Saturday, December 18, 2010
PERSONAL RECOLLECTIONS OF PHILIP JOSE FARMER!
(One of a series of speeches by colleagues and fans delivered at FarmerCon 2008; Peoria Public Library, Peoria, Illinois)
by John Allen Small
(Speech delivered at FarmerCon 2008, Peoria Public Library, Peoria Illinois)
It was the same summer that I first became aware of Doc Savage. Not the books, but the movie - ads for which had recently started airing on TV. I recognized Ron Ely from watching reruns of his "Tarzan" TV series and thought this new movie looked like it might be halfway interesting, so I decided I would have to see it if it came to one of our local theaters in Kankakee.
A day or so after seeing that first ad, I was at the store with my parents and happened to spy a copy of the Bantam Books movie edition of the first Doc novel, "The Man Of Bronze," and somehow managed to talk my mom into giving me the $1.25 to buy it. We went home and I read the book in a single sitting - and a lifelong fan was born. There was something about Doc that reminded me a little of Tarzan; I had read my dad's entire collection of Edgar Rice Burroughs novels by the time I had finished the fifth grade, so I viewed Doc's books as a treasure trove of excitement and adventure.
I searched in vain for some time for a copy of Phil Farmer's "Tarzan Alive" before discovering that my father had bought a copy a few years earlier. By the time I'd finished that book Dad had bought a copy of the Dell paperback edition of "The Adventure Of The Peerless Peer" and I had to read that one too. Over the next year or so I also read "Time's Last Gift," "The Fabulous Riverboat," "To Your Scattered Bodies Go," and copies of "The Lovers" and "A Feast Unknown" that a school friend had smuggled to school much the same way my dad's generation had shared copies of "I The Jury" and "Tropic Of Cancer."
Philip José Farmer opened a whole new world to me, not only through his own works but also by introducing me to certain works of other authors. I come from a family of readers - my parents taught us to love the written word when we were very young - but I don't know if I ever would have read such books as "Last Of The Mohicans" or "The White Company" had it not been for Farmer. Thanks to his Wold Newton concepts I not only found a universe of adventure, but also a group of friends who have come to mean as much to me as the members of my family.
(Copyright 2008 by John Allen Small)
Posted by All Pulp at 7:34 PM