Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Philip Jose Farmer Has Died

Science fiction pioneer Philip Jose Farmer "passed away peacefully in his sleep," his website noted this morning. The 91-year-old author was best-known for his Riverworld series, a surreal collection of books about a world where historical figures mingle on a watery planet. Wikipedia counts six Hugo Award nominations for the author during his long and illustrious career.

One of his Riverworld books, Gods of Riverworld (Putnam, 1983), featured a distinctly Louise Brooks-looking character on the front of the book. And I seem to recall an interview or review which mentioned the author's fondness for the actress.

Here is the publisher supplied description of the book: Thirty-five billion people from throughout Earth's history were resurrected along the great and winding waterways of Riverworld. Most began life anew--accepting without question the sustenance provided by their mysterious benefactors. But a rebellious handful burned to confront the unseen masters who controlled their fate--and these few launched an invasion that would ultimately yield the mind-boggling truth. Now Riverworld's omnipotent leaders have been confronted, and the renegades of Riverworld--led by the intrepid Sir Richard Francis Burton--control the fantastic mechanism that once ruled them. But the most awesome challenge lies ahead. For in the vast corridors and secret rooms of the tower stronghold, an unknown enemy watches and waits to usurp the usurpers . . . 

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