farmer.jpgSad news for Philip Jose Farmer fans; the author passed away today at the age of 91.  Farmer  is best known for his Riverworld, and World of Tiers series, but I was most familiar with  his Doc Savage and Tarzan tales.  Framer wrote the Escape from Loki (1991) Doc Savage tale that told one of the early adventures of the Man of Bronze, which I quite liked, but I was more interested in his two unauthorized biographies of the pulp heroes.

Tarzan Alive (1972) and Doc Savage: His Life and Apocalyptic Life (1973) imagined the characters as real people who had been fictionalized by the books’ original authors.    I’ve been trying to track down both books for years, but have yet to get my hands on either of the works.  With this news, it might be even more difficult to find a first edition in good condition.

The Peoria-based writer had written more than 75 books and was awarded the top honors in his field. That includes the Grand Master Award for Science Fiction in 2001, an award also given to noted authors such as Arthur C. Clarke, Isaac Asimov and Robert A. Heinlein. Farmer had a world-wide following, with fans travelling to Peoria once or twice a year.

He was once quoted as saying that, particular in his early career, he had more fans in France, Italy, Germany and Japan than in the United States. Even after he retired from writing, his fans continued to produce “Farmerphile,” a magazine devoted to his life and works.

It’s strange that this news comes to us today, as Dr. Peter Coogan and I had just mentioned Famer’s Doc Caliban and Lord Grandrith books on the most recent Major Spoilers Podcast when we were discussing fan fiction.

via ERB Zine


About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


    • I’m more interested in the Doc Savage bio, and unfortunately, there are only two really used copies available right now, which is a shame. I’ve been trying to track that book down for almost 20 years now.

  1. Joseph Joestar on


    I see “Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life” mixed in with the pulps/”vintage” books at Half Price Books pretty regularly, so you might want to check there if you have any nearby. It’s definitely worth tracking down.

    I guess we’ll never see the end of the Grandrith/Caliban series…the concept for the next novel (Doc Savage vs. Cthulhu) sounded like a lot of fun. I know a lot of people despise “A Feast Unknown” but like his “biographies” you can tell that he really loved the characters (since nobody else would go that far to deconstruct it).

    • Joseph: Doc Savage taking on Cthulhu – ME WANT! Nope, no Half Price Books here. I’ve invested so much in trying to track this book down in good to very fine condition that all the crappy, torn cover, bent page versions I’ve seen just don’t make me want to pick up the Doc autobio. If you find one in great condition let me know and we can work something out.

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