Sunday, March 5, 2017

Appendix N Madness Day 5: Burroughs vs Farmer

Day 5 of Appendix N Madness brings us back to the Weird region, with Edgar Rice Burroughs versus Philip Jose Farmer.

Edgar Rice Burroughs
Lived: 1875-1950
Notable Works: Tarzan series, Mars series, Venus series, Pellucidar series.

In his lifetime, Edgar Rice Burroughs was a phenomenal success as a writer. His Tarzan series has had countless film adaptations. But it's clearly the Barsoom novels that land him on Appendix N. Burroughs' tales paint a picture of a world of dying civilizations fought over by cruel and strange races. John Carter, given superhuman strength and an ability to jump by relative gravity, is one of the iconic heroes of pulp fiction. Carson Napier of Venus is less distinguished, and Burroughs's Amtor is less notable. His Pellucidar is a true Lost World in a Hollow Earth staging. In a real way he took pulp adventure writing and created several subgenres out of it.

Philip José Farmer
Lived: 1918-2009
Notable Works: Riverworld series, World of Tiers series

"P..J." Farmer was a SFWA Grand Master who wrote wildly strange adventure novels, most notably his World of Tiers series that made him an Appendix N author. He wrote with intense imagery and was often meta-literary. Farmer included Sir Richard Burton and Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) in his Riverworld novels and writing a novel under the name Kilgore Trout, causing great confusion as Kurt Vonnegut was generally thought responsible. This is not even the only pseudonym that Farmer appropriated, also using Harlan Ellison's "Cordwainer Bird" which appeared on the screen in the ill-fated TV series Starlost.

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