Thursday, February 26, 2009
Philip Jose Farmer Dies
Philip Jose Farmer, one of science fiction's greatest writers died Wednesday. He was 91 years old. I can't remember the first story I read by Mr. Farmer. I've got at least two dozen or more of his novels and probably half a dozen collections of his short fiction. He was not a writer that you could type, he was as comfortable writing pulp fiction as well as writing stories involving sex with aliens. He straddled the new wave and the old vanguard of science fiction. I've been reading his work just about as long as I've been reading. Along with writers like Isaac Asimov and Harlan Ellison Philip Jose Farmer has been one of the constants that I can always go back to and enjoy. When I was younger, in my teenage years, science fiction reached out and grabbed ahold of me in a big way. For about ten years that was probably all I read. I gradually moved away from just reading science fiction until today it's a genre that I rarely read. I don't ignore it, but at one time I could name all the major writers and what they had done, today I'm not sure who would be considered some of the big names in the science fiction field. I'll pick up something science fiction now and than and read it. Except there are always a few I can always go back to and read, no matter how many times I've read their work I know I'll enjoy it again. It's why I hold onto books like gold and rarely if ever throw one out, it's always a thrill to reach back and read something that once gave me joy. Mr. Farmer's work was one of those that I always enjoyed, no matter how many times I've read it. For me his greatest work was his Riverworld novels. This was a collection of novels where everyone that had ever lived and died on earth woke up on the banks of a huge river on another world. It was on this world we read the adventures of Richard Burton (the adventurer, not the actor) and Samuel Clemens and so many others.
I think it might be time for another visit to the Riverworld.
Rest in peace, Mr. Farmer and thanks for all your words.
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