Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Kim Newman on PJF

Sci Fi Wire has rounded up some remembrances of Philip José Farmer, and I found Kim Newman's to be particular resonant for me.

Here are some things I got from PJ Farmer:

... that it's all right to make up stories about whatever you happen to be interested in—pulp heroes, zeppelins, weird sex, 19th century fringe history—and hope enough readers out there will either share your interests or come to them through the story.

... that it's not enough to just pastiche earlier works—if you borrow a character or a plot or a setting, you have to put a spin on it, engage with the original work in some critical, almost adversarial way.

... that you can use real people as viewpoint characters, and even be quite rude about them, so long as you inhabit them as much as fictional creations.

... there's no such thing as useless information. Everything you know can be used.

... science fiction characters can have sex lives. And senses of humour.

... what a Psyche knot is.

... you can tie all your books and stories and even non-fiction together without imposing any deadening consistency (Mike Moorcock and M. John Harrison reinforce this).

Kim's tribute was the most interesting of the author quotes posted there. I hope that Farmer's work can quote Tarzan's motto: "I still live!"
If I have anything to say about it, Stu, it certainly will.
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