The Alley Man

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The Alley Man is a science fiction short story by Philip José Farmer. The story tells of the life of Old Man Paley, who may — or may not — be the last Neanderthal (or "Paleolithic" man, as his name suggests),[1] still alive in the 20th century.

Publication history[edit]

"The Alley Man" was originally published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction in June 1959. It was subsequently republished by Ballantine Books in the 1962 compilation The Alley God, by DAW Books in the 1973 compilation The Book of Philip José Farmer, by Crown Publishers in the 1984 compilation The Classic Philip José Farmer 1952-1964, and in the 2006 anthology The Best of Philip José Farmer by Subterranean Press.

Critical reception[edit]

"The Alley Man" was nominated for the 1960 Hugo Award for Short Fiction, and came second.[2]

P. Schuyler Miller called "The Alley Man" a "robust, rambling comic tragedy of a dying species, trying to keep its heredity straight, clinging to its old legends, holding its own against the G'yaga, the False Folk who have inherited the Earth", described Paley as "Alley Oop as seen by Eugene O'Neill", and said that although the story itself was "negligible", the character of Paley "is everything". [3]

Sam Moskowitz considered the story to be Farmer's emulation of L. Sprague de Camp's 1939 The Gnarly Man.[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Magic Labyrinth of Philip José Farmer (The Milford Series, Popular Writers of Today, Vol. 38), by Edgar Chapman; published 1984 by Borgo Press; "Paley claims to be the last true descendant of the paleolithic or neanderthal men (hence the name "Paley")"
  2. ^ 1960 Hugo Awards at TheHugoAwards.org; retrieved June 23, 2013
  3. ^ Analog Science Fiction and Fact, August 1962 (archived at http://pjfarmer.com/reviews.htm)
  4. ^ Moskowitz, Sam. Seekers of Tomorrow: Masters of Modern Science Fiction (New York : Ballantine Books, 1967), p. 160.