Interview with Danny Adams: A Hole in Wednesday
June 14, 2016

Danny Adams (1970) is the grand-nephew of Philip José Farmer. He once wrote an essay how his uncle “Saved My Life In Four Easy Steps”: «Philip Jose Farmer saved my life. Many times over, in fact.» He was inspired by Phil to write and what steps to take to ‘become’ a writer.

Danny wrote many stories and poetry, published in magazines as Strange Horizons, Revolution SF, Weird Tales, and Paradox. Also several essays, many of them for the fanzine Farmerphile.
Most notably, he completed one of Farmer’s unfinished novels, The City Beyond Play (2007).

Nearly ten years later another one of Farmer’s unfinished novels, Dayworld: A Hole in Wednesday, has been completed by Danny Adams! It is announced for publication this summer from Meteor House.

Danny and his wife Laurie live deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains with however many animals come to them for rescuing at any given time.

Cover of the hardcover.
Art by Keith Howell.
Philip José Farmer wrote a story, “The Sliced-Crosswise Only-on-Tuesday World” (1971), and years later three novels in the Dayworld series: Dayworld (1985), Dayworld Rebel (1987), and Dayworld Breakup (1990).

The new novel, Dayworld: A Hole in Wednesday, also is part of this series, a prequel according to the announcement. Where does this place the novel and what is it about?
Time for an interview with Danny Adams.

Q: Hi Danny. Can you tell us something more about you?

Danny Adams: To quote the mini-bio I’ve put on other webpages, I write, hike, stargaze, and get into things. That last item is only half-joking in that I’m interested in practically everything – something that I got in part from Phil Farmer – and so I’m almost never bored, because I can usually find something interesting in practically everything.

I live in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (about seven hundred miles from Phil Farmer’s home in Peoria, Illinois), where I work both as a reference librarian at Ferrum College and a reviewer of science fiction and fantasy novels for Publishers Weekly magazine.
I have a house full of books and animals both – all of the animals and many of the books were rescues. I’m several years into middle age but haven’t lost any interest in adventure, and that’s part of the reason I’ve come to love and appreciate Phil Farmer’s books more deeply with the passing years.

Q: Congratulations with the publication of Dayworld: A Hole in Wednesday! What are your feelings about this?

Danny: Thank you! And I’m ecstatic, to say the least. When I finished The City Beyond Play I figured it would be a one-off – that is, that this was my chance, but only chance, to work on a Farmer novel. I knew there were other unfinished Farmer novels out there, but they had all been claimed by other writers. So for several years after City was done I figured that was that, until I suddenly heard otherwise.

Q: Why and how you met Farmer is no question, you’re family...
Did you decide because of him to become a writer yourself?

Danny: I had already done a fair bit of writing, since I was five years old, but it was because of him that writing was what I wanted to do. As I talked about in “Saved My Life”, he was kind and patient enough to let me “sit in” on his writing sessions, just as long as I was out of sight, stayed quiet, and didn’t disturb him. I was 12 years old at the time, visiting for two weeks, much too long a time for him to stop working on a novel, so he continued working on that current novel on an almost literal 9 to 5 schedule every day while I was there, and I would sit on his basement steps just outside his writing room, listening to him type.

Odd as it may sound, I had never thought of writing as a process before, something you would do every day on a set schedule, but still be inspired – only calling down the inspiration at need instead of waiting passively for it to burst into your imagination. That was like a revelation to me, and after I got home I started down the road of a devoted and disciplined writer.

Q: That was a very big surprise, the discovery of a new Dayworld novel by Farmer, and you collaborating on it. How did this come to be, how and when did it all start?

Danny: Mike Croteau first contacted me about it in August of 2013, asking me straight up if I’d like to finish a Dayworld novel. I said yes without even bothering to ask what it was about. Really, I would’ve said yes to finishing any Farmer novel, but Dayworld was a favorite series of mine, not just among Farmer books but any science fiction, so I jumped at the chance.

And then…we waited. The rights to Dayworld were still tied up with another publisher, and they took nearly two years to untangle. But I got the happy news that all was ready in the summer of 2015 on what thus became a pretty perfect night: my first night of my first trip to London, visiting friend and Farmerphile regular Paul Spiteri, letting Paul lead me on a nighttime walking tour of the city, and then when we got to his house, the first thing he did was spring on me the news (which he’d heard that morning) that we had the rights to Dayworld and the completion of the book could commence!

Q: With the announcement from Meteor House one can read: «Farmer began a prequel Dayworld novel, Dayworld: A Hole in Wednesday, but did not complete it.» How far was he with this novel? Did you have an outline and notes of this novel from Phil Farmer? What was your material to start with?

Danny: Unlike The City Beyond Play, which had a manuscript, outline, and a plethora of notes, Wednesday only had the unfinished manuscript. It went far enough to contain trends that showed where PJF was going with the book, but there was also a lot of guesswork involved. Some of that guesswork was where I drew in elements from the original trilogy, though whether or not they would have emerged in Wednesday if PJF had finished it himself, I can’t say with absolute certainty.
As it is, the original manuscript ends in the middle of an action scene.

Q: Did Farmer really plan to write a sort of prequel to the Dayworld series? About the title for the new book, A Hole in Wednesday, I once read that this was the tentative title for Dayworld, the first novel.

Danny: I think in a way, the answer is yes to it being both the original Dayworld novel and a prequel. We don’t know all the details, but it seems likely this was the original novel, yet also set centuries before what became Dayworld (“objective centuries”, that is, not ones divided by seven).

Since the Dayworld trilogy securely wrapped up that world, treating Wednesday from the prequel aspect only made sense.  I have played with the idea that if Farmer himself had finished Wednesday, then eventually the stories of the notorious daybreaker Jeff Caird would still have eventually been written anyway, because it would complete a line of foundations to endings.

Q: Farmer’s first Dayworld story, “The Sliced-Crosswise Only-on-Tuesday World” also is a prequel. About this story you once wrote: «…the prequel for the Dayworld trilogy, set some thirteen-hundred (normal, not divided by seven) years later, a series that was one of my earliest and best exposures to Farmer's works.»
What is the relation between this story and the new novel? Are they set in the same time frame?

Danny: Aside from both being set in the same world, there really isn’t that much of a connection between them – they’re set in different times, though both are fairly early on in the “New Era”, as the age of Dayworld is called.
“Sliced-Crosswise” was almost an O. Henry story about a man who can’t quite manage his way to the woman he loves, while Wednesday is a foundational story that sets up the circumstances set to explode in the Dayworld trilogy.

“Sliced-Crosswise” chronicles a man who is stuck in the Dayworld system and tries to find a loophole to join his love, while Jerry Carson, the protagonist of Wednesday, is trying to save his life, and that of his wife Linda, against an opponent who is trying to destroy the system entirely through what would likely be genocidal violence.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about the story? What can we expect?

Danny: It’s set in New York City and (what used to be) Virginia, specifically the Appalachian Mountain wilderness far from any city, several subgenerations before the original trilogy. But just like the original trilogy, not much changes from generation to generation in this world, so a lot of it will be familiar to those who read the original books.

It centers around a plain fellow named Jerry Carson who wants nothing more than to have a family, teach a few history classes at the local university, and spend some quiet hours now and again wandering through the city museums.
Unlike Jeff Caird, he is horrified and terrified at the thought of daybreaking, living outside the “stoners” that force people to only live one day per week, but circumstances and threats eventually force him into becoming a daybreaker.

From that point on he stumbles into a lethal world where two great and old powers are vying for dominance, one that wants to control the Dayworld and the other of which wants to destroy it. And looming at Jerry’s side through much of the book will be a familiar face from the original trilogy, though whether this character is there to help Jerry or exploit him, or worse, Jerry has to find out for himself the hard way.

Q: In the essay about the story “The Sliced-Crosswise Only-on-Tuesday World” you wrote: «Anyone who has ever been lucky enough to enjoy a long conversation with Phil Farmer knows he will start his end with deceptive simplicity, then build onto it layer by layer—but with practiced, almost hidden ease—until you not only find yourself led by the skilled hand of a grand master, but also diving in far deeper waters than you ever imagined. This story, like most if not all of Farmer's other works, is the same way. When you are finished reading you realize you have experienced a great deal more of an adventure than the words on the surface of the pages initially revealed.»
May we expect the same with the new novel?

Danny: I certainly hope so! I think the place where this might be the most important is when Jerry and his companions are trying to develop what will become the immortality elixir in the original series, the “dual integrocompound” that extends the human lifespan by a factor of seven so that people can daybreak without appearing to age.

There is a scientific / science fiction explanation for how the immortality elixir would work, and as I was writing that portion of the book I went to some pains to make certain that it was a layer-by-layer explanation that would start out simple and then grow more complex as the reader went onward.

Danny Adams in the mountains: getting some inspiration maybe

Q: Will there come more Dayworld stories? Like the Opar / Khokarsa novellas? Or are there plans to finish other stories or novels by Farmer?

Danny: I’m not sure if there will be any more Dayworld stories, or at least not novels. Jerry Carson’s story strikes me as being pretty complete by Wednesday’s end.

Novellas are a different story – in fact I also once plotted out a Dayworld short story, set right at the beginning of the New Era, for an anthology, but the anthology never happened and so the story remains unwritten.
As for other stories or novels that Phil Farmer left behind, I don’t know what may remain at this point, but chances are I’ll always be game for it. 

Thank you very much for the interview Danny!

Thank you for asking me to do it, Rias!


© Zacharias L.A. Nuninga -- Page last updated: 16 Aug 2016