Pearls from Peoria
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Pearls from Peoria

by Philip José Farmer
Release date: 2006
Type: speculative fiction
Genres: science fiction, short stories

An outstanding and unique collection from an outstanding and unique talent. Philip José Farmer, three time Hugo winner and Nebula Grand Master in 2001, has written exciting and provocative fiction since his debut, the ground breaking ”The Lovers,” stunned the SF community in 1952. Pearls from Peoria assembles over sixty previously uncollected pieces of fiction, nonfiction, poetry and autobiography that demonstrate the extraordinary range and vitality of Philip José Farmer's imagination. Many of the pieces appear here for the first time anywhere, while others have previously appeared only in small run magazines that have remained elusive and avidly sought after by Farmer aficionados.

From Publishers Weekly (Starred Review):

”This colossal scrapbook of scarce, offbeat fiction, poetry and nonfiction from SF veteran Farmer offers fans a smorgasbord of his hard--and impossible--to find work from fanzines and other small publications, spanning the 1940s to the 1990s. Amassed by Mike Croteau, who runs the official Philip Jose Farmer Web site, and edited by Paul Spiteri, who provides brief introductions for each piece, this collection is especially valuable for its insights into the author's writing methods. For fun, Farmer reinterpreted the adventures of pulp hero Doc Savage, Oz characters, Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan. His canine detective, Ralph von Wau Wau, in 'A Scarletin Study,' somehow blended Holmes, Sam Spade and, typically, puns. Farmer also reprised vampire, werewolf and Frankenstein stories. About the sale of his first story, 'The Lovers' (which won a Hugo in 1952), Farmer says in the autobiographical 'Maps and Spasms' that he thought he 'had the world by the tail. But, as it turned out, there was a tiger at the other end.' Fortunately for generations of SF readers, he persisted.”

From Booklist:

”More than 60 pieces in all showcase Farmer’s amazing versatility and should gratify the pants off fans searching for previously unpublished and long-out-of-print gold.”

Paul Di Filippo, in Science Fiction Weekly (A+ Review)

”... we have to acknowledge that Farmer's unique voice leaps out of every piece. Cumulatively, they represent as clear a transmission of his startling mind and talents as any other book in his oeuvre. The sheer bulk of the material has the effect of enwrapping the reaer in PJF's warm embrace. (Perhaps that image is a bit too creepy, given Farmer's notoriously kinky fiction, but we'll let it stand.) Farmer's ludic delights in fiction as gameplaying; his nostalgia for the milestones of Western pop culture (Oz, pulps, Hollywood, etc.); his Midwestern moral sunniness underpinned by psychological darkness (Farmer is the genre's Sherwood Anderson or Thornton Wilder); his vibrant prose, packed with metaphors--all of this is on display in even the most 'trivial' piece herein.”

Philip Jose Farmer's Reaction to Pearls:

”After a lifetime of writing it is a real joy to see a collection such as Pearls in print. That it covers so many aspects of my work is especially gratifying. I've enjoyed revisiting this diverse collection of my work (some over fifty years old!) and am impressed with the thought that went into arranging the pieces into the order they appear. I do believe it gives a good overview of my whole catalog; I hope the reader will enjoy the collection and the access it affords to some of my rarer pieces. I had fun writing them, I hope the reader has fun reading them.”

From MagillOnLiterature:

”For fifty years or more, Philip Jose Farmer has been known as a major science fiction writer, one unafraid of sex, religion, and politics; in 2001 the Science Fiction Writers of America selected him as a Grand Master. Pearls from Peoria showcases the full range of his interests... it is a rich and varied look into one of the strangest and most fascinating minds in the science fiction community.”

(updated 2010-09-07)

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