Thursday, February 26, 2009

Philp José Farmer, 1918 - 2009

File this one under the "I thought he was already dead" department, but Philip José Farmer, the best and most important science fiction writer you've probably never heard of, died yesterday. He was 91.

Farmer's novels were delightfully insane, with subject matter so full of honesty about human (and alien) sexuality and religious beliefs that his works would be considered shocking and innovative even by today's standards. But nothing he ever wrote was gratuitous, nor was any of it ever boring or predictable or ordinary or the least bit lacking in imagination, entertainment value, and integrity.

Even better than his science fiction and fantasy novels, in my opinion, were his love-letter-like novels about the pulp heroes that paved the way for his own work. His fictional biographies of Tarzan, Doc Savage, Phileas Fogg, et all, are three of my all time favorite books, and every bit as engrossing and fun as the original novels by the characters' original creators.

Philip José Farmer. Even though I thought he was already dead, he'll still be missed.

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