Dark is the Sun by Philip José Farmer

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Dark is the Sun by Philip José Farmer

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Edited: Jan 21, 2012, 8:19 pm

I'm just finishing yet another reading of Dark is the Sun by Philip José Farmer. It was one of the first books I can remember reading as a pre-teen, and I've found it to be one I've enjoyed reading several times since. I've also noticed a lot of different things up re-reading it over the years. I wonder what others might have to say who are familiar with it.

First off, the man who comes through the first gateway seems to be by his description possibly a Hasidic (or just one from a time period early in Earth's past) Jew. And that "Deyv" could reasonably be read as "Dave". And how the description of the time-slowed man in the red suit in the House of the Flying Figures sounds suspiciously like Santa Claus.

I wonder what other little nuggets I've missed simply because I became so familiar with the text at an age where I might not have noticed some of these things.

May 16, 2011, 7:07 pm

I read it in the 80s and remember loving the world. It was so rich and cool and creatively populated with scads of bizarre beings.

If there's a Santa Claus figure I definitely missed it.

Jan 21, 2012, 12:13 am

I saw this at a local used bookstore (along with Night of Light and some other Farmer titles) the other day and stupidly neglected to pick it up. Hopefully it'll still be there the next time I stop by.

I love Farmer. I'll put his best work up against anything written by his contemporaries (in SF or otherwise).

Jan 21, 2012, 8:59 am

Keep looking. I've found it to be a moderately common book at used bookstores (especially paperback).

Jan 21, 2012, 4:16 pm

I need to remember to look as well. Farmer was one of my favorite authors when I was young. I got thrown off of him by the Riverworld series, which I never cared for. Liked the concept but not the execution. Of course that proved to be the most popular. I was in college I think when I read Tarzan Alive and became almost convinced it was a true story.

Jan 21, 2012, 7:20 pm

I got thrown off of him by the Riverworld series, which I never cared for. Liked the concept but not the execution.

Totally in agreement. The concept is awesome. The execution didn't live up to it.

Jan 21, 2012, 7:38 pm

#5 "I was in college I think when I read Tarzan Alive and became almost convinced it was a true story."

You mean it isn't?

The first two Riverworld books were good. The third was worse than bad and the forth was unreadable. Was there a fifth?

Jan 21, 2012, 9:00 pm

About a year ago I was looking through the biography section in my local library for something and there filed was "Tarzan Alive". It sort of blew my mind and made me flash back to all those years ago. When you are 20 years old or so anything is possible. I think at the time I completely bought it, or at least nearly so. I think I need to re-read it. I bet I would still love it.

Jan 23, 2012, 1:59 pm

Comic book god Alan Moore on PJF:

Philip José Farmer was a seminal influence upon {The League of Extraordinary Gentleman}. I mean, I had read his Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, which had that whole “World Newton” family tree that connected up all the pulp adventure heroes. Although we’ve taken it a little bit further than that in the League, whether we would have ever thought of that without the primary example of Philip José Farmer, I don’t know.

I’ve still got a healthy collection of Phillip José Farmer’s work. He will be very much missed. He was a very important writer. He was one of the pioneers in writing intelligently about sex in science fiction. I can remember reading Strange Relations way back in the day, when I was still in school. It had a profound effect on me; it made me realize it was possible to write intelligently about sex without it being pornography or smutty jokes, and yes, science fiction was as good a place for it as anywhere else.

So many great works – “The Jungle Rot Kid on the Nod,” a great mash-up of two writers named Burroughs. He would change his writing style for the job on hand. He wasn’t afraid to try anything new – I mean, his Riverworld books, the first couple were wonderful.

I think he sometimes he came up with brilliant ideas that maybe didn’t go as far as I’d hoped, but that’s the only criticism I can think of. And if you’re criticizing someone for being too ambitious, that’s not really a criticism at all. If only a few of our modern writers were as brilliant as Philip José Farmer, then I think the world of culture would be a much better place.

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