Thursday, February 18, 2010

Philip Jose Farmer Reprints that Will, Sadly, Never Exist

Something I've wanted for a very long time is a three volume, leather bound, complete reprint of all the Wold Newton works by Philip Jose Farmer. In all likelyhood, this will never happen. Not only do legal rights hold some of his works from (perhaps ever) being reprinted, the cost of production alone reduces this to the dreams of Never-Never Land.

Still, since I had a few free minutes, I mapped out my ideal contents for each volume.

Volume 1: The Tarzan volume

Tarzan Alive
“An Exclusive Interview with Lord Greystoke”
“Extracts from the Memoirs of Lord Greystoke”
Time’s Last Gift
Hadon of Ancient Opar
Flight to Opar
“The Arms of Tarzan”
“A Reply to ‘The Red Herring’ “
“The Great Korak-Time Discrepancy”
“The Lord Mountford Mystery”
“From ERB to YGG”
“A Language for Opar”
Tarzan: The Dark Heart of Time

In setting this volume's contents up, I tried to place them in thematic sense. So it begins with the biography Tarzan Alive, and seges into the two smaller works that make up, more or less, extra addendums to the biography. After that, the reader is treated to the book-length prologue and first two tomes of the sadly uncompleted Khokarsa series. After that, PJF's sundry artcles on Tarzanic topics, including his inventive geneology of Edgar Rice Burroughs. Lastly, Phil's only true Tarzan novel Dark Heart of Time is reprinted to bookend the volume.

Volume 2: The Doc Savage volume

Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life
“Jongor in the Wold Newton Universe”
Escape from Loki
“Doc Savage and the Cult of the Blue God”
“After King Kong Fell”
“Savage Shadow”
“Down to Earth’s Centre”
“The Freshman”
“The Last Rise of Nick Adams”
Greatheart Silver
“The Volcano”
A Barnstormer in Oz

This volume stands in honor of the Man of Bronze; hitting readers first is Phil's biography of Doc and his aides, followed up by an abandoned geneological entry that brings another jungle lord to the Wold Newton family. Doc then escapes from a WWI prison camp in his first adventure. Following this is a screen treatment from a sequel to the George Pal Savage film, the true story of King Kong, and a parody of Doc by The Shadow author "Maxwell Grant." Doc battles demons from Hell, and in Ironcastle a friend of his father uncovers an alien country in the heart of Africa. After this last Doc Savage related tale, several more pulp fiction homage tales come, where Lovecraft, Hemingway, (Rex) Stout, and, in Greatheart Silver's case, every known pulp hero are given the Farmerian treatment. Tying up the volume is Phil's novel homage to the land of Oz.

Volume 3: Sherlock Holmes and the Nine Trilogy

The Other Log of Phileas Fogg
The Adventure of the Peerless Peer
“The Adventure of the Three Madmen”
“The Problem of Sore Bridge—Among Others”
“The Two Lord Ruftons”
“A Scarletin Study”
“The Doge Whose Baroque was worse than His Bight.”
"Who Stole Stonehenge" (fragment and outline)
“Jonathan Swift Somers III, Cosmic Traveller in a Wheelchair”
Venus on the Half-Shell
“The Obscure Life and Hard Times of Kilgore Trout”
A Feast Unknown
Lord of the Trees
The Mad Goblin
“The Monster on Hold”

This final volume opens with Phil's homage to Victorian fiction, before rushing though Holmes' meetings with Tarzan, Mowgli, and Raffles. An essay on the connections between Conan Doyle's different series is followed by the adventures of Ralph von Wau Wau--pity the cannine detective didn't have more stories devoted to him. A quick spin though the works of Kurt Vonnegut is followed by the grand finale of the works. The titanic Nine series, which managed to fit nearly all of Phil's obsessions into three novels and one fragment. (The only thing oddly missing is an air-ship.)

James Bojaciuk


  1. I love the arrangement you have here, James. Well done indeed. Perhaps someday someone will edit a volume of all the shorter Wold Newton works. That's certainly possible.

  2. Thanks Chris!

    I would love a volume of all Phil's short Wold Newton works. But, the heavy overlap between that book and Pearls from Peoria and Venus on the Half-Shell and Others make something like that unlikely. Perhaps in another decade the world will be ready for a volume like that.