THE CLASSIC PHILIP JOSE FARMER, 1964-1973 by Philip Jose Farmer


Email this review


Farmer is usually more consistent at shorter length, principally because his wild, bulging plots don't have time to wobble out of control; following the fine Classic Farmer, 1952-1964 (1983, p. 1273), here's a second entry, as good or better than the first. ""Riders of the Purple Wage"" is probably Farmer's most famous story: a bizarre, punning, blisteringly funny depiction of a near-future where most people subsist on the government dole or ""purple wage."" There's also a genuinely terrifying tale about an alien object that progressively steals people's memories, leading to worldwide amnesia, regression, and chaos. Plus--noteworthy tales about: a world where the King Kong legend actually happened; a characteristically far-out, symbolic exploration of superspace; and an Earth that's so crowded that people are allowed to live only one day per week, spending the rest of the time in stasis. There are less successful efforts, too, of course: a one-liner surgery joke, four pages long; a Tarzan yarn as maybe-written by William Burroughs; and a talky, tedious ""Purple Wage"" imitation about an aerial city. A typical Farmer spectrum, then: about equal parts rough and smooth, dazzling and blinding, but always outrageous and furiously energetic.

Pub Date: Oct. 4th, 1984
Publisher: Crown