Talk:Philip José Farmer

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Winning a Hugo[edit]

Article doesn't mention anything about author winning the Hugo for his work the Lovers. A major accomplishement. Sadly I do not know much about it. Was looking here for more info. fyi.

It was the first science-fiction story, as far as I'm aware and general consensus, that dealt with sex in a manner beyond a magazine cover of a scantily clad woman being threatened by some mad-scientist/monster/alien/Asian with the square-jawed Hero racing to her rescue. He had to shop it around half dozen or so publishers before he could find one that would buy it; they all agreed that it was good but simply not publishable. It and several other works from that time really forced open the floodgates as it were and allowed science fiction to be serious mature works.

Request for more info[edit]

Could we have some more bibliographical info, ie whereabouts he was born, lives now, ect, ect. 203.211.69.201 10:46, 16 January 2006 (UTC)Willuknight

Phil was born in Indiana and grew up in Peoria. Lived at various times in upstate New York and Arizona (IIRC), but he and Bette spent much of their lives in Peoria, where they still live. Both are pretty frail these days. When I feel stronger, maybe I'll insert this info in the article proper. --RFL

Felt stong enough to do it. RLetson 04:58, 6 April 2006 (UTC)
It looks like he's begun writing short material again, so can't be all that frail.

--FarmerCollector 03:31, 10 May 2006 (UTC)Truth be told the newly published material is from Phil's files of formerly unpublished works.

List of works[edit]

Surely Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life are not non-fiction. They are fiction pretending to be non-fiction, or "Pseudo non-fiction" ? His website calls them fictional biography.

Riverworld War is shown as 1964 - this does not seem likely - it consists of an extract and an edited version of two 1979 novels. His website gives a 1980 publication date.

-- Beardo 08:58, 22 February 2006 (UTC)

There seem to be some missing titles, such as "Traitor to the Living" and "Stations of the Nightmare", and no doubt others.

Amber[edit]

"His parallel universe series World of Tiers inspired Roger Zelazny's Amber series." - did it ?

-- Beardo 07:48, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

I see Zelazny wrote an intro to one of the novels - was that written before or after he had started the Amber books ?

-- Beardo 15:03, 16 March 2006 (UTC)

Purple Haze[edit]

I have heard rumors that the song "Purple Haze," by Jimi Hendrix, was inspired by a line from one of Farmer's novels. Is this true?


Jimi Hendrix claimed that “Purple Haze” was not a drug song. Jimi was an avid reader of science fiction, and he encountered the phrase “purple haze” in the book Night of Light by Philip Jose Farmer (although Farmer’s phrase was actually “the purplish haze”).

Flesh + other links[edit]

It doesn't really seem appropriate to me that his novel "Flesh" redirects to the Meat article. Would anyone object to removing the linkage to said article?

I have amended, also Love Song (led to a Christian Rock Band) and Dare (leads to a disambig. page, but no mention of the novel there. BUT - do all his novels deserve their own pages ? Surely not ? -- Beardo 05:12, 3 May 2006 (UTC)

Dungeon Series[edit]

Okay...I've not read any of Philip's books, but know of him via The Dungeon series - not written by him, but listed as "Philip Jose Farmer's The Dungeon". For those not in the know, it was an idea by PJF but the books were written by different authors. Anyway...I saw no mention of that at all on the page and wondered if the fans here thought they should be mentioned or not?

Reference added[edit]

There was a note that a lot of the info here is not sourced, so I added a "references" section, with Mary Brizzi's "Reader's Guide" book. This is an adequate reference for much of the information listed, for people looking for a source (although only up to date as of the early 1980s, of course). Geoffrey.landis 02:48, 5 April 2007 (UTC)

Additional Citations and Weasel Words[edit]

This article is sorely in need of additional citations. The career section is especially in need of attention as it is plagued by Weasel Words, an example:

"His Apocalyptic Life" (1973)—wherein he conducts a exigetic mock-biography that winds either character in with a mind-boggling array of other fictional characters."

S. Luke 05:43, 1 July 2008 (UTC)

That's not weasel-worded--it's just badly written. RLetson (talk) 06:17, 11 July 2008 (UTC)

Yes, its poorly worded, but it also makes an extraordinary claim without citing any sources (i.e. based solely on the editor's opinion).

From WP:AWW: "With weasel words, one can imply a statement is true when it may be no truer than its inverse."

There is nothing in that statement to prove that Farmer's book is "mind-boggling" for all we know, it could be the complete opposite of mind-boggling. Moreover, exigetic isn't a word, my best guess is that the author was going for the adjective of exigency, which would be exiguous. Although there's nothing in the above statement to prove that Farmer's book is exiguous either.

S. Luke 22:07, 12 July 2008 (UTC)

First, "exigetic" is more likely a misspelling of "exegetic," from "exegesis," which my trusty American Heritage Dictionary defines as "critical explanation or analysis; especially, interpretation of the Scriptures." And Farmer's pseudo-biography is indeed exegetical (the correct form of the adjective in this context) in that it analyses Doc Savage's life. Second, look at the opening paragraph of the WP:AWW article again. "Weasel words" are those that attempt to avoid taking responsibility for making a strong assertion by watering down or otherwise obfuscating the language. Unsourced assertions may or not be weasel-worded, but this passage is actually the oppostite of weasel-y--it's over-assertive ("mind-boggling" is not quite a neutral descriptor) as well as clunkily written. RLetson (talk) 04:22, 7 August 2008 (UTC)

Who was Philip José Farmer?[edit]

I notice that this article is only describing Farmer's work, but not the person. Such a long life, and we learn nearly nothing about it here... Gestumblindi (talk) 23:10, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

Some of the links on this site might help flush out a workable biography. Zombie Hunter Smurf (talk) 23:14, 26 February 2009 (UTC)
Interesting observation..With many artists we learn about the work, and only rare exceptions discuss the life..Picasso, Hemingway, Pollock, Joyce...What do we know about ER Burroughs or Arthur C. Clarke? Modernist (talk) 23:16, 26 February 2009 (UTC)

As Modernist implies, the point here is less Farmer's (personal) life than his work, which is what makes him notable. I knew Phil, and while his life was not dull, its significance to the rest of the world rests in what it contributed to the books he wrote. Thus there's some point in telling the story behind the writing and rewriting of the Riverworld books, and perhaps in noting the fact that the steel-mill material in Fire and the Night came out of Phil's own work experience. But otherwise the details of his family and work history are not really that important in the context of an encyclopedia article, which is not really set up to do the work of a literary biography. RLetson (talk) 19:23, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

I would have to disagree that Farmer's personal life isn't that important. Often the experiences of writers influence their works, as you pointed out. The important thing is to have sources to back some of these connections up and that would build the biography that is acceptable for an encyclopedia. Arguably some of his history is just necessary to begin with such as birthday, hometown, education, etc. On a side note not only do most people not know who Farmer is, but they also don't know what he looks like. Can we get a picture? Zombie Hunter Smurf (talk) 23:57, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
It's not a question of whether the writer's personal life is important, it's a matter of what can be reasonably made to fit an encyclopedia article. And right now there isn't a literary biography of Farmer, though biographical information is scattered throughout his work, in interviews and reference books, and some may also be found in the fanzine Farmerphile, to which both Phil and his wife contributed. Come to think of it, watch for the obit and appreciations that will appear in Locus. RLetson (talk) 03:48, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
That doesn't sound so hard. Wikipedia has the tools to make a workable bio for the article, just requires some time to gather the works, read them, and then enter them on the article with cites. I'll get on it as soon as push World War Z for GA status. Zombie Hunter Smurf (talk) 15:03, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I agree with RLetson. In Farmer's case it's his voluminous and creative works that dominate the interest in him as a writer; not his personal drama. Although a picture as well as a fleshed out biographical sketch would be welcome here...Modernist (talk) 03:58, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I never suggested a multi-volume work on Farmer's life including every detail on his personal life, only a sketch for a Wikipedia article as you suggested. I disagree though with RLeston that it can't be done because of context. I plan to use these as examples when I get to work on it: Category:FA-Class biography (arts and entertainment) articles. Zombie Hunter Smurf (talk) 15:03, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Bradley University actually provided a good source. I'm starting to compile others. Zombie Hunter Smurf (talk) 15:05, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

Didn't mean to throw cold water on anything--just to caution against overstuffing what should be a modest encyclopedia entry. (Phil was a modest guy.) Anyone who follows the links from the Bradley U. page will find the Peoria Journal-Star Legacy Project pieces on Phil ([1] and [2]). RLetson (talk) 05:34, 7 March 2009 (UTC)


re Lovers, please see The Black Star Passes by John Campbell, interspecies sex predates this —Preceding unsigned comment added by 70.27.108.105 (talk) 05:58, 9 December 2009 (UTC)