I’m out in Peoria, Illinois right now, where earlier today a special announcement was made at Farmercon 90, a convention in honor of Philip José Farmer’s ninety years of living on this planet. The announcement—made at the start of a “Mystery Panel” at the Lakeview Branch of the Peoria Public Library by Michael Croteau, proprietor of The Official Philip José Farmer Home Page and publisher of Farmerphile—revealed that Phil Farmer has granted permission for four of his unfinished manuscripts to be completed by other writers. They are as follows:
- The Evil in Pemberley House by Philip José Farmer and Win Scott Eckert – A novel of Gothic horror and genealogical mystery set at the grand estate from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, well-steeped in Farmer’s Wold Newton mythos. A special preview chapter will appear in Farmerphile #14 (October 2008). See a post by Win about the novel here.
- Cougar By the Tail by Philip José Farmer and Tracy Knight – Farmer’s only novel-length Western.
- “Getting Ready to Write” by Philip José Farmer and Paul Spiteri – A short story and “Polytropical Paramyth,” just published in Farmerphile #13 (July 2008), which debuted this weekend at Farmercon 90.
- The Song of Kwasin by Philip José Farmer and Christopher Paul Carey – The third novel in the Khokarsa cycle, a direct sequel to Hadon of Ancient Opar and Flight to Opar, telling the story of Hadon’s giant cousin, Kwasin of Dythbeth, as he battles against the tyrannical King Minruth. A special preview chapter from this now completed novel is available in the just released Farmerphile #13 (July 2008).
Before I get into the project I was involved in completing, I’d just like to say that I’ve read both Win’s and Paul’s collaborations with Phil (Tracy’s is still being written at the time of this post and I haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading it) and they are both first-rate. Win and I worked on the Pemberley House and Kwasin manuscripts at the same time, exchanging quite a bit of feedback over the months, in addition to the tremendous amount of individual research and work we each put into our respective projects. It was a pleasure and an honor to work with him. And the same goes for Paul, with whom I also exchanged manuscripts.
The partial manuscript and detailed outline of Kwasin were rediscovered in July 2005 when Mike Croteau and Win Eckert visited Phil and Bette Farmer while on the hunt for previously unpublished materials to be printed in Farmerphile. At the time I was the senior editor of Farmerphile (I’ve since relinquished that position to devote more time to writing), and as soon as Mike got back from Peoria, he sent me the list of finds, among which were the Kwasin and Pemberley House materials. Over the next month or so Phil and I exchanged correspondence and it was decided that I was to finish Kwasin, a book Phil had been wanting to finish himself as late as 1999, after which he finally retired from writing after a monumental career. Needless to say I was awestruck that Phil chose me to complete the book, and to wrap up a series that has been one of my absolute favorites since I started reading Farmer so many years ago.
Later, when I was in Peoria in the summer of 2006, Phil and Bette Farmer gave me access to the remainder of Phil’s Khokarsa notes—truly a treasure trove of world building information. Stay tuned to this blog, as I intend to post more about the almost two years of research I put in before sitting down to write the novel.
Map Copyright © 1974 Philip José Farmer
The novel is completed (standing at 93,000 words, which translates to a little longer than either of the previous books in the cycle) and at the agent. To tide you over until I have more news for you, here’s the teaser that was released at Farmercon 90:
At long last, the much anticipated conclusion to Philip José Farmer’s epic saga of life and death in ancient Africa…
Twelve thousand years ago, a long-forgotten empire of shining, domed palaces and stately minarets spans the shores of savage Africa’s primordial landlocked seas. Hadon of Ancient Opar and Flight to Opar told the story of the hero Hadon, and how he fought to ascend the throne of the mighty Khokarsan Empire, only to find it pulled out from under him by a vain king who unlawfully refused to relinquish his authority. After enduring many trials, Hadon has successfully completed the dangerous mission bestowed upon him by the oracle of the Goddess and has at last come home, the victorious king of his outpost city.
But now, on the distant island of Khokarsa, Hadon’s giant cousin Kwasin returns from eight long years of exile to find his native land torn asunder in a bloody civil war. The tyrannical King Minruth has usurped the throne from his daughter Awineth and, allied with the priests of the sun god Resu, has overturned the beneficent, centuries-old rule of the priestesses of Kho.
Soon Kwasin finds that clearing his name is the least of his worries. Not only will he be forced to fight the devilish King Minruth but he must also do battle with his own bawdy, unrestrained nature, which threatens to shatter the delicate union between the priestesses and their last remaining ally. Kwasin, like a hero out of legend, struggles against insurmountable odds, facing adversaries both human and exotically fantastic—his adventures culminating as he runs headlong into King Minruth’s mad quest to achieve immortality in a bloodthirsty ceremony high atop the Great Tower of Resu.