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Philip Jose Farmer

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Farmer, Burroughs and Doc - Making Connections

Farmer, Burroughs and Doc – Making Connections

Thanks to JD at SFSignal, I am now reading Gods of Opar, an ARC of the soon to be published trilogy of Philip Jose Farmers two Opar books (Hadon of Ancient Opar and Flight to Opar), plus the conclusion to the trilogy, The Song of Kwasin, written by Farmer and Christopher Paul Carey (I believe Mr. Carey finished this story based on notes in the PJFarmer archives). Originally written to be a series of “ten or twelve volumes” (so says a letter from PJF) of historical fantasy based in Opar, an ancient world first visited in fiction by Tarzan.

This book and Farmer connects the dots with two of my long term obsessions: Doc Savage and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

Farmer should be a familiar author based on his two most widely read series: the Riverboat series (To Your Scattered Bodies Go (a most excellent name for a novel, BTW) won the Hugo in 1972) and the World of Tiers series. But Farmer also had a fascination and participation with Edgar Rice Burroughs and Doc Savage.

Doc Savage is the long running pulp series (my primer on SFSignal can provide you background) which Will Murray has recently revived. Farmer wrote two books in the Doc Savage canon: Escape from Loki (which depicts Doc and his five men as an origination story in World War I) and the psuedo-biography Doc Savage: His Apocolyptic Life.

Edgar Rice Burroughs is the creator of Tarzan and John Carter, the subject of my current SFSignal Primers (written here and video here).

Farmer connects Doc Savage and Tarzan in many of his stories, and in his Wold Newton universe (which postulates that a meteorite that landed in England affected certain people in the universe by giving them extraordinary abilities).

The Gods of Opar stories bring this connection full circle. Opar is first mentioned in Burrough’s second Tarzan book, Return of Tarzan, and is the setting of three others in the series. Farmer expands this region by building the history, setting Hadon in the year 10,000 BC and putting a time-traveler character from one of his other novels as a tinkerer and trouble maker.

A full review of the trillogy will be on SFSignal when reading is complete.

The Family Trade by Charles Stross

The Family Trade by Charles Stross

This is the first book of the Merchant Princes series (got the first four books in the series at a sale at Katy Budget Books). The series combines the idea of parallel worlds with severe economics; each of the worlds are at a different stage of economic development, and our protagonist is determined to take advantage of this as a wealth creation mechanism.

Miriam Beckstein is a reporter on the trail of a huge story about drug smuggling. She and her investigative helper, Paulette, get fired upon presenting their story to management. In a funk, Miriam goes to see her foster mother, who sees this as a good time to give her a box of things from her “real mother”. This box includes a locket, which when opened shows a braid design that enables those of a particular bloodline to “world walk”. (more…)


Who watches the Watchmen

UPDATE: Movie vs. book post here.

My wife asked me why I was reading a comic book. Watchmen by AlanWatchmen
Moore and Dave Gibbons is by definition a comic book, and it is much more. I was looking forward to the movie adaptation, but frankly I do not see how they can do this excellent story justice.

It is a story of ordinary people putting on costumes to be masked vigilantes, of one physicist in a lab accident who becomes the worlds only creature with true super powers, and of a world continuing to fight and destroy itself, heading toward an impending apocalypse.  The story lines take place in an alternate history of the world, where the US wins in Vietnam and get closer to nuclear war with Russia. (more…)

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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