News & What's New - March 2013
Rastignac in Il libro di Gamma
27 Mar 2013
Earlier this month I wrote about Philip José Farmer's story "Rastignac the Devil", because of redoing that story page. While checking all the information of the publications I discovered something strange. I thought there was only one, but it looked like there are two Italian publications called I libro di Gamma (number 1) with the story.

"Rastignac" had been published in the Italian magazine Gamma, issue number 4, in 1966. The publisher rebound the first five issues in softcover and sold them as Il libro di Gamma. This was to be the first in a series of rebound issues of Gamma, called Il libro di Gamma, but it is not numbered.

This book was split up in two books, both called Il Libro di Gamma, and both with number 1 to make things more confusing. But they got different subtitles.
I found and bought copies of both books with Farmer's story in it and added the information on the story page.

Ferruccio Alessandri
Riders of the Purple Wage
26 Mar 2013
Who doesn't know the very famous anthology Dangerous Visions (1967), edited by Harlan Ellison? My guess is that there are not many science fiction fans who can say they don't. The book has been published many times since that first one from Doubleday.

Ellison commissioned authors to write original stories for his Dangerous Visions. Thirty-three stories that were intended to bring something completely new. Ellison: "This book was constructed along specific lines of revolution It was intended to shake things up. It was conceived out of a need for new horizons, new forms, new styles, new challenges in the literature of our times."

Philip José Farmer wrote "Riders of the Purple Wage" for this anthology. His first version was about 15,000 words, but Farmer got permission to rewrite and expand it to a story twice that long. Making it the longest story in the anthology.

"Riders" was nominated for the Nebula Award (1968) and won the Hugo Award (1968). The story page shows that the story has been published 76 times globally till now.
While redoing the story page I discovered several before unknown foreign publications, but also a ghost edition of one Spanish publication.

Michael Whelan
Greatheart Silver returned
12 Mar 2013
Farmer wrote three novellas –parodies– about the pulp character Greatheart Silver. All three for the Weird Heroes book series, edited and developed by Byron Preiss.

The second story, "The Return of Greatheart Silver", was published in Volume 2 of the series in December 1975. It is again a very humorous story, with many inside jokes. For instance Farmer refers to a publisher, The Fokker D-LXIX Press. This is actually the publisher of a special edition of his A Feast Unknown (1975).
The Fokker D-LXIX Press has a special computer, a DRECC (Digital Rewrite Euphoric Classics Computer), that is able to rewrite any novel into an erotic version of it within sixty seconds. The computer was doing the entire Tarzan corpus, and already had done a rewrite of the 1903 children's novel by Kate Douglas Wiggin, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, into the erotic The Secret Life of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. Which is also the subtitle of this Greatheart Silver story...

The three Greatheart Silver novellas were published in novel form, Greatheart Silver, by Tor in 1982. See also the Wikipedia entry about the novel.

Jim Steranko
Star Trek treatment  by Farmer
11 Mar 2013
Farmer wrote two known Star Trek treatments. They were rejected at the time for the series, so he rewrote them as the stories "The Shadow of Space", and "Sketches Among the Ruins of My Mind".

But he wrote a third treatment we didn't know of.
This one, "The Rebels Unthawed", was written in 1966 but apperently never submitted for the Star Trek series. About forty years after it was written, the treatment was found in Farmer's archives and reworked for publication in the fanzine Farmerphile (2007). At nearly the same time it was published also in the collection Up From the Bottomless Pit.

Keith Howell &
Charles Berlin
French omnibus has a second printing
7 Mar 2013
French publisher Opta published 127 hardcovers in their series Club du livre d'anticipation (Science Fiction Book Club), during the period 1965-1987.
One of these books, the thirteenth in the series, is an omnibus with two novels by Philip José Farmer, Les amants étrangers - L'univers à l'envers (The Lovers & Inside Outside), 1968.

The book states that the printing of it is limited to 4,000 numbered copies, plus 150 copies for employees, marked H.C. (Hors Collection, means not one of the limited collectors edition),

Fred Fischer (Houston, USA) has a copy that states that the printing is limited to 6,500 numbered copies, plus the extra 150 copies.
Our conclusion is, that the book had a second printing of 2,500 copies. The only difference between twe two printings is the statement of the number of printed copies. The information of the printing date is the same.

The Wind Whales of Ismael received
7 Mar 2013
Before this publication hits the shelves in the bookshops I received a copy of Philip José Farmer's far-future novel The Wind Whales of Ishmael.

I received my copy early thanks to the authors of the Foreword, Michael Croteau, and the Afterword, Danny Adams. Both signed the book for me also (Thanks!).

Titan Books again published a beautiful trade paperback. What makes the Titan Books extra special is the bonus material that is included in every publication. Exclusively written special for these reissues of Farmer's work, giving very interesting background information about the novel at hand, and its place in Farmer's oeuvre. Danny Adams, Farmer's great-nephew, for instance speculates if Ishmael might be a member of the Wold Newton Family.
Both the Foreword and the Afterword are great additions to the novel!
Unauthorized rewritten story
4 Mar 2013
Philip José Farmer was not amused with the publication of his story "Rastignac the Devil" in Fantastic Universe, May 1954. His story had been rewritten unauthorized, and as a result the story was "ruined" (Farmer's words).

Rich Horton about this story: "This story has some interesting ideas but is rather a mess. It's set on a French-colonized planet a few hundred years in the future. The human colonists live in harmony (of sorts) with two other species: the reptilian Ssassaror and the amphibian Amphibs. This harmony is enforced by the "Skins" everyone wears, which condition people to submission, vegetarianism, non-violence, etc. There is also a sanctioned custom of stealing babies of other species and raising them as changelings. Rastignac is a human who wishes to go into space, and who realizes that the Skins are inhibiting people from independent thought and ambition. He also recognizes that the Amphibs have altered their Skins and are plotting to take over the other two species. He is imprisoned for his beliefs, but escapes with the help of some other outcast friends, and in the company of a beautiful and vicious human girl who was raised by the Amphibs. He plans revolution, first, then to rescue an Earthman who has landed a spaceship on the planet. But things don't go quite as he hopes ... The main problem here is a disjointed plot, which shows signs of having been made up as the story was being written. A rigorous rewrite and a careful investigation of the central conflict might have been interesting."

Rich exactly puts his finger on the sore spot. Alas, Farmer never restored this story to his original tale. Why he still gave his permission to reprint and translate the unauthorized rewritten story is unknown to me.

Clarence Doore

Added Books
Two new additions on the book pages this month.

Les amants étrangers - L'univers à l'envers
Second printing of a French omnibus with The Lovers & Inside Outside, 1968.

The Wind Whales of Ishmael
A reissue from Titan Books (UK), 2013.

These are the numbers for the book pages this month.

1779 publications
1164 different covers

© Zacharias L.A. Nuninga -- Page last updated: 28 Jul 2013