Sunday, September 28, 2008

Coats of arms of "fictional" characters... Tarzan, James Bond, Lord Peter Wimsey... and Doc Savage?

Here is Tarzan's coat of arms drawn to Philip José Farmer's specifications by Bjo Trimble. The arms appeared in Phil's "The Arms of Tarzan." first published in Burroughs Bulletin No. 22, Summer 1971. (Reprinted online with permission at the Wold Newton Universe website, as well as in MYTHS FOR THE MODERN AGE: PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER’S WOLD NEWTON UNIVERSE and PEARLS FROM PEORIA.

Next we have James Bond's arms, scanned from the back cover of the original hardback edition of Raymond Benson's THE JAMES BOND BEDSIDE COMPANION.

Here are the Wimsey arms, from the cover of C.W. Scott-Giles The Wimsey Family (the "Dorothy L. Sayers" across the top is obviously not part of the arms, but I wanted to present the color cover rather than the b&w illustration from the book's interior).

In Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, Philip José Farmer described the described the coat of arms of the Clarke Wildman family (Doc Savage's family):

"ARMS—Argent, a fesse chequy gules and azure, in chief an alchemical pelican between two fleams, in base a demisavage holding on his sinister shoulder a club. Crest—A demihuntsman proper winding a horn gules. Mottoes—Free for a Blast; Inicissimus Maleficorum.

The lower* motto means: The Greatest Enemy of Evildoers, a very appropriate motto for Doc Savage."

* The British paperback edition of DS:HAL (Panther, 1975) says “lower,” while the U.S. paperbacks (Bantam, 1975; Playboy, 1981) say “latter.” Both are contextually correct in this case.

I'd bet a lot of Wold Newton and Doc Savage fans might be interested in seeing an actual illustration of Doc Savage's coat of arms. What does everyone think?

PRIDE & PREJUDICE crossovers - the Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mysteries

Book four in the Mr. & Mrs. Darcy mystery series by Carrie Bebris is out, The Matters at Mansfield: Or, The Crawford Affair -- a crossover with Jane Austen's Mansfield Park this time.

The time-frame for Pride and Prejudice in Bebris' continuity is about 20 years or so later than it must occur in the Wold Newton Universe (in the WNU P&P must occur Sept. 1792-Late Autumn 1793, so that the married Darcy and Elizabeth can be present at the Wold Newton meteor strike in Dec. 1795).

Forcing the Bebris mysteries backward about 20 years also forces the other Austen novels back ~20 years, which causes some insurmountable chronological issues.Thus, I am using the Austen mega-crossover Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil G. Brinton (1914) in the main timeline in Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World, and listing the series of crossover mysteries by Bebris in the Alternate Universes Addendum of the book.

pic o' the day

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Crossover: Shell Scott meets Secret Agent X-9 (Secret Agent Corrigan)

Check this out! I'll definitely be adding this to Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World.

I'm also feeling a short Wold-Newtonry essay coming on sometime soon. I think it's about time that Shell Scott was linked into Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Family.

Since I'm particularly jazzed at discovering this crossover tonight, here's a bonus Shell Scott oriented pic o' the day. :-)

pic o' the day

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wold Newton fan letter in SHANG CHI: MASTER OF KUNG FU lettercol

To the left is a letter (click to enlarge) from the original Wold Newton Meteoritics Society, pointing out the Wold-Newtonian connections in Marvel's brilliant Shang Chi: Master of Kung Fu series. They don't make 'em like that anymore.

In the shameless self-promotion department, you can read Shang Chi's secret Wold-Newtonian origin in my story "The Vanishing Devil" in Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 1. Clive Reston's mom appears in "The Eye of Oran" in Tales of the Shadowmen, Volume 2.

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Friday, September 19, 2008

Dave Stevens on Philip José Farmer

Micah Harris provides this quote from the 6/21/91 issue of The Comics Buyer Guide, the special Rocketeer issue. In it, Dave Stevens said, "My intention with Cliff [The Rocketeer] was to root him in the real world, at the same time integrating the pulp world. Because for me, the pulp world is the real world of the 1930s. It's what we call B.S. history. It's taking elements from actual historical events and integrating fictional characters into that. Of everybody I've read, Philip José Farmer did that brilliantly. I've always been a real aficionado of that kind of thing. I'm not into trivia and things like that, but I appreciate the ascetic of breathing life into these fictional characters and trying to (integrate) them into nonfiction situations. To me that is just devilish fun."

As I said earlier this year, the late Dave Stevens was a major influence on my initial forays into using crossovers in Wold-Newtonry. So it makes a world of sense that he admired Phil Farmer.

pic o' the day

Thursday, September 18, 2008

No One Reads That Old Stuff Anymore

Self-ganked from The Magic River:

I'd been thinking about this post for a while ... as a response
to comments I've heard here and there to the effect that there's no market anymore for classic pulp adventure. My own, admittedly somewhat arbitrary perspective is this: if classic pulp adventure is dead, if no one cares about these characters and series anymore, if there's really no market for this old stuff ... then how come I can walk into my local bookstore, either the local chain B&N or Borders -- or even better, the independent Tattered Cover -- and buy this old stuff right off the shelves?

So this is an overview of what
the bookstore buyers have decided I can just walk in and get off the shelf, without special ordering it in, or turning to online bookstores, etc. (This is not meant to be a dig at, or utterly dismissive of, publishers with non-traditional distribution models -- heck, anything but, because some of them publish me. I'm trying to make a point about the market viability of this genre, and let's face it, bookstore distribution is still very important.)

Nostalgia Ventures reprints of the Doc Savage and The Shadow pulp novels, two novels each coming out each month in very nice reproduction volumes, are available at online bookstores, via the Diamond catalog which mainly serves direct-market comic shops, and mail order services. But better than that, imagine one of the most thrilling pulp-buying experiences of all, that of walking into a B&N and seeing this shelved cover out in the sf section:

I haven't had the pleasure of that experience since buying the many of the Bantam Books Doc Savage reprints from my local strip mall B. Dalton when I was a kid. And the local B&N didn't just have the book pictured to the left. There was half a shelf devoted to many in the series, right up there with the Doctor Who, Torchwood, Star Trek and Star Wars books.

Too cool.

Paizo's Planet Stories line also deserves special mention; it was, amazingly, launched just a year ago and is putting out an impressive one book a month. R.E. Howard, C.L. Moore, Michael Moorcock, Henry Kuttner, etc., what's not to love?

Baen Books is putting out omnibus editions of The Spider novels. The first trade did well enough to warrant a mass market reprint and a second trade.

Now again, this survey was arbitrary in that it sets as the bar what can I reasonably expect to walk into a brick-and-mortar bookstore any buy off the shelf ... and that's a damn good list. I also should point out that some of the entries above are in the public domain, and thus presumably much cheaper to reprint (and I left out many PD reprints which appeared to be on-the-cheap, focusing on traditionally quality reprint editions from the likes of B&N Classics, Penguin, and Dover). But ... most of the list above is not PD. That means publishers are paying license holders $$ to reprint old stories or write new ones.

Also, the definition I used for "pulp fiction" was strictly narrow (tales actually and literally published in pulp magazines from the 1910s-1940s, and I noted where I deviated from the strict definition), whereas my
own definition for my personal reading is much more wide-ranging, to include the Sherlock Holmes stories, the James Bond novels, and so on.

There's other great stuff to be had
and -- let's admit it -- some not so great, both in reprinted pulp fiction and in "neo-pulp," that doesn't fall into the "buy-it-in-a-bookstore" category. You can check out Bill Thom's weekly updates to his Coming Attractions site for the latest in pulp-related news in books, comics, and movies. There's a lot to digest at Thom's site. I'll save some of my favorite high-quality non-brick-and-mortar recommendations for a later post, but one thing is certain: pulp is not dead.

pic o' the day

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The 2008 Wold Newton Award

Better late than never, it's worth noting that Jean-Marc Lofficier won the 2008 Wold Newton Award, or the "Woldy," which was handed out at Farmercon 90 in on July 26 in Peoria, IL. (Hey, I haven't even had time to download the Farmercon pics from my digital camera yet! But I will soon, I promise, and post a few good shots here.)

Here is the message about the award on Jean-Marc's Black Coat Press website.

Congrats to JM!

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For my good pal Mike Croteau...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

pic o' the day

Two books of interest to Wold Newton fans

In THE ELDRITCH NEW ADVENTURES OF BECKY SHARP, the villainess of the Victorian classic Vanity Fair enters the Cthulhu Mythos as an agent of H.P. Lovecraft's Great Race of Yith!Cover, frontispiece, and title page illustrations by Loston Wallace! With a mini-introductory essay by Mark (Xenoxoic Tales, The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian, King Features' Prince Valiant) Schultz!

And the answers to these and other metafictional mysteries: 1) The circumstances of the unheralded first attempted Lidenbrock Expedition to the Center of the Earth! 2) The secret parentage of Ann Darrow, bride of the fearsome Kong! 3) The apocalyptic origins and final fate of Queequeg's fetish and how it went from pagan idol among the wreckage of the Pequod to a dust-gathering paperweight at 221-B Baker Street!

The Eldritch New Adventures of Becky Sharp by Micah S. Harris is now available for $14.95 ($15.27 Canada) plus $4.00 postage and handling for First Class mailing US (Total: $18.95) and $7.00 postage Canada (Total $22.27). Overseas mailing is priority only at $15.00 ($29.95 total).Pay via Paypal and pay to Please specify "Becky Sharp Book" and include your name and complete address (including country if overseas) and if you wish your copy to be signed by the author. Also available on


Altus Press has put together a collection of Rick Lai's articles (mainly involving heroes). The book is entitled SECRET HISTORIES: DARING ADVENTURERS.


A Chronology for the Avenger

Yasmini of India

The Life and Times of Steve Harrison

The Legend of El Borak

The Life and Times of Wild Bill Clanton

The Saga of Singapore Sammy

The Sgt. Jaeger Chronology

The Mystery of Harry Quatermain and Other Conundrums

The Saga of John Gorman

Secrets of Sir Henry Merrivale

The Lecoq Universe

Peter the Brazen: The Inconsistencies

Peter the Brazen Vs. Fu Manchu

The Hand of Kong

The Contradictions of Khlit the Cossack

The A.J. Raffles Chronology

The Insane Captain Wentworth

The Anomaly of Professor Challenger’s Daughter

A Scandal in Ruritania

The Holmes-Lupin Rivalry

The Savage Family of India

The Tragic Case of John Blakeney

The Jules de Grandin Chronology (co-authored with Matthew Baugh)

There will be a collection called SECRET HISTORIES: CRIMINAL MASTERMINDS in the future. This will include all Rick's other Fu Manchu articles.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

THE OTHER IN THE MIRROR by Philip José Farmer

A couple weeks ago Chris Carey broke the news about a new collection coming from Philip José Farmer and Subterranean Press, The Other in the Mirror. Chris tells us that the trade edition has now been listed on Amazon.

Books details:

The Other in the Mirror By Philip Jose Farmer (preorder--to be published in early 2009)
Dust jacket by Bob Eggleton
ISBN: 978-1-59606-231-3Length: 496 pages
Lettered: $300Limited: $125 Trade: $45

The Other in the Mirror brings together three classic novels by Philip José Farmer: Fire and the Night, Jesus on Mars, and Night of Light. All three are united by one of SF’s central tropes, that of The Other.

Fire and the Night is a mainstream novel so rare that even many of Farmer’s most dedicated fans have never read it. First published in 1962, it is also one of the author’s most daring works, exploring the issue of racial Otherness in a mesmerizing tale of temptation and entrapment in a small industrial Midwestern town.

In Jesus on Mars, Richard Orme and the crew of the Barsoom embark on the first manned mission to the Red Planet, intent on investigating what seemed to be evidence of life beamed back to Earth by a robotic survey satellite. But Orme discovers in the hollowed-out Martian caverns what he and the scientists back home least expect: a group of aliens, as well as humans transplanted from first century A.D. Earth, led by a being who claims to be Jesus of Nazareth Himself. Soon Orme and his crew are shocked to find that The Other they face is made all that more alien because of its similarity to humanity’s past.

Night of Light is not only one of Farmer’s most psychologically gripping SF tales, it is also the novel which inspired Jimi Hendrix’s psychedelic rock classic “Purple Haze.” John Carmody is a fugitive from Earth, condemned to exile for brutally murdering his wife. Hired by the galactic Church on a mission to squelch a burgeoning rival religion, Carmody must take the Chance on the planet Dante’s Joy and risk his worst nightmares becoming reality. But that’s not the worst of it: the Fathers of Algul and the Fathers of Yess have their own plans for the conscienceless Carmody—for to the inhabitants of Dante’s Joy, Carmody himself is The Other...and they need his alien flesh to give birth to God.

Lettered: 26 signed leatherbound copies, housed in a custom traycase Limited: 125 signed numbered copies, slipcased Trade: fully cloth bound hardcover edition

VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL Lettered Edition Shipping Soon

Chris Carey informs us that the lettered edition of Philip José Farmer's Venus on the Half-Shell and Others is shipping soon from Subterranean Press! (Chris modestly neglects to mention that he edited the collection.)

Letter from Philip José Farmer to DC Comics TARZAN Lettercol

Click to enlarge and read....

Phil never did reveal Tarzan's true identity in 1982. Something else to investigate... ;-)

pic o' the day

Saturday, September 06, 2008

German SF/F site Fantastyguide on "New books by SF master Philip José Farmer!"

The German SF/F site Fantastyguide has picked up on the news, announced at Farmercon 90 in late July, about the new Philip José Farmer novels and stories. Here is the imperfect but more than adequate Google translation.

Nice to see the word is starting to spread on this. The Evil in Pemberley House will be excerpted in issue 14 of Farmerphile, coming out next month.