And finally, after looking at various award winners over the past year and articles about authors’ debuts and the novels published in 1979, it has come time to close out this series of articles with a look at some of the non-award winning short fiction published in 1979.
By 1979, Philip José Farmer had published the first three novels in his Riverworld series as well as a novelette set in the same world, entitled “Riverworld.” When he reprinted the novelette in 1979 in his collection Riverworld and Other Stories, Farmer expanded the story from 12,000 to 33,750 words, effectively publishing a new story in the popular series about humanity’s afterlife on an infinite river.
John M. Ford has made the news recently as the rights to reprint his all too few works, plus an unfinished novel, have been disentangled. In 1979 he published six stories in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine (his first sale was in 1976). These stories included “Mandalay,” which kicked off his Alternities, Inc. series of stories, as well as “The Adventure of the Solitary Engineer” and “The Sapphire as Big as the Marsport Hilton.”
Chelsea Quinn Yarbro introduced her vampire, the Count Saint-Germain, in 1978 in the novel Hotel Transylvania. In 1979, she published her first short story about him, “Seat Partner,” detailing his experiences on an airplane, a far cry from the historical settings of the novels he usually inhabits.
Philip José Farmer was born on January 26, 1918 (Happy Centennial, Phil!) and died on February 25, 2009. In 1953, he received one of the inaugural Hugo Awards for Best New Author or Artist (a forerunner to the John W. Campbell, Jr. Award). He would win the Hugo again in 1968 for his novella “Riders of the Purple Wage” and in 1972 for his novel To Your Scattered Bodies Go. Farmer was the Guest of Honor at Baycon, the 1968 Worldcon in Oakland.
His lifetime achievement awards include the World Fantasy Award and the SFWA Grand Master Award, both awarded in 2001. In 2003, he received the Forry Award and the First Fandom Hall of Fame Award. Farmer was known for expanding the science fiction field to include frank portrayals of sex with his novel The Lovers (Ballantine, 1961, expanded from the 1952 novella of the same title).
His story “The Rise Gotten” was written for an anthology Robert Bloch planned, but never published. The story saws its first publication in 2006 in the collection Pearls from Peoria, which collected previously published and unpublished works by Farmer.
“The Rise Gotten” is the story of a long-married couple who have fallen out of love, and merely survive in each other’s presence. Roger Baird’s impotence is a major sticking point for his wife, Rey, who either ignores him or denigrates him. Roger is just as happy ignoring his wife, whose alcoholic stupors make her less attractive to him even if he weren’t suffering impotence.
Their relationship, while sad, is completely mundane. Roger retreats to his study to get away from his wife and her sister’s drinking binge and turns his attention to the newspapers, which he reads and finds just as much horror as in the magazines, like Weird Tales, which form his pleasure reading. After his sister-in-law leaves and his wife suggests a cure for his impotence that worked for her brother-in-law, the story takes a decidedly dark turn. While part of the power of Farmer’s story comes from its ending, most of it comes from the sudden switch from a very mundane tale to Roger’s reaction to his years of humiliation by his wife.
When Jules Verne created gentleman adventurer Phileas Fogg in his 1873 novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, he had no way of imagining the bizarre turn his character’s chronicles would take a century later. When Philip Jose Farmer added The Other Log of Phileas Fogg to his Wold Newton Family series in 1973, he had no way of imagining that four decades later there would exist a Wold Newton specialty publisher to continue the esoteric literary exploits of some of the last two centuries’ most fantastic characters.
Farmer’s concept, in a nutshell, is that Verne’s globetrotting adventure is part of a far larger extraterrestrial conflict between two powerful alien races, the Eridani and the Capellas. Phileas Fogg was raised by the Eridani it turns out and, in the course of Farmer’s work, we learn that Verne’s Captain Nemo (the anti-hero of his 1870 classic, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and its 1874 sequel, The Mysterious Island) is not only a Capellan agent, but is also the same man known as Professor Moriarty in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes mysteries.
Josh Reynolds was the first author to follow in Farmer’s footsteps in a substantial fashion when he authored two direct sequels to The Other Log of Phileas Fogg for Meteor House: 2014’s Phileas Fogg and the War of Shadows and 2016’s Phileas Fogg and the Heart of Osra. Both books are set in 1889 and see Phileas Fogg coming out of retirement as the extraterrestrial conflict between the Eridani and the Capellas reaches Earth once more. The second of these titles involves Ruritania, the fictitious country from Anthony Hope’s Ruritanian Romances trilogy that began with the famous 1894 novel, The Prisoner of Zenda.
Over forty years ago, Philip Jose Farmer published a pair of officially sanctioned books recounting the history of ancient Opar, the lost civilization familiar to readers of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan novels. Opar was the first of the author’s lost cities that survived undiscovered in the African jungle until the noble apeman came along. Burroughs’ lost civilizations, like his alien worlds, were fantastic places of adventure that allowed the author to sharpen his satiric blade and skewer organized religion and politics alike.
Farmer, in notable contrast, was interested in using Burroughs’ concepts as a springboard for more realistic and decidedly more adult adventures. Farmer’s histories are peopled with conquerors and king-makers who are not just noble savages, but also savage rapists and murderers. His Opar novels opened Tarzan fans’ eyes to the antediluvian kingdom of Khokarsa. While the sword & sorcery boom of the 1960s and 1970s flooded bookshelves with immoral and amoral barbarians, Farmer set his work apart by treating the material as realistically as possible. His characters die tragically and sometimes prematurely. Sexual intercourse leads to unplanned pregnancies that alter people’s lives as it changes the course of a kingdom’s destiny.
I have never disguised the fact that my fiction as well as much of my reading selections have been influenced by Wold Newton scholars. Whether one enjoys delving into the deeper world of holistic literary theories or not, there is so much information to be mined and speculation to consider that one could spend a lifetime devouring all of it. One of the foremost Wold Newton scholars active today, Win Scott Eckert today launches a new website on this, the 220th anniversary of the Wold Newton Event. woldnewtonfamily.com was created to provide “accurate and factual information on the canonical works by Philip José Farmer and on deuterocanonical works authorized by Mr. Farmer or his Literary Estate.” The following article defining what exactly is a Wold Newton tale was co-authored by Mr. Eckert with his fellow distinguished scholar and continuation author, Christopher Paul Carey. Thank you to John O’Neill for kindly allowing me to reprint their work here in commemoration of this important day for Wold Newtonians.
A Wold Newton tale must involve a character whom Philip José Farmer identified as a member of the Wold Newton Family, and/or it must add to our knowledge of the secret history that Farmer uncovered, which has come to be known as the “Wold Newton Universe.” It can also be a crossover story, but that is not required.
In recent years, generic crossover stories have come to be mistakenly referred to as “Wold Newton” tales. A mere crossover is not enough. With this in mind, a primer on Farmer’s discoveries regarding the Wold Newton Family is in order.
Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan has proven an unstoppable force. While misguided movies, TV series, and musicals do their best to rob the ape man of his savage nature and integrity in the name of mass marketing and political correctness, Burroughs’ original Jungle Lord perseveres. Conventional wisdom may suggest time has passed him by, but it’s the vitality of the original that keeps readers coming back for more. Happily, talents like Joe R. Lansdale, Philip Jose Farmer, and most recently Will Murray have been willing to give fans further adventures of the real Tarzan.
Turn back the clock four decades and you’ll find Philip Jose Farmer’s seminal fictional biography, Tarzan Alive (1972) had much to answer for in terms of launching the Wold Newton movement in popular fiction as well as boosting Burroughs’ cachet. While the book may be relatively obscure today, the ripples it created are still felt on the beaches of pulp fiction. For his part, Farmer launched a series of officially sanctioned books recounting the history of ancient Opar. Longtime readers of Burroughs’ work will know that Opar was the first of the author’s lost cities (an outpost of forgotten Atlantis) that survived undiscovered in Tarzan’s African jungle.
Hi, folks! Mike Allen here. When I last came through, I bloggedaboutmonsters. I want to thankBlack Gateoverlord John O’Neill for granting me leave to return to this space and shill my new project.
Among the many things I do, I’m the editor of a series of fantasy anthologies called Clockwork Phoenix. At least, the first three books were marketed as fantasy by my previous publisher, even though I included some strange science fiction in their pages as well. (Though I’m someone who sees science fiction as a subset of fantasy rather than a whole separate thing, one of the reasons I’ll use them if they’re odd enough.)
And I’m going to be editing and publishing a fourth volume in the series, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign that’s still underway. As of this writing I’m closing in on an $8,000 goal that will let me for the first time pay five cents a word for fiction – we’re going pro. If we keep going past that, I hope to launch a webzine that will be a companion to Clockwork Phoenix and the poetry journal I also edit and publish, Mythic Delirium, creating even more space for the kind of writing I love to thrive.But we’ll blow up that bridge when we come to it, eh?
John suggested I talk to you folks about how Clockwork Phoenix functions as a fantasy market, and I think that’s a fair question, given what Black Gate is all about.
Put bluntly, Clockwork Phoenix is a market for those who want to push the boundaries of what fantasy can be. I encourage stylistic experiments but insist the stories should also be compelling.
I want to point out that this gives me also sorts of freedom to include material that can’t be easily classified, I wouldn’t call it a break with long standing tradition in our field, at least as I’ve experienced said traditions.
I want to tell you how I was first introduced to short fiction that carries the fantasy label. I’m pretty sure then you’ll see what I mean.