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Behind the Walls of Terra by Philip Jose…

Behind the Walls of Terra (original 1970; edition 1977)

by Philip Jose Farmer (Author), Boris Vallejo (Illustrator)

Series: World of Tiers (4)

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431441,192 (3.5)4
Title:Behind the Walls of Terra
Authors:Philip Jose Farmer (Author)
Other authors:Boris Vallejo (Illustrator)
Info:ace books (1977), Edition: reprint, 220 pages
Collections:Your library, To read

Work details

Behind the Walls of Terra by Philip José Farmer (1970)

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Showing 4 of 4
Fourth book in Farmer's 'World of Tiers' series. Unlike the first three the action of this one mostly takes place on Earth. Its reasonably entertaining despite suffering a little from interminable car chases and wafer-thin characterization. Certainly the weakest of the series so far. ( )
  iftyzaidi | Jun 26, 2012 |
Suspension of disbelief now seriously overstretched. The story pelts along without a pause - this book doesn't even have chapters - but it lost me - my interest - pretty early on. I'll finish the series - but yawn, I doubt I'll keep it. There are a few amusing bits as Kickaha, who looks 25 but would be 52 if he'd stayed on Earth, encounters the 60s without warning. But even that gets a bit beaten into the ground (and he doesn't notice some stuff, like prices, that he should have). Then he and Anana are on the run, from the Lord of Earth, from (and after) the Black Beller, and rather quickly from the police. Pelting along - turns out there are two Lords involved, one of whom has Wolff and Chryseis, and gets Anana. Kickaha talks to Wolff and Anana on the phone thorough him. Then he rescues Anana from the other Lord - huh? The Beller is dealt with, almost incidentally; and all four of them, the two Lords, Kickaha, and Anana, are caught in a trap and Gated elsewhere. Wolff and Chryseis were already sent there. And the next book begins... ( )
  jjmcgaffey | Mar 6, 2012 |
Not a bad read, but there were a few more issues with the story line, but again nothing major. Kickaha is the hero of the story, which is neat. I've wanted to see more of him since the first book & now I'm getting to see plenty of him. As part of the series, it's great, but one of the outstanding features is that it could stand alone without a problem. Usually the issue with such books is too much background info on the series, but that isn't a problem here. Just enough information is given to let a new reader know what is going on, but not enough to turn off a reader who has read it in order. ( )
  jimmaclachlan | Sep 25, 2009 |
Re-read in Sept. 2006: unlike A Private Cosmos, this one's merely a two-and-a-half star book; I gave it a half star for the inventiveness of the traps laid by the villains in the last third of the book.

Behind the Walls of Terra is the 4th of 6 or 7 books in the World of Tiers series, which takes its title from the world fashioned by the millennia-old Lord Jadawin (a.k.a. Robert Wolff): a giant stepped pyramid-shaped world with a green sky and an Earth-sized moon fashioned after Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom (Mars) series featuring John Carter. In it, Farmer's Mary Sue character Kickaha (a.k.a. Paul Janus Finnegan; check out that monogram...) finds himself back on "Earth, that limbo among the universes" (quote from the 3rd book, A Private Cosmos;" p. 272) thanks to the events of the previous book: while Kickaha/P.J. Finnegan is still attempting to rescue his friends Jadawin/Wolff and his dryad lover Chryseis from one of the Lords and track down the last surviving Black Beller (read: body-snatcher-cum-brain-stealer), he learns some unpleasant information about the Lords, the Earth, and, eventually, his own past.

Behind the Walls of Terra has no chapters, no sections, and no white spaces to insert a pause into the narrative; supposedly Farmer did this to underscore the breathlessness of the story, but, despite this rather pedestrian effort, the book never becomes "un-put-downable."

Behind the Walls of Terra is almost entirely set in southern California, specifically the Los Angeles area; the first third of the book is nearly sunk by Kickaha's unfunny, F.A.R.T.s-type reactions ("Fathers Against Radical Teenagers") to the waning days of the hippie and rock-'n'-roll scenes that make James Bond look like the Mad Mod. Once again Farmer flings plots hither and yon like a shopaholic adolescent girl racing through a half-off sale at The Limited; wild conclusions made on the flimsiest of evidence prove to be absolutely correct, and, what with the notorious in-breeding (apparently with no ill effects, save perhaps psychological ones) of the Lords, one can only assume that we're not meant to notice -- as Kickaha spectacularly doesn't -- that his inamorata is apparently the offspring of a brother-sister pair, given that she identifies Red Orc as being both her mother's brother (p. 87) and her father's brother (p.101). Stay tuned till the end, sports fans, so you can place your bets in the So How Close Is He? gene pool....

While one doesn't necessarily look for (or want) a lot of heft to one's adventure novels (which Behind the Walls of Terra is), in the end one may well hope for a little less devotion to transgression and a little more effort in stitching together a yarn with not quite so many holes in it. That said, Farmer once again shows here that the RPG (role-playing game) world lost one of its brightest stars by dint of the fact that he was born just a little too early to be lured into the field. Keep this book away from your gamesmaster at the peril of your PC's (player character's) life.

I'll reserve judgment on The Lavalite World until I re-read it; I've never read Red Orc's Rage, and I've not read/don't own More Than Fire. There seems to be some debate as to whether Red Orc's Rage is an official part of the series. ( )
  uvula_fr_b4 | Sep 21, 2006 |
Showing 4 of 4
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Farmer, Philip Joséprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Forbes, BartCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grant, MelvynCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Morrow,GrayCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallejo, BorisCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This adventure of Kickaha is dedicated to Jack Cordes, who lives in the pocket universes of Peria and Pekin.
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The sky had been green for twenty-four years.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Behind the Walls of Terra

Paul Janus Finnegan was called Kickaha on the artificial universes created by that always feuding super-race known as the Lords. though he was a mortal Earthman, he had managed to survive every intrigue, test and opportunity they could device...so far.

But it was when he finally found his way back to our Earth that Kickaha faced the greatest dangers of his adventure-thrilled career. For he knew the secrets of the powers that moved the cosmos, and this made him a threat - a target of the terrible hidden forces contending for the universe.

Coming soon - The Lave-lite World.
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