inferno, April 1984
Fantasy Newsletter, September 1979
Science Fiction Review #33, November 1979

(Pinnacle, 1979, 256 pp., $1.95) Whenever I tell anybody about this book they usually break up laughing, not because it is a bad novel, or a deliberately funny one, but because of the hilarious circumstance of JESUS ON MARS, one of the silliest-sounding titles of all time and a book about exactly what it sounds like it's about, being written for Roger Elwood. I may be wrong, but I believe this was written for the short-lived Futorian series Elwood edited for Pinnacle right before he left the SF field. Obviously Farmer, someone suggested, was having his little joke.

Yes, I suspect he is, and it's a very subtle, deadpan one, and the result is a book of medium quality, a lot better than DARE, which I reviewed last issue. It has the usual Farmer failing of being a rather routine execution of a superior idea, but it certainly keeps you reading.

An Earth expedition discovers a human civilization on Mars. When the astronauts break open a tin of rations they discover much to their shock that the Martians are orthodox Jews and recoil at anything unkosher. It transpires that these folks are descendants of a random sampling of humanity picked up by aliens in the First Century A.D. among whom were the apostle Matthias and some followers, who proceeded to convert everybody to pre-Pauline Christianity.

Oh, yes, it seems they have the messiah in residence among them.

All jokes and gags (a spaceship called Barsoom and a character named John Carter) aside, Farmer carries this outrageous and intriguing situation through 256 pages with the standard lecture tour the earthman/explorer always gets when he comes upon the aliens/lost race, and, as usual, our hero discovers dissent in what looks like a utopian society and promptly gets drawn into it. But the plot isn't one of revolution. That can't happen because Jesus is real and has superhuman powers. The climax and the crisis of the hero's own faith (he is a Jew) come when Jesus decides to return to Earth. Along the way it is suggested, as the cover blurb tells us, that Jesus might be (1) the genuine article (2) a spirit of some sort (3) a Martian (4) an energy creature from a distant star. By allowing some doubt and a possible rational explanation, Farmer keeps the story within the realm of science fiction. It isn't straight religious fantasy. Those that avoid such might still want to read this.

I think you will remember the basic situation and the enigmatic figure of Christ, but none of the human characters. They never manage to quite come alive. One wishes that Farmer would apply himself and write the first class novel he is capable of, but he hasn't, so JESUS ON MARS is fun, but no great shakes. (Darrell Schweitzer)

Science Fiction & Fantasy Book Review - Vol.1 No.11 - December 1979

(Pinnacle, Los Angeles, 1979, 256p, $1.95 ISBN 0-523-40184-1) Baptist astronaut Richard Orme and three other members of the Mars expedition discover that Jesus Christ is alive and well on the red planet. He rules a subterranean utopia composed of humanoid Krsh and descendants of humans kidnapped from Earth around 50 A.D. All Martians profess Judaism and recognize Jesus as their Messiah. With the arrival of the astronauts, Jesus decides to return to Earth and establish a theocracy. Immortality and resurrection of the dead are promised--to be accomplished through Krsh science. Orme's problem: is this Jesus the Christ or the Antichrist?

Farmer has made a brilliant career out of thrusting men into fantastic realities and showing us how they come to terms with their situations. This novel follows a pattern set in Flesh (1960), carried through The Maker of Universes (1965), to the Riverworld series of the 70's; unfortunately, it falls short of these standards. The pacing is uneven: sandwiched between a rapidly developing beginning and end is a static middle in which the astronauts have the Martian culture explained to them. Since this is Orme's story, Jesus does not appear until two-thirds of the way through; suspense turns to boredom long before. The conflict is almost all interior, and is carried on in long ruminations filled with rhetorical questions and endless rehashing of what the characters--and readers--already know. Farmer has assembled all the raw materials for a good novel; he just has not finished the product. (James Patrick Kelly)

A SECOND OPINION If there is a single thread running through much of Farmer's work, it is the theme or character of the Trickster. Here Farmer the Trickster gives us Jesus, the most subtle in a long line of Tricksters, and no one's beliefs will remain quite the same because of him. Farmer is at his narrative and philosophical best in a novel which is destined for a Hugo Award. Highly recommended. (George H. Scheetz)

Paperback Inferno, December 1982
Future Life #17, March 1980

($2.25 in paperback from Berkley). R-Rated Farmer

Science fiction readers are as obsessive as the genre’s writers, and lately one of the biggest obsessions has been Philip José Farmer’s Riverworld. Ever since Farmer introduced readers to a reborn Sir Richard Burton on a world where the entire human race has been resurrected along the banks of a million-mile-long river in the Hugo award-winning To Your Scattered Bodies Go, SF’s aficionados have been clamoring for the next book and the next. Now, while we’re waiting for The Magic Labyrinth, the climactic fourth volume of the Riverworld series, Farmer has taken pity and put out a balm for the seriously addicted – Riverworld and Other Stories

“Riverworld,” the title story, follows Tom Mix, one of the greatest American cowboys, as he cruises downriver with his latest crew – a Jewish woman who came out of Egypt with Moses (a story she tells much differently than Cecil B.) and Yeshua, the man we call Jesus. This most unlikely trio demonstrates that resurrection doesn’t make all that much difference in the way some people behave, while giving us a chance for a look at a new part of the River. This is one of Farmer’s “side-stream” stories, and he promises that even after the fourth volume (due out next August), he has a lot more he wants to say about Riverworld.

The other stories in this collection demonstrate that Farmer is no Johnny-one-note. These are SF at its salacious best. In “J.C. on the Dude Ranch,” he makes a divine mess of a legendary home on the range, and “The Henry Miller Dawn Patrol” will have you looking askance at your grandparents.

When Farmer stops his irreverent battering of our saintly elders and their saintly saint, he gets serious about his heresy, taking on our mythical pulp heroes. “The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod” is Farmer’s answer to the question: What if William Burroughs had written the Tarzan stories instead of dear old Edgar Rice? Then he has Raffles, the famous thief and master cricketeer of the English pulps, save the world right under the nose of Sherlock Holmes in “The Problem of the Sore Bridge – Among Others.” Then there’s the story of the man with the secrets of the universe hidden in his appendix, and much more.

The book is fun, funny and full of enough sex, death and strangeness to keep you happy until the gentleman wraps up Riverworld. (Bob Mecoy)

The Poisoned Pen Vol 3 #3, May/June 1980
Paperback Inferno, April 1981
Publishers Weekly, May 9 1980

Beginning in 1971 with the Hugo Award-winning "To Your Scattered Bodies Go" and then continuing with "The Fabulous Riverboat" and "The Dark Design," Farmer created one of the true epics of science fiction, the Riverworld series, a saga of tremendous scope and conceptual audacity. Although its expansive, discursive plot can't be easily summarized, its essence is the grand enigma of mankind's resurrection along a multimillion-mile river. Here, in this fourth and final volume, Farmer finally explains the mysteries with which he has fascinated and tantalized so many readers over the years. Here, too, is endless adventure and the marvelous mix of protagonists (like Cyrano de Bergerac, Tom Mix and Sam Clemens) that fans of the series have come to expect. Reaching even into the realm of metaphysics for his final surprises, Farmer has brought his series to a satisfying conclusion. Although the characters and the philosophy are not really very deep, this book, like the series as a whole, offers delight to the sense of wonder and a storytelling flow as irresistible as the river itself.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15 1980

Farmer's "Riverworld" series embodies one of the most original ideas in current sf: the resurrection of nearly the entire human race - cavemen to astronauts - on a world apparently consisting of nothing but a single river valley about 15 million miles long. Like its predecessors, this fourth and concluding volume merrily entangles the fates of Sam Clemens, Richard Burton the explorer, Lewis Carroll's original Alice, Cyrano de Bergerac, a repentant Hermann Goering, an sf writer named Peter Jairus Frigate, and anybody else that Farmer (who also provides the fictional PJF with a mysterious double) can squeeze in. Unfortunately the squeezing process involves giving everybody something to do, and here the series has become mired down in a lot of argle-bargle about the shadowy and perhaps sinister custodians or makers of the Riverworld. Clemens, Burton, and others have been pursuing the mystery long enough to have built a whole edifice of theory and jargon that - like the rivalry between Clemens and King John - merely clutters up the story of the adventurers' repeated attempts to fly, sail, or crawl to the source of things at the near-inaccessible north pole. For what it's worth, Burton and Alice do get there this time, are let in on the extraterrestrial plans that produced the Riverworld, and confront the threatened destruction of the whole scheme. But Farmer's writing is as careless as ever, and the sf revelations are infinitely duller than the unknowns with which the series began.

Booklist, July 15 1980

This fourth volume of the Riverworld series concludes one of the largest, most ambitious, and least conventional works of modern science fiction. In it Farmer brings his large and bizarre cast of characters (including King John Lackland of England, Samuel Clemens, Sir Richard Burton, Hermann Goering, and Alice Liddell, who inspired Alice in Wonderland) to the end of their quest and reveals the secret of the Riverworld. For readers prepared to accept it on its own terms, this book will be rewarding, even exciting. Farmer's imagination does not flag from beginning to end. The already large following of the series justifies including this book in any respectable sf collection. (Roland Green)

Farmer winds up his complex Riverworld series with a metaphysical slant in this fourth volume that, like its predecessors, is filled with action and drama. For mature readers already caught up in the series. (Sally Estes)

Time, July 28 1980
Library Journal, August 1980

This final volume of Farmer's "Riverworld" series shows the same weaknesses that were apparent in the three previous volumes. Again, a wild combination of historical figures - including, for instance, Mark Twain, Jack London, Richard Burton (the translator of The 1001 Arabian Nights), and Alice Liddell (the original of Alice in Wonderland) - meets in an amazing "afterlife." Quests, battles, and sexual encounters are the order of the day as the characters try to find out why the place exists. Again the author fails to do justice to the fascinating mix of personages he brings together; none has a distinctive voice (each very readily uses 20th-Century American lingo). Farmer relies on fast changes of battle-dominated action to keep the book moving. (Rosemary Herbert)

Science Fiction Review #36, August 1980

(Berkley/Putnam, $11.95) This is the fourth, and final book in the Riverworld saga, and it answers all the questions and settles all the hash---at great cost to a lot of people.

Famous people die, famous people live.

As you may know, the Riverworld is a giant planet upon which runs a giant river valley. In the valley on the banks of the giant river that is tens of thousands of miles long, live teeming billions of humans---resurrected humans who had died previously on Earth.

They are fed by huge Grail Stones which thunder and flash three times a day and provide billions of meals and drinks and other small necessaries.

Among these billions are the famous and infamous of Earth's past: Samuel Clemens, Sir Richard Burton, Cyrano de Bergerac...kings, queens, soldiers....

The Riverworld saga is the story of groups of men and women who must attempt a journey to the headwaters of the immense river and discover the secrets---the answers to their questions about this world, about their new lives.

Several attempts are made to penetrate the vast physical and mechanical obstacles.

There are civil wars, "agents" of the creators working at cross-purposes, terrible rivalries and hatreds...

But still a few determined people persist---and in this book a handful penetrate the final tower and find...

Before that, however, there is an all-out naval battle between two huge modern warships...there is the slaughter of half the human population when the Grail Stones on one side of the river fail to produce food.

And in the final chapters there are wonders, vast structures, horrible revelations...monstrous cunning.

The final book seemed a bit misshapen to me, but it pays off and is a fitting conclusion to this series. Phil Farmer delivers.

The first three books in this very popular series were: TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO, THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT, and THE DARK DESIGN. (Richard E. Geis)

Future Life #21, September 1980

($11.95 Berkley/Putnam) Of course, as soon as other SF writers started playing with death, Philip Jose Farmer moved on to resurrection. The Magic Labyrinth is the fourth and final volume of the Riverworld saga and the book that all real paper junkies have been waiting for.

For those of you who haven't read the Riverworld series, Farmer started down the river with To Your Scattered Bodies Go, a tale that opened with the resurrection of everyone who ever lived on Earth along the banks of a multi-million-mile-long river. In the and the two books that followed-The Fabulous Riverboat and The Dark Design- Farmer traced the picaresque adventures of such historical luminaries as Sir Richard Francis Burton, Mark Twain, Evil King John, a lisping Neanderthal, Hermann Goering, Cyrano de Bergerac and literally dozens of others.

The quest for the secret of the Riverworld began almost a decade ago and now that it's over it seems almost anticlimatic. Famrer gives us a very big and entertaining battle between the two great riverboats of Mark Twain and King John, and thins the cast down to a final few who make the last trek up to the source of the river and the heart of the mystery. There they manange to save the world. If this summary seems a little cursory, it's because the book seems so in several instances. But this is the climax of the bestselling series in science fiction and it does answer most of the questions that Farmer posed in earlier volumes; and so you do have to say-thanks. Mr. Farmer it was lots of fun, but now that you have the mainstream stories of the Riverworld in print, when do we see the tributary tales you promised us? You have created a lot of addicts out here. (Bob Mecoy)

School Library Journal, September 1980

In this long-awaited conclusion to his landmark series, Farmer's all-star cast, led by the explorer Sir Richard Burton, desperately battles its way upstream in a last-ditch effort to reach the control center of the Riverworld's creators. Burton and his cohorts are now driven by more than their curiosity about mankind's mysterious mass resurrection on the singular world confined to the banks of the multi-million-mile-long river. Something has gone drastically wrong in the River Valley - the once common resurrections have ceased, and the sustenance providing "grails" have partially malfunctioned causing mass starvation and wholesale rioting among the surviving population. Farmer has a light touch with his charmingly perverse characters, but tedious description, overly complex plotting, and the necessity of tying up the bundles of loose ends from three previous installments get out of hand early on and clutter up a good portion of the story. Still, the lively and winning characterizations and some tightly written episodic interludes shine through, and fans who have travelled this far will eagerly slog their way through this even if journey's end is a less-than-satisfying conclusion. (K. Sue Hurwitz)

Vector #99, October 1980
Analog, December 1980

(Berkley/Putnam, 339 pp., $11.95) I have not been following the Riverworld series. I hate continued stories of any kind, and I can imagine nothing more frustrating and intrinsically self-defeating than trying to enjoy a continued story whose installments come along once every couple of years. I resolved to wait until the series was complete, and then assault it frontally, from start to finish.

So The Magic Labyrinth just arrived, the concluding chapter in the mainstream saga (although there are two more sidestream books coming), and I took the plunge. And came away disappointed.

P.G. Wodehouse was the undisputed master of the deliberately, intensively recomplicated plot: just as you were totally confused and all seemed in perfect chaos, he would tug gently on his Magic String in the last chapter and everything would fall into place at once, the hidden pattern of the tapestry revealed, dozens of interlocking dilemmas resolved happily in a single stroke. He invariably did this in single, rather short books. For my money there is no other way to do it: if the plot recomplicates for more than about two hundred pages, I tend to say the hell with it and skip ahead to the ending. There is an optimum size for any puzzle. This is why I gave up on Zelazny's Nine Princes In Amber series: complicatory overkill.

What I think happened here is a case of the setting metastasizing until it takes over the whole work. As I reconstruct it, Phil started out with about enough plot to fill a single pretty-good-but-not-great novel. But Jesus, the setting! A multimillion mile river, circling an entire planet! Jesus, the cast! Every human being who has ever lived, plus a race of gods! How could you possibly avoid an immensely complicated story, with that many powerful individuals influencing events? Especially since even killing them off does not take them out of the story? Phil happens to be very well read in history, anthropology and biography - before he knew it he had a saga on his hands, and who could blame him? The idea is too damned big. No writer that ever lived could manipulate forces that large satisfactorily; it's like an artist trying to paint a mural on the face of the moon. The central story, Richard Burton's quest to reach the head of the River and find out What The Hell Is Going On Here, is drowned in an immense floodtide of essentially pointless anecdotes, about dozens of people who (with the single exception of Göring) live endless sequential lifetimes without seeming to learn or accomplish anything of significance.

Then there's the redundancy factor. In designing a step-rocket, you reach a point of diminishing returns. In Book I Phil sets 100 plates spinning atop broomsticks. In Book II he must give his attention to each of these, bearing in mind that many readers will have missed the first volume, while adding 50 new plates. By Book III he barely has time to introduce 25 more, and by Book IV some of the older plates have grooves on their bottoms.

But the worst part is at the end. The author's foreword to The Magic Labyrinth specifically promises: "Now ends the Riverworld Series, all loose ends tied together into a sword-resisting Gordian knot, all the human mysteries revealed …" I am not about to give away the ending that thousands and thousands of people have waited nine years to read - but I must say that in my opinion when Phil tugs on his Magic String, about half of the loose ends get tangled into an impenetrable snarl, from which sprout at least an equal number of new loose ends - with a last sentence that hints that everything we have learned may be wrong. The promised explanation/resolution turns out to be a lot of flashy sleight of hand that boils down to, "There are some things beyond man's comprehension."

I have spoken entirely negatively so far. But like anyone who feels bamboozled, I must admit that the deed was done with my full knowledge and consent. I could have stopped reading at any time, and chose not to. Individual pieces of the mammoth mosaic were often delightful, and many of the inner, subordinate patterns they formed were immensely fascinating. David Pringle, discussing another Farmer novel in The Science Fiction Encyclopedia, says that it "contains some extraordinary images and grotesque ideas which suffer from a lack of resolution but nevertheless resonate in the mind." This very perceptive remark could well be applied to most of the Farmer I've read; perhaps I should have remembered that going in.

I will never forget the Riverworld. It did indeed invoke, and sustain for an unreasonably long time, the sense of wonder. I think Phil set himself a challenge so ambitious that a less courageous - or more prudent - man might never have attempted it; since he is a very good writer, the failure is magnificent. If you just relax and cut loose of the idea that it's all going to come together in the end, perhaps you'll have a better time than I did. (Spider Robinson)

Extrapolation, Winter 1980
Publishers Weekly, May 9 1980

This is the fourth and final volume in Farmer's Riverworld series, which began in 1971 with the Hugo Award-winning "To Your Scattered Bodies Go." PW noted that Farmer "brings his series to a satisfying conclusion. Although the characters and the philosophy are not very deep, this book, like the series as a whole, offers delight to the sense of wonder and a storytelling flow as irresistible as the river itself." Major ad/promo.

Paperback Inferno, February 1981
Amazing, May 1981
Future Life #29, September 1981
Magazine Litteraire #186, July 1982
Quarber Merkur #57, July 1982
Magazine Litteraire #188, October 1982
BSC Review January 31, 2011
Green Man Review
Library Journal, August 1980

The title of this work may suggest that its contents were intentionally censored for political or other reasons; such is not the case. The title story is merely a large piece of battle scene cut from The Magic Labyrinth by Farmer himself, who agreed with his editor that that book was too long. While it does describe in detail the demise of several Riverworld personalities, it is valuable only as a curiosity for Farmer fans. The lead piece, "Jesus on Mars," never appeared before in its original form due to accidental conflicts in publishing schedules. It is a rather interesting story of a black Canadian's encounter with the "Messiah" of Mars. Appropriate to large sf collections only. (Rosemary Herbert)

Locus #238, October 1980

Books Received (Ellis Press, $6.95, 112pp, pb) Booklet containing a cut section from THE MAGIC LABYRINTH and a short version of JESUS ON MARS which never appeared in IASFM because of the early appearance of the book. "Suppressed" isn't quite true. (CNB)

Kirkus Reviews, July 15 1981

(Berkley/Putnam 12673-2) A hyper-complex but inconclusive galactic odyssey which opens at a blistering pace, then bogs down in religious mysticism and - like the "Riverworld" series - runs out of steam about halfway through. Ramstan, lapsed Moslem and captain of an organic spaceship, has stolen the glyfa (an egg-shaped sentient artifact) from the Tenolt, who vengefully give chase - but then along comes the bolg, a fearsome planet-sized destroyer of intelligent life. So Ramston must scour the galaxy for help in dealing with the bolg and eventually learns exactly what forces are at work: the bolg is an antibody generated by the "pleuriverse" -god to destroy intelligence and thus prevent the use of the "alaraf drive" (which intelligent races invariably discover); this drive tears holes in the walls between the universes comprising the pleuriverse , producing cancer in the body of the god and collapse of the pleuriverse . Thus, Ramstan's task is to save the various intelligent races by destroying the bolg - but in doing so will he condemn the pleuriverse-god to cancerous premature collapse and death? Farmer leaves this central conflict unresolved (perhaps with a sequel in mind), but there are sf/fantasy ideas aplenty here - with lots of mystic mind-boggling thrills for readers who are prepared to deal with wildly complicated, not-quite-logical fabrications.

Locus #247, August 1981

(Berkley/Putnam $12.95, 300 pp.) It will be interesting to see if meta-physical science fiction will be the new thing. Philip José Farmer's THE UNREASONING MASK also deals with a Oneness in the Universe, albeit in a much different and much less successful way than RADIX. The book begins promisingly enough with a Muslim space captian--the pilot of an organic space ship--who has stolen a planetary god. There are all sorts of mysteries to be unraveled and the promise of a brisk adventure and Farmer's ready invention. Unfortunately, the author never makes a real connection with his characters; at best the latter half of the book can be described as dull. After 100 pages, I couldn't believe in Farmer's characters, I couldn't scrape up the interest in the wanderings of the story--the book kept falling into my lap. Farmer is much better when he makes no attempt at profundity. (Jeff Frane)

Publishers Weekly, August 7 1981

(Berkley/Putnam 12673-2) Farmer has long been enamoured of transcendentally grand concepts as story premises. This time he gives us God as an infant creature of which our whole universe is but a single cell. Travel between these 'cells' causes the equivalent of cancer and the collapse of universes. The cancer must be stopped and the infant deity contacted and educated. Ramstan, captain of the organic starship Al-Buraq , begins to learn all this when, for reasons he doesn't immediately understand himself, he steals the glyfa, pagan god of the alien Tolt, but actually a self-aware device created to communicate with God. Trying to decide what to do, Ramstan crisscrosses the universes pursued by the Tolt and by the bolg, a planet-size world-killer functioning as a leukocyte in God's body. Farmer spends so much effort boggling our minds he can't seem to spare any to make Ramstan a convincing or understandable character or to make the novel hang together. One has the feeling Farmer rushed through this book as his character does, not really knowing, until too late, what's going on or what he wants to do. The result may amaze, but it doesn't satisfy.

Library Journal, September 15 1981

(Berkley/Putnam 12673-2) Drawing on the myths and philosophies of Christian, Jewish, and Islamic tradition, Farmer postulates the Pluriverse, a living entity in which universes are mere cells, but which is denied maturity by the cancerous growth of star-faring sentients. Ramstan, captain of an experimental biological starship, is swept along in a vortex of mystical forces that he only partially comprehends. Although there is considerable plot movement, and a multitude of well-known themes, symbols, talismans, magics, and specters, the book fails to develop any comprehensible line of thought. All sentient players are mere pawns to Farmer's Pluriverse concept, which is revealed, indistinctly, through Ramstan's musings and speeches. Mask is a bold undertaking that disappoints. Not recommended. (Susan L. Nickerson)

School Library Journal, October 1981

(Berkley/Putnam 12673-2) Ramstan is the captain of a protoplasmic spaceship capable of instantaneous, point-to-point travel by way of its alaraf drive. Ramstan, acting under the compulsion of the thing itself, steals an invulnerable, ageless device from the planet of its worshippers, the Tenolt. This event leads to a series of cat-and-mouse encounters with a pursuing Tenolt ship. But it is only after Ramstan has spoken with the oracle-like device and has met with three robed old women that the central concern of the book finally emerges: alaraf drive is poking deadly holes in the multi-universe cell walls of an immense, still-evolving creature called the Pluriverse. A planet-size antibody is produced that begins to exterminate all intelligent life. Ramstan must balance his responsibility for billion of lives with his recognition of the Pluriverse's right to live. It's a potentially provocative story, but Farmer wastes too much time at the start, seemingly unsure of the book's focus. Later, crucial events are marred by characters' mystical utterances, which cross the border between tantalizing ambiguity and annoying abstruseness. (John Adams)

Best Sellers, November 1981

(Berkley/Putnam 12673-2) If one has not read Farmer, this is a good place to start. If one has read Farmer, the book is a must. It goes beyond mere story-telling. It evokes some of the archetypes found in the important traditional and modern myths, cycles, or sagas. Vladimir Propp, in his The Morphology of the Folktale, has identified the thirty-one "steps" that occur in "folktales" ranging from Sleeping Beauty to Lord of the Rings. (All thirty-one elements are, of course, not present in each, but most contain at least twenty.) If Eliade or Campbell, or even Jung are correct, these "tales" invoke something meaningful. They ring a bell. Farmer, in the novel, has rung a bell.

Consider several of the steps which Propp suggests. The second and third are interdiction and violation. The hero is warned not to do something, but does it anyway. The hero of The Unreasoning Mask, Captain Ramstan, steals the glyfa, which is the God of a vengeful race. The fourth step is the "Reconnaisance " in which the villain enters to investigate violation. The villain is the Bolg, the destroyer of worlds, in fact, the destroyer of the universe and the multiverse. Only Ramstan can save the multiverse.

Although this sort of plot line is not uncommon, indeed, as Propp suggests, it is important. Farmer does such an excellent job that the book is reminiscent of such major cycles as Dune, The Ring Trilogy, and his own Riverworld. His book stirs something.

There seems to be only two possible faults. The first is that the milieu Farmer has created is not as determinate as it might be, the second that the book seems "unfinished" in the sense that one honestly wonders what will happen next. Expanding this would solve both problems. I hope Farmer does. (O. A. Robinson)

Science Fiction Review #41, November 1981

(Putnam, $12.95) Phil is at top form here with his spaceship captain Ramstan, the bionic [partially], spacer al-Buraq, a wide variety of life-forms, civilizations, planets, menaces...

He has conceived of the universe as a kind of biological entity, and intelligent, advanced-civilization life as a disease. Thus when an automatic life-killer begins attacking human-occupied worlds...

This wild, mind-blowing novel will give you different vieuwpoints from a variety of angels. Space adventure of the best kind. (Richard E. Geis)

SF & Fantasy Book Review #1, January/February 1982
Voice of the Youth Advocates, August 1982

(Berkley/Putnam 12673-2) Farmer's Unreasoning Mask is a superior SF novel which utilizes all of the elements of style to weave an intense and breathtaking story of a man's attempt to understand the nature of his soul.

Ramstan, the captain of a biological spaceship which is capable of sentinence and emotions (see also Janet Morris' recent Dream Dancer and Cruiser Dreams), is obsessed by questions, not by humanity. After a religious experience, Ramstan steals an egg-like relic from another culture whose military forces pursue him and his crew, as do the avenging forces of god and a mysterious, green specter. Faced with their own possible extermination, as well as that of all life, they flee from one universe to another, encountering many alien races, as they seek to understand the true nature of the peril.

Original language construction, sophisticated dialogue, a complex plot, mature character development, skillful scene transitions, and fascinating Muslim religious data and mythological symbolism all abound in this novel which is for those who prefer style to action. The cover art is highly attractive and the book would certainly interest non-science fiction readers and adults. (Eugene La Faille)

Science Fiction Chronicle, April 1983

(Berkley Books, 1983 260 pp. $2.75) The plot is impossible to synopsize in a few sentences so I won't even try. It involves the death of the universe, interplanetary travel, probability worlds, battles in space and on alien planets, a gigantic psuedo-organism that destroys worlds with storms of meteorites, immortal creatures who manipulate mortal beings, artifacts that are in some arcane fashion authentically magical, and the nature of God. Sort of. It is frequently confusing, requires the reader to pay strict attention, streches the imagination (as well as you credulity), and is all tied up neatly at the end. Sort of. I don't recommend reading it when you can't devote you attention fully, but I do recommend reading it somewhere along the line. Sort of. (Don D'Ammassa)

Foundation #30, March 1984

(Putnam, 1981, 293 pp, $12.95) Biologically, the route to real intelligence requires that a creature should be able to make mistakes and learn from them. At the same time, a young creature's learning experience will occur in a constrained environment-with the mother constraining the behaviour, for the most part. Thus wisdom comes about through a dialectic of freedom (to err, and discover), and imposed constraints.

Something similar occurs in books, with the author playing the role of mother, imposing constraints; and the fiction discovering creatively through trial and error a final modus vivendi, which is the gestalt of the book, the metaphorical picture which it reveals to us of what life is all about.

Gods Of Riverworid and The Unreasoning Mask are as chalk and cheese in this respect; together they form a highly illuminating (because contrastive) illustration of a problem central to much sf. Namely, how to provide a satisfying and believable resolution to adventure stories which address themselves to the cosmos, the nature of life and death, immortality, Godhead-the Big Enigmas, which are perhaps unresolvable by definition. Or which are so, at present.

{See GODS OF RIVERWORLD for the first half of this review}

The Unreasoning Mask is also a novel about the creation of God-or more precisely, about how to nurture God the Baby, and thus prevent Its premature demise (along with the whole meta-universe, which is Its body). But whereas this notion pops up latterly from the Riverworld pack in a way which makes it seem to be but another joker amongst many, in The Unreasoning Mask it arises logically, necessarily and movingly out of the environment of constraints imposed on the hero, Ramstan. In my opinion this novel is a masterpiece, Farmer's finest; yet it has received little (or only ordinary) attention compared with the gaudier tapestry of Riverworld.

Briefly, Ramstan captains an ingeniously conceived organic starship capable of instan­taneous travel (within certain constraints). Throughout the novel the highly scrupulous Ramstan is being manoeuvred, on the one hand by the glyfa, a living artefact possessed of remarkable powers which has persuaded him to steal it, and by the distant Vwoordha, a near immortal trio of alien seers who originally constructed the glyfa. Meanwhile Ramstan is constrained by his conscience, by his responsibilities as captain and by his crew's reluctance to obey apparently irrational whims; and out of each action which Ramstan initiates to maintain his freedom of manoeuvre fresh constraints inevitably are born, which nevertheless force him towards a final true freedom of choice. A fine dialectic of constraints and erring freedom is at work here. And meanwhile, too, Ramstan is dogged by the bolg, a planet-sized destroyer which seems bent on eradicating intelligent life from the universes.

The upshot is that glyfa and Vwoordha are each trying to influence the future of God, alias the meta-universe; for God is a many-celled being, each cell being a different universe, and this being has to grow to maturity-currently it is only at the stage of infantile babbling. The only way this can happen is if the creatures that arise within it can communicate with it. But It knows nothing of them. What's more, instantaneous flight disrupts its cell-walls (hence the bolg, which is a roving antibody); this will make It collapse prematurely and die. As It has died once before; and twice before . . .

Ramstan occupies a "lucky" position, though his luck seems to him the very opposite, a tormenting and constraining burden. Moreover, his luck is only contingent-real choices have to be made, choices which he tries to put off making in order to preserve his freedom, whereas in fact this limits his freedom. It is through co-operating with his limits and constraints (after first discovering them, and deciding amongst them) that he succeeds-ambiguously, since the glyfa and the Vwoordha are by no means as black versus white; and they too have their constraints and limits.

The Unreasoning Mask is a moving, carefully written, realistically motivated and impeccably designed novel, which still engages in grand cosmic bravura, but which does not improvise its way out of any scrapes, dramatic or metaphysical. When trumps are played, they don't subsequently change suit (though they may reveal more of their features); they don't need to change suit because they fit into place. Nor is any large hint dropped, that after all things may be entirely different from everything we have been led to expect. There is no need of this, in extremis, because the dialectic of limits and constraints versus liberty of action leads to an outcome which is, in retrospect, both freely chosen yet also necessary.

In Gods of Riverworld Farmer's characters debate a while about free will versus determinism-whilst exemplifying in their deeds the author's dilemma of how the devil to resolve his initial premises; The Unreasoning Mask enacts a convincing solution to the problems of form and content tackled (sometimes bravely, sometimes sloppily) upon the Riverworid. (Ian Watson)

Review by Christian "naddy" Weisgerber
Library Journal, February 15, 2007

(Overlook 256p. ISBN 978-1-58567-715-3. pap $14.95) Farmer's 1981 sf adventure follows Ramstan, captain of a ship capable of instantaneous travel between two points, who is enlisted in the battle against a space creature wiping out planet after planet. Farmer always is a safe bet. (Michael Rogers)

The Frugal Chariot, November 12, 2013
Analog, May 1982

(Tor, $2.75 319pp.) When Jim Bean left Ace, he joined a new outfit, TOR Books. Tor's first products are now available, distributed by Pinnacle. They seem to be mostly reprints, but that's not neccessarily a bad sign at all. Among them is P.J. Farmer's Father to the Stars, a collection of tales from 1953-1961 concerning one John Carmody, a sociopath who becomes a priest. Father Carmody's model seems to be a blend of G.K. Chesterton's Father Brown and his nemesis, Flambeau, the master criminal who became a detective. The parallels are not pronounced, but Chesterton's characters did come to my mind as I read. If you know them, that's all the recommendation you need.

But let's go on for a moment anyway. SF stories often seem to find roots in non-SF. We have, perhaps, one example here. Laurence Janifer says his Gerald Knave stories are based on Charteris's Simon Templer (the Saint). My own Howie and the Mayor series begins from Authur Macdougall's Dud Dean tales. There are more, with Dracula and Holmes prominent among them. The roots are not always obvious, but they are there, and they demonstrate that for all the talk of a SF ghetto, SF does not exist in isolation. (There is plenty of other evidence of that as well, of course.) I only wish I knew of a case or two where the modelling goes the other way; that would show that the cracks in the walls around SF do not open in only one direction. (Tom Easton)

Booklist, October 1 1981

(Pinnacle/Tor 48504-2) A collection of five novelettes featuring John Carmody, murderer and psychopath turned interstellar adventurer and priest. One is Farmer's classic "Night of Light;" the others (seeing book publication for the first time) are "A Few Miles," "Prometheus," "Father," and "Attitudes." A welcome feast for Farmer fans and recommended for any collection where the author is popular. (Roland Green)

Publishers Weekly, July 30 1982

One beautiful spring day in 1923, Hank Stover flies his Curtiss biplane through a strange green cloud and finds himself in a land populated by small people where animals talk and magic works. Hank knows right away that he is in Oz because his mother, Dorothy, had been here 33 years before and later told him (and L. Frank Baum) of her experiences. Hank falls in love with Glinda the Good who rules over Munchkinland, one of the four lands of Oz, and helps her fight the war against Erakna the Uneatable, who has recently become the Witch of the North. Farmer introduces all sorts of material Baum neglected to include in his book, but except for some amusing passages involving the giant, Sharts the Shirtless, it's all done with almost no whimsy or humor. The literal approach does not work well here, and Farmer's latest embroidery on literary myths, though ambitious, is not one of his better books. Don Ivan Punchatz has contributed a wonderful cover.

Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, January 1983
SF & Fantasy Book Review #11, January/February 1983
The Baum Bugle #76, Spring 1983

Editor's Note:

In the few months since its publication, Philip Jose' Farmer's A Barnstormer in Oz has achieved controversial status among members of the International Wizard of Oz Club. The two reviews published below represent con­trasting opinions of this work by a well-known science fiction writer, but, as always, the reader is urged to make up his or her own mind. The Bugle is also pleased to present Michael Korolenko and Katherine Neville's interview with Mr. Farmer, and Daniel Smith's interview with Michael Hague, illustrator of Holt, Rinehart and Winston's newly released The Wizard of Oz.

A BARNSTORMER IN OZ, by Philip Jose' Farmer, New York: Berkeley Books, 1982. Paper. Pp 278. $5.95. Also available in a limited edition from Phantasia Press, cloth, with cover as pictured, $40.00.

"What I have to explain is that an Earthman, an American, wrote a book about Dorothy's adventures here . . . But it was fiction or purported to be. Actually much of it was fiction. And the parts that were true were bowdlerized. They had to be because he was writing a book for children."
--Hank Stover to Glinda the Sorceress in Philip Jose' Farmer's A Barnstormer in Oz

Aspects of the Land of Oz and various Oz motifs have appeared in a variety of adult science fiction and fantasy novels. In his The Annotated Wizard of Oz, Michael Patrick Hearn noted Keith Laumer's novel The Otherside of Time (1968) (where, in an alternate reality, the hero discovers a red-leather bound book entitled The Sorceress of Oz) as well as Ray Bradbury's short story The Exiles (1951) (where the Emerald City has re-located itself on Mars to escape the book burning and stifling of imagina­tion on a future, Orwellian earth). Robert Heinlein has his heroes follow a road of yellow brick through various alternate and parallel worlds in Glory Road (1964). Recently, in David R. Palmer's powerful short story "Emergence" (Analog Magazine, Jan. 1981) the pro­tagonist, an eleven-year-old girl genius, expresses hap­piness that a complete set of Oz books has been preserved in her shelter in a post-nuclear holocaust world.

Perhaps the most beautiful yet frightening and hor­ribly sad Ozian image is to be found in Poul Anderson's short story The Visitor (1974), where the hero finds him self inside the mind of a comatose girl (much like the Doc Phoenix hero in Marv Wolfman's pulp-like comic book Oz Encounter in Weird Heroes, Vol.5, 1977). The dream-world of the girl in The Visitor includes a road of yellow brick that leads not to Oz, but to a shadowy realm representing death and destruction.

Recently, the "actual" land of Oz has appeared in two science fiction novels. In Robert Heinlein's massive (at times, too massive) novel of alternate worlds The Number of The Beast (1980) the four heroic and sensual heroes and heroines find themselves on a world where Oz exists much like Baum described it. As a matter of fact, much to the chargrin of one male member of the paratime travellers, Glinda makes sure her guests from an alternate earth do not engage in sexual activities of any kind. She does, however, put a little bit of Oz into the paratime-travelling machine, and Heinlein's description of the Art Nouveau, somewhat Edwardian decor of this added "dressing room and bath compartment" is delightfuL However, Heinlein's characters: Deety, Zeb, Jake, and Hilda, spend very little time in Oz.

Such is not the case with Philip Jose' Farmer's hero in A Barnstormer In Oz (1982), where a very different Oz from either Baum's or Heinlein's is presented. Indeed, sensuality and sexuality play important roles in Farmer's Oz.

Philip Jose' Farmer has been an important name in science fiction for over thirty years. He is probably best known for his seminal short story (later a novel) The Lovers (1952). The Lovers, perhaps for the first time in the history of science fiction, brought honest and realisti­cally portrayed sexual motives to the genre. A powerful and tragic story, The Lovers concerns a young man from a future, church-dominated earth, who falls in love and mates with a female who is actually an advanced form of alien insect-like life.

Farmer continued his exploration of the formerly taboo subject of sex in sensitively written works such as Flesh (1960) and Strange Relations (1960). Farmer has also written a number of books "factualizing" such fictional characters as Tarzan, Doc Savage, and Phineas Fogg. In the early 1970's, Farmer began his wonderfully imaginative though sometimes brutal Riverworld Series: tales of a gigantic planet made up of one endless river upon the banks of which reside every single human being who ever lived.

That Philip Jose' Farmer would tackle the subject of Oz and finally write an Oz book should come as no surprise to people who know the man and his works. A variety of Oz motifs appear throughout his short stories and novels, sometimes symbolically, always subfly. Fanner's most striking utilization of such Ozian sites as the Emerald City and the Road of Yellow Brick are found in his Stations of The Nightmare (1982). This illustrated tale of a simple, honest man who slowly turns into an alien being contains very dream-like images of a field covered with red flowers and "at the other side, which seemed to be miles away... a glittering green city." (The cover for the TOR paperback edition has one of the most beautifully rendered Emerald City rising into the clouds you're likely to see).

Philip Farmer began reading the Oz books in 1925 when he was seven years old. Thus, like Dorothy Gale, and most of us for that matter, he discovered Oz when he was a child. In A Barnstormer In Oz however, it is not a child but a twenty-two-year old aeroplane pilot and ace of the Great War who finds Oz. Hank Stover, who happens to be Dorothy's son, takes off in his aeroplane "Jenny" in April of 1923. Upon entering a strange green cloud he flies into a parallel continuum of fertile green lands, cool blue streams, meadows, and farms: Oz.

The details of the land are many, but this is not the story-book Oz Baum presented. This is a strange, alien, gothic land peopled by small but Nordic-looking men and women. This Oz lies not in a completely 'different alternate world as Heinlein (among others) had proposed, nor is it on our earth. It is part of what Farmer calls a "split-level continuum" with Earth. Though the planet where Farmer's Oz exists shares the same "extra-atmos­pheric space" or solar system as our world, the worlds themselves are walled off from each other like "two different floors in the same planetary building." On our floor, Earth. On the next, Ertha where Oz lies. An original concept to say the least.

According to Farmer, this is the real Oz: as different from Baum's Oz as Baum's Dorothy is different from the mother of Hank Stover. Farmer contends that the real Dorothy came from South Dakota not Kansas. She was a "whizbang at picking up foreign tongues" (as she did when she landed in the country of the Munchkins). She became a dancer in a chorus line, and later married Lincoln Stover, only child of a wealthy stockbroker. From this union came Farmer's hero, Hank.

Farmer has always liked to put Americans in other­worldly places, giving them an opportunity to re-analyze American society through the alien society they visit. This is essentially what he does with Hank Stover and the device works well in A Barnstormer in Oz. Hank is one of Farmer's best heroes; both strong and sympathetic. The pilot is a little too modern in the idiom of his speech, at times sounding more like a '70's or '80's man than a man of the 1920's. There are some other problems with Hank: his knowledge at times borders on the incredible. Would a young pilot in the early 1920's understand or be familiar with theories of genetic engineering (to which he attributes the flying monkeys)?

A number of times Hank is told that he is indeed his mother's son... Yet he seems very different from Baum's young Dorothy Gale. Where Dorothy accepted the wonder of Oz, Hank has to have it explained. Dorothy accepted the Scarecrow for what he was. Hank, upon seeing the man of straw, immediately begins to wonder how "it" can exist, why the other scarecrows of Oz aren't sentient, and how its soul or essence is maintained even when it is completely restuffed. His trouble is also particularly evident in his detailed questioning of the Tin Woodman, whose lack of manhood is presented in a somewhat horrifying way. Then, after much theorizing by Hank, the Baumian touch of a cow 5 remark to "cut the chatter; you keep waking me up. Do you want to sour my milk?" is more startling and eerie than cute or funny.

In A Barnstormer in Oz Glinda is presented as a fascinating character: a strong, sexy, mysterious, and supremely confident woman, a natural leader. However, she is not the soft, gentle, fairy-godmother figure Baum wrote about. Farmer's Glinda is a calculating, scheming, and none-too-gentle ruler. (She is also only 4 feet tall, a fact which might make sense logically in his Oz, but still just doesn't seem right). The story concerns two invasions: that of the U.S. Government into the continuum of Oz, and that of Erakna, the tattooed new "red" witch of the North. Both invasions must be warded off by Glinda.

While Erakna's plotted invasion covers the text like a deathly shadow, the U.S. Government's Project Thor, to gain entrance into an alternate continuum, is handled in such a way as to be frighteningly real. Perhaps Farmer meant it to be a satire of U.S. and European imperialism, but his talent for making an absolutely fantastic situatiQn seem real through fine characterization, as well as his detailed, almost text-book descriptions, makes this part of the book particularly suspenseful and harrowing.

The concentration on Glinda might be at the root of Farmer's decision to "fictionalize" almost all the other Oz books and thus unceremoniously get rid of Ozma, for she surely would have been competition as a major female character. In fact, Farmer calls The Marvelous Land of Oz almost entirely fictional, while pointing out that the rest of the series is completely untrue. Disap­pointment was keenly felt upon reading that Baum had "created" Jack Pumpkinhe ad, the Sawhorse, the Woggle bug, and (no! a thousand times, no!) Ozma.

This brings us to the Land of Oz itself. Certain aspects of Farmer's Oz disappoint us almost immediately: Ozland as flat as Kansas? This certainly puts a crimp into the image of Dorothy escaping from the flat Kansas prairie to the rolling green hills of .... . It is interesting to find out that, though Farmer's Oz is a healthy land, there is cancer, heart failure, stroke: in other words, people die Also, there are children, and the inhabitants obviously engage in sexual intercourse (a change from Baum 5 as well as Heinlein's portrayals of Oz.) Indeed, where Baum4s Oz is almost sexless, there seems to be a preoccupation with the sexual habits of the inhabitants in Farmer's Oz.

Farmer's Oz is indeed a strange, alien world, part early Renaissance, part Old Stone Age, and part advanced futuristic society, particularly when it comes to certain aspects of "technology" and social customs. Farmer investigates both political and social systems at some length, and descriptions of birth control, contraceptives, and alien religiqus and social rituals are gone into vividly perhaps too vividly for some tastes.

Problems arise when scientific explanations for magic are proposed. This in itself is not necessarily objec tionable. In fact, for some (especially, one would guess, Hank), this makes the magic seem more 'real." Yet, once magic is explained, it is no longer magic, but simply another science. In tales, magic has always been the use of personal power (or the personal channeling of external powers) to accomplish things which science cannot. Once Farmer takes the reader on a search for logical explanations of Glinda's magic, the sense of wonder begins to disappear Hank's (and Farmer's) scientific inquiries are at their best when exploring lapses of logic in Baum's first Oz book, pointing out particularly how out of place seemed the chapter about the city of living china people Of course, problems are inherent when attempting to wnte an adult Oz book. Hank himself admits .... . he could turn off his critical faculties and enjoy the (Oz) books as he had when a child. Become, during the reading a child'again Time and again, however, Farmer lets the reader know that this is not Baum's Oz, not the "simplified, childlike land with simplified, childlike people. And, of course, as Baum's books were fairy tales, Farmer's book is science fiction.

Where Baum describes violence quickly (when at all) Farmer is explicit, powerful, and incredibly exciting Scenes like that in which sentient hawks attack Hank the Woodman, and the Scarecrow are bloody and more in the style of an old pulp adventure tale than a child's fable But if Farmer's book has its share of violence, it is also filled with wonderful imagery. There is Hank in his '20's barnstorming outfit among the populace of Oz. There is the Wizard's palace in the Emerald City, which has been built to look like a gigantic reconstruction of the United States Capitol Building. And there is the landing of American planes and soldiers in Glinda's domain, digging latrines and singing "Toot Toot Tootsie Goodbye" while golden chariots wait nearby. Such scenes are unforgettable; beautiful, glorious, and satiric at the same time, exhibiting that very magic Farmer sometimes loses during Hank's scientific inquiries. He is at his best when writing such eerie but wondrous scenes. And he doesn't disappoint when it comes to action scenes either; particularly in those sequences describing attacks by the shooting fireballs or firefoxes. In fact, these objects and their reason for existence are perhaps the single most dis­quieting and frightening aspect of Farmer's Oz.

In the final analysis, though Farmer's vision of Oz is definitely not ours, A Barnstormer in Oz is a very good science fiction novel and, as pure science ficfion adventure, it is perhaps one of the past year's best: fast-paced, exciting and full of social comment. (Michael Korolenko and Katherine Neville)

Reprinted from: The Intergalactic Reporter, a publication of The New Jersey Science Fiction Society

The Oz books are recalled with affection by many of today's noted science fiction and fantasy authors. Many author biographies say something like "I began by reading all the Oz books." Two years ago Robert E. Heinlein included a pleasant little visit to Oz in his otherwise undistinguished Number of the Beast.

Now Philip Jose' Farmer, who has recently written books further exploring Burroughs' Mars and Opar, tells about an adult, science-fiction version of Baum's wonder- land. According to Farmer, Dorothy and her visit to Oz were real," she was hurled by that cyclone across an interdimensional gap to another continuum, and returned to tell Baum her adventure. But all the other Oz books were "fictions," Dorothy never went back, instead grew up to marry wealthy New Yorker "Linc" Stover, (probably Dink Stover, hero of Owen Johnson's turn-of-the-century novels The Varmint and Stover at Yale) and in due course they had a son, Hank, who has served as a combat pilot in World War I and has become a "barnstormer" flier after- wards.

In 1923, in the skies over Kansas, Hank Stover flies his "Jenny" biplane through a strange green cloud, across the interdimensional gap to the Quadling Country of Oz. Soon he encounters not only the little people and talking animals of Baum's Wizard, but also such "adult" aspects (which Stover says his mother overlooked or Baum deliberately omitted) as liquor, tobacco and sex. Hank becomes infatuated with Glinda the Good Witch, ruler of the Quadlings, and aids her in an all-out war against a wicked Gillikin witch, Erakna, and also against an at- tempted interdimensional invasion by the United States Army. He mounts machine guns on his biplane, Jenny, she not surprisingly learns to talk, and they swoop around blasting nasty hawks, eagles and winged monkeys. After two extremely gory and bitter battles the United States Army retreats and the two witches square off in one of those godlike-hurling-thunderbolts-at-each-other duels that have become drearily overfamiliar in today's fantasy and science fiction.

Flashes of Farmer's old, wonderful imagination crop up here and there, as when he works out logical reasons for talking animals and animated beings like live scare- crows, but for the most part this is a wretchedly dull account which all the throat slittings and disembowellings, all the attacks and escapes, can't make dramatic. A pallid sexual affair involving one of Glinda's girl officers doesn't help. Farmer seems to deeply dislike Baum's Scarecrow and Tin Woodman - he revoltingly describes the Scare­crow as a "thing" and refers to him by the neuter pronoun "it," and unconvincingly provides Nick Chopper with an altered appearance and personality. The Cowardly Lion remains offstage, fortunately. Dorothy's erstwhile com­panions are soon dropped and Hank begins traveling with two facsimiles of cavemen from Farmer's "Riverworld" series, who provide a few laughs, but not many. All in all, where Baum's Oz was wondrous, fanciful, and sparkling with fun, Farmer's Oz has all the rollickingjollity and elfin charm of The Texas Chain-Saw Massacre.

For reading entertainment, get yourself Farmer's The Lovers, or The Green Odyssey or one of the "World of Tiers" series. Leave A Barnstormer in Oz to the psycho­analysts, who may discover what childhood trauma made this author try to exorcise Oz by bathing it in blood and battering it to oblivion with a Browning Automatic Rifle. (Hal Lynch)

Analog, May 1983

(Berkley, $5.95, 278 pp.) Philip José Farmer is a game player. (That's news?) He loves to interweave modern SF and the old pulps, putting Tarzan, Doc Savage, Mark Twain, and more, together and apart, into new settings. Now he's done it again, with A Barnstormer in Oz. Dorothy's son, a 1920s aviator, flies through a green cloud to Oz, where he meets Glinda the Good and helps her defeat a new wicked witch. In the process, he sees an Oz that makes a certain sense in SF terms. He neatly contrasts childhood fantasy with the technicalities of the childhood of aviation. And he finds that Glinda may not be as Good as she seems.

There's not a lot else to say. The book will surely appeal best to those who remember Oz fondly. Others may well find it a touch too cute. I do. (Tom Easton)

Science Fiction Review #47, May 1983

Now, as every good fan knows, Farmer is very good at this sort of thing. His biographies of Doc Savage and Tarzan are interesting and scholarly, his "true story" of AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS is fascinating if a little far-fetched, and he hasn't let us down this time. The story of Dorothy's son is fun.

The book's subtitle is A RATIONALIZATION AND EXTRAPOLATION OF THE SPLIT-LEVEL CONTINUUM, and it describes the thrust of the novel. Farmer makes Oz and the surrounding areas valid and believable places. The book is partially, I think, an excuse to answer some questions. How was the Tin Woodsman's "soul" transferred to his metal body? How can the Scarecrow remain the same entity when it regularly changes its brains? How big a role did Glinda the Good play in Dorothy's tale?

Farmer takes L. Frank Baum, the author of the original Oz series, to task often. He is constantly referring to Baum's forgetting or neglecting to include details. (Although when Farmer twice mentions Baum's omission of the sound of displaced air in teleportation I think he's getting a little nitpicky.)

We are given an explanation of some of the wilder details in the Oz books, Farmer attributing them to Baum's desire to turn Dorothy's story into fiction.

The book is well-written and entertaining, and with a certain flair. ("Lightning challenged the earth to a duel by slapping it in its face.") Hank Stover, Dorothy's son, is a combination of hard logic and light fantasy. I think if he lived today he'd be a writer if not a fan of SF.

As I said, the book is fun. Once past the explanations in the first chapters, the pace picks up and becomes more action than talk. The plotting is skillful, although something concerning the invasion force's large number of a certain type of aircraft didn't happen, and I was sure it would. It has to do with another aircraft, a sentient one, and this, unfortunately, brings me to a fault in the book.

Somebody wants to invade Oz. Hanks' loyalty is questioned repeatedly, mostly by himself and I thought the rest of the novel would be a resolution of that. It wasn't. The situation is never solidly resolved.

Also, Hank's future in Oz is not established. Will he go home? Will he stay? Who knows? I think Farmer wants to write a sequel, which is fine by me. Maybe he'll include the scenes he had to cut from this book, especially those he mentions in the Author's Notes. (David Pitt)

SF & Fantasy Book Review #4, May 1982
Science Fiction Chronicle, September 1982

(Tor Books 1982, 256 pp. $2.75) The only safe prediction one can make about Philip Jose Farmer's books is that they will be unpredictable. This latest is a novel and one short story, although novel appeared originally as four separate pieces in Roger Elwood's Continuum series. The story that concludes the volume is related in an abstract sort of fashion. This is not a tightly plotted novel, nor is it one of Farmer's more significant works. The story moves rapidly and logically, but reader identification is never established. The anticlimatic and somewhat enigmatic conclusion to the main story, followed by the only peripherally related shorter piece, destroy the momentum of the book rather thoroughly. (Don D'Ammassa)

SF & Fantasy Book Review #7, September 1982
Fantasy Newsletter #52, October 1982

(Tor Books, 1982, $2.75) FARMER PARODIES AVIATION EPICS VIA MAD FOKKER'S BLIMP GANG. When World War II ace Mad Fokker (whose existance was officially denied upon certain character flaws came to light) and his infamous "Blimp Gang" of scientists gone wrong" take aim at Acme Zeppelin's first-mate Greatheart Silver, and later Acme owner and ruthless multibillionaire Micawber, assorted crooks, spies, spooks, kooks, nuts, bolts, and need I say, hell break loose. Chaos was never this much fun.

Silver descends from a long and illustrious line, noted for acheivements in rather different fields: John Silver, a pirate who terrorized the Spanish Main; a saddle tramp with the fastest draw in the west; Sioux warrior Crazy Horse; and finally President Thomas Jefferson (through his quadroon mistress Sally Hennings).

Needless to say, living up to this image does not come easy. Ancestral apparitions frequently appear, bearing warnings of danger. Greatheart explains these venerable wraiths as "symbols projected by his unconcious mind," the work "of some kind of psychic sense," telling him when some situation will very soon "change for the worse." The gag works well for Farmer, but, alas, this "change for the worse" always comes before poor Greatheart can, in the great Silver family tradition, alter the course of events.

After losing his position with Acme Zeppelin, not the mention his leg, when the Mad Fokker pirated and destroyed AZ 8 (a turn of events for which Greatheart swears revenge on Micawber), Greatheart comes under the tutelege of ex G-man Phwombly, an old timer with an iron will and a keen eye still determined to champion the cause of Good over Evil whatever side of the law that puts him on. Jill, Greatheart's ex-girlfriend, is exposed as Micawber's daughter when she is conveniently kidnapped by the blimp gang. This gives Greatheart a card to play at last: he gives up his plans of getting back at Micawber and instead deals him in, offering to rescue Jill for full reinstatement in the Acme Zeppelin Company. The Mad Fokker has Jill in tow and only Phwombly knows his hideout. In a side splitting parody of the cops and robbers bit, every exotic and deadly capability of Greatheart's prostetic leg is put to the test in the big showdown in the town of Shootout.

Jill's rescue spells the beginning, not the end, of Greatheart's problems. And it is in the long coveted role of Captain that Greatheart is put to the final test. Will the hitherto mock heroics of our protagonist, a man whose skills rarely justify his confidence in them, a character for whom it seems bad fortune has inexhaustible designs, at last succeed in overcoming youth, bad luck, and the satirical predisposition of his author?

For Farmer's tireless wit, his microscopic detail, and a chance to answer this question for yourself, I, for one, recommend you read Greatheart Silver. (David Nixon)

SF & Fantasy Book Review #8, September 1982
Voice of Youth Advocates, February 1983

This is typical Farmer at his best; punny, irreverent, raunchy and bizarre. The wonderfully lurid cover contains the short Hugo winning novel, "Riders of the Purple Wage," "Spiders of the Purple Mage," "The Long Wet Purple Dream of Rip Van Winkle," and "The Making of Revelation, Part I." I've been a Farmer addict for years, but the YA crowd, locally at least, doesn't seem to share my enthusiasm. If you've patrons devouring every issue of Heavy Metal and readers appreciative of characters like Huga Wells-Erb Heinsturbury, a science fiction authoress, then you'll get a good response. (Susan B. Madden)

Analog, May 1983

Farmer's The Purple Book is a collection of strange yarns including "The Long Wet Purple Dream of Rip van Winkle," in which Rip meets the Shadow. There is also "Riders of the Purple Wage," which shows how people live when all necessities and many luxuries come free from a government atop the economy of abundance; for some reason, it won a Hugo. There is "Spiders of the Purple Mage," from Robert Asprin's Thieves' World series. And more, all typically irreverent, titillating, and light. I didn't think it among Farmer's best works. (Tom Easton)

Science Fiction Chronicle, May 1983

(Tor Books, 1982 287 pp. $2.95) This collection of five short stories is highlighted by "Riders of the Purple Wage," a pun infested, rollicking story of a future welfare state and one very idiosyncratic rebel, along with a flock of fascinating characters and situations. Also first rate is "Spiders of the Purple Mage," a fantasy adventure not related to the first story. despite the similarity of puns in the titles.

The three remaining stories include a minor prequel to "Riders," a fantasy about Rip Van Winkle, and another fantasy dealing with the casting of Armageddon. Farmer illustrates herein his reputation for weird story ideas, and if his fertile imagination occasionally comes up with an idea that even he cannot make totally workable, he at least keeps the reader guessing. (Don D'Ammassa)

Kirkus Reviews, July 15 1983

(Putnam 12843-3) The fifth, weakest installment of the Riverworld series - which features a ten-million-mile-long river, the resurrection of Earth's 35 billion dead, and (here more than ever) Farmer's tendency toward convolution and cosmic chat. Again the resurrected heroes include explorer Richard Burton, Alice (of Wonderland fame), sf writer Peter Jairus Frigate, and Chinese poet Li Po. They have now occupied the tower of the Ethicals (the mysterious, puissant beings who set the whole system up), with its computer and miraculous powers. The renegade Loga, having murdered the other Ethicals, is directing things to private ends - but is apparently killed by an unseen entity, the "Snark." And then, after exploring the tower, discussing their situation at great length, and experimenting with the computer (which the Snark has partially blocked against them), the heroes begin to resurrect others - too many and too quickly. Chaos ensues; there's a bloody battle against animated characters from Alice which only Burton, Alice, Frigate, and Li Po survive. Finally a crazed Loga turns up to tell them it's all been a test of their ability to handle godlike power - so they shoot him, take over the computer, and make some plans of their own. Talky, implausible, often boggy stuff, with only a few charming moments: strictly for Riverworld addicts.

Publishers Weekly, August 19 1983

(Putnam 12843-3) The Riverworld seems to pull Farmer as the Mississippi did Twain. Perhaps it's the endless potential for droll or pointed encounters between people from different periods of history on a world where all of humanity is resurrected. Perhaps it is simply an urge to continue producing a string of bestsellers. So, despite earlier statements that 1980's The Magic Labyrinth would be the last Riverworld novel, here we are again. All of those who found the previous book's revelatory climax too abrupt for a story that had gone on for thousands of pages will be pleased. Farmer now has the chance to further explain and clarify the purpose of the alien Ethicals in giving mankind a second chance. The members of the intrepid band that achieved its quest for the end of the River in the previous book now find themselves in command of the Ethicals' polar control center. When they're not trying to track down an unknown enemy, they're building private worlds and resurrecting a few friends. The unknown enemy turns out to be no more than a wild goose chase to keep the plot in motion. It's the two varieties of god-playing, culminating in a disastrous tea party in Alice Pleasance Liddell's Wonderland, that give the book its interest. SF Book Club main selection. Foreign rights: Ted Chichak, Scott Meredith Agency.

Booklist, September 15 1983

(Putnam 12843-3) The fifth and (one must hope) concluding novel of Farmer's grandest creation, the Riverworld saga. Here Farmer explores the choices his characters must make and what dangers they overcome with the godlike powers they have acquired in the tower at Riverworld's North Pole. There is enough action, intrigue, and Farmer's habitual game-playing with historical characters and situations (including the mystery of Jack the Ripper) to appeal to those readers who have followed the saga this far. However, the whole emotional tone of the book seems curiously flat compared to the earlier books, and even the battle scenes don't compel as they once did. While this is definitely less satisfactory that its predecessors, Farmer's many fans will want to keep up on the Riverworld saga. Main selection of the Science Fiction Book Club. (Roland Green)

Library Journal, September 15 1983

(Putnam 12843-3) Farmer should have resisted the temptation to return to Riverworld. There is nothing left to discover about Burton, Alice, Li Po, Turpin, et al., and Farmer's attempts to give the story some zest by inserting periodic killings are useless. Now immured in the Tower, the members of the group find that the Computer gives them godlike power over Riverworld's inhabitants, but their use of it is for the most part self-serving. Even the graphic blood bath at the end can't make this novel interesting. Only for devout fans. (Susan L. Nickerson)

Science Fiction Chronicle, December 1983

(Putmans 1983, 336 p. $14.95) Farmer, having changed his mind, has presented us with a continuation of the story we thought had ended with The Magic Labyrinth. A group of people have now penetrated the control area for Riverworld and are intent upon puzzling out its mysteries when an unknown being begins to interfere, bringing death and mayhem into their lives once more. This volume is actually a more closely plotted work than some of the earlier ones, and is actually extremely good. I was particularly taken with the sequence near the end set in Alice's Wonderland. This is definitely something to look forward to, and I suspect we have not seen the last of Richard Burton and his cohorts yet. (Don D'Ammassa)

Fantasy Review #64, January 1984
Fantasy Review #65, March 1984

(Putnam 331 p. $14.95) Riverworld Five: The Hunting of the Snark

I will indulge myself in a prediction: some reviewers will find this book to be another case of Herbert's Syndrome, in which a large advance induces a good writer to extend a successful series beyond its natural span. They will grumble that all the questions were supposed to be answered at the end of the fourth book, that this addition to this series must somehow change the rules. Not so. This book is a legitimate sequel to the others despite the fact that it does not appear (at first) to address the mysteries supposedly solved at the end of Magic Labyrinth; Farmer's announced purpose was to investigate what might happen to intelligent, brave, decent people who find themselves possessed of the nearly limitless material resources of the science of the Ethicals and the truly godlike power to decide the eternal fates of billions of other people.

When Sir Richard Francis Brton and his companions see their mentor, the renegade Ethical Loga, murdered, they find themselves on their own, and they spend the rest of the book looking for the killer and learning to use the Tower's machinery to indulge their fancies, resurrect their friends, and come to terms with their own essential natures. The result is a book quite different in feeling from the first four. The action is confined to th Tower, and, for much of the story, the cast is limited to Burton and his friends ( with one significant addition). This setting may seem a bit restricted after the gigantic scale of the Rivervalley, but the Tower has other attractions -- it is itself a monumental structure containing twelve "worlds" that the nearly magical Ethical technology can redesign to suit the inhabitants, and Farmer manages to make it nearly as mysterious and dangerous as the Valley.

There are echoes of the World of Tiers books in the private worlds that Burton and his friends create in the Tower and in their search for the enigmatic Snark (the name they have given Loga's killer). This latter plot element is not, however, the book's strong point, as its primary purpose seems to be to provide suspense while the characters explore the Tower. Instead it seems to me that the strength of the book is in the reactions of the characters to the private worlds and to that key to heart's desire, Ethical technology. As the cover illustrations for both editions telegraph (and as any long-time Farmer watcher must already know), the projections of heart's desire can grow long, sharp teeth, and even such an apparently benign daydream as Alice's tea party can become a nightmare. It is the question of whether we could survive the granting of all our deepest desires that Farmer addresses in this novel. (Russell Letson)

Foundation #30, March 1984

(Putnam 1983, 331 pp, $14.95)Biologically, the route to real intelligence requires that a creature should be able to make mistakes and learn from them. At the same time, a young creature's learning experience will occur in a constrained environment-with the mother constraining the behaviour, for the most part. Thus wisdom comes about through a dialectic of freedom (to err, and discover), and imposed constraints.

Something similar occurs in books, with the author playing the role of mother, imposing constraints; and the fiction discovering creatively through trial and error a final modus vivendi, which is the gestalt of the book, the metaphorical picture which it reveals to us of what life is all about.

Gods Of Riverworid and The Unreasoning Mask are as chalk and cheese in this respect; together they form a highly illuminating (because contrastive) illustration of a problem central to much sf. Namely, how to provide a satisfying and believable resolution to adventure stories which address themselves to the cosmos, the nature of life and death, immortality, Godhead-the Big Enigmas, which are perhaps unresolvable by definition. Or which are so, at present.

Gods of Riverworld is, of course, the fifth volume of the long-running saga of the planet where the whole human race has been resurrected along the banks of an enormous river in a benevolent experiment by advanced Ethicals who want to give the wayward human race a second chance to evolve morally. By now Richard Burton and Company (or what remains) have reached the giant control tower-where the entire action of this volume takes place-and all (as so often) is not as it seems. For a rogue Ethical has put all of his comrades out of action. But then he gets killed (or does he?), leaving Burton & Co as the demigodly lords of the manor, subject only to constralnts programmed into the puissant super-computer. A further mysterious agent puts in an appearance; and a final threat is posed by one of Burton's entourage who is carrying out a secret deadly scheme. Along the way Burton and crew mostly amuse themselves with the demigodly powers avallable, neglecting to keep an eye on the situation. (As Farmer points out: "Where they should have been examining what limited them, they were considering what gratifications it offered.") Thus the situation slides into lethal chaos, including the tragic destruction of all the artificial souls of the human race-until the rogue Ethical reappears like a rabbit out of a hat, revealing that everyone's soul hasn't been destroyed after all; but he happens to be crazy, to boot; so he has to be put on ice. And at the end the master plan of the absent Ethicals is back on course, with modifications; while Burton, having inherited a hangar full of starships, opts for the anarchic freedom of the wider cosmos.

Philip Farmer, when in a tight corner, and/or when the central enigmas prove more unresolvable than usual, has often opted for action-writing; notably in The Lavalite World, fifth volume of the "World of Tiers" series, where the characters spend most of the time running around frantically chasing everyone else, to little effect. And a lot of the action in Gods of Riverworld is of this order, expanding from the initial kernel of people into a real caucus race, then dwindling rapidly as almost everyone is wiped out. (Were it not this way, however, the main characters would have little to do but puzzle or swap anecdotes in their tower abode.)

Another Farmer trait is to reveal that things are not as they seemed. A manipulator lurks in the wings. Barefaced lies have been taken as gospel. Wild cards are sprung as if from nowhere.

This trait crescendoes during the Riverworld saga, as successive explanations all fall apart; so that one begins to sense a kind of desperate improvisation about the latest revelations. (The artificial souls of the morally improved "go on" to beatific union, we learn. Later, we learn that they don't. There isn't any Beatitude to unify with-unless it is one which we ourselves will subsequently create; unless God is to be manufactured, just as our souls were manufactured by the obliging Ethicals. But maybe this won't be true, either, around the next corner.)

Farmer's characters put themselves through innumerable hoops in this book in an ­attempt to define the limits of their freedom-as to what can or can't be done, given secret constraints programmed into the tower computer by the mystery person or persons who they fear will constantly out-fox them. And what is so fascinating-and often comic-about all this, is that the problems the characters are struggling with are essentially the problems of fictional organization (style and form) on the one hand, and on the other hand the resolution of enigmas which can't really be resolved in any fully satisfying way by their very nature (content and context). The author's own daunting problems here become the activities of the characters themselves-leading to such burlesque situations, in a quasi-omnipotent environment, of the characters erecting tents inside rooms to make hand signals to each other unobserved, or building burglar alarms then realizing (this is known as negative improvisation) that their rooms are soundproofed consequently they can't hear the alarms. Or else they decide rigorously that the water supply in the bathroom may well be deadly, but they have a shower anyway because they're dirty. A certain amount of over-precision enters into descriptions, too, as if to make up for this swirl of infinitely variable possibilities in the area of definable verifiable constraints. Thus water will be exactly 68° Fahrenheit; or a room will be precisely 458 metres long, or whatever. Whilst always, if in doubt, the action card can be played. "No more ifs; we act."

I might sound as though I am knocking Gods of Riverworid. But no. In many respects Philip Farmer is meeting the challenge which he set up for himself, and meeting it acrobatically, with verve and with honesty-at heart this is a moral and humane book. What intrigues me is the way in which it explicates in so much of its action-like some return of the repressed, psychologically-the central problem of creative freedom and necessary constraints. It explicates this nakedly, as the central matter of much of the novel (verging at times, admittedly, on a parody of the problem). And this is a problem often central to the kind of sf which in action entertainment mode takes on the Ultimate Questions-and is most invigorating and worthwhile, as well as finally disappointing, when it does so.

{See THE UNREASONING MASK for the second half of this review}

In Gods of Riverworld Farmer's characters debate a while about free will versus determinism-whilst exemplifying in their deeds the author's dilemma of how the devil to resolve his initial premises; The Unreasoning Mask enacts a convincing solution to the problems of form and content tackled (sometimes bravely, sometimes sloppily) upon the Riverworid. (Ian Watson)

Analog, April 1984

(Putnam, $14.95, 331 pp.) Here is Gods of Riverworld, fifth and worst in the Riverworld series. Sir Richard Burton, Alice Liddell Hargreaves (Carroll's Alice), Peter Jarius Frigate (Farmer's alter ego), Alphra Behn, Jean Marcellin, Li Po, Tom Turpin, and a Sufi are dwelling in the tower at the Riverworld's north pole, which they have taken over. Loga, that one of the Ethicals who have ressurrected every human born on Earth between 99,000 B.C. and 1983 A.D., who has allied himself with and egged on the human rebels for his own purposes, is dead. Burton et al. are free to indulge themselves in sybaritic luxury and sophomoric philosophy while they hunt for Loga's mysterious killer, try to figure out the tower's computer, and seek a way to solve all human problems on the Riverworld.

The trouble is that the book is pedestrian, plodding, and talky. The novelty of the Riverworld idea was worn out at least two books ago, and Farmer fails to introduce enough new novelty to sustain interest for more than a dozen pages.

And the endless philosophizing! At one point, Farmer has his alter ego ask, "Will I ever graduate from the sophomore class?"

The answer is no. And I'm sure Farmer knew it, or he wouldn't have asked. He knew better, and he did it to us anyway. (Tom Easton)

Amazing, May 1984

(Putnam $14.95 cloth) There are some writers who require someone to hover over them with a mallet. And then, to bring it down whenever the writer moves to write just a bit more about an existing work.

I really wish there had been a mallet handy when Farmer was working on Gods of Riverworld. The Riverworld novels — now five — are what most people know Farmer for. They are, in large measure, witty and entertaining as they chronicle the Riverworld, where every human being who has lived is suddenly resurrected. The series has brought into play prominent historical figures as main characters, including Sir Richard Francis Burton, the lead in Gods of Riverworld.

In Gods, Burton and seven others have made it to the alien-built Tower at the headwaters of the Riverworld, and have to decide how to handle their new-found power. They also have to handle a murderer among them, as well as the future of humanity. No small task.

Gods of Riverworld does answer the unanswered questions in the fourth volume, which was to be the last in the series. It does tie everything up pretty nicely. But it takes a long time in doing so. There are lengthy reviews of each character's life, dabbles of philosophy, and a continual who-can-be-trusted merry-go-round as they search for the unknown killer.

Needless to say, the characterizations are excellent. The world is still fascinating. And the ending may actually be the ending of the Riverworld saga. But be warned: Gods of Riverworld is long, maybe a third again as long as it needed to be. The pace slows to a maddening crawl in some places. Some editing would have helped. Or maybe the mallet.

Kirkus Reviews, October 1 1984
Publishers Weekly, November 23 1984

(Putnam 12843-3) Despite earlier statements that 1980's The Magic Labyrinth would be Farmer's last Riverworld tale, he returns there again in this novel. "All of those who found the previous book's revelatory climax too abrupt for a story that had gone on for thousands of pages will be pleased," commented PW. Major ad/promo.

Paperback Inferno, June 1985
BSC Review February 21, 2011
Publishers Weekly, November 4 1983

In 1952, long before it was a bestselling pentology , the Riverworld series was a single book, written in just a month to win a contest. It won, but never got the hardcover and paperback publication promised; nor did Farmer get any of his prize money. Today Farmer feels the resulting delay in publication was serendipitous. Indeed, the final, expanded version he eventually wrote is so popular, it can justify this special, first-time publication of the earliest version extant - the second. In 70,000 words this highly compressed rendering tells the essential story of the amazing Riverworld. It can't replace the later, grander work, but it is quite entertaining and a fascinating footnote to SF history. Farmer fans will cheer.

Locus #276, January 1984

(Phantasia Press 205pp, hc)The failure of Fantasy Press and other fan presses cast the publication of certain authors and titles into a limbo from which many will probably never be resurrected. Nor was this a problem for obscure and dated pre-1930 authors only. In 1952, Philip José Farmer, then a struggling young writer, entered the Science Fiction Prize Novel contest run by Shasta Press and subsidized by Pocket Books.

His 150,000-word entry was titled OWE FOR THE FLESH (Farmer's Memory) or I OWE FOR THE FLESH (Shasta's publicity), and was the precursor of what has become a monumental construct in modern sf, the 'Riverworld' series. Although OWE FOR THE FLESH won the contest, it was never published and in its original form has long since disappeared. Farmer was never paid and was forced to rework his manuscript several times over a number of years before finally succeeding with TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO and its companion titles. It is Farmer's first rewrite of OWE FOR THE FLESH, a 70,000-word work, RIVER OF ETERNITY, that Farmer and Phantasia Press finally located and resurrected after all these years.

For the uninitiated, Riverworld is a sort of purgatory, established by alien builders. All humans who have ever lived, with notable exceptions, revive there after death so they can have more opportunities to perfect their souls. In TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO and THE FABULOUS RIVERBOAT, Farmer overwhelmes his readers with the staggering notion of a meandering river 10 million miles long, 36 billion human individuals representing a time frame from 2,000,000 BC to 2008 AD, and a story which throws together in dizzy anarchy such diverse persons as Sir Richard Francis Burton, Mark Twain, Hermann Goering, Odysseus, and the Alice who inspired ALICE IN WONDERLAND. Unfortunately, after three more books in the series, the initial impact was lost.

The publication of RIVER OF ETERNITY now, and in this form, seems to me something of a favor to the reader, whether or not one is already familiar with Riverworld I-V. While it may represent an earlier, cruder form of Farmer's concept and writing ability, it stands on its own merits. The writing is fresh and vigorous. The concept, the gimick, and the characters all seem in balance with each other. Phyllis is the first woman in science fiction I have felt that I wanted to meet in a long time. Of course much is left unexplained, and that is why Farmer felt so compelled to go at much greater length. To my mind however, such omissions are not a bad thing. However abbreviated and rough Farmer may think RIVER OF ETERNITY is, it fires the imagination rather than bludgeons it. (Dan Chow)

Fantasy Review #66, April 1984

(Phantasia Press October 1983 $17.00) Here at last is a delux edition, handsomely bound and printed on acid-free paper, of the book that made Philip Jose Farmer an SF superstar in the fifties, the first of the series that enabled him to become a full-time writer, which in turn enabled him to produce such wonderful and outrageous mainstreem fiction as Pearl Diving in Old Peoria and Uncle Sam's Free Beer.

So much for might-have-beens. What we have instead is the second draft of the original Riverworld novel, written and revised in 1952-53 for the Shasta-Pocket Books competition and thereafter lost for nearly thirty years, until E. F. Bleiler dug the manuscript out of his garage some months ago. I am happy to say the the book has more than historical or curiosity value (although it has both of those) and that it can be read as an independent tale, a sort of parallel universe Riverworld installment. Farmer's introduction recounts the grisly story of the Shasta swindle (which is why my lead paragraph is mostly fiction) and outlines the stages of the manuscript's developement from the 150,000-word original version to the series of shorter pieces that Fred Pohl eventually published in the sixties.

The headnote to the story indicates that River of Eternity is the third of a projected four-novel series, and it roughly corresponds to the last half of The Fabulous Riverboat, but with the focus on Richard Black (Farmer'spseudonym for Sir Richard Francis Burton) rather than Sam Clemens. Other differences of cast and action need a longer piece to discuss in any detail, but the themes of the series remain the same. Perhaps most significant are the differences between Farmer the writer of thirty years ago and of today. River is an impressive book for a new writer, but next to its later versions it is a bit slow and talky in places, with some rather large chunks of exposition forced into the conversations early on. On the other hand, readers who have been impatient with the complicated deceptions practiced on the Valley-dwellers in Dark Design, Magic Labyrinth, and Gods of Riverworld may find the relatively straight-line developement of this book a relief. Myself, I'm glad to have any version of the Riverworld (and Farmer is still looking for a copy of the original original version) and recommend this book highly to anyone with even a passing interest in how a writer develops his ideas. The price is reasonable, considering what glue-binding, standard-paper books cost, and the print run is rather high for a limited edition, so it's both affordable and available, as specialty items go--and Farmer has so far turned down offers for paperback reprinting. (Russel Leston)

British Fantasy Newsletter, 6-7/1984

(Phantasia Press Trade: $17.00/Special Edition: $40) Back in the early 1950s Farmer wrote a novel which won the Shasta Science Fiction Prize Novel Contest. That manuscript, for various reasons, never saw print and is now presumably lost for good. However, a few years ago a reworking of that manuscript was discovered, this being the second version of the original Riverworld novel, and now it is published as a limited edition, finely produced, hardcover book. The story itself adds little to the Riverworld saga and Farmer's professionalism is lacking - but then it is an almost first novel. I found it dull and verbose and was unable to complete the book, but it will probably appeal to Riverworld completists. The introduction, in which PJF describes this book's history is a fascinating, albiet brief, insight into the publishing business. (Peter Colborn)

Library Journal, February 15 1984

(Crown 55193-4, 1984) In his younger days, Farmer was one of the pioneers in the maturing of sf. He broke many taboos, sometimes scandalously, by introducing sexuality, both human and alien. This collection of six early Farmer works, including "Mother," "The God Business," and "My Sister's Brother," is indeed classic Farmer and worth reading, especially by those who know Farmer only from his more recent tepid efforts. The series itself appears to be an excellent choice for libraries. (Susan L. Nickerson)

Washington Post Book World, February 22 1984
Science Fiction Studies, July 1984

(Crown, 1984, $7.95) Given the fact that Philip José Farmer has recently been turning out fat and flabby novels, the trim and energetic short fictions in THE CLASSIC PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER, 1952-1964 provide a welcome reminder of how good, how powerfully provocative, this writer could be when he pushed himself to the limit. I speak as someone who genuinely enjoys the games of the "Riverworld" books but agrees with those who say the recent ones have been far too self-indulgent.

At any rate, Martin H. Greenberg has selected a true group of "classic" Farmer fiction here, covering a wide range of themes and SF modes. There's the witty alternative universe of "Sail On! Sail On!," with its image of Columbus's ships sailing across the flat ocean, a monk aboard tapping out wireless messages in Latin. The famous "Mother" has lost little of its bite, though it's apparent now that Farmer's handling of the narrative explanations is occasionally awkward. And "The God Business" is a freewheeling fantasia on anarchic desires and the history of the continuing disappearance of gods and goddesses. Farmer has always been obsessed by power and immortality and the responsibilities that accompany them, as "The World of Tiers" and "Riverworld" series have shown. "The God Business" is a romantic/comic take on this theme, and is still a lot of fun.

Much darker are the next two stories, "The Alley Man" and "My Sister's Brother. " The first is a study of academia running head-on into an historical anomaly that it can't explain. The Old Man of the story is sure he's the last of the real people, the Neanderthals, and a young female sociologist begins to wonder if he isn't somehow telling the truth. Sexual and crude, Old Man is also a figure demanding compassion, as the story takes his position more and more for granted without ever quite fully accepting it, while building to an enigmatic death.

"My Sister's Brother" also has some problems in developing its narrative of communication between alien species, but these pale before its bitterly powerful exploration of a good man's failure to love the Other, even when he desires to. The story fervently attacks the self-satis- faction of those SF stories which see it as humanity's righteous crusade to conquer the galaxy. The two-page "The King of Beasts" is a savagely ironic postscript. All in all, this collection offers all the evidence needed to prove that Farmer at his best is a writer to be conjured with. (Douglas Barbour)

Fantasy and Science Fiction, August 1984
Fantasy Review #71, September 1984
Science Fiction Chronicle, September 1984

(Crown 1984, 215 pp. $7.95) Five of Philip Farmer's best works (plus one minor vignnette) make up this collection. Although best known for his many adventure novels, Farmer has always been an intriguing writer of shorter fiction. Four of the stories are drawn from his early collections from Ballantine, and feature aliens, sex with aliens, a Neanderthal survival, and Columbus and his quest around the world. Those unfamiliar with the field should find this an intriguing collection, if not exactly typical of what the field has to offer. Those who are seasoned readers should welcome the chance to re-encounter old friends. (Don D'Ammassa)

Analog, October 1984
Kirkus Reviews, December 15 1984

(Crown 55193-4, 1984) Farmer, these days best known for his interminable Riverworld series, was instrumental in kicking science fiction out of its late-1940s puritanical rut - and these six iconoclastic, imaginative yarns aptly show how and why. "Sail On! Sail On!" is a wry, alternate-history tale in which Columbus, heading hopefully west for the Indies, sails off the edge of the world. In the daring, Freudian "Mother," a gigantic womb-like alien captures an unsuspecting mother's-boy as part of its reproductive cycle. The adroit fantasy "The God Business" presents a heavily symbolic journey from self-delusion to enlightenment. In the powerful, tragic "The Alley Man," the last full-blooded Neanderthal, whose odor makes him overpoweringly attractive to women, scavenges a living in back alleys and junk heaps. And "My Sister's Brother" is a challenging alien contact story in which a deeply religious man meets advanced aliens whose reproductive arrangements revolt and disgust him. True, most of these stories - sometimes startling and often disturbing - are famous, widely anthologized. But together for the first time they represent Farmer at his provocative best - and seem a fine choice for Crown's new Classics of Modern Science Fiction Series.

Kirkus Reviews, July 15 1984

(Crown 55545-X, 1984) Farmer is usually more consistent at shorter length, principally because his wild, bulging plots don't have time to wobble out of control; following the fine Classic Farmer, 1952-1964 (1983, p.1273), here's a second entry, as good or better than the first. "Riders of the Purple Wage" is probably Farmer's most famous story: a bizarre, punning, blisteringly funny depiction of a near-future where most people subsist on the government dole or "purple wage." There's also a genuinely terrifying tale about an alien object that progressively steals people's memories, leading to worldwide amnesia, regression, and chaos. Plus - noteworthy tales about: a world where the King Kong legend actually happened; a characteristically far-out, symbolic exploration of superspace; and an Earth that's so crowded that people are allowed to live only one day per week, spending the rest of the time in stasis. There are less successful efforts, too, of course: a one-liner surgery joke, four pages long; a Tarzan yarn as maybe-written by William Burroughs; and a talky, tedious "Purple Wage" imitation about an aerial city. A typical Farmer spectrum, then: about equal parts rough and smooth, dazzling and blinding, but always outrageous and furiously energetic.

Publishers Weekly, August 10 1984

(Crown 55545-X, 1984) Farmer has been in the vanguard of the science fiction field in matters of style and content since his very first story, "The Lovers," in 1952. The eight tales in this book, a followup to last year's collection covering 1952-1964, exhibit a broad spectrum of Farmer's talents and concerns. The longest and perhaps most important story here is the 1967 Hugo winner "Riders of the Purple Wage," a scintillating, episodic jape, heavily influenced by Finnegan's Wake, full of wordplay and literary and cinematic allusions. The more conventional "After King Kong Fell" takes place in a world in which the giant ape actually existed and tells of his effect upon a young boy. "The Shadow of Space" is a mind-bending tale, hilarious in a poker-faced fashion, of the plight of a spaceship that has broken through the edge of the universe. "The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod" tells Tarzan's story in the manner of William, rather than Edgar Rice, Burroughs. This is volume five of Crown's Classics of Modern Science Fiction series.

Fantasy Review #74, December 1984

(Crown, xv+207 P. $8.95)Agricola Classica

One of the easier criticisms of the Dangerous Visions anthologies is that by the time they appeared, SF had grown and the visions weren't so dangerous any more. I'm happy to report that one of DV's more celebrated taboo-breakers, Phil Farmer's ""Rider's of the Purple Wage,"still lives up to the original advertising; infact, most of the material in this Crown retrospective collection [the first covers 1952-1964; see FR71] demonstrates that SF can be an unsettling genre in the hands of a writer not shy about rummaging around in the cellars and attics of his

Some of Farmer's strongestwork from a strong period si represented here: in addition to "Riders," there are "The Jingle Rot Kid on the Nod" [1968] and "After King Kong Fell" [1973], ironically humorous, dark-tinged evocations of the myths that rise from popular fiction. "Don't Wash the Carats" [1968], like "Riders"a Beverly Hills story, enobles physicians by comparing them to the Three Stooges. There are lesser pieces, too: "Sketches Among the Ruins of ?My Mind" [1973] and "The Sliced-Crossways Only-on-Tuesday World" 1971] put ordinary guys through Farmerian infernos [the latter is the basis for his forthcoming novel, Dayworld,finished last summer], while "The Shadow of Space" [1967] runs a "Star Trek" treatment through the wringer of Phil's imagination [ a Starship orbits and enters a woman's gigantically expanded corpse].

Welcome as this collection is, it could have been better. The major attractions are available in Riverworld and Other Stories [1979], The Book of Philip Jose Farmer [rev. ed. 1982], and The Purple Book [1982]. I realize that "Riders", "jungle Rot Kid", and "Kong" are seen as the headliners needed to sell a collection, but there are unavailable stories that I would have preferred--in fact, I would have just reprinted most of my favorite Farmer collection, Down in the Black Gang [1971, o.p.], especially the wonderful "A Bowl Bigger than Earth." For libraries, though, this hardcover edition may be the one to get. (Russell Letson)

VOYA, June 1985

(Crown 55545-X, 1984) Farmer's book is #5 in a series of "Classics of Modern Science Fiction" which according to Isaac Asimov's introduction will put into permanent format at a reasonable price much of the material that appeared in magazine format. Phil Farmer is one of the best writers to come out of the SF magazines of the 50s. The sexual content of his stories offends some readers. This book contains his prize winning "Riders of the Purple Wage" from Harlan Ellison's over-praised Dangerous Visions. Of the eight stories, only two are from the SF magazines and even the title is inaccurate since the stories are copyrighted from 1967 to 1973. Farmer's unique conceptions are balanced by poor plotting as pointed out by Martin Greenberg in his lucid introduction. It is really hard to think of a poor science fiction or fantasy story by Farmer except for a few erotic pot-boilers written to pay the rent. This book is recommended except for those who dislike a heavy sexual content. (Edward Wood)

Kirkus Reviews, October 1 1984

Seven tales - six shorts, one novelette, with extensive introductions to each - from the imaginative, popular, iconoclastic author of the Riverworld series. The better-known entries: a mind boggling, rather Freudian fantasy about exploring a universe beyond our own; a genuinely frightening picture of an Earth suffering from progressive memory loss; a wacky world so overcrowded that people only live one day per week, spending the remainder in stasis; and another world where King Kong actually existed. Also on the agenda are less famous fantasies: an afterlife of utter conformity (a few individuals do still try to beat the system); a weird piece about animal totems. And the long work is an amusing, adroit, inventive, semi-obscene Sherlock Holmes parody (rewritten from an obscure 1973 novelette to avoid copyright problems), set in 1916 and featuring - among other things - a mad German scientist and a fake Mowgli masquerading as king of the African jungle. A solid Farmer grab-bag, then: sometimes over familiar, but nearly always stimulating and enjoyable.

Publishers Weekly, October 5 1984

Like his characters, Farmer has often strained and broken the taboos and conventions of the mundane world and its conservative SF reflection. His protagonist in one of the stories in this collection, "The Shadow of Space," is trapped within the phantasmagoric corpse of a madwoman. Farmer knew the feeling: the story was unpublishable until he bowdlerized it. Parallel with these memorable extrapolations of civilization and its discontents (e.g., "The Sliced-Crosswise-Only-on-Tuesday World" ) is an attraction to mythic figures who transcend ordinary rules, including death. Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes and King Kong live again in Farmer's stories. An acceptable sampler with entertaining Farmer comments, this third volume in the Masterworks of Science Fiction and Fantasy series isn't as strong as the previous entries on Arthur C. Clarke and Fritz Leiber. Illustrations.

Booklist, December 1 1984

The latest in the illustrated Masterworks of Science Fiction and Fantasy series gathers seven short pieces by the creator of the Riverworld saga. Farmer's short fiction is much less widely available than his stature as a writer would seem to suggest, and this volume assembles a representative batch of it, including such classics as "The Shadow of Space," "After King Kong Fell," and "Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind." Certainly a recommended acquisition for any collection where Farmer is popular. Includes an autobiographical introduction.(Roland Green)

Probably limited in appeal to Farmer fans, these seven typically eclectic stories are suggested for collections where the author has a ready older teenage audience. (Sally Estes)

Fantasy Review #75, January 1985

Farmer's Latest Is A Hit! (Berkley, New York, November 1984. xvii+ 329 p.$7.95, paper. Slipcased, signed, numbered edition. $50.) This is an excellent collection of one of SF's foremost authors. It includes a rewritten novella. The Adventure of the Three Madmen [somewhat similar to a short novel titled The Adventure of the Peerless Peer written in 1973], six reprinted short stories, and autobiographical introduction to each piece and some twenty plates by various SF illustrators. The plates add little to the work, while the various writings are first-rate.

The stories are "Classic" Farmer, well constructed, readable, and more satisfying than most of his contemporary esoteric pieces. Individual stories are included as examples of Farmer's contributions to SF in the general topics of space, mythology, psychology and adventure. Wheter these alone could justify the rather hefty price [for a paperback] is moot, since the autobiographical material provides fascinating illumination into the intellectual "view" of this noted author of speculative fiction. Not only do these insights raise the book's value, they provide examples of alternative approaches to some ideas common to Farmer. "A Bowl Bigger than Earth," for example, is a Riverworld story, but it is not the Riverworld made famous in the series of that name. Similarly, the "Adventure" mentioned above.

This is a notable collection of Farmer material. It provides excellent stories and, as a bonus, allows the reader a seldom-glimpsed vision into an author's mind. Recommended for all SF collections. (Jerry L. Parsons)

Heavy Metal, February 1985

(Berkley Books) In his introductory notes to THE GRAND ADVENTURE, Philip José Farmer's new collection that features the illustrations displayed here, the author writes, "Realism - a touch of it here and there, anyway - makes the fantasy more believable."

Yeah, I know that doesn't sound like much, but within that statement lies the germ of Philip José Farmer's somewhat perverse appeal as a writer. It's not the realism of mundane detail, but the obvious handprint of his playful, twisted subconscious that marks his writing. Strange things bubble to the surface in Farmer stories - things most other science-fiction writers struggle hard to repress. Yes, we're talking about sex here, but we're also talking about primate/human instincts (and the conflicts between them), religious and psychological myth-archetypes, as well as whether Lot chipped off a hunk of his wife after she'd turned into a pillar of salt by The Man Upstairs (and if he did, what particular hunk would he choose to remove).

Probably, if Philip José Farmer couldn't write about this stuff in the privacy of his own fiction, he wouldn't be a well man. Certainly, science fiction would be a much more boring place on the map - would the work of Burroughs, Ballard, and Dick, three of the many writers he influenced, be any different? - and then Byron Preiss would have one less volume in his Masterworks of Science Fiction series. Perish the thought.

But Philip José Farmer is alive, well, and writing in Peoria, Illinois, spilling the most wonderfully unlikely stuff into his typewriter. You'd be amazed at what the man gets away with. Try THE LOVERS (1952), DARE (1965), FLESH (1960), THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST (1968), A FEAST UNKNOWN (1969), STRANGE RELATIONS (1960), and TO YOUR SCATTERED BODIES GO (1971), and you'll get an idea of what I mean. Or you can try THE GRAND ADVENTURE, which contains eight of Farmer's excellent but less well-known stories (one of them so rewritten from is original appearance that it is essentially a new story), and more than fifteen illustrations (including several superb Kalutas). (Anonymous)

Booklist, November 15 1984

(Berkley/Putnam 12967-7) As a means of dealing with chronic overpopulation, the inhabitants of Dayworld are allotted only one day a week in which to live, thus creating seven separate societies. For the remaining six days, each person exists in a state of suspended animation (or "stoning"). Jeff Caird is a Daybreaker, living seven days a week and assuming a different personality on each day. In addition, Jeff is also an Immer, someone who has been granted a scientifically lengthened life span. Farmer's latest novel provides further evidence of the author's vivid imagination and ingenious storytelling skills. As the novel develops, Caird progresses from lawman to priest to drunk, from hunter to hunted, and finally to madman, as seven personalities collide inside his head. Farmer places this nightmare journey within a painstakingly created future world of military precision. Dayworld is the first novel in a new series that Farmer fans are likely to find every bit as appealing as the recently concluded Riverworld saga. (Peter L. Robertson)

A far cry from Riverworld but just as innovative and sure to be a hit with older teenage sf fans. (Sally Estes)

Kirkus Reviews, December 1 1984

(Berkley/Putnam 12967-7) One of Farmer's better short stories, "The Sliced-Crosswise-Only-on-Tuesday World" (most recently in The Grand Adventure, p. 934), provides the scenario for this expanded version: a tightly plotted, often exciting yarn. In the 35th century, Earth is so crowded that people live only one day per week, spending the other six "stoned," in stasis capsules. But senior cop Jeff Caird - his day is Tuesday - is secretly a criminal "daybreaker": under a different identity and personality, he lives every day of the week! He's also an "immer," an immortal, part of an underground organization dedicated to long-term government reform. So Caird, via the immers, discovers that mad immer genius Chang Castor has escaped confinement and is intent on revenge (Caird helped put him away). And, using his other day-of-the-week identities, the multiple Caird pursues the murderous Castor - while being pursued by government investigators…and later by the immers, who no longer trust him. A solid, assured expansion: absorbing, agreeably controlled work from a prolific and major, if erratic, talent.

Publishers Weekly, January 4 1985

(Berkley/Putnam 12967-7) For his memorable short story "The Sliced-Crosswise-Only-on-Tuesday World," Farmer imagined a future Earth whose overpopulation was solved by freezing most of its citizens, allowing only a seventh to "live" each day, in strict rotation. As a metaphor of an overregimented civilization and its romantic discontents, this was fine. At novel length, though, the many problems of logical consistency seriously undermine the conceit. All the more credit to Farmer, then, that his strongly drawn action and characters carry the reader over these gaps. Policeman Jeff Caird belongs to a secret society intent on loosening the government's iron grip. As he tracks a traitor to his group and dodges a high-echelon detective, his carefully partitioned personae (for each day's world) begin to blur and merge. This enjoyable if somewhat far-fetched novel is the first volume of a new Farmer series.

Library Journal, February 15 1985

(Berkley/Putnam 12967-7) In the 35th century, people live only one day a week, spending the other six days in suspended animation. Jeff Caird, a policeman in Tuesday's World, is also a "daybreaker," illegally living seven different lives as seven different people - until the week he becomes both hunter and hunted in a mad chase across seven different cultures. Full of kaleidoscopic images and boasting a likeable, if schizophrenic, hero, Farmer's latest novel, first in a new series, highlights the fertile imagination that garnered so many fans for his Riverworld series. Recommended. (Jackie Cassada)

Best Sellers, April 1985

(Berkley/Putnam 12967-7) A unique method of controlling overpopulation is employed in this New Era created by Farmer. Each person lives only one day a week and is "stoned" in suspended animation cylinders for the other six days. This reduces by six-sevenths the food, water, housing, and oxygen required to maintain a life of plenty for all. Therefore, in this thirty-fifth century Manhattan civilization, the greatest crime is "daybreaking" or living more than one day according to a special calendar.

The story revolves around Jeff Caird, who belongs to the "immers," an anti-government organization whose members daybreak with the aid of an elixir that slows the aging process and protects against suspended animation. Each day he assumes a different identity and lifestyle which portrays one aspect of his personality. The original, Jeff, is a detective-inspector who is assigned to the case of a daybreaker on Tuesdays, the first day of the week. As Bob Tingle, he spends Wednesdays as an official at the World Data Bank. Every Thursday, he wakes as Jim Dunski, a fencing master involved in a group marriage. Wyatt Repp, a TV writer-producer-director of Westerns emerges on Friday. Saturday belongs to Charlie Ohm, a bartender who drinks too much. Father Tom Zurvan preaches from soap-boxes on Sunday. Will Isharashvili is a Monday Central Park ranger.

After his wives on two consecutive days have been killed, Jeff realizes that his crime has been discovered and that he is being sought. An exciting chase through the maze under the Manhattan of the future ensues.

Farmer is well-known in science fiction circles for his prolific writings since 1952. He won Hugo Awards for Riders of the Purple Wage and To Your Scattered Bodies Go, first in the Riverworld series.

This first novel in a new series is cleverly crafted, fast-moving, and absorbing. Smooth transitions connect the days and Caird's various identities through which the author addresses many philosophical and political issues such as religious toleration, a classless society, marriage, monitoring of citizens by the government, and employer / employee relations. Science fiction fans will enjoy this volume and will be waiting anxiously for the next in the series, which began very promisingly in Dayworld. (Alma Marie Walls)

New York Times, April 28 1985

(Putnam $16.95) I was not reviewing books when the first novel in Philip José Farmer's "Riverworld" series was published in 1971. When further volumes in this popular series appeared (there are now six in all), I found it hard to get involved in these tales of a multimillion-mile river on another planet where the entire human race has been resurected for mysterious purposes. Mr. Farmer's new novel, DAYWORLD, initiates an entirely new series, based on the premise that a future world would solve its overcrowding problems by a system of serial suspended-animation, keyed to the days of the week. Monday-people are up and about only on that day: the rest of the week they are kept in "stoning" cylinders where they don't even dream. The same for Tuesday-people, Wednesday-people, and so on. Since only one-seventh of the population is active at a given time, there is no strain on resources and facilities.

In the hands of a writer like R.A. Lafferty, this zany premise might have been the occasion for some good unclean fun. But Mr. Farmer plays it straight. The story, a conventional one of chases and shoot 'em-ups, features a variety of "day-breakers," people who stay awake (with or without authority) more than one day a week. The protagonist has developed seven different personalities to cover his tracks. This could be intriguing, but the differences, as described by Mr. Farmer, are superficial, more like changes in makeup than shifts in psyche. When Mr. Farmer tries to describe what it is like to be a day-breaker, he writes sentences like this: "The near-panic wrapped itself around him again. It was an octopus of ectoplasm seen and felt only by himself. But which self?" And a few pages later: "Fear groped around in his guts for a handle." I see no reason why this series shouldn't go on and on and on.

Vector, December 1985
Paperback Inferno, August 1986
Paperback Inferno, December 1986
Low Orbit #37, May-June 1987

(Berkley Books) In the Manhattan of N.E. 1330 (A.D. 3414), the problems of overcrowding and food shortages have been solved. You're only allowed to live one day each week, thereby reducing the effective population. The other six days are spent "stoned," in suspended animation. Unless, of course, you're a daybreaker; then you can live seven different lives, have seven jobs and seven families... as long as you don't get caught -- or go crazy. Farmer paints a tale of seven unique culture tied by a common bond -- the streets of twice-rebuilt Manhattan. An intriguing psychological drama with the "sex and violence" of a good action-adventure novel. Rating: 4 1/2 avocados. (Tracy Niswonger)

Booklist, March 1 1987

(Ace/Putnam 13230-9) The overpopulated, totalitarian world first encountered in Dayworld (Booklist 81:40 N 15 84) returns in this disappointing sequel. The majority of the citizens in Dayworld live one day a week and remain in storage the other six, but "daybreaker" Duncan breaks all the rules. Subdividing his personality into seven segments, he finally creates one integrated entity and flees the city for the wilds of New Jersey. Dayworld Rebel follows the adventures of Duncan and the other rebels as they travel to L.A. With his immunity to the "truth mists," Duncan discovers that the leaders have created an elixir that extends the human life span sevenfold, while still forcing most of the planet's inhabitants to sleep for six days. Farmer fails to match the vivid invention of Dayworld, falling back instead on the hackneyed Orwellian nature of his future universe. The success of Duncan's revolution seems assured from the first chapter, and the true nature and identity of the enemy is the only real surprise. Still, fans of Farmer's multivolume Riverworld saga won't be ready to give up on Dayworld after just one misstep. (Peter L. Robertson)

Dayworld's readers will want to continue the story in the fast-paced sequel.(Sally Estes)

Kirkus Reviews, May 15 1987

(Ace/Putnam 13230-9) Feeble, unconvincing sequel to Farmer's fine Dayworld (1984), set in a future where people live only one day per week, spending the other six "stoned," in stasis capsules.

All that's left of "daybreaker" criminal Jeff Caird plus his six other personalities (one for every day of the week) is the single persona Bill Duncan, from whom the deeper memories of the previous seven personalities are hidden. Duncan, now a prisoner of the "organics" (police), has the unique ability to tell lies while under the influence of Truth Mist. Duncan escapes and joins a band of underground resistance workers, where they plot to overthrow the entire dayworld system and its selfish, power-mad leaders. As Duncan moves up through the revolutionaries' hierarchy - much of this is, unfortunately, dull twiddling - he contacts the mysterious immermans (immortals - Duncan is one, though he doesn't remember) and evolves a plan to capture and coerce the head honcho - who turns out to be Duncan's grandfather!

Glum, trudging, often aimless work, lacking the imaginative dazzle and fast pacing of Dayworld: even the normally hyperinventive Farmer couldn't squeeze much more juice out of the notion, and it shows.

Publishers Weekly, May 15 1987

(Ace/Putnam 13230-9) The New Era, several thousand years in the future, seems a utopia. War, poverty, hunger and pollution are all obsolete. Overpopulation has been handled by dividing the population into seven groups, each fraction living one day a week while the others wait in suspended animation. Farmer's Dayworld chronicled the life of a man whose unique abilities allowed him to assume a different identity for each day. As this sequel opens, he has been caught and is being questioned. Escaping from his Manhattan prison, he flees to the wilds of New Jersey, falling in with a rebel group hiding out in caves. Along with them, he journeys to Los Angeles and contacts a larger subversive organization bent on radical change. Although the image of a populace voluntarily entering temporary "coffins" is another of Farmer's striking mythic variations on civilization and its discontents, its fictional working out has the same mix of intrigue and illogic as the earlier novel.

Library Journal, June 15 1987

(Ace/Putnam 13230-9) William St. George Duncan, formerly a man with seven distinct personalities, assumes an eighth identity in order to wage guerrilla war against a world where citizens live only one day a week and shadowy figures called Immortals guard the secret of power. Farmer's considerable talent and startling imagination compensate for the sometimes ragged plotting of this fast-paced sequel to Dayworld. Purchase where the author has a following. (Jackie Cassada)

The Washington Post, June 28 1987

(Ace/Putnam, $17.95) WILL THE the sins of the original be visited upon the sequel? Happily, in the case of Philip Jose' Farmer's Dayworld Rebel this is not the case.

Dayworld set readers down on an Earth more than 2,000 years in the future. Because of an enormous population, each person is allowed to live on only one given day each week. The other six days people are cryogenically frozen by a process known as "stoning." Since no one ages while stoned, a person who lives to be 80, biologically, has actually survived for 560 years, but only on Tuesdays, or whatever his one day happens to be.

Jefferson Caird violates this system. Refusing to stone himself, he becomes a daybreaker, breaking into the worlds of the other days. To escape the tight surveillance by the Dayworld police, he develops an ability to create a completely different persona for each day. Tuesdays he's a policeman, Wednesdays a bureaucrat, Saturday a religious zealot, and so on.

Dayworld is so crammed with personas, subplots and the labyrinthine logistics of Farmer's universe, that readers never had a chance to become involved with the story or get to know the characters. Fortunately in Dayworld Rebel, Caird forsakes his multiple personalities to become simply William St.-George Duncan. As Duncan he escapes imprisonment and flees to the "great forests of New Jersey" where he joins a rebel band. Its leaders assign him and two colleagues, Cabtab and Snick, to the state of Los Angeles where they are to infiltrate the establishment and collect information helpful to the cause.

Cabtab is a delightful, gigantic, Buddhaesque figure who pantheistically espouses the teachings of Allah, Thor, or any other deity that comes to mind, but his soul is pure pragmatism.

Snick is Duncan's love interest. In one of Farmer's most evocative scenes, he finds her "stoned" in a government warehouse that stores millions of frozen citizens lost forever in the embrace of synthetic death. Duncan destones Snick, who turns out to be one hard-fighting, sexy gal.

Together this engaging trio learns that they can trust only themselves. Forced to escape from one high-tech trap after another, they search for answers to a bewildering array of questions about an insane world that changes its entire population daily.

Who really runs the government, and who controls the rebels? Why is Duncan the only person who can lie when sprayed with the dreaded truth mist? And what about the the Immers, a small covert sect who hold the secret to eternal life?

Farmer keeps Dayworld Rebel awash with plot twists, but by keeping firmly centered on his amiable trio of heroes, he avoids the turgid blizzard of structural complications that so overwhelmed Dayworld. (Lawrence Coven)

Paperback Inferno, February 1990

Booklist, May 1 1990

(Tor 0-312-85035-2) The conclusion to Farmer's most recent major work - a trilogy about a future world - Dayworld - so overpopulated that people spend six days every week in suspended animation. Now Dayworld faces revolution, because the long-suppressed secret of its declining population is about to leak out. The revolution lends itself well to Farmer's particular brand of black humor as well as to much fast action, although tone and characterization are uneven. A definite acquisition, given Farmer's vast audience. (Roland Green)

Publishers Weekly, May 11 1990

(Tor 0-312-85035-2) William St. George Duncan successfully takes over his grandfather's secret organization and uses it to start a rebellion against the world government. As a political statement, he allows himself to be captured and put on trial - and then creates a new persona to escape the consequences. In this last installment of the Dayworld trilogy, the novelty of the guiding SF conceit (that overpopulation is controlled by allowing only one-seventh of the people out of stasis at any one time) has grown threadbare - as has, perhaps, Farmer's own enthusiasm. The conflicts here are developed without inspiration; the conquerors earn their victory chiefly because of the opposition's bumbling. Plot elements combine without achieving momentum, as if Farmer had strung together a series of short escapades.

Kirkus Reviews, May 15 1990

(Tor 0-312-85035-2) Concluding the trilogy begun with the excellent Dayworld (1984) and feebly continued with Dayworld Rebel (1987), here's an enterprise ludicrously overexpanded from a fine short story "The Sliced-Crosswise-Only-On-Tuesday World ."

In the fourth millennium, people live only one day a week, spending the other six "stoned," in stasis capsules. But "Daybreaker" criminal William Duncan (he lived every day, using a different personality to suit) has discovered that the Earth is no longer overpopulated - which also means that there's no longer any justification for the Dayworld system's existence: it's merely a method of ensuring power and immortality for the ruling elite. So Duncan and his renegade-cop girlfriend, Panthea Snick, determine to destroy the entire Dayworld system. The pair enjoy a measure of success, and uncover some powerful allies - but the composite William Duncan persona is still unstable, so he surrenders in order to undergo prolonged therapy and stir up popular support for the revolution.

Jolting, churning, pointless action-adventure shading off into soporific, numbing psychoanalysis, devoid of vitality and bereft of new ideas: altogether, a wretched wrap-up.

Library Journal, June 15 1990

(Tor 0-312-85035-2) The infamous "daybreaker" William Duncan continues to battle the powers-that-be in a future where humans live only one day in seven and a select few possess the knowledge that could overthrow a corrupt world government. This fast-paced conclusion to Farmer's "Dayworld Trilogy" celebrates the power of the iconoclast and the triumph of idealism. Recommended for libraries owning the previous volumes. (Jackie Cassada)

Locus #354, July 1990

(Tor 0-312-85035-2 $18.95, 324pp, hc June 1990) In his 1971 story "The Sliced-Crosswise-Only-On-Tuesday World" Philip José Farmer described a society that has turned horizontal time vertical: in order support the world's massive population, everyone lives one day in seven and spends the other six "stoned," in suspended animation. Later he returned to this setting for Dayworld (1985), Dayworld Rebel (1987), and now Dayworld Breakup. It is not only the calendar and the population that is divided in these books. Jefferson Cervantes Caird was once a Tuesday policeman - and six other identities on other days, all of them/him part of an underground resistance to the world government and the sliced-up week. At the end of the first book, the seven personae are absorbed into a new one, William St.-George Duncan, who has wild adventures in the second book and more in the current volume.

One of Farmer's gifts is the ability to keep finding new amusements in a series: new implications of the generating idea, new corners to explore, new heroes and villians to turn loose in his playground. But when invention flags, he sometimes falls back on the routine adventure-stuff of chases and escapes, intrigues and betrayals. The first part of Dayworld Breakup suffers from this as Duncan and his partner/lover Panthea Snick run about making mischief and trying to bring down the dayworld system. Fortunately, Farmerian humor keeps breaking in: a candy-store owner is names Azimoff; Duncan's prisoner number is ISBNN-9462-X (is the author commenting about writing series?); the uniforms ("scarlet-sashed purple jumpsuits") of sanitation-department employees carry the golden brooms and dustpan badges of inspectors in the Household Engineers. There are also pokes at religion, notably an electronically-enhanced Buddhism and the Disciples of the Fine-Tuners of God, who use theremins to resonate with "the basic vibrations of the universe."

The books psychological if not physical action picks up in the last third, when Caird/Duncan himself becomes the central puzzle. It is not just the dayworld that is breaking up, but the heroes identity; ordinary citizens are starting to live seven days a week, and Caird/Duncan multiple personalities reintegrate. Beneath the personae constructed for the various days, beneath the single personae that became Duncan, is the true Jefferson Caird. Or is there yet another trapdoor to fall through? Farmer, like his hero, is a trickster, and the resolution is entirely in character for both.

VOYA, December 1990

(Tor 0-312-85035-2)The Dayworld system is predicated on the concept that dwindling world resources can't support a world population of ten billion people. Thus it turns six-sevenths of the world's people into stone on a regular basis. Only one-sixth of the population gets to live during any given day and not reporting to your "stoning" station at the end of your day is a federal offense.

Duncan is still on the run (see Dayworld and Daybreak Rebel , the first two books in this series) from the Dayworld authorities who seek to stop him from revealing the truth about the size of Earth's population, the availability of anti-aging drugs, and a formula to defeat government truth serums. Panthea Slick is a cop assigned to stop Duncan in Daybreak Rebel . However, she becomes Duncan's friend and ally and continues to help him in his attempts to end the totalitarian Dayworld system. Their capture by the authorities forces Duncan to come to grips with himself and his fractured personality.

Readers should start at the beginning of the series before reading Breakup. Farmer is an excellent writer whose concepts are entertaining and challenging in the long run. Recommended for most libraries and collections with strength in this genre. (David Snider)

The New York Review of Science Fiction #29, January 1991

(Tor Books, 1990; $18.95 324 pages) Over the course of a career spanning nearly forty years, Philip José Farmer has developcd and amply demonstrated his mastery of both the art and the craft of sf and fantasy writing. On occasion, Farmer has employed this double mastery to produce some important and memor­able works. But I suspect that Farmer's popularity among the majority of sf/fantasy readers is due not to his occasional work of lasting importance, but rather to his more voluminous craftwork.

His Dayworld series, of which Dayworid Breakup is the third volume, is a case in point. It is a solidly crafted set oftraditional action and adventure tales, but offers little that is truly innovative. Indeed, the Dayworld books are so highly conventional they hark back to an era of sf that predates most of Farmer's own work.

The series (one hesitates to use the word trilogy, given Farmer's propensity for serial works) is set in a future some 1400 years hence, in which the world's population is kept "stoned"-in a state of suspended animation-six days out of seven. Each day of the week, one seventh of the population awakens to carry on their lives, returning to the stoners at midnight. The justification for this system is overpopulation; in effect it reduces the population and the demand for resources, utilities and living space by a factor of seven. A benevolent but oppressive and stifling totalitarian government rigidly enforces the system-it is illegal to remain active outside one's assigned weekday.

The first book, Dayworld (1985), chronicles a week in the life of one such "daybreaker," Jeff Caird. Caird is a member of a secret subversive group known as "Immers"-after Caird's grandfather, Gilbert Immerman, who has discovered an anti-aging agent that allows the immers to remain awake seven days a week without (apparently) aging any faster than their suspended fellow citizens. The immers aim to use their advantage to gain power and alter the government. Caird acts as a courier between the different days of the weeks, fashioning seven separate identities, one for each "dayworld," to escape detection by the authorities.

Caird is tapped by the Immers to hunt down a renegade who threatens to expose them all. The cross-week chase is complicated by the fact that Caird does not simply act out his separate identities for each day; he dons an entirely new persona and becomes that identity. The chase and its pressures break down the barriers between Caird's seven personae, who begin warring with one another for dominance. Dayworid ends with Caird's mental breakdown and capture by the world government.

Dayword Rebel (1987) begins with the escape of Caird-who has adopted an entirely new persona, William Duncan-from a govern­ment mental hospital. He hooks up with a group of rebellious outlaws, and they become active members in a revolutionary cabal and engage in various conspiracies, barroom brawls and proton-gun battles. Dayword Rebel ends when Caird/Duncan manages to send a message over the world-wide communications net describing the formula for the secret longevity agent and revealing that the world population is no longer an excessive ten billion, but only two billion, and that the govemment is maintaining the dayworld system only to maintain its totalitarian control.

Dayworld Breakup picks up the tale without missing a beat. As the police close in, Caird/Duncan and company flee in a stolen aircraft and succeed in destroying the power supply station for the city of Los Angeles, thus reviving the citizens of all seven days simultaneously, to enormous confusion. After more such exploits, the rebels have caused a world-wide uprising, though it hasn't succeeded in toppling the govemment. So they travel to Geneva (the world capital), chain themselves to a monument of the founder of the world state, and trumpet their case over the world media net as the police dose in.

Back in the state hospital, Caird adopts yet another completely new persona, Baker No Wiley, who is reformed as a model citizen and released. The final half of Dayworid Breakup concerns itself with Caird/Wiley's search for the roots of his own identity. He goes underground again to lead a new band of rebels . . . Farmer leaves himself plenty of room to continue the series.

The Dayworld books are an expansion of one of Farmer's short stories from the early 1970s, "The Sliced-Crosswise Only-on-Tuesday World." It is a brief affecting tale of a Tuesday-world resident who falls in love with the stonered image of a Wednesday-world woman. The story is a tightly-woven unfolding of his obsession and his attempts to secure permission to transfer to Wednesday. He succeeds, only to discover that the powerflil bureaucrat who assisted him in his move has also secured permission for the woman he loves to move to Tuesday, so that the bureaucrat can woo her himself. It is a curiously poignant tale of hope, obsession and betrayal.

The language of the short story is spare and subtle, under careflil control. The action moves unerringly toward the final revelation of the bureaucrat's duplicity, and each element of the story makes an essential contribution toward the tale's emotional effect.

The prose of the Dayworld novels, in contrast, is looser and less careflilly controlled, and often less interesting. The books are filled with long, dry passages of bare narrative that read like a film treatment: all summary, without color or interest. They are also marred by some truly huge expository lumps in which Farmer goes overboard explain­mg the intricacies of the Dayworld society or the actions and motiva­tions of the characters. Caird himself is a strangely monotonous character, despite his chameleon-like ability to assume newpersonae; though each is supposedly different, their collective behavior is, for the most part, smoothly consistent with a single identity. All this would have been unnecessary in a more carefully crafted work, in which the events and the characters themselves tell the story.

The strongest book in the series is, unfortunately, the first; Rebel and Breakup do not stand very well on their own. The story lines of all three are filled with coincidence and convenient circumstance that often seem unnecessarily contrived. Certain plot elements-Caird's periods of confinement in mental hospitals, the multiple attacks on the power stations, and so on-are repeated without subtlety and give the series a sense of being somewhat padded. Indeed, the Dayworid books could easily have been constructed as one single novel.

The scientific background for the series is only so much doubletalk, providing a slim basis for the bizarre social milieu in which it is set. But there are some odd gaffes, such as when Farmer describes stoned people and objects as being not only rock hard, but also immensely heavy-but not cold, even though all atomic and molecular motion has ceased. I had trouble seeing how stoning would alter an object's mass but not its temperature. The standard issue weapons are proton guns, yet these particle beam weapons seem not to do much physical damage, being used most often to stun opponents.

Still, these books move well, and are filled with Farmer's trademark wit and playfulness. Dayworld presented a colorful panorama of seven distinct worlds for Caird to contend with, but this color fades away to a rather gray monotony in the two sequels. They all fit, without much difficulty, rather neatly into the action/adventure sf tradition that includes not only much of Farmer's work but runs all the way back through Heinlein, van Vogt, and the mid-century pulps to E. E. Smith, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and H. Rider Haggard. In fact, there's not much in the Dayworld series to distiguish it from similar serial adventures that ran in Astounding during the 1940s and '50s-as exemplified by Heinlein's "If This Goes On-," "Methuselah's Children," and "Be­yond This Horizon." The series is highly conventional craftwork.

Farmer has demonstrated time and again that he is capable of creating not only simple works of craft such as the Dayworld books, but interesting and memorable works of art. It's worth making the distinction between art and craft, without making any value judgments ahout their relative worth. It is not, as some maintain, a question of honesty or seriousness of intent, but rather their relationship to tradition and convention.

Craft is usually the means by which tradition is transmittcd, unaltered; it is the maintenance of convention in order to preserve the core of a tradition. This is not to say that craft lacks stylistic originality or inventiveness, but it is intentionally cliched and repetitive, a careful contrivance to perpetuate the set pattern of convention.

Art is generally taken to have rather different goals, including the transformation of tradition and convention, if only to reinterpret and reinforce them, to foster new insights into the roots and deeper meanings of traditions. Both art and craft are often interpretive. But art is also intended to transcend convention completely, to be innovative rather than inventive. Yet art cannot exist without careful craft, and craft perpetuates emptiness without high standards set by art; one does not exist without the other, and the line between them is very indistinct.

Farmer's best work has always been daring and innovative, and yet carefully controlled and constructed. His most memorable and influential works include "The Lovers" (in both short story and novel form), his award-winning "Riders of the Purple Wage," Flesh, To Your Scat­tered Bodies Go, Dark Is the Sun, and others. He has also demonstrated a remarkable ability to wring interesting transformations on some of the most cliehed material of pulp writing, including A Feast Unknown, Tarzan Alive, Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, and Time's Last Gift. While certainly not his best short work, "The Slice-Crosswise only-on-Tuesday World" clearly belongs among Farmer's careflil and thoughtlul works.

But Farmer has also produced reams of unremarkable craftwork that is fun and immensely readable, but also utterly forgettable. For that is the fate of craftwork: in striving to be more of the same, it remains largely indistinguishable from what has gone before and that which will come after. It's all the more surprising, then, to see the Dayworld series praised as Farmer's "best work in years" or, worse yet, "his best!" Such praise is far off the mark, for with Dayworld, Dayworld Rebel and Daywortd Breakup, Farmer is crafting works that continue a tradition that has been little touched by innovation since the advent of American pulp science fiction. (Richard Terra)

VOYA, June 1991

(Tor 0-312-85035-2) In his attempt to end the totalitarian Dayworld system in which six-sevenths of the world's people are turned into stone on a regular basis, Duncan is aided by Panthea Slick , a cop originally assigned to stop him who becomes his ally. Third in the Dayworld Trilogy. (David P. Snider)

SFRA Newsletter 190, September 1991

(TOR, June 1990, 324p. $17.95 hc. 0-312-85035-2) Farmer's enduring ability to surprise the reader, both conceptually and in terms of plot, continues in this third book of his Dayworld series. His protagonist-in this book called Duncan-is battling to overthrow a repressive regime which conserves resources on an overpopulated earth by "stoning" individuals six days out of each week.

Farmer has an almost Dickensian gift for painting vivid characters in broad strokes. One characterization coup is Panthea Snick, an aggressive, sex rebel who initiates one of the hotter sex scenes in this year's science fiction. Minor characters-a sensual psychiatrist, a folksy rebel couple, even victims in parking garage-are all drawn memorably.

Duncan himself is a fascinating experiment in characterization. Victim of a childhood trauma that begets his rebelliousness and splits his personality into seven or eight different personae, Duncan changes in the book from the anti-authoritarian, impulsive, headstrong anarchist to an abused but sincere altruist. The personalities are different-yet Farmer manages to suggest the same personality spine in both, just as Duncan's personality permeates and develops his alter-ego in the previous books. Which speculative writer but Farmer would have tried such a trick?

Dayworid Breakup fulfills the expectations which readers always have of Farmer-zany humor, evocation of myth (in this case the sleeping-beauty myth), psychological exploration, and of course the sense of improvisation that one feels both in narrator and in the characters. Within a curiously postmodern world, Farmer continues to develop his major themes-the power of the sexual life force, human dissatisfaction with the status quo, and its opposite, despicable human sheepishness. Sometimes the themes are drawn too broadly, even as the characterizations become caricatures. But the fault, if any, is an excess of whimsy, overflowing wit.

The reader closes the book admiring Farmer's conceptual freshness and vitality, convinced that such a novel is what science fiction is all about. (Mary Turzillo Brizzi)

Locus #377, June 1992

Books Received: (Grafton £4.99, 366pp pb) Reprint (Tor 1990) sf novel. Volume three in the "Dayworld" series. [First UK edition]

(HarperCollins £14.99 366pp hc) Hardcover edition of the above, intended for libraries only. Volume three in the "Dayworld" series. [First UK edition]

Paperback Inferno, June 1992
Vector #167, June/July 1992

(Grafton 1992, 366 pp. £4.99)Farmer is one of those irritatingly wayward - writers who are clearly capable of better than they choose to produce. He shares some characteristics with Roger Zelssny, notably a career that blossomed with the New Wave of the 1960s and has since degenerated into hackwork and the endless money-spinning series.

Earlier inventions like the Riverworld and the World of Tiers at least had a certain mythic grandeur - a river along whose banks is reborn everyone who has lived or will ever live, pocket gods and goddesses battling it out in their own private universes. They also allowed Farmer to display his own considerable erudition. Dayworld is, by contrast, quite daft; it might have made an engaging short story, but Farmer has so far spun it out into three chunky volumes, and still counting. In the future, pollution, overpopulation and depleted natural resources have meant everyone has to live for just one day a week; the rest of the time, they are "stoned", or stored in suspended animation. At the end of Monday, Monday's people file into the coffin-like stoners, and Tuesday's shift is reanimated.

The whole idea falls apart quickly on exalitination. By comparison with the kind of revolution of attitudes and social engineering programme required to persuade the entire world's population to climb into coffins six days out of seven, a cut in the world's birthrate over a period of generations seems (easy to achieve. The stoner is a gosh-wow device whose implications are not thought through: it is the perfect antidote to pollution, for example.

Even within this flimsy structure, Farmer shies away from the opportunities. A scene when the entire population of los Angeles is awoken at the same time, for the first time in thousands of years, takes place off-stage, and is only described secondhand. Yet the first half of the book is taken up with interminable cloak-and dagger machinations, the permutations of which might have amused Farmer but which are exhausting and crashingly dull for the reader. People are lasered, stunned, treated with truth drugs, treated with anti-truth drugs; seeret organisations emerge, then even more secret ones.

By the second, somewhat more interesting half, the hero is coping with his multiple personality disorder; by the end, Dayworld is duly broken up, and we await the next volume. (Martin Waller)

Locus #368, September 1991

(Tor $18.95 282 pp, hc) {continuing from a review of ESCAPE FROM LOKI} In Red Orc's Rage Farmer is also, in a sense, working someone else's world, but with the double reverse twist that the fictional universe under exploration is that of his own "World of Tiers" adventure series as reimagined by a 17-year-old boy. Rage, based on an actual regimen developed by Dr. A. James Giannini, traces the progress of that boy through "Tiersian therapy," in which patients read the "World of Tiers" books, choose a character with which to identify, and develope a sharable fantasy that allows the projection, exploration, and solution of problems (Dr. Giannini's Afterword describes the reasoning behind his method and its success in the real world).

Jim Grimson is more than your usual "troubled teen": from the wrong side of the tracks in down-at-the-heels Belmont City, Ohio, with a weak but loving mother, a hostile failure of a father, and a childhood history of visions and stigmata. This family constellation and Jim's pent-up anger at his situation and his own shortcomings lead him deeper into trouble with the law and his own psyche, until a psychotic episode (precipitated by the symbiotically appropriate swallowing of the family home by a sinkhole) drops him into the care of Drs. Porsena and Scaevola (Farmer can't resist jokes even when he's serious) as a candidate for Tiersian therapy.

Jim's rebellious and angry attitude leads him to choose as his focus, instead of one of the series' good characters, the evil Red Orc — but as the boy-man Orc, before his villainy is fully formed. As is expected of all participants, Jim imagines himself into the "World of Tiers" universe and the mind of his chosen character by means of a personal gateway, in his casea mantra-and-sigil combination he calls a "tragil." Unlike the others, though, Jim is convinced he has found a way to the actual Red Orc, in whose mind he rides as a passenger, sharing all sensations but unable to control behavior. In this condition he experiences Orc's persecution by his monstrous father Los, and gradually learns the difference between a healthy sense of megalomania as he watches Orc develope into a supremely able but totally self-involved and cruel adult.

The Tiersian adventure fragments will tantalize fans who have been waiting impatiently for Farmer to continue the series, but that is not what the book is really about. (Though one has heard that this book as rekindled the author's enthusiasm for that project.) Instead, Red Orc's Rage (and, to a lesser extent Escape partakes of something that Farmer should be better known for: the Bildungsroman, or account of the gaining of adulthood. He has produced work about young men coming of age before — The Cache, Dare and "Riders of the Purple Wage", for example — and one might argue that the putatively adult Hal Yarrow of The Lovers and Sam Clemens of the "Riverworld" series are both in need of some emotional growing-up. (While it may seem a stretch to see Escape in this vein, Clark Savage does add to the adult intellectual and physical skills he already posses at 16 a recognition of evil and the determination to dedicate his life to fighting it that will define him as a pulp hero.)

This is a serious account of the formation of character in a young man under conditions of stress, and accordingly about half of Rage depicts Jim's life at the bottom of the adolescent social scale, hanging out with other rejects and screwups, unable to bring his real gifts to bear. It is those gifts that make him salvageable: his love of reading (especially the mythic fiction that Farmer himself has always loved), his verbal adroitness (thus the portmanteau word "tragil"; he's a would-be poet or at least rock-lyric writer), the mystical bent that produced his childhood stigmata and make his literal Tiersian adventures so vivid. This portrait of the artists as a young lout makes explicit and literal what Farmer's work has always implied: that the imagination provides one key to making us heroic, or at least adequatte, human beings. (Russell Leston)

Locus #369, October 1991

(Tor $18.95 282 pp, hc) Books Received: Fantasy Novel in which a boy undergoes Tiersian therapy, an imaginitive roleplaying theraputic technique based on Farmer's "World of Tiers Series". There is an afterword by the therapist, Dr. James Giannini.

Interzone #53, November 1991

(Tor, $18.95) I paraphrase and shorten a new entry - it is on Recursive SF, a term which did not exist in 1979 - written for the forthcoming second edition of The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction:

It has long been the practice of sf writers [I wrote] to re-cycle material from the vast and growing storehouse of the already-written. When Robert A. HEINLEIN made reference, in "The Number of the Beast" (1980 UK), to characters and situations which appeared in earlier novels by him and other Sf writers, he was operating in this traditional manner. But when he introduced into the same book people - writers, editors, fans - who had been involved in sf itself, he was doing something very different, something which showed that both his career and the sf genre within which the book was written were approaching a late and self-referential phase. He was in fact writing recursive sf, a term straightfor­wardly defined in Anthony R. Lewis's An Annotated Bibliography of Recur­sive Science Fiction (1990 chap) as "science fiction stories that refer to sci­ence fiction... ,to authors, fans, collec­tors, conventions, etc." It is not necessary - though it is usual - for these characters and events and entities to be real, whether or not they are camouflaged by false names and other devices of the roman à clef. For a title to be recursive, it is only necessary that its inhabitants live in a world explicitly shaped by the existence of sf; or that - like Mark TWAIN or H.G. WELLS - they are themselves creators of the sf world.

Hence Philip José Farmer's Red Orc's Rage (Tor, $18.95), an ostensibly non-genre tale about a treatment centre for disturbed adolescents whose cent­ral therapy is to dump sick children into Farmer's own World of Tiers sequ­ence, though only in fun, like. Young Jim Grimson, unloved child in one of the derelict - or, in feelgood terms, sunset - company towns of Eastern America, cannot control his violence or the callow nihilism of the "esca­pades" in which he becomes involved; after his inevitable arrest he's sent to smooth and earnest Dr Giannini's clinic, the one which specializes in "Tiersian therapy." There he traverses - in imagination, in "fun," because this is a non-genre book - the rite-of-pas­sage portals that give access to Farmer's fantasy universe - a universe which may represent, says Farmer, a deep intuition on Farmer's part about the nature of reality - and takes on the guise of Red Orc, one of the godlings - suddenly we are reminded of Stab­leford who has created the various pocket universes of the Tiers conceit, and by living out Red Orc's almost inconceivably violent Oedipal conflict with his god-dad - whose balls he eats, et cet - he gains a lot of self-knowledge. The difference between Tiersian therapy and role-playing fantasy gam­ing at its most fatuous is not easy to understand, though Farmer writes bet­ter than most of the franchise serfs who exude game books through orifices Heinekens cannot reach, and the tale itself lacks any saving excesses of crea­tive heat. It is, in short, a calm and com­placent footnote to a long career, an exercise in sharecropping the navel that could have only been published in a genre whose subject had ceased to be the world.

Analog, February 1992

Philip José Farmer owes a fair measure of his fame to the five-book World of Tiers series, based on the notion of immortal Lords whose ancestors made a host of pocket universes (including ours) and then lost the technical skills to make more. Their descendants war over the existing pockets, one of which contains a world shaped like a ziggurat, which gives the series its name. Not surprisingly, fans have wished for many years for a sixth book in the series, and perhaps even for more.

Now Farmer offers us Red Orc's Rage, which may or may not be that sixth book, depending on how you take it. Certainly, if it were a short story or novelette, it would have fit into Mike Resnick's anthology of recursive SF, Inside the Funhouse (reviewed last month), for it discusses the series, uses the series, and reveals the series' link to the works of William Blake.

The story begins in our own real, nonfictional world, where a psychiatrist, A. James Giannini, has devised a therapeutic approach to mentally disturbed adolescents using the World of Tiers novels. In this "Tiersian" therapy, described in Giannini's Afterword to Red Orc's Rage, the patients read the books, choose a character, and then project themselves into the mind of that character. The idea is to replace their own internal fantasy worlds, to which no one else can have any meaningful access, with the fantasies of the novels, thus putting themselves and their therapists on common ground. Giannini says this gives the therapist "the metaphorical means … to conduct work onsite."

I find this very interesting. For one thing, it is a sort of reversal of something young science fiction and fantasy fans have done for generations, replacing a baffling, frustrating external world with shared fantasies. For another, once Farmer heard of Tiersian therapy, it led directly to Red Orc's Rage.

The novel's extraordinarily striking opening line, "Jim Grimson had never planned to eat his father's balls," sets the tone of archetypical conflict. Jim is a grim son indeed, and his drunken, unemployed, abusive father is even grimmer. The stage is instantly set for an Oedipus Rex. But before any Lords can make an appearance, Farmer must show us Jim's life as a teenaged troublemaker - not a hoodlum, but definitely wild, taking drugs and getting into deep shit indeed. The father-son conflict explodes into rage, and Jim winds up in the local mental hospital, in the hands of a Tiersian therapist.

As the book's title hints, Jim is soon projecting himself into the persona of Red Orc, a youth with a father as abusive as Jim's. He is also as full of rage, but when his father banishes him to a deserted world of deadly monsters, he demonstrates that he also has considerable competencies.

Is Orc's world "real"? It feels that way to Jim, even though he knows it's supposedly just fantasy. It may feel that way to the reader too, in which case we could justify calling the novel the sixth member of the World of Tiers series. But whether it is real or not, it serves its purpose. Jim learns, recognizes the parallels between himself and Orc, and improves his self-image. When he eventually learns to reject the worst of the parallels - the rage and lack of control - he becomes mentally healthy enough to leave the hospital.

As Giannini says in his Afterword, "The novel … while short on absolutely accurate detail faithfully reproduces the sweat and fire of scientific enquiry … the intuitive 'feel' of psychotherapeutic treatment. In it, we can truly experience Jim's emergence into reality as he takes control of his own life."

Farmer's work is always interesting. Here he is more interesting than usual. So go forth and buy and read. And then ask yourselves: Are there any other SF books or series that might lend themselves to similar uses? (Tom Easton)

Locus #373, February 1992

From 1991 Recommended Reading: One of the great pleasures of long-term acquaintance with a genre is that of following favorite writers. Philip José Farmer provided me with the most satisfying excursion of this type in Red Orc's Rage, a cross between a "regular" World of Tiers adventure and a mainstream novel about a young man trying to straighten out his life. This book goes even farther along a line that Farmer has pioneered (as in his Doc Savage origins novel, Escape From Loki): the mixing of genres, of fantasy and realism, history and mythic adventure-fiction. There are some problems with the specifics of youth culture portrayed in Red Orc, but the essence of rejected/rebellious kids seems on target, as does the kind of salvation through imagination offered them. (Russell Leston)

Philip José Farmer's Red Orc's Rage — which may have confused some readers who expected it to be another "Word of Tiers" novel — is instead a largely realistic tale of how the Tiers novels have actually been used in psychotherapy. Despite its realistic trappings, its a fable of the healing power of the imagination, and probably the first novel to present clinical evidence that sf is good for your mental health. (Gary K. Wolfe)

Starlog #190, May 1993

(Tor, paperback, 282 pp, $4.99) Finally out in paperback, this new installment in the World of Tiers series won't disappoint fans of Philip José Farmer's popular saga.

Red Orc's Rage is based on an actual psychological therapy which uses role-playing techniques inspired by Farmer's characters. The book can be read on two levels: One is the story of Jim Grimson, a budding psychopath who comes to identify with Red Orc, the murderous Lord and foe of the heroes of the previous Tiers volumes. The other's the more fictional tale of Orc himself, his childhood and the origins of his unending feud against his father, Los. Farmer's considerable talent enables him to blend the two stories artfully, and the book works beautifully.

Red Orc's Rage is not, properly speaking, a sequel to the previous Tiers books, but it does fill in many gaps, including new, tantalizing hints about the Lords' origins. It also reveals the identity of the mysterious British figure seen by Kickaha in The Lavalite World. This alone makes it a must for any serious Farmer follower. (Jean-Marc Lofficier)

Vector, October 1993
Reading for Pleasure, Issue #20
Echoes #56, August 1991

(Bantam Books, 224 pages, $4.50) Lead character- Doc Savage! I liked it.

The writing was sophisticated, though the adventure was pure pulp at its finest! Phil Farmer is no stranger to Doc Savage. Born in 1918, he experienced the adventures of Doc Savage first hand when the series was originally published in the DOC SAVAGE MAGAZINE in 1933. In 1969, he wrote A FEAST UNKNOWN, which pitted Lord Grandrith against Doc Caliban; the one being Tarzan and the other Doc Savage. In 1970, ACE published a double, one side being THE MAD GOBLIN (Doc Caliban) and the other side, LORD OF THE TREES (Lord Grandrith), which were parodies of Doc Savage and Tarzan.

In 1973, Phil Farmer’s DOC SAVAGE: HIS APOCALYPTIC LIFE was released by Doubleday, which was one of the best histories ever conducted of the Doc Savage adventures. Bantam Books printed the book in their paperback edition in 1975.

The pulps- so called because of the wood-pulp on which they were printed- offered cheap adventures to the masses. Escapism at its finest, pulp magazines were approximately 7x10 inches, by a half inch thick, with gaudy action cover art (giving rise to their more popular nickname of Bloody Pulps), they usually contained a lead novel, plus a number of short stories. Costing, on the average, ten cents, many publishers plugged their magazines as “ten stories for ten cents.”

But it was the character pulps that drew the children back month after month to part with their difficult to come by ten cents. Publisher Street & Smith had created, very probably, the ultimate adventure-hero in Doc Savage. A superman of right, punisher of evildoers, Doc Savage had been trained from childhood in all areas of knowledge. He was a physical giant, a mental marvel; he had the strength of ten men, and could one moment do delicate brain surgery, and the next compose a musical piece to rival Mozart.

Except for the romance magazines, pulps were male oriented (especially those males between twelve and twenty). Doc savage was no exception, though many a young girl undoubtedly fell in love with Doc. The stories, basically, revolved around some great mystery, that would take page after page of fast, colorful action and adventure. Almost always there was a beautiful, mysterious girl for Doc Savage to rescue, and his five assistants to fight over. But Doc stayed clear of these byfs (beautiful young females), as they were the one mystery he could never solve!

The main author of the Doc savage adventures, and the man most closely associated with the series, was Lester Dent, who wrote the novels under the house name of Kenneth Robeson. Lester Dent was a capable writer, and could have written for the “slicks” (more sophisticated publications), but his career was tied deeply into the pulp magazines, and his stories reflected the pulp influence. There was no disgrace in that, as the pulp adventures were great fun, and enjoyed as much today as they were sixty years ago.

ESCAPE FROM LOKI is pure pulp fun, but sophisticated writing in the grandest tradition. Phil Farmer gives Doc a beginning, something that wasn’t done in the original series. This adventure tells the story of when, and how, Doc met his five assistants that would share in his future adventures.

Loki was a German prison camp. Though not just any prison camp. It was where the Germans sent their most incorrigible POWs. To be sent to Loki, it required a prisoner to escape at least three times from a lesser imprisonment facility. Once captured, it was predestined that Doc Savage would eventually be sent to the prison grounds of Loki!

“The locomotive went gradually southeastward. It was evident that it was headed for Germany’s Oberbayern province, the eastern part of which formed a knife point in the belly of Austria, Germany’s staunchest ally. It was relatively near the beautiful city of Salzburg, Mozart’s birthplace. The prisoners were in mountainous country which would get rougher and higher” Thus was the terrain around Loki!

The story opens in 1918, as a sixteen year old Lieutenant Clark Savage, Jr (who is assigned to a French airdrome), is sent out on a mission over Germany. During a dog fight in the air, Savage shoots down two enemy aircraft, plus two German observation balloons. But he too is slightly wounded, and his aircraft shot down. What happens now is the adventures Doc has after he is captured, escapes, is re-captured… and escapes again- three times. These episodic escapes and captures take up the first half of the story.

The second half of the story takes place at Loki, Germany’s ultimate prison camp. Here he befriends a number of fellow POWs, among them are Monk, Ham, Johnny, Long Tom and Renny. Men he would quickly tie a bond with in friendships that would last over 182 adventures. And it was here, also, that he acquired the nickname of Doc; it had been learned by the other prisoners that young Clark Savage aspired to become a doctor, so the nickname was thrust upon him in the camp.

Phil Farmer puts Doc Savage through emotions and feelings that he would later be protected from. For one thing, Doc kills people during his air fights, escapes and captures. He callously- or humanely- breaks one man’s leg so he would be unable to continue the fight in one scene. And… he has sex with the Countess Lili Bugov, the mistress of Loki’s prison camp commandant. (Though the reader is not on hand for the act.)

As a young sixteen year old boy, becoming a man, Doc Savage was experiencing the growing-up pains that all sixteen year old boys go through. It was the feelings, the emotions he would need to experience if he was to grow into manhood, superman or not.

It was the story that was needed to make Doc Savage complete. As Doc Savage was predestined to be sent to Loki, so too, was Philip Jose Farmer predestined to write the story, “Escape From Loki.”

It was their destiny. (Tom Johnson)

Locus #368, September 1991

(Bantam Falcon $4.50 214pp, pb) In paired Afterwords to the last of Bantam's reprints of the 182 original Doc Savage pulp adventures (Doc Savage Omnibus #13), Will Murrey promised new stories developed from outlines and manuscripts left unfinished by Lester Dent, while Philip José Farmer announced the completion of his own original Savage story, Escape From Loki. The latter has been coming since Farmer saw the first issue of Doc Savage Magazine in 1933. Adumbrations of it have taken the form of the biographical Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, the crypto-Savage Doc Caliban adventures The Mad Goblin and A Feast Unknown, and an unproduced movie treatment, but this is the item outlined in the biography back in 1973: a genuine, brand-name Doc Savage story in which Farmer tells how the teenaged Clark Savage, Jr. meets his five sidekicks in the course of escaping from an escape-proof POW camp during World War I and gains his nickname even before he earns his multiple terminal degrees.

In Escape, more than twice as long as the original magazine "novels," the author has added to the Savage background another of his personal enthusiasms, World War I aviation and aerial combat, and devised a series of chases, captures, and escapes that unmistakably Farmerian while remaining true to the Savage tradition. A particular and ironic delight is the chif antaonist, Baron Colonel (and three-times-Doktor) von Hessel, who holds precisely modern, liberal views on colonialism, women's rights, etc, while behaving in the prescribed Faustian-fascist villianist-scientist manner. Von Hessel also provides the only official fantastic content in this particular book (though the entire Doc Savage canon is sf exofficio) in a manner completely consonant with his Doc Caliban-Lord Grandrith stories. Here, as in the case of Tarzan, Farmer's gift is to rediscover the primal appeal of these materials without either condescension or camping and to renew my enjoyment of them decades after my ability to appreciate the originals has fled. {this review is continued with RED ORC'S RAGE} (Russell Leston)

VOYA, June 1992

(Bantam 1991) The cover billing on this paperback as the "first all-new Doc Savage adventure since 1949!" may not mean a thing to young readers in the 1990s, but they will soon recognize the genre, a close relation to the Indiana Jones of film. Doc Savage is sweet sixteen in this volume, but don't let that fool you; he can speak ten languages fluently, has superhuman strength, can run a steam engine single-handedly, dodge bullets, and outsmart the wickedest villains. Clark meets his future band of ultra-smart crime fighters in this introductory volume, and together they lead the escape from "escape-proof" German salt mines during World War I. Credulity will be strained and then ignored, as the action sequences tumble over one another, and fantastical feats will produce guffaws at the same time pushing the reader forward to see what happens next. This may be too sophisticated in vocabulary and pre-knowledge for most junior high school readers, but high school boys will likely skip right over historical and literary references (implications of "castor oil" fumes in cockpit; references to quotations from Shakespeare; "'23 skidoo;" "After-you-Gaston - No. After-you-Alphonse") to follow the action. (Rosie Peasley)

Lan's Lantern #42, May 1994

(Bantam 1991, $4.95) As a long-time Doc Savage fan, I looked forward with anticipation to the "first all-new Doc Savage adventure since 1949," especially one written by Farmer. Farmer, perhaps the greatest, or at least the hardest working, Savage fan, has produced a number of books on or related to Doc Savage, including Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (a "biography"), and The Mad Goblin and A Feast Unknown (tales of a "Doc Caliban ­who is basically Doc Savage updated to modern times). The Doc Caliban stories and related Lord Grandrith book Lord of the Trees operate on the pulp level, with A Feast Unknown adding a generous dollop of the blood and sex usually left out of 40s pulp magazines. Overall, the Farmer books are engaging and entertaining, with interesting villains in the form of the Immortal Nine, and a set of revisionist biographies of "Doc" and "Grandrith" (who is really Tarzan).

Thus, when I saw Escape from Loki at a huckster table at Worldcon, I snapped it up immediately. I also decided to read one of the original "Doc" novels that I hadn't read before (The Awful Egg) to provide a comparison. Loki tells the never before written story of Doc as a sixteen-year-old fighting in World War I, how he met the fabulous five, and the experiences that formed the basis of his life-long battle against evil. Unfortunately, Farmer, who added so much color to Doc Caliban, seems unable to do the same with the original character. Part of the problem is that great heros require great villains. The joker and the Catwoman provide at least half the interest in a Batman story, and the same is true of Doc. Unfortunately, Von Hessel, the immortal German commander of "Camp Loki" never quite springs off the page, and the reader stumbles through an oft-told tale as allied POWs attempt to escape from a German prison camp that is "escape-proof". Robeson did far better with Doc's nemesis "John Sunlight" and fantastic dangers such as "The Living Fire Menace".

In The Awful Egg, we see minor Robeson. However, even this less than memorable story of the original Doc has more life than Loki, and is especially interesting in the way it presages Jurassic Park. The main plot element concerns a villain who finds a frozen dinosaur egg and (apparently) embarks on a reign of terror after the egg hatches.

Robeson is no literary genius, and his alternating fists and guns plots will not impress you with their deep character insights yet Doc Savage is one of the truest reflections of the American Spirit of the 20s and 30s, with an optimistic faith in the power of technology and education to produce a superman capable of overcoming a world full of evil-doers. Is it overly fanciful to see in America's crusade over-seas to end the horror that was the Third Reich more than a little of Doc Savage? A lot of that faith was diminished by the 50s, by Vietnam, and the eternal gray of the Cold War that found us more and more like our adversaries. Yet it is Americans who are hunting warlords in Somolia as I write this. Hope springs eternal that we can ap­ply our technology and our strength as a force for good, if necessary by destroying evil directly. Yes, I know that George Bush doesn't resemble the ragged-shirted bronze behemoths that grace the covers of Bantam's reprints of the Savage novels, but in his heart, George must have had just a little of Doc's desire to crush evil for its own sake, hidden in along with the Machiavell­ian schemer who let the Kurds twist in the wind.

So what can we learn from all this? The hubris that led to Vietnam shows up in Doc's conviction that he can "cure" crimin­als with an amnesia-producing operation, the same hubris that saw the frontal lobot­omy as a cure for mental illness. Yet the opposite of that hubris is a cynical resig­nation, of the sort exhibited by Chamberlain in WWII, and which we see today as Europe and, indeed the world, turns a blind eye to "ethnic cleansing" in Bosnia. Clin­ton, as the current embodiement of America, seems constantly torn between the desire to build a better world (seen in his health care reform program) and a miserable and cowardly cynicism shown by his brush-off of the Bosnians and his apparent abandonment of his promise to open the military to gays and lesbians. On the whole, we could stand a little more faith and hope, along with some courage and hard work, not to mention a few more wonderful gadgets! I don't think Doc would be pleased with everything that America has done, but I don't think he'd quit, either.

Recommended mainly to fans of the origi­nal Doc Savage stories, and to Savage com­pletists. Readers should keep in mind that although A Feast Unknown is loads of fun, it has some heavy-duty violence and sex, as well as sex-n-violence.

Booklist, September 1 1992

(Ace, 1992) The first collaboration between two of the less orthodox and more prolific American fantasy writers takes a venerable plot device as its starting point. A naïve male art student is called on to drive a crippled, nearly mute girl across country, finds himself and her transported to another universe, and there sees his companion become the incarnation of good fighting the threat of evil. As one might expect, both Anthony and Farmer contribute large dollops of their own slightly skewed vision to the book while, however, seamlessly merging their styles in a way that makes for uncommonly pleasurable reading. The appended authors' notes offer useful background material, and readers of both authors are so numerous that most collections should plan on acquiring their collaboration. (Roland Green)

Booklist, September 1 1992

(Ace, 1992) Aspiring art student Jack agrees to transport Tappy, a crippled, almost catatonic girl, to a clinic in Vermont. En route strange events catapult them into a bewildering netherworld where Tappy is metamorphosed into the Imago, a powerful spirit of good. A classic tale of good versus evil for fantasy buffs. (Mary Romano Marks)

Library Journal, September 15 1992

(Ace, 1992) A young art student and a mute, accident-scarred girl become trapped in a frightening otherworld where an alien civilization seeks their extermination. This collaborative effort by two prolific authors of sf and fantasy, while stylishly written, falls short of either author's independent efforts. Weak characters and a plot that strains credulity make this novel a marginal purchase.

Publishers Weekly, September 21 1992

(Ace, 1992) A tiresome performance by two genre talents who surely can do better, this is the old space opera story whereby a brave individual from earth manages to outwit an entire race of superior beings, get the girl and save the galaxy. Jack is an impecunious artist who takes the job of driving 13-year-old Tappuah ("Tappy") Concord, maimed in a childhood accident, to a distant clinic. During the journey, Tappy discovers her destiny as the host of the Imago, an entity that spreads general goodness to any sentient being. The Imago has picked a human host because humans are from a backwater world, unimportant in the general political scheme of the galaxy. Meanwhile, the Gaol, a stereotypical bad-guy race who use humans as slaves, want to crush the Imago because compassion and emotion are anathema to them. With the help of an android and a Gaol who has come under the Imago's influence, Jack manages to keep Tappy from being imprisoned by the Gaol (pronounced in the British fashion, "jail" - subtlety is not the novel's strong suit), and helps the Imago spread happiness throughout the galaxy. Every plot angle is utterly predictable, including Jack's angst over his growing love for adolescent Tappy.

Locus #382, November 1992

Books Received: (Ace 0-441-09488-0 $18.95 264pp, hc) Science fantasy novel. An art student in charge of a mute girl follows her through a gateway into another world, where they're pursued by agents of a galactic empire.

VOYA, December 1992

(Ace, 1992) Anthony wrote a story called "Tappuah" in 1963 and tried it in various markets. It wasn't successful so he put it aside. When he decided to try again, he made some changes and an editor suggested he collaborate with Farmer. After many starts and stops, the story was expanded into a book and finished. It is a saga of two lovers who enter another world through a portal in a boulder and find themselves pursued by alien creatures who are determined to capture the girl and silence The Imago who can make them have empathy for all their enemies. Characterizations are excellent and Jack, the budding artist, and Tappy, the blind and mute host of The Imago, draw you into the story like moths to a flame. An intriguing story even for those who are not SF fans.(Barbara Jo McKee)

School Library Journal, April 1993

(Ace, 1992) A story that will appeal to readers not usually attracted to science fiction. Tappy Concord is a mute and maimed girl traumatized by an accident that killed her father. Jack is an art student in need of a job. They fall through a hole into another world. She holds the secret to peace and he is reluctantly falling in love with her. What could go wrong? Everything - and it does in this curious tale of alien worlds and life forms. Together these characters draw readers into this novel of high adventure and make for a dynamic duo.(Linda Vretos)

Locus #379, August 1992

(WarnerQuestar 0-446-36269-7, $4.99, 326pp, pb) As a rule, shared worlds are to fiction what theme parks are to reality: prefabricated environments that guarantee a good time as long as you follow the rules. Philip José Farmer's Riverworld is a bit different, however; from the moment we encounter it we're aware of its limitless story-making potential. It's a character-driven environment, a kind of tabula rasa that invites thought-experiments about people rather than physics. It's also the most egalitarian concept in all of sf: everyone who ever lived starts off again on an equal footing. A shared-Riverworld anthology, then, offers its contributors more than the usual degree of freedom; in effect it lets them write historical fiction without the history. At its worst, this could lead to PBS (remember Steve Allen's Meeting of Minds?); at its best it provides a laboratory for ideas in the grandest sf tradition. Although several of the contributors to Tales of Riverworld leave us with the impression that only celebrities get resurrected (a trap that Farmer himself was careful never to fall into), others seem to regard Riverworld as the challenge to imagination that the editors of the book apparently intended it to be.

In fact, some contributors go out of their way to give us the unexpected. The prize for the most bizarre character juxtapositions has to go to Phillip C. Jennings, whose tale of P.G. Wodehouse imprisoned by the medieval Druze caliph manages to make some good points about the usefulness of a writer's life, while at the same time getting in metaphorical jabs about publishers and editors. Almost equally unusual is Farmer's own novella, "Crossing the Dark River", in which he introduces members of his own family tree (from Vikings to a 19th-century osteopath) to Alfred Jarry — who makes a perfect Farmerian trickster. Farmer's osteopath great-great-grandfather is on a quest to find a reborn Savior, but the results of the quest will have to wait for part two of the story, scheduled for a second Riverworld anthology. A third contributor who gets points for shear inventiveness is Harry Turtledove, whose "Two Thieves", depicting a battle of wits between an ancient Greek ruler of Constantinople and Chigaco's Mayer Daley, is one of two political parables in the book. The other is "Every Man a God", about the unlikely alliance of the great populist demgogue Huey Long with Caligula (who was about as far as you can get from a populist), by the equally unlikely alliance of Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg.

Of the five remaining stories, the most disturbing is Dane Helmstrom's "A Hole in Hell", which has Dante imprisoned in a pit of excrement by Pope Boniface in The Inferno. "Fool's Paradise", the first sf story by mystery writer Ed Gorman, draws on the icons of his genre in a tale of Dashiell Hammett investigating a series of attempted murders on behalf of Edgar Allan Poe. John Gregory Betancourt's "The Merry Men of Riverword" cleverly finds a loophole in the rule against using famous fictional characters by giving us Robin Hood in the person of a failed actor who once prepared for the role and now adopts it as his identity. Along with Abraham Lincoln as Little John, he comes to the aid of a Jules Verne who seems suspiciously like Captain Nemo. Perhaps inevitably, there's a dead-rock'n'roll-hero story, Allen Steele's "Graceland", which strectches credibility literally a king of a rock meca where John Lennon, Sid Vicious, Keith Moon, and Brian Jones perform. And Robert Weinberg's "Unfinished Business" explores the nature of vengence and the peculiarly Riverworldish problem of how to handle a murderer who can always escape by getting resurrected somewhere else; his stars include Davy Crockett, JIm Bowie, Socrates, and Jack the Ripper.

As enjoyable as it is, Tales of Riverworld sometimes features famous names in roles where they aren't really needed, and sometimes seems to subscribe to the "great man" approach to history; with few exceptions, characters who are leaders or demagogues on Earth almost inevitably able to recap their roles on Riverworld. The collection is a virtual playground for sf growing fascination with history. There's no doubt a certain resonance that comes with famous names from the past; the danger comes in leaning on this resonance instead of on the story's ideas. None of these stories are quite that trivial, and certainly none are throwaways — but the Big Idea here is still Farmer's, and no one can manage it quite as well as he can. (Gary K. Wolfe)

Locus #380, September 1992

(WarnerQuestar 0-446-36269-7, $4.99, 326pp, pb) Philip José Farmer's Riverworld has finally been franchised, and the first collection to appear, Tales of Riverworld, combines a new story from the original proprietor with the efforts of eight others. The results raise some interesting questions about sf, franchises in general, and this setting in particular. Actually, Riverworld couldn't have been better suited for shared-world work if it had been designed for that purpose from the start: a cast of billions, an exotic but manageable setting offering everything from Resurrection Day primitivism to Parolando industrialism to the magical technology of the Ethicals' Dark Tower, and a well-established history and thematic bias that generate any number of storylines and types from the uses to which the series' creator has already put this world.

The most basic and familiar formula, based on To Your Scattered Bodies Go and The Fabulous Riverboat, throws together people of various periods (and the house rules implemented by the franchise's publisher favor familiar or easily-recognizable figures), generally under primative conditions, and threatens then with disorder or worse (grail slavery, for example). The available options range from simple cross-historical "A meets B" scenarios, to escape-from-the-badguys or destroy-the-grail-slavers adventures, to moral quests and philosophical journeys of discovery. Farmer has employed all of these and more in the five volumes of the series, so well that one wonders how much space for innovation remains for new hands.

The volume opens with the first half of a short novel (to be completed in the next volume) from Farmer, "Crossing the Dark River". One novelty here is that "every named character" but two are the author's ancestors. The pious, staid, and serious-minded 19th-century physician Andrew Davis has the ticklish position of Royal Osteopath to the Viking king Ivar the Boneless and his carnal, contemptuous queen, the colonial-American spitfire and proto-feminist Ann Pullen. In addition, he finds himself contending with philosophical challenges from pataphysician-surrealist-anarchist Doctor Faustroll (Alfred Jarry — one of the non-ancestors). We are also treated to another meeting with Lem "the Shyster" Sharkko, who was so satifactorily thrashed in Scattered Bodies and is still reaping the rewards of his crookedness. This first half of the story is a bit exposition-heavy, but it picks up momentum when a typically Riparian convulsion overturns the old arrangements, dumping Davis, Faustroll, Ivar, Ann and their companions into new roles as refugees and River-wanderers. I look forward to more movement, plot and Riverwise, in part two.

The three strongest new-contributor stories are Phillip C. Jennings's "Blandings on Riverworld", John Gregory Betancourt's "The Merry Men of Riverword", and Robert Weinberg's "Unfinished Business". Of these, Jennings's placement of P.G. Wodehouse as a reluctant historical expert in a reconstituted Druze theocracy offers the freshest approach, a genuinely different narrative voice as well as an interesting take on the roots of a religion. (Farmer's introduction says that this is "the first humorous Riverworld story," but I think he underestimates the humor, however ironic and grim, with which he has leavened the series, especially the first two volumes.)

The Betancourt and Weinberg stories run variations on the two primal Riverworld themes: the struggle to create or maintain ideal or reasonable societies in the face of humanity's folly and wickedness; and the quest or search, whether for revenge or loved ones or Answers. In Betancourt's thoroughly idiomatic story, Jules Verne has managed to create a more idealistic version of Sam Clemens' industrial state, only to have it usurped by Al Capone & Co.; help arrives in the form of a Robin Hood who never was and a band of volunteer Merry Men that includes Abe Lincoln as Little John. Weinberg, pursuing the quest motif, follows the itchy feet and unsatisfied souls of Davy Crockett (looking to give Santa Ana some payback), Socrates (looking for truth and justice), and Jim Bowie (just looking, thanks) to an unsurprising but satisfactory conclusion and new beginning.

Other stories are less successful. Dane Helstrom's "A Hole in Hell" plays graphic and gruesome turnabout with Dante Alighieri and one of his worst fans, but it's little more than a vignette. Harry Turtledove's "Two Thieves" puts a Byzantine emperor and Hizzoner da Mare of Chicago in an uneasy alliance in a story that is perfectly competent but somehow lacking in spice. Ed Gorman's "Fools Paradise" gives Dashiell Hammett a chance to see how little different are the mean streets of San Francisco and the dark places along the River. After some of the grander evils of Riverworld, it's interesting how effective a portrayal of garden-variety-wife-bullying can be. Unfortunately, the story as a whole falls a bit flat, and Gorman seems not to have as strong a grasp of Riverworld realities as he might (e.g., twine, paper, and ink in the possession of a wild woods boy).

Allen Steele's "Graceland" suggests that rock 'n' roll never was the utopia that some old hippies thought it should be, at least if the band composed of resurrected rock martyrs and suicides (Sid Vicious, Keith Moon, Brian Jones and John Lennon) is a fair sample. While it can be justified either by argument or by reference to the franchise bible (J.M. Caparula's GURPS Riverworld from Steve Jackson Games, if you want to play along), casting the Church of the Second Chance in the role if a destructive anit-rock religion doesn't feel quite right — which ain't to say it's not a defensible extension of the series' givens. The oddest story in the bunch is "Every Man a God", by Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg (itself a partnership that sounds like a Riparian odd couple), which turns the Riverworld into an Expressionist stage-set and the action into psychomachia. While Riverworld is one of sf's supremely literalized-metaphor venues, optimized for play out adventures that are at once real and symbolic, Resnick and Malzberg (and I have my suspicions about whose sensibility dominates here) have stripped Riverworld of it literalness even as they have addressed some of its metaphoric essence, and I'm not sure that is an entirely desirable thing to do. (Russell Letson)

Locus #376, May 1992

Books Received: (Tor $3.99, 216pp pb) Collection of eight short stories, including one not previously in book form.

SFRA Review #204, March/April 1993

(Tor, April 1992, 216 p., paper, $3.99; ISBN 0-812-51905-1) This new collection of eight stories by Farmer reminds us that despite his uneven record as a novelist, he remains one of the better authors of short fiction in the SF world. All the stories except the title (which appeared originally a quarter-century ago in Harlan Ellison's Dangerous Visions (1967)) and one other were written recently.

Since "Riders of the Purple Wage" won Farmer a Hugo Award and is widely regarded as one of his best works, it certainly deserves to be reprinted, and its fame has been enhanced by an experimental theatrical production in Chicago. Although it remains a funny novella of bored and restless people in a Beverly Hills of the near future, its chief distinction is Farmer's style, rich in pun and metaphor, homage to both James Joyce and Finnegan's Wake (as one section called "Winnegan's Fake!" makes clear) as well as Zane Grey.

Though thought-provoking, the social vision of "Riders" seems less radical now than it did in its original appearance, but some reading the story for the first time may be reminded of the satirical future described by cyberpunk writers. Farmer's future here is in fact beginning to seem quite a bit like our present, except that in the imagined world an "economy of abundance" made life too easy and unchallenging for his young people. That condition, of course, will not exist for most of the world's population for quite some time... if at all.

This belief in a future dominated by an economy of abundance rather than scarcity also influences "The Oogenesis of Bird City," another tale from the "Riders" period. Here, a pragmatically liberal president persuades his opponents in Congress to accept a model city created by the governanent for America's Black minority. The gimmick here is that this city will float above the Earth's surface and the dwellings will be ovoid in shape, hence the name "Bird City" is appropriate. This story presents a utopian concept extrapolated out of "Riders."

There's no doubt that "Riders" is the better of the two 1960s stories, and the other six stories are not up to that standard either. But they are spirited and deserving of credit. A few of them were first read to a friendly audience at the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts in Florida. "One Down and One to Go" is a grim but compassionate story about a welfare worker in Peoria of the near future and his efforts to save a Black woman from the fate of her neighbors. More amusing, but with less emotional power, "Osiris on Crutches" presents some creative revision of Egypt myth in a rousing style of outrageous puns, reminiscent of Farmer's manner in "Riders."

Social satire dominates in "UFO versus IRS," which uses the threadbare theme of aliens living among us to ridicule the government's most unpopular agency. Equally satirical, but lighter in tone is "The Making of Revelation, Part I" which imagines Cecil B. DeMille in Heaven being allowed to return to Earth to film the last book of the Bible. Also included are "The Long Wet Purple Dream of Rip van Winkle" and "St. Francis Kisses His Ass Goodbye."

All in all, this volume is recommended for all who like intelligent social commentary in SF, but it is not for those who are shocked by four letter words or humorless latter-day liberals who have trouble believing puns and comic metaphors can be serious. The collection is also a reminder that Farmer has been a first rate short story writer for nearly forty years and arouses the hope that someday an enterprising editor will bring together the complete shorter works of Philip José Farmer. (Edgar L. Chapman)

Kirkus Reviews, August 15 1993

(Tor) Farmer's World of Tiers yarns - a mingling of classical and American Indian mythology, William Blake-ish romanticism, and Edgar Rice Burroughs-like high adventure - have been appearing variously since 1965; this book (according to the publishers) presents the ultimate showdown between the hero, Kickaha, and Lord Red Orc - one of the arrogant and decadent super-race that created the Tiers, a succession of pocket universes (the Tower of Babylon tier , the Atlantis tier, the Amerind tier, etc.). Though recent volumes have been presented for review in these pages, series fans will wish to investigate.

Booklist, September 15 1993

(Tor) This seems intended to be the conclusion of Farmer's World of Tiers series. It resembles somewhat one of his famous Riverworld tales in that it is essentially a playground for Farmer's exceedingly fertile imagination. The thread of plot that runs throughout World of Tiers is the contention between the Earth-born hero Kickaha and Lord Red Orc, deadliest inhabitant of the pocket universes that make up the tiers and also champion of the arrogant and decadent Lords. In More than Fire, the rivalry reaches a climax full of fast action and ingenious touches in world-building. The fact that Farmer's notions of sexy are what were considered taboo-breaking a generation ago may affect the reception of this book - or not. Farmer's large, established readership will not be disappointed. (Roland Green)

Publishers Weekly, October 4 1993

(Tor) Hugo Award-winner Farmer (Red Orc's Rage) returns to his popular World of Tiers for a disappointing conclusion. Tiers (like Earth) is in a continuum of often very different "pocket" universes, created by the super-powerful Lords. These universes are connected through interdimensional gateways, like the one that 20th-century earthman Paul Janus Finnegan crossed to find the tiered world of Alofmethbin and become Kickaha the Trickster. Since then, Kickaha has lived an adventurous and heroic life trying to thwart Red Orc, who plans to recover the lost secrets of making and destroying universes in order to annihilate all other universes and create his own. For the most part, Kickaha and his lover, Anana, wander aimlessly from universe to universe until they're captured by Red Orc, who (in the manner of foolish villains everywhere) toys with them long enough for Kickaha to escape and force a final climactic confrontation. The World of Tiers novels were always mainly action and adventure - nothing deep - but here Farmer fails to deliver even that; the action is flat, the plot hopelessly contrived, the characters less engaging than in previous outings and the new worlds less vivid. And the prose is often worse than even pulp adventure should be: "Sometimes he glimpsed art forms that seemed to have been originated by an insane brain. But that was because of his own cultural mindset." Even die-hard fans of this series will likely be disappointed.

Locus 393, October 1993

(Tor 0-312-85280-0 $20.95, 300pp, hc) Even with a gap of 16 years since his last World of Tiers book, Philip José Farmer's More Than Fire reads as if the author had started writing the next adventure of Paul Jarius Finnegan, aka Kickaha, right after completing The Lavalite World in 1977, but had decided to add to the mix something of his sexy-violent Essex House work.

The sixth — or six-and-a-halfth, if we count the sf parts of Red Orc's Rage (reviewed in September 1991) — entry in the series ties up some loose ends and addresses some of the cosmological puzzles posed in earlier volumes, such as whether the Lors who created the pocket universes that include ours are themselves natural beings or only creations of some other powers. But most of all it details the final, extended dual between Kickaha and the pathological Lord and creator of our universe, Red Orc. Here is where the affinity with the Essex House books is strong, especially the duelling superheroes and explicite sex-and-violence of A Feast Unknown, and here more clearly than elsewhere Kickaha and Red Orc appear as the dark and light sides of the same figure — both tricksters and anarchic loners, both capable of complicated, convoluted, double-reverse scheming, both dangerous to know (although only Red Orc is also bad and mad).

Like the Riverworld, the universes of the Lords offer boundless playgrounds for adventuring, worlds of endless variety where just about anything that humans can remotely be imagined doing is liable to turn up, especially if it's a little crazy, violent, sexy, or off center. And also like Riverworld, out understanding of it is subject to endless revisions as previous accounts are revealed to be erroneous or deliberately misleading; it's a world conductive to suspicion or even paranoia, where all possible lies, deceits, mistakes, and misinterpretations have to be anticipated and allowed for, and even then there can be surprises. This volume is no exception, with three new major characters — and their stories and hidden motives — for Kickaha to deal with.

The World of Tiers is probably, after the Riverworld, Farmer's most popular creation, and appropriately so, since I suspect that it is close to his own heart. (Kickaha is certainly his alter ego, idealized in ways that Peter Frigate cannot be.) In these books, as in all his best work, he works an alchemy that redeems the shaggy, breathless, adolescent appeal of the pulp adventure and Saturday-afternoon serial without making them entirely respectable and grown-up (that would be to deny something essential to the pulp adventure), and plays with the buried urges, both heroic and heinous, that lurk beneath its surface. (Russell Leston)

Analog, January 1994

Philip José Farmer's More than Fire is a disappointment. Pitched as "the long-awaited conclusion to the 'World of Tiers' saga," it begins as Kickaha and Anana the Bright finally discover a gate that will remove them from the planet of the Tripeds, on which they were trapped by Red Orc. Both Anana and Red Orc are immortal Lords, of that group who long ago created the universes as personal playgrounds. Anana is Kickaha's lusciously sweet true love (is that why one initial is a B? If so, says my wife, her black hair must mean she's over-ripe). Red Orc is an arch-fiend who delights in torment and destruction; of course, it's all due to his childhood traumas, but Kickaha still keeps getting kicked in the head.

After a bit of backfill to remind you where the series was when it left off in 1977 (The Lavalite World), Our Heroes discover that they have exchanged one trap for another. Thanks to possessing the Horn of Shambarimen, they bust free, but now they are facing a strange creature in suspended animation, the last of the Thokina, that species rumored to have come before the Lords and even to have created them. You say you've never heard of them before? Never mind, that's just the way Farmer works; his hat is bottomless.

Once more they escape, and now here is Red Orc once more, peril upon peril, miraculous hair's-breadth escape upon escape. But not for B. Anana. Alas, she is B-spoiled, her memory wiped away to restore her childhood and permit Red Orc to work his evil wiles upon her. But Kickaha is clever and resourceful and above all lucky. The tables turn and turn and turn, and in the end....

Well. It is billed as the conclusion to the saga. It's no surprise to find that Kickaha emerges quite triumphant at the end.

What disappointed me was that it felt like such a hasty, perfunctory job. I had the impression that Farmer was too bored or weary to summon up the verve and originality that gave the earlier volumes in the series their appeal. (Tom Easton)

VOYA / April 1994

(Tor) The cover promises shirtless macho men, guns, marital arts, exotic worlds, love, peril, and elaborate computer at the very least. What readers get is the very least.

For 250 pages, our man Kickaha the "Trickster" travels through gates into other-worlds - either running from or toward his archenemy, Red Orc. Kickaha's "tricky" escapes are usually achieved by some Thoan Lords rigging the gates to drop him wherever the Lords darn well please to annoy each other. After Kickaha has been manipulated by this Lord and that, he finally (pg. 296) battles the Red Orc in the hand-to-hand combat promised on the cover. The fight is what the readers expected all along (if they've lasted this long) - testicle grabbing, eyeball crushing, blood spouting action. But, Kickaha and Red Orc both live! For hundreds of pages and hundreds (maybe thousands) of years, these enemies vowed to murder each other and in the end, they settle for a lobotomy for the loser.

More Than Fire is supposed to be the climactic final chapter to Farmer's World of Tiers series. Followers of the series must ignore the inconsistent language ("[after breakfast] they scattered to various boulders and rocky projections behind which to evacuate," versus "he would have liked to get a big buzz on.") and focus on the action which must have occurred in the earlier novels. There's no fire here at all. (Elaine M. McGuire)

Starlog #205, August 1994

(Tor, hardcover, 304 pp, $20.95) At long last, Philip José Farmer returns to the World of Tiers and concludes the epic battle between Kickaha and the insane, evil Lord known as Red Orc. With the exception of its rather bland title, More Than Fire is a true delight for every Farmer fan. It is paced relentlessly and contains all the colorful and mind-blowing elements that have made this saga so popular. Possibly too many elements, as Farmer can't help introducing new factors. For example, he includes the mysterious, insect-like Thokina who were once exterminated by the Lords, to the detriment of older plot threads, such as the mystery of Kickaha's origins, which is summarily dismissed in a couple of lines.

Nevertheless, More Than Fire is in many respects a welcome return to the epic battles of the earlier titles in the series, The Gates of Creation and A Private Cosmos, to name two, compared to the latter and more meandering novels. Farmer also incorporates information first introduced in the more recent companion volume, Red Orc's Rage, which adds depth to the Lords' universe.

More Than Fire ends with a satisfying and exciting climax. One only hopes that Farmer will continue to tell us more stories of the World of Tiers - for example, what happened to the characters of Wolff and Chryseis. (Jean-Marc Lofficier)

Interzone #87, September 1994
Publishers Weekly, March 30 1998

(Tor) Acclaimed SF author Farmer evokes all the requisite images as he turns to noir crime fiction but he neglects to place them in any semblance of order. Outside the small Illinois town of Peoria, PI Tom Corbie, hired by a mysterious woman, delivers a blackmail payment. Suddenly, he is abducted by a freakish threesome of redneck thugs and has to flee for his life. Only the hasty application of a live snapping turtle to the tender member of one of his abductors saves the day for Tom. After this, he becomes involved with the dubious doings of the wealthy and secretive Alliger family, a ripe collection of boozers, sluts and weirdoes who start dying at a brisk clip - one man suffering a fatal fall while fleeing from two bees. Farmer is always inventive, fond of odd detailing and delighting in weird mutations and the earthier bodily functions. But his hyperactive tale never settles down, and the narrative flounders somewhere between Raymond Chandler, Deliverance and some screwball SF fantasy in which body parts keep falling off at choice moments.

Kirkus Reviews, April 1 1998

(Tor) After an extended prologue in which Tom Corbie, Peoria's most marginal p.i., takes $1,000 for backing up an unidentified client who's making a questionable payoff in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night - and then Corbie ends up getting held prisoner by a pair of backwoods lowlifes and their fearsome shared wife - Farmer gets down to semi-serious business. Simon Grettirson Alliger, the moneybags of Peoria's first family, wants a thorough, nasty background check on Diana Alliger, the new daughter-in-law he's convinced is fouling his son Roger's nest. Simon's already edgy because he's barely survived a recent attack by bees, and he fears his allergies would make any encore his last; his wife Alexandra suffers from asthma and a dozen other life-threatening conditions; and his mother Faith, though still sprightly at 92, obviously isn't long for this world. All will die, colorfully, with an escort of several others, and Corbie will end up with a lot more wear on him than any fledgling shamus since Harry Angel. And, yes, in case you were worried, Corbie's anonymous first client will make a notable reentry at just the right moment.

Science-fiction veteran Farmer crosses a pair of plots from Raymond Chandler and Rex Stout with a hundred names - Sheridan Mutts, Lemangelo Elseed, Artemis Moondeer - from the Crazytown White Pages to produce some high-spirited, pro forma pulp aimed at readers who wonder how Indiana Jones would've worked as a private eye.

Booklist, April 15 1998

(Tor) Best known as a science-fiction writer, Farmer occasionally likes to slip into other genres. (His fictional biographies of Doc Savage and Tarzan are classics.) Here, he turns out a neat little pulp-fiction story that mixes comedy and violence with style. Tom Corbie, a private eye in Peoria, Illinois, is hired by a "mysterious stranger" to monitor a money exchange. The proceedings go about as wrong as possible, and Tom winds up being held captive by a trio of bizarre - and not too bright - crooks. But that's all just prologue to the real story, which involves keeping an eye on the beautiful daughter-in-law of a local millionaire. Farmer plays it mostly for laughs - characters have names like Mimi Rootwell, Sheridan Mutts, and Orson Bunhanger - but the violence is pretty graphic, and readers unaccustomed to pulp fiction may be a little put off. Farmer's fans, though, will be on familiar ground, as will readers who like pulp masters Jim Thompson and David Goodis. A complete success. (David Pitt)

Library Journal, May 1 1998

(Tor) The popular sf writer (World of Tiers, St. Martin's, 1996) tries his hand at mystery - with spectacular results. Tom Corbie, a former LAPD detective turned private investigator in Peoria, protects a mysterious women while she makes a blackmail payment. The transfer becomes violent, the woman disappears, and Corbie is held captive by three dangerously stupid thieves. Just as he seems clear of that case, Peoria's richest man asks him to investigate his son's opportunistic and spendthrift new wife. Intense action, Corbie's in-your-face attitude and Wiccan wife, old-money family secrets, and off-the-track characters make this a joy to read. (Rex E. Klett)

Science Fiction Chronicle, Jul/Aug 1998

(Forge, 5/98, $22.95, ISBN 0312-86470-1) Okay, this isn't SF; buy it anyway. Farmer has tried his hand at the tough detective story, a la Raymond Chandler, and he's done the best job of it I've encountered in many years, even though it's set in Peoria and not Los Angeles. Corbie is a private eye married to a Wiccan witch who is hired as a bodyguard and finds himself in the middle of two distinct cases, either of which could get him killed. One involves a powerful man who wants information on the background of his daughter-in-law, the other leads to a gang of extortionists of a particularly repulsive nature. Corbie is a likable but fallable character who survives more through resourcefulness than luck, despite a flurry of murders and menaces. This is a really great read so widen your horizons a bit and give it a try.

Asimov's Science Fiction, February 1999

(Forge, hardcover, $22.95, 287 pages, ISBN 0-312-86470-1) Everything Turns Out Swell. I don’t know about you, but I regard the world with a little brighter glint in my eye and more pep in my step, knowing I have a new Philip José Farmer book in hand. Having just turned eighty last year, Farmer miraculously retains the wild-eyed exuberance and yeasty talent of his youth. His newest, Nothing Burns in Hell is a mystery novel that reveals itself to be a direct descendent of his outrageous The Image of the Beast (1968) and Blown (1969), although admittedly featuring less sex and some what muted violence. The ultimate effect is as if the Coen Brothers film The Big Lebowski (1998) had been captured in vibrating print.

Thomas Gresham Corbie, our narrator, is a private investigator in Farmer’s own contemporary Peoria, Illinois, and is married to a lovely, fiery Wiccan named Glinna. A mean hand with both a pistol and a metaphor, Corbie exhibits a fairly flexible morality, to put it mildly, being not disinclined toward some preemptive mayhem when circumstances demand. In the course of this book, his slippery ethics will eventually deliver him into the hands of his enemies, naked, bound, gagged, and at the point of imminent death. His survival and passage into greater wisdom rides not only on his own brawny shoulders, but, ultimately, on the good deeds he’s scattered along his bloody path.

Assisting an enigmatic female client as she attempts to make a bribery payoff, Corbie stumbles into a web of generational deceit and hillbilly treachery. Moving away from this one-off assignment (or so he thinks) to deal with the convoluted relationships among the rich and influential Alliger family, he uncovers multiple murder plots all culminating in one night of exacting trial. As with the best Ross Macdonald fiction, all seemingly unrelated threads eventually lead to the same spider’s nest.

The language here is funny, vivid, and fresh, following the best noir traditions. Every page contains something quotable: “The President looked old enough to have created the Big Bang.” “[The house] looked like an enormous white box which was still not large enough to contain all the troubles and woes of the owners.” “[Her] perfume was delicate and at the same time with the hint of an odor like a tiger in ambush.” The one infelicity I would cite is the description of the young woman druggie-type wearing a “granny dress.” But such a minor off-note barely registers amid such unique lines as “How much free will does a pumpkin have?”

At one point, the reflective Corbie says, “I like most people—those poor wretches—very much, and I’m very interested in those I loathe.” You’ll feel the same about Farmer’s intriguing cast.(Paul Di Filippo)

Asimov's Science Fiction, March 1999
Pathetic Caverns
SF Site Reviews
Burroughs Bulletin #38, Spring 1999
Nkima Speaks, June 1999
The Kevindex Issue 28, June 1999
Illinois Issues, October 1999
Alibi Arts, November 1999
Pathetic Caverns
Dr Hermes Reviews, October 4 2002
Jazma Online, 8-6-2005
Agony Column, 8-22-05
The Paperback Bazaar
Barnes & Noble Editors Review
Comic Book Resources, 02-04-06
Publishers Weekly, January 2006

(Subterranean) Starred Review. Joe R. Lansdale, in his introduction to this sterling "best of" collection, calls Farmer "the most underrated science fiction writer of all time." Farmer's talent was evident early on in such tales as "The Lovers," one of the first works of SF to treat sex in an adult manner, which helped win him a Hugo Award as Best New Talent for 1952. The 19 other selections demonstrate his immense range, from the hilarious parody "The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod," a Tarzan story as if written by William Burroughs (instead of Edgar Rice Burroughs), through the manic and marvelously loony "The Henry Miller Dawn Patrol," about a raunchy oldster in a nursing home who sees everything in terms of the planes he flew in WWI, to the more sober and touching "After King Kong Fell," which reimagines the death of the giant movie ape as a real event recalled many years later. Some fans may quibble that one classic Farmer story or another has been left out, but none will dispute that this volume is a timely tribute to a genius of the genre.

The Green Man Review
SF Site
The Agony Column, 04-25-06
Publishers Weekly

(Subterranean $45 778p) This colossal scrapbook of scarce, offbeat fiction, poetry and nonfiction from SF veteran Farmer offers fans a smorgasbord of his hard—and impossible—to find work from fanzines and other small publications, spanning the 1940s to the 1990s. Amassed by Mike Croteau, who runs the official Philip José Farmer Web site, and edited by Paul Spiteri, who provides brief introductions for each piece, this collection is especially valuable for its insights into the author’s writing methods. For fun, Farmer reinterpreted the adventures of pulp hero Doc Savage, Oz characters, Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan. His canine detective, Ralph von Wau Wau, in “A Scarletin Study,” somehow blended Holmes, Sam Spade and, typically, puns. Farmer also reprised vampire, werewolf and Frankenstein stories. About the sale of his first story, “The Lovers” (which won a Hugo in 1952), Farmer says in the autobiographical “Maps and Spasms” that he thought he “had the world by the tail. But, as it turned out, there was a tiger at the other end.” Fortunately for generations of SF readers, he persisted.

Scifi Weekly, August 7th 2006
Steven Silver's Reviews, September 2006
Strange Horizons, November 15 2006
Green Man Review
SF Site
The Fix Short Fiction Reveiw, October 25, 2007
Publishers Weekly, December 3, 2007
Rocky Mountain News, March 14 2008
Green Man Review
Greenwhich Library, January 15, 2009

(Sept. 2009. 216p. Subterranean, hardcover, $40) In the many novels of the Wold Newton series, the late Farmer proved fond of enhancing the "biographies" of famous literary characters, such as Verne's Phileas Fogg and Burroughs' Tarzan, with fanciful, "uncovered" details. Here, collaborating with sf colleague and Wold Newton enthusiast Eckert, he recounts the fate of Patricia Wildman, daughter of pulp fiction icon Doc Savage. When her parents are presumed dead in a plane crash, 22-year-old Patricia assuages her grief in a spate of short-lived, unfulfilling love affairs. Then surprising news arrives: Patricia is the sole heir to Pemberley House, the estate featured in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, and she sets off immediately for England. Eager for the change of scenery, Patricia comes well prepared to meet her bawdy cousins and 103-year-old dowager aunt, still living at Pemberley, but is less prepared for the restless ghost still haunting the estate. Part pulp romance, part erotic thriller, Farmer and Eckert's yarn is a steamy, intriguing addition to Wold Newton lore. - Carl Hays" (c) Booklist 2009

Bard Of The Lesser Boulevards, April 16, 2009
Speculations in Bronze, April 17, 2009
From the Den, May 23, 2009
Singular Points, September 27, 2009
The Washington Times, October 11, 2009
The Green Man Review
She Never Slept, September 10, 2010
Green Man Review
SF Site
Theaker's Quarterly Fiction #36
The British Fantasy Society, June 20, 2012
Publisher's Weekly, November 22, 2010
SF Crows Nest, January 12, 2011
Strange Horizons, January 12, 2011
SF Site
Black Gate, July 28, 2012
The British Fantasy Society, June 20, 2012
Locus, June 22, 2012
Operation: Oxmyx, July 2, 2012
Extraordinary Tales! July 21, 2012
The British Fantasy Society, September 7, 2012
The British Fantasy Society, September 26, 2012