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SFF Author: Philip Jose Farmer

Philip Jose Farmer(1918-2009)
Philip Jose Farmer won several Hugo and Nebula awards for his fantasy and science fiction. He died in his sleep on February 25, 2009. Here’s his website.



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Riders of the Purple Wage: One of the most unique SF texts

Riders of the Purple Wage by Philip Jose Farmer

At the risk of being overly simplistic, Jacque Derrida’s concept of deconstruction/post-structuralism (whichever you want to call it) is at heart the perspective that any ideological paradigm can be picked apart, bone by bone, until the skeleton lies in shambles on the floor. The purpose is not nihilistic in nature; it is intended, rather, to cast a wrench of relativity into such lofty ideals as modernism, and the rigid mindset of structuralism that came in tow. In practice, I have yet to read a science fiction text that deconstructs the Silver Age better than Philip Jose Farmer’s 1967 Riders of the Purple Wage.


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To Your Scattered Bodies Go: The Riverworld is fascinating

To Your Scattered Bodies Go by Philip Jose Farmer

After he died, the famous 19th century explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton wasn’t surprised to find that what the Christian priests had taught about the Resurrection wasn’t true. But he was totally bewildered by what actually happened. He woke up young, hairless, naked, and turning in midair (as if on a spit) in the middle of 37 billion other young, hairless, naked and rotating humans. Soon after waking, the bodies — all the people over the age of five who had ever lived — plunged to the ground and began their new lives together in a giant river valley…


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The Fabulous Riverboat: In which we learn very little about Riverworld

The Fabulous Riverboat by Philip Jose Farmer

To Your Scattered Bodies Go, the first of Philip Jose Farmer’s Riverworld novels, was a fast-paced, highly creative, and extremely exciting story, so I was eager to continue the tale in the second novel, The Fabulous Riverboat. This part of the story of mankind’s resurrection onto a million-miles-long stretch of river valley focuses on Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) — one of the people who’ve been contacted by a traitor who hopes to use twelve special humans to disrupt the plans of the creatures (gods?


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Hadon of Ancient Opar: Farmer plays in Burroughs’ world

Hadon of Ancient Opar by Philip Jose Farmer

To most general readers of science fiction, Philip Jose Farmer is probably best known as the creator of the RIVERWORLD series, and possibly also as the Golden Age writer who brought sex into the Science Fiction scene through his stories “The Lover” (1952) and Flesh (1960). He also loved to dabble in other author’s created universes, to the extent that he wrote numerous pastiches and fictional “biographies” purportedly by and about such characters as Edgar Rice BurroughsTARZAN,


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Magazine Monday: Asimov’s, February 2014

The first of three novelettes in the February 2014 issue of Asimov’s is Derek Künsken’s “Schools of Clay,” a space opera that is almost incomprehensible. It concerns a race of beings that is modeled on bees, apparently, with queens, workers and new generations of princesses. These beings mine asteroid belts and seem to be partly machine and partly organic (though their nature is never spelled out, one of the serious shortcomings of this story). Some of these beings have souls, and some do not, though what “soul” means in this context is unclear.


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Science Fiction Super Pack #1: A generally above-average anthology

Science Fiction Super Pack #1 edited by Warren Lapine

Like the companion fantasy volume, Science Fiction Super Pack #1, edited by Warren Lapine, only has one story I didn’t think was good, and it’s a piece of Lovecraft fanfiction. H.P. Lovecraft‘s overwrought prose doesn’t do much for me even when Lovecraft himself writes it, and much less so when it’s attempted by imitators. And Lovecraft’s stories at least have something frightening that happens in them; these two stories (in this volume and the other) only have visions of aspects of the Mythos and crazy people ranting,


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Fantasy Super Pack #1: Something for everyone

Fantastic Stories Presents: Fantasy Super Pack #1 edited by Warren Lapine

Fantasy Super Pack #1 , which is available for 99c in Kindle format, is an enormous collection of 34 stories presumably showcasing the taste of the editor of Fantastic Stories of the Imagination, an online magazine. As I’m interested in submitting to the magazine, I picked it up, and thoroughly enjoyed most of the stories, none of which I remembered reading before though I’d heard of several of them.

I like stories that have a narrative arc,


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Next SFF Author: Christopher Farnsworth
Previous SFF Author: Nancy Farmer

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