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Philip José Farmer
Born January 26, 1918(1918-01-26)
Terre Haute, Indiana,
United States
Died February 25, 2009 (aged 91)
Peoria, Illinois
Pen name see below
Occupation Novelist, Short story writer
Genres Fantasy, Science fiction
Official website

Philip José Farmer (January 26, 1918 – February 25, 2009) was an American author, principally known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.

Farmer is best known for his novel series, especially the World of Tiers (1965-93) and Riverworld (1971-83) novels. He is noted for the pioneering use of sexual and religious themes in his work, his fascination for and reworking of the lore of celebrated pulp heroes, and occasional tongue-in-cheek pseudonymous works written as if by fictional characters.

Contents

Biography

Farmer was born on January 26, 1918 in North Terre Haute, Indiana. According to colleague Frederik Pohl, his middle name was in honor of an aunt, Josie.[1] Farmer grew up in Peoria, Illinois where he attended Peoria High School. His father was a civil engineer and a supervisor for the local power company. A voracious reader as a boy, Farmer said he resolved to become a writer in the fourth grade. He became an agnostic at the age of 14. At age 23, in 1941, he married and eventually became the father of two children — a son and a daughter. After washing out of flight training in World War II, he went to work in a local steel mill. He continued his education, however, earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Bradley University in 1950.[2]

Farmer’s first literary success came in 1952 with a novella called “The Lovers,” about a sexual relationship between a human and an extraterrestrial. It won him the Hugo Award as "most promising new writer", the first of his three Hugo Awards. Thus encouraged, he quit his job to become a full-time writer, entered a publisher’s contest, and promptly won the $4,000 first prize for a novel that contained the germ of his later Riverworld series. Literary success did not translate into financial security, however, and in 1956 he left Peoria to launch a career as a technical writer. The next 14 years were spent working in that capacity for various defense contractors, from Syracuse, New York to Los Angeles, California, while writing science fiction in his spare time.[3]

A second Hugo came after publication of the 1967 novella Riders of the Purple Wage, an exuberant pastiche of James Joyce’s Ulysses as well as a satire on a future cradle-to-grave welfare state. Reinvigorated, Farmer became a full-time writer again in 1969[4]. Upon moving back to Peoria in 1970, he entered his most prolific period, publishing 25 books in 10 years. His novel To Your Scattered Bodies Go (a reworked version of the prize-winning first novel of 20 years before — which had never been published) won him his third Hugo in 1971. A 1975 novel, Venus on the Half-Shell, created a stir in the larger literary community and media. It purported to be written in the first person by one “Kilgore Trout”, a fictional character appearing as an underappreciated science fiction writer in several of Kurt Vonnegut’s novels. The escapade did not please that eminent author when some reviewers not only concluded that it had been written by Vonnegut himself, but that it was a worthy addition to his works. (Farmer actually had permission from Vonnegut for the playful hoax.)

Farmer had both critical champions and detractors. Leslie Fiedler proclaimed him "the greatest science fiction writer ever"[5] and lauded his approach to storytelling as a “gargantuan lust to swallow down the whole cosmos, past, present and to come, and to spew it out again”[6]. Isaac Asimov noted that Farmer was an "excellent science fiction writer; in fact, a far more skillful writer than I am...."[7] But Christopher Lehmann-Haupt described him in The New York Times in 1972 as “a humdrum toiler in the fields of science fiction”.[8]

Farmer died on February 25, 2009.[9][10] At the time of his death, he and his wife Bette had 2 children, 6 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren.

Novel sequences

Riverworld series

The Riverworld series follows the adventures of such diverse characters as Richard Burton, Hermann Göring, and Samuel Clemens through a bizarre afterlife in which every human ever to have lived is simultaneously resurrected along a single river valley that stretches over an entire planet. The series consists of To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971), The Fabulous Riverboat (1971), The Dark Design (1977), The Magic Labyrinth (1980) and Gods of Riverworld (1983). Riverworld and Other Stories (1979) is not part of the series as such but a collection that includes the second-published Riverworld story, which is free-standing rather than integrated into one of the novels. (The first two books were originally published as two novellas, "The Day of the Great Shout" and "The Suicide Express," and a two-part serial, "The Felled Star," in the science fiction magazines Worlds of Tomorrow and If between 1965 and 1967. The separate novelette "Riverworld" ran in Worlds of Tomorrow in January 1966.) A final pair of linked novelettes appeared in the 1990s: "Crossing the Dark River" (in Tales of Riverworld, 1992) and "Up the Bright River" (in Quest to Riverworld, 1993).

The Riverworld series originated in a novel, Owe for the Flesh, written in one month in 1952 as a contest entry. It won the contest, but the book was left unpublished and orphaned when the prize money was misappropriated, and Farmer nearly gave up writing altogether.[11] The original manuscript of the novel was lost, but years later Farmer reworked the material into the Riverworld magazine stories mentioned above. Eventually, a copy of a revised version of the original novel surfaced in a box in a garage and was published as River of Eternity by Phantasia Press in 1983. Farmer's Introduction to this edition gives the details of how it all happened.[11]

World of Tiers series

The World of Tiers series is regarded by many fans as equal to or better than the Riverworld series, though it is less well known. The series is set within a number of artificially constructed parallel universes, created tens of thousands of years ago by a race of human beings who had achieved an advanced level of technology which gave them almost godlike power and immortality. The principal universe in which these stories take place, and from which the series derives its name, consists of an enormous tiered planet, shaped like a stack of disks or squat cylinders, of diminishing radius, one atop the other. The series follows the adventures of a few humans from Earth who accidentally travel to these artificial universes, and consists of The Maker of Universes (1965), The Gates of Creation (1966), A Private Cosmos (1968), Behind the Walls of Terra (1970), The Lavalite World (1977) and More Than Fire (1993). Roger Zelazny has mentioned that The World of Tiers was something he had in his mind when he created his Amber series.[12] A related novel is Red Orc's Rage (1991), which does not involve the principal characters of the other books directly, but does provide background information to certain events and characters portrayed in the other novels. This is the most "psychological" of Farmer's novels.

Literary themes

Sexual

Farmer's work often handles sexual themes; some early works were notable for their ground-breaking introduction of such to science fiction literature.[13] His first (with one minor exception) published science fiction story, the novella "The Lovers", earned him the Hugo Award for "most promising new writer" in 1953, and is critically recognized as the story that broke the taboo on sex in science fiction.[14] It instantly put Farmer on the literary map.[15] The short story collection Strange Relations (1960) was a notable event in the history of sex in science fiction.[13] He was one of three persons to whom Robert A. Heinlein dedicated Stranger in a Strange Land (1961), a novel which explored sexual freedom as one of its primary themes.[16] Moreover, Fire and the Night (1962) is a mainstream novel about a love affair between a white man and a black woman; it features interesting sociological and psychosexual twists. In Night of Light (1966), he devised an alien race where aliens have only one mother but several fathers, perhaps because of an unusual or untenable physical position that cannot be reached or continued by two individuals acting alone. Both Image of the Beast and the sequel Blown from 1968-1969 explore group sex, interplanetary travel, and interplay between fictional figures like Childe Harold and real people like Forry Ackerman. In the World of Tiers series he explores oedipal themes.

Religious

His work also sometimes contains religious themes. Jesus shows up as a character in both the Riverworld series (in the novelette "Riverworld" but not in the novels, except for the mentioning of him dying early in The Magic Labyrinth) and Jesus on Mars. Night of Light (1957, expanded 1966) takes the rather unholy Father John Carmody on an odyssey on an alien world where spiritual forces are made manifest in the material world. In Flesh (1960) astronauts return to an Earth 800 years in their future dominated by a pagan Goddess-worshiping religion.

Pulp heroes

Many of Farmer's works rework existing characters from fiction and history, as in The Wind Whales of Ishmael (1971), an otherworldly sequel to Herman Melville's Moby-Dick; The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (1973), which fills in the missing time periods from Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days; and A Barnstormer in Oz (1982), in which Dorothy's adult son, a pilot, flies there by accident.

He has often worked with the pulp heroes Tarzan and Doc Savage, or pastiches thereof: In his novel The Adventure of the Peerless Peer, Tarzan and Sherlock Holmes team up. Farmer's Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban series portrays analogues of Tarzan and Doc Savage. It consists of A Feast Unknown (1969), Lord of the Trees (1970) and The Mad Goblin (1970). Farmer has also written two mock biographies of both characters, Tarzan Alive (1972) and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (1973), which adopt the premise that the two were based on real people fictionalized by their original chroniclers, and connect them genealogically with a large number of other well-known fictional characters. Further, Farmer wrote both an authorized Doc Savage novel, Escape from Loki (1991) and an authorized Tarzan novel, The Dark Heart of Time (1999). In his 1972 novel Time's Last Gift, Farmer further explored the Tarzan theme combined with time travel.

In his Khokarsa cycle — Hadon of Ancient Opar (1974) and Flight to Opar (1976) — Farmer portrayed the "lost city" of Opar, which plays an important part in the Tarzan saga, in the time of its glory as a colony city of the empire of Khokarsa.

Pseudonyms

Farmer wrote Venus on the Half-Shell (1975) under the name Kilgore Trout, a fictional author who appears in the works of Kurt Vonnegut. He had planned to write more of Trout's fictional books (notably Son of Jimmy Valentine), but a disagreement with Vonnegut put an end to those plans.[17] Thereafter Farmer wrote a number of pseudonymous "fictional author" stories, mostly for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. These were stories whose "authors" are characters in other stories. The first such story was "by" Jonathan Swift Somers III (invented by Farmer himself in Venus on the Half-Shell but inspired by one of the dead voices of Spoon River Anthology), and later Farmer used the "Cordwainer Bird" byline, a pseudonym invented by Harlan Ellison for film and television projects from which he wished to disassociate himself.

Awards and nominations

Bibliography

Book series

  • World of Tiers
    • The Maker of Universes (1965) ISBN 0-441-51627-0
    • The Gates of Creation (1966) ISBN 0-312-85761-6
    • A Private Cosmos (1968) ISBN 0-411-67953-8
    • Behind the Walls of Terra (1970) ISBN 0-312-86377-2
    • The Lavalite World (1977) ISBN 0-899-68401-7
    • Red Orc's Rage (Associated with The World of Tiers Series) (1991) ISBN 0-812-50890-4
    • More Than Fire (1993) ISBN 0-812-51959-0
  • Herald Childe
    • Image of the Beast (1968) ISBN 1-902-19724-0
    • Blown: or Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind (1969)
    • Traitor to the Living (1973) ISBN 0-345-23613-0
  • Doc Caliban and Lord Grandrith
  • Dayworld
    • Dayworld (1985) ISBN 0-399-12967-7
    • Dayworld Rebel (1987) ISBN 0-441-14002-5
    • Dayworld Breakup (1990) ISBN 0-812-50889-0
  • "Fictional biographies"
    • Tarzan Alive: A Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke (1972) ISBN 0-872-16876-X
    • Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (1973) ISBN 0-385-08488-9

Novels

  • The Green Odyssey (1957) ISBN 1-434-48494-7
  • Flesh (1960) ISBN 0-853-91126-6
  • A Woman a Day (also as The Day of Timestop; 1960) ISBN 0-425-04526-9
  • The Lovers (1961) ISBN 0-345-28691-X
  • Cache from Outer Space (1962)
  • Fire and the Night (1962)
  • Inside Outside (1964) ISBN 0-425-04041-0
  • Tongues of the Moon (1964) ISBN 0-515-04595-0
  • Dare (1965) ISBN 1-600-10438-X
  • The Gate of Time (1966), revised and expanded as Two Hawks from Earth (1979) ISBN 0-704-31171-2
  • Night of Light (1966) ISBN 0-425-02249-8
  • Image of the Beast (1968) ISBN 1-902-19724-0
  • Blown (1969) ISBN 0-586-06211-4
  • Lord Tyger (1970) ISBN 0-451-05096-7
  • Love Song (1970)
  • The Stone God Awakens (1970) ISBN 0-441-78654-5
  • The Wind Whales of Ishmael (1971) ISBN 0-441-89240-X
  • Time's Last Gift (1972) ISBN 0-812-51440-8
  • The Other Log of Phileas Fogg (1973) ISBN 0-812-52468-3
  • The Adventures of the Peerless Peer (1974) (writing as John H. Watson) ISBN 0-915-23006-2
  • Venus on the Half-Shell (1975) (writing as Kilgore Trout) ISBN 0-440-36149-4
  • Ironcastle (1976) (translation/expansion of work by J.-H. Rosny) ISBN 0-879-97545-8
  • Jesus on Mars (1979) ISBN 0-523-40184-1
  • Dark Is the Sun (1979) ISBN 0-345-33956-8
  • The Unreasoning Mask (1981) ISBN 1-585-67715-9
  • The Cache (1981) ISBN 0-812-53755-6
  • Stations of the Nightmare (1982) ISBN 0-812-53773-4
  • Greatheart Silver (1982) ISBN 0-523-48535-2
  • A Barnstormer in Oz (1982)
  • Escape From Loki (1991)
  • The Caterpillar's Question (1992) (with Piers Anthony)
  • Nothing Burns in Hell (1998)
  • Naked Came The Farmer (1998) (with Nancy Atherton, Terry Bibo, Steven Burgauer, Dorothy Cannell, David Everson, Joseph Flynn, Julie Kistler, Jerry Klein, Bill Knight, Tracy Knight, Garry Moore and Joel Steinfeldt)
  • The Dark Heart of Time (1999)
  • Up From the Bottomless Pit, published in ten parts in Farmerphile: The Magazine of Philip José Farmer (2005-2007)
  • The City Beyond Play, co-authored with Danny Adams (2007)
  • The Evil in Pemberley House, co-authored with Win Scott Eckert (2009)

Collections

  • Strange Relations (1960)
  • The Alley God (1962)
  • The Celestial Blueprint: And Other Stories (1962)
  • Down in the Black Gang (1971)
  • The Book of Philip José Farmer, or the Wares of Simple Simon’s Custard Pie and Space Man (1973)
  • Mother Was A Lovely Beast;: A Feral Man Anthology, Fiction And Fact About Humans Raised By Animals (1974)
  • Riverworld and Other Stories (1979)
  • Riverworld War: The Suppressed Fiction of Philip José Farmer (1980)
  • Father to the Stars (1981)
  • Stations of the Nightmare (1982)
  • The Purple Book (1982)
  • The Classic Philip José Farmer, 1952-1964 (1984)
  • The Classic Philip José Farmer, 1964-1973 (1984)
  • The Grand Adventure (1984)
  • Riders of the Purple Wage (1992)
  • Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe (2005)
  • The Best of Philip José Farmer (2006)
  • Strange Relations (2006)
  • Pearls from Peoria (2006)
  • Up from the Bottomless Pit and Other Stories (2007)
  • Venus on the Half-Shell and Others (2008)
  • The Other in the Mirror (2009)

Short stories and novellas

  • "O'Brien and Obrenov" (1946)
  • "The Lovers" (1952)
  • "Sail On! Sail On!" (1952)
  • "The Biological Revolt" (1953)
  • "Mother" (1953)
  • "Moth and Rust" (1953)
  • "Attitudes" (1953)
  • "Strange Compulsion" (1953)
  • "They Twinkled Like Jewels" (1954)
  • "Daughter" (1954)
  • "Queen of the Deep" (1954)
  • "The God Business" (1954)
  • "Rastignac the Devil" (1954)
  • "The Celestial Blueprint" (1954)
  • "The Wounded" (1954)
  • "Totem and Taboo" (1954)
  • "Father" (1955)
  • "The Night of Light" (1957)
  • "The Alley Man" (1959)
  • "Heel" (1960)
  • "My Sister's Brother" or "Open to Me, My Sister" (1960)
  • "A Few Miles" (1960)
  • "Prometheus" (1961)
  • "Tongues of the Moon" (1961)
  • "Uproar in Acheron" (1962)
  • "How Deep the Grooves" (1963)
  • "Some Fabulous Yonder" (1963)
  • "The Blasphemers" (1964)
  • "The King of the Beasts" (1964)
  • "Day of the Great Shout" (1965)
  • "Riverworld" (1966)
  • "The Suicide Express" (1966)
  • "The Blind Rowers" (1967)
  • "A Bowl Bigger than Earth" (1967)
  • "The Felled Star (part 1)" (1967)
  • "The Felled Star (part 2)" (1967)
  • "The Shadow of Space" (1967)
  • "Riders of the Purple Wage" (1967)
  • "Don't Wash the Carats" (1968)
  • "The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod" (1968)
  • "Down in the Black Gang" (1969)
  • "The Oogenesis of Bird City" (1970)
  • "The Voice of the Sonar in my Vermiform Appendix" (1971)
  • "Brass and Gold" (1971)
  • "The Fabulous Riverboat (part 1)" (1971)
  • "The Fabulous Riverboat (part 2)" (1971)
  • "Only Who Can Make a Tree?" (1971)
  • "The Sliced-Crosswise Only-On-Tuesday World" (1971)
  • "Seventy Years of Decpop" (1972)
  • "Skinburn" (1972)
  • "The Sumerian Oath" (1972)
  • "Father's in the Basement" (1972)
  • "Toward the Beloved City" (1972)
  • "Mother Earth Wants You" (1972)
  • "Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind" (1973)
  • "Monolog" (1973)
  • "After King Kong Fell" (1973)
  • "Opening the Door" (1973)
  • "The Two-Edged Gift" (1974)
  • "The Startouched" (1974)
  • "The Evolution of Paul Eyre" (1974)
  • "The Adventure of the Three Madmen" (1974)
  • "Passing On" (1975)
  • "A Scarletin Study, as Jonathan Swift Somers III" (1975)
  • "The Problem of the Sore Bridge - Among Others, as Harry Manders" (1975)
  • "Greatheart Silver" (1975)
  • "The Return of Greatheart Silver" (1975)
  • "Osiris on Crutches, as Leo Queequeg Tincrowder" (1976)
  • "The Volcano, as Paul Chapin" (1976)
  • "The Doge Whose Barque Was Worse Than His Bight, as Jonathan Swift Somers III" (1976)
  • "Fundamental Issue" (1976)
  • "The Henry Miller Dawn Patrol" (1977)
  • "Greatheart Silver in the First Command" (1977)
  • "Savage Shadow as Maxwell Grant" (1977)
  • "The Impotency of Bad Karma as Cordwainer Bird" (1977)
  • "It's the Queen of Darkness, Pal, as Rod Keen" (1978)
  • "Freshman" (1979)
  • "The Leaser of Two Evils" (1979)
  • "J.C. on the Dude Ranch" (1979)
  • "Spiders of the Purple Mage" (1980)
  • "The Making of Revelation, Part I" (1980)
  • "The Long Wet Dream of Rip Van Winkle" (1981)
  • "The Adventure of the Three Madmen" (1984)
  • "UFO vs IRS" (1985)
  • "St. Francis Kisses His Ass Goodbye" (1989)
  • "One Down, One to Go" (1990)
  • "Evil, Be My Good" (1990)
  • "Nobody's Perfect" (1991)
  • "Wolf, Iron and Moth" (1991)
  • "Crossing the Dark River" (1992)
  • "A Hole in Hell as Dane Helstrom" (1992)
  • "Up the Bright River" (1993)
  • "Coda" (1993)
  • "The Good of the Land" (2002)
  • "The Face that Launched a Thousand Eggs" (2005)
  • "The Unnaturals" (2005)
  • "Who Stole Stonhenge?" (2005)
  • "That Great Spanish Author, Ernesto" (2006)
  • "The Essence of the Poison" (2006)
  • "The Doll Game" (2006)
  • "Keep Your Mouth Shut" (2006)
  • "The Frames" (2007)
  • "A Spy in the U.S. of Gonococcia" (2007)
  • "A Peoria Night" (2007)
  • "The First Robot" (2008)
  • "Duo Miaule" (2008)

Ephemera

  • "Bradley Brave Sees New York With Observing Injun Eyes—And with Knocking Knees" (1940)
  • "Lovers and Otherwise" (1953)
  • "The Tin Woodman Slams the Door" (1954)
  • "White Whales Raintrees Flying Saucers" (1954)
  • "The Golden Age and the Brass" (1956)
  • "On a Mountain Upside Down" (1960)
  • "Blueprint for Free Beer" (1967)
  • "Reap" (1968)
  • "Oft Have I Travelled" (1969)
  • "Report" (1969) - republished as "The Josés from Rio" (2006)
  • "The Affair of the Logical Lunatics" (1971)
  • "The Arms of Tarzan" (1971)
  • "Tarzan's Coat of Arms" (1971)
  • "The Two Lord Ruftons" (1971)
  • "The Obscure Life and Hard Times of Kilgore Trout" (1971)
  • "A Reply to "The Red Herring"" (1971)
  • "Tarzan Lives" (1972) - republished as "An Exclusive Interview with Lord Greystoke" (1973)
  • "The Great Korak-Time Discrepancy" (1972)
  • "The Lord Mountford Mystery" (1972)
  • "Writing the Biography of Doc Savage" (1973) - republished as "Writing Doc's Biography" (1974)
  • "From Erb to Ygg" (1973)
  • "To the Wizard of Sci-Fi" (1974)
  • "Extracts from the Memoirs of "Lord Greystoke"" (1974)
  • "The Feral Human in Mythology and Fiction" (1974)
  • "Charles L. Tanner" (1974)
  • "A Language for Opar" (1974)
  • "Some Comments" (1975) - republished as "The Source of the River" (2006)
  • "How Dinosaurs Did It" (1976)
  • "Phonemics" (1976)
  • "Philip Jose Farmer Sez..." (1976) - republished as "A Fimbulwinter Introduction" (2006)
  • "Religion and Myths" (1977)
  • "Jonathan Swift Somers III: Cosmic Traveller in a Wheelchair" (1977)
  • "The Remarkable Adventure" with Beverly Friend (1978)
  • "Creating Artificial Worlds" (1979)
  • "Riverworld War" (1980)
  • "Maps and Spasms" (1981)
  • "The Monster on Hold" (1983)
  • "L. Frank Baum" (1985)
  • "Edgar Rice Burroughs" (1985)
  • "Memoir" (1986) - republished as "IF R.I.P" (2006)
  • "Remembering VERN" (1987)
  • "The Journey" (1988)
  • "Hayy ibn Yaqzam: An Arabic Mowgli" (1994)
  • "Robert Bloch: An Appreciation" (1994)
  • "Dede Weil: An Appreciation" (2000)
  • "I Still Live!" (2006)
  • "Why Do I Write?" (2006)
  • "The Trout Letters" (2006)
  • "The Light-Hog Incident" (2007)
  • "The Rebels Unthawed" (2007)
  • "A Modest Proposal" (2007)
  • "Sherlock Holmes & Sufism—& Related Subjects" (2008)
  • "Jongor in the Wold Newton Family" (2008)
  • "Three Metafictional Proposals" (2008)
  • "Uncle Sam's Mad Tea Party" (2008)
  • "Down to Earth's Centre" (2008)

See also

References

Citations

  1. ^ Pohl, Frederik (2009-02-28). "Josie!". The Way the Future Blogs. http://www.thewaythefutureblogs.com/2009/02/josie/. Retrieved 2009-03-01.  
  2. ^ Jonas, Gerald (2009), "Philip José Farmer, Daring Science Fiction Writer, Dies at 91" [Obit], The New York Times, 26 February 2009.
  3. ^ Jonas (2009), Op. cit.
  4. ^ Clute, John and Peter Nicholls (1993, 1995), The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction, New York: St. Martin's Griffin, pp 417-419.
  5. ^ Stoler, Peter (1980), “’Riverworld’ Revisited”, Time, July 28.
  6. ^ Fiedler, Leslie A. (1972), "Getting into the Task of Now Pornography", The Los Angeles Times, April 23. (Reprinted in slightly different form as “Thanks for the Feast: Notes on Philip Jose Farmer”, In: Farmer, Philip Jose (1973), The Book of Philip Jose Farmer, or the Wares of Simple Simon’s Custard Pie and Space Man, New York: Daw Books, Inc, pp 233-239.)
  7. ^ I, Asimov. Isaac Asimov. Bantam Books. p. 504. 1994.
  8. ^ Jonas (2009), Op. cit.
  9. ^ Official website
  10. ^ [1] Retrieved April 8, 2009
  11. ^ a b Farmer 1983: Author's Introduction
  12. ^ A Conversation With Roger Zelazny 8th April, 1978 at the Internet Archive
  13. ^ a b Clute 1993
  14. ^ Merrick 2003
  15. ^ Carey 2007
  16. ^ Heinlein 1991
  17. ^ Trout
  18. ^ a b "1972 Award Winners & Nominees". Worlds Without End. http://www.worldswithoutend.com/books_year_index.asp?year=1972. Retrieved 2009-10-05.  

Other sources

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The universe is a big place, perhaps the biggest.

Philip José Farmer (1918-01-262009-02-25) was an American author, principally known for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories, especially those of his Riverworld series.

Contents

Sourced

Here and Now are needles which
Sew a pattern black as pitch,
Waiting for the rocket's light.
  • Can imagination act
    Perpendicular to fact?
    Can it be a kite that flies
    Till the Earth, umbrella-wise,
    Folds and drops away from sight?
    • "Imagination" in America Sings (1949); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
Eat rich strange fish, grow long bright feathers, press
Form's flesh around thought's rib, and so derive
From the act of beauty, beauty of the act.
  • Miles above the Earth we know,
    Fancy's rocket roars.
    Below,
    Here and Now are needles which
    Sew a pattern black as pitch,
    Waiting for the rocket's light.
    • "Imagination" in America Sings (1949)
Beauty in this Iron Age must turn
From fluid living rainbow shapes to torn
And sootened fragments...
  • Sawbeaked epitome of bodiless
    Idea, tossed by gusts of ether, dive
    Through abstract mists and raid the sea of fact
    Eat rich strange fish, grow long bright feathers, press
    Form's flesh around thought's rib, and so derive
    From the act of beauty, beauty of the act.
    • "The Pterodactyl" in Sky Hook #16, (Winter 1952-53); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
  • Beauty in this Iron Age must turn
    From fluid living rainbow shapes to torn
    And sootened fragments, ashes in an urn

    On whose gray surface runes are traced by a Norn
    Who hopes to wake the Future to arise
    In Phoenix-fashion, and to shine with rays
    To blast the sight of modern men whose dyes
    Of selfishness and lust have stained our days...
    • "Beauty in This Iron Age" in Starlanes #11 (Fall 1953); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
I, too, must each dusk renew my heart,
For daytime's vulture talons tear apart
The tender alcoves built by love at night.
  • Reader, pray that soon this Iron Age
    Will crumble, and Beauty escape the rusting cage.
    • "Beauty in This Iron Age" in Starlanes #11 (Fall 1953); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
  • Prometheus, I have no Titan's might,
    Yet I, too, must each dusk renew my heart,
    For daytime's vulture talons tear apart
    The tender alcoves built by love at night.
    • "In Common" in Starlanes #14 (April 1954); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
You've beauty, flux, and terror
To tell. So've I.
  • Oh, I'd reach beyond the comma of you
    To the invisible phrase, the dangling Omega!
    No use. No act
    Of mine or mind denies the ante-cerebellum fact
    Of furry you, poised fleetingly, bright flex,
    Black reflex, too leaping for me to ink and fix
    As period to end what has no period, no, no
    End...
    • "Black Squirrel on Cottonwood Limb's Tip" in Skyhook #23 (Winter 1954-55); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
  • We too. No wisdom to utter.
    You've beauty, flux, and terror
    To tell. So've I.
    And they're
    Very hard to mutter
    Through so much chatter and stutter.
    • "Black Squirrel on Cottonwood Limb's Tip" in Skyhook #23 (Winter 1954-55); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
Drowned idols swirl like seeds in chaos' wine.
  • Let those who think the soul is shallow rail,
    They must be warned before they dare to leap
    They'll plunge into the twilight depths where sweep
    In ceaseless thirst great teeth too swift to fail.
    • "Job's Leviathan" in JD Argassy #58 (1961); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
  • Drowned idols swirl like seeds in chaos' wine.
    Look, Job! Caught Beauty, held to light, now apes
    A good, now evil, thing — the shifting sign
    And spectrum of archaic, psychic shapes.
    • "Job's Leviathan" in JD Argassy #58 (1961); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
  • Though Melville omitted it, Captain Ahab said, "In one sense, Aleister Crowley is lower than whale shit. In another, he's as high as God's hat. The true shaman knows that God's hat is made out of dried whale shit."

Sestina of the Space Rocket (1953)

First published in Startling Stories (February 1953); re-published in Pearls From Peoria (2006)
The stars above will be below when man has Love.
Now we have lit a candle to the power
Of atoms; now we know we're heirs of light
Itself...
Give us power, give us light
To hold all love within our breast's small space.
  • One thing is sure, O comrades, that the love
    That fights to keep us rooted in the earth,
    But also urges us to dare the stars,
    This irresistible, this ancient power
    Wedged in the soul, unshakable, is the light
    That burns our roots and leaves us free for Space.
  • The way is open, comrades, free as Space
    Alone is free. The only gold is love,
    A coin that we have minted from the light
    Of others who have cared for us on Earth
    And who have deposited in us the power
    That nerves our nerves to seize the burning stars.
  • Eyes forward! Sing a paean to the light
    That God gives us to net the distant stars
    In eyes that once were blinded with black earth.

    Man had no time for aught but toll, no space
    For aught but war. Yet God, in His great love,
    Has cleared our eyes and given a hint of Power.
  • Now we have lit a candle to the power
    Of atoms; now we know we're heirs of light
    Itself...
  • Yes, we hope to seed a new, rich earth.
    We hope to breed a race of men whose power
    Dwells in hearts as open as all Space
    Itself, who ask for nothing but the light
    That rinses the heart of hate so that the stars
    Above will be below when man has Love.
  • God, Whose hand holds stars, as we lump earth
    In our fingers, give us power, give us light
    To hold all love within our breast's small space.

The Riverworld series

Quotes from the Riverworld series of novels and stories.

To Your Scattered Bodies Go (1971)

It was not his nature to give up until all his strength had been expended.
The title of this work is derived from 7th of the "Holy Sonnets" by John Donne:
At the round earth's imagin'd corners, blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
From death, you numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies go.
  • His wife had held him in her arms as if she could keep death away from him.
    He had cried out, "My God, I am a dead man!"
  • Death, the Destroyer of Delights and the Sunderer of Society, had arrived at last.
    Blackness. Nothingness. He did not even know that his heart had given out forever. Nothingness.
    Then his eyes opened. His heart was beating strongly. He was strong, very strong! All the pain of the gout in his feet, the agony in his liver, the torture in his heart, all were gone.
    It was so quiet he could hear the blood moving in his head. He was alone in a world of soundlessness.
    A bright light of equal intensity was everywhere. He could see, yet he did not understand what he was seeing. What were these things above, beside, below him? Where was he?
  • The world took a shape which he could grasp, though he could not comprehend it. Above him, on both sides, below him, as far as he could see, bodies floated. They were arranged in vertical and horizontal rows. The up-and-down ranks were separated by red rods, slender as broomsticks, one of which was twelve inches from the feet of the sleepers and the other twelve inches from their heads. Each body was spaced about six feet from the body above and below and on each side.
    The rods came up from an abyss without bottom and soared into an abyss without ceiling. That grayness into which the rods and the bodies, up and down, right and left, disappeared was neither the sky nor the earth. There was nothing in the distance except the lackluster of infinity.
  • It was like no hell or heaven of which he had ever heard or read, and he had thought that he was acquainted with every theory of the afterlife.
    He had died. Now he was alive. He had scoffed all his life at a life-after-death. For once, he could not deny that he had been wrong. But there was no one present to say, "I told you so, you damned infidel!"
    Of all the millions, he alone was awake.
  • In a frenzy, kicking his legs and moving his arms in a swimmer's breaststroke, he managed to fight toward the rod. The closer he got to it, the stronger the web of force became. He did not give up. If he did, he would be back where he had been and without enough strength to begin fighting again. It was not his nature to give up until all his strength had been expended.
  • The aerial canoe had no visible means of support, he thought, and it was a measure of his terror that he did not even think about his pun. No visible means of support. Like a magical vessel out of The Thousand and One Nights.

The Fabulous Riverboat (1971)

  • Resurrection, like politics, makes strange bedfellows.

The Dark Design (1977)

Dreams haunted The Riverworld.
The real superhuman, man or woman, is the person who's rid himself of all prejudices, neuroses, and psychoses, who realizes his full potential as a human being, who acts naturally on the basis of gentleness, compassion, and love, who thinks for himself and refuses to follow the herd.
The title of this work derives from lines in Sir Richard Francis Burton's poem The Kasîdah of Hâjî Abdû El-Yezdî:
And still the Weaver plies his loom, whose warp and woof is wretched Man
Weaving th' unpattern'd dark design, so dark we doubt it owns a plan.
  • Dreams haunted The Riverworld.
    • First lines.
  • I do believe that man is a rope between animal and superman. But the superman I'm thinking of isn't Nietzsche's. The real superhuman, man or woman, is the person who's rid himself of all prejudices, neuroses, and psychoses, who realizes his full potential as a human being, who acts naturally on the basis of gentleness, compassion, and love, who thinks for himself and refuses to follow the herd. That's the genuine dyed-in-the-wool superman.
    • Ch. 31
  • Suddenly he was weeping. The tears were for the good things that had been or might have been, for the bad things that had been but should not have been.
    • Ch. 67

The Magic Labyrinth (1980)

The title of this work derives from lines in Sir Richard Francis Burton's poem The Kasîdah of Hâjî Abdû El-Yezdî:
Reason is Life's sole arbiter, the magic Laby'rinth's single clue:
Worlds lie above, beyond its ken; what crosses it can ne'er be true.
Soul has too many incorrect meanings for humans, too many verbal reverberations, too many contrary definitions.
Speak the word soul, and unbelievers will automatically become deaf to what follows....
  • Everybody should fear only one person, and that person should be himself.
    • First lines.
  • According to Burton, the Ethical who talked to him did not agree with his fellows. Apparently, there was dissension even among those beings who we could account as gods. Dispute or discord in Olympus, if I may draw such a parallel. Though I do not think that the so-called Ethicals are gods, angels, or demons. They are human beings like us but advanced to a higher ethical plane. What their disagreement is, I frankly do not know. Perhaps it is about the means used to achieve a goal.
    • Ch. 19
  • "Call me Meier," Goring said, but he did not pause to explain the joke.
    • Ch. 19
  • By now you must have accepted the fact that your religion, in fact, none of the Earthly religions, truly knew what the afterlife would be. All made guesses, and then established these as articles of faith. Though, in a sense, some were near the mark, if you accept their revelations as symbolic.
    • Message of "The Visitor" Ch. 19
  • The visitor said that his kind called themselves the Ethicals, though they had other names for themselves. They were on a higher plane of ethical development than most Earthlings. Notice that he said most. This indicates that there have been some of us who have achieved the same level as the Ethicals.
    • Ch. 19
  • This is what the visitor said the Ethicals had learned from the Ancients. The Creator, God, the One Spirit, call it what you will, forms all. It is the universe; the universe is it. But its body is formed of two essences. One is matter, the other, for lack of a better word, is nonmatter.
    • Ch. 19
How strange and unforeseeable... Alice, had inspired the nonsense not really nonsense, and this in circuitous and spiralling fashion had inspired her to do what all others had failed to do...
  • Let's give this entity which you call soul another name. Soul has too many incorrect meanings for humans, too many verbal reverberations, too many contrary definitions.
    Speak the word soul, and unbelievers will automatically become deaf to what follows. Those who believe in souls will always hear you through the mental constructs that they formed on Earth.
    Let us call this nonmatter twin the... ah... ka. That is the old Egyptian word for one of the several souls in their religion. Except for the Egyptians this will have no special connotation. And they can adapt to it.
    • Ch. 20
  • How strange and unforeseeable! The world had been saved, not by great rulers and statesmen, not by mystics and saints and prophets and messiahs, not by any of the holy scriptures, but by an introverted eccentric writer of mathematical texts and children's books and by the child who'd inspired him.
    The little girl become a woman, dream-ridden Alice, had inspired the nonsense not really nonsense, and this in circuitous and spiralling fashion had inspired her to do what all others had failed to do, to save eighteen billion souls and the world.
    • Section 14 : "Three-Cornered Play : Caroll to Alice to Computer"

Gods of Riverworld (1983)

  • The truth is that you can be immortal, relatively so, anyway. You won't last beyond the death of the universe and probably not nearly as long as the universe does. But you have the potentiality for living a million years, two, perhaps three or more. As long as you can find a Terrestrial-type planet with a hot core and have resurrection machinery available.
    Unfortunately, not all can be permitted to possess immortality. Too many would make immortality miserable or hellish for the rest, and they would try to control others through their control of the resurrection machinery. Even so, everybody, without exception, is given a hundred years after his Earthly death to prove that he or she can live peacefully and in harmony with himself and the others, within the tolerable limits of human imperfections. Those who can do this will be immortal after the two projects are completed.

River of Eternity (1983)

Quotes about Farmer

Farmer's greatest achievement, accomplished with brilliant understatement, is to make us gradually realize that our own situation here on Earth is just as mysterious as anything on Riverworld... ~ Robert Anton Wilson
  • Philip José Farmer is one of the most talented writers alive.
  • Farmer's greatest achievement, accomplished with brilliant understatement, is to make us gradually realize that our own situation here on Earth is just as mysterious as anything on Riverworld, or that the answer to the enigmas of Riverworld might also be the explanation of the paradoxes of our own peculiar existence here and now. Once again, in a brilliant climax, Farmer demonstrates my pet theory that sf is the only serious literature around these days, because it is the only literature that grapples with the ultimate questions of who or what we are and how we got here.

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