Khokarsa Series Checklist

I was recently asked what is the suggested reading order for Philip José Farmer’s Khokarsa series when you include the short story and two novellas along with the three novels. I’ve also been asked to put a comprehensive checklist of the series together linking to where the stories and novels can be purchased. So that’s exactly what you’ll find below.

I should also note upfront that several of the stories below overlap one another. The Song of Kwasin and “Kwasin and the Bear God” begin just after the events of Hadon of Ancient Opar, and The Song of Kwasin runs synchronously with (and beyond) the events of Flight to Opar. Further, “A Kick in the Side” begins just after Chapter 19 of Flight to Opar, and “Kwasin and the Bear God” is set between Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of The Song of Kwasin. Sounds complicated, but if you read all the stories, it’s all clear and makes sense. I’ve also included Time’s Last Gift, a prelude to the main series, to the list. And for the compulsively obsessed chronologists, I’ve included the year or years when each story tales place, designated in both B.C. (Before Christ) and A.T. (After Temple, i.e., after the founding of the Temple of Kho at Khokarsa; see Farmer’s Chronology of Khokarsa). Follow the linked titles to where you can purchase each story (note: the three novels of the Khokarsa trilogy are due out in a few short weeks in the omnibus Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa, which can be read and enjoyed either with or without reference to the other works in the series).

Khokarsa series suggested reading order:

Time’s Last Gift (novel): 12,000 B.C.–2073 A.D.

Exiles of Kho (novella): 10,812 B.C.–10,810 B.C. (788 A.T.–790 A.T.)

Hadon of Ancient Opar (novel): 10,011 B.C.–10,009 B.C. (1589 A.T.–1591 A.T)

Flight to Opar (novel): 10,009 B.C.–10,008 B.C. (1591 A.T–1592 A.T.)

“A Kick in the Side” (short story): 10,009 B.C. (1591 A.T.)

“Kwasin and the Bear God” (novella): 10,009 B.C. (1591 A.T.)

The Song of Kwasin (novel): 10,009 B.C.–10,004 B.C. (1591 A.T.–1596 A.T.)

Time’s Last Gift: a prequel to Gods of Opar

One of the things about Philip José Farmer’s work is that it is often delves so deeply that general readers unfamiliar with his larger opus only see the surface. And that’s a shame, because as Farmer’s dedicated readers know, what lies buried beneath that surface is more often than not a treasure that glitters with its own wondrous light when carefully excavated. I’ve been trying to uncover that treasure for the uninitiated ever since I started writing articles on Farmer’s work back in the early 1990s. Phil told me that he enjoyed those articles very much, and I can’t help but think they’re one of the reasons he authorized me with the task of completing the third novel in the Khokarsa series; he knew I “got” the layers that were so important to his work.

In any case, since Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa–an omnibus collecting Hadon of Ancient Opar, Flight to Opar, and the never-before-published The Song of Kwasin–finally sees print in only a few weeks, I thought it might be time to peel back some layers about another Philip José Farmer book heading to the bookstore shelves in a little over a month and a half. I’m speaking of the new Titan Books edition of Time’s Last Gift, which I fear general readers might not grok is closely connected to Gods of Opar. In fact, as I discuss in the afterword to the new Titan edition of the novel, Time’s Last Gift is a direct prequel to the Khokarsa series.

You see, Time’s Last Gift is about a time-travel expedition to 12,000 B.C. The book’s protagonist is a certain jungle-savy fellow with a mysterious background named John Gribardsun, who just happens to be the connecting factor between Time’s Last Gift and Gods of Opar. For while the novels in Gods of Opar are set in 10,000 B.C., John Gribardsun somehow manages to live long enough to show up in the ancient civilization of Khokarsa two thousand years after the events of Time’s Last Gift. But now, in 10,000 B.C., John Gribardsun is operating under the identity of a demigod named Sahhindar, the Gray-Eyed Archer God. None of this is explicitly called out in the Khokarsa books, so general readers often miss this very important point. And the buried treasure only glitters more brilliantly when you realize that not only is Gribardsun the same character as Sahhindar, but he is also a member of the Wold Newton Family. And from there follow all sorts of implications, but for that, you’ll have to read my afterword to the new edition (which, by the way, includes an excerpt from Professor George Edward Challenger‘s impossible-to-find monograph The Sahhindar Cult in Pre-Diluvian Khokarsa–many thanks to the library staff of Shomi University for opening up their special collections for my research!).

So, if you’ve already ordered Gods of Opar (for which I thank you!), I’d highly recommend also picking up the new Titan edition of Time’s Last Gift. It’ll give you a whole new perspective on the Khokarsa series. I’m looking at a galley copy of Time’s Last Gift right now and I can truthfully say that Titan has put out the definitive edition of this book, what with its inclusion of a 20-page chronology–“Gribardsun Through the Ages”–by Farmer and Wold Newton Universe experts Win Scott Eckert and Dennis E. Power. In fact, I think I’ll go reread that right now.

The new Titan edition of Time’s Last Gift can be preordered in both a print edition and an Kindle ebook edition (also at Barnes & Noble: print and NOOK).

Publishers Weekly review of Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa

The first review of Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa comes from Publishers Weekly. Here’s some of what they have to say about The Song of Kwasin, the concluding and previously unpublished novel of the trilogy:

True to its roots, the latest entry is fast-paced, often violent (Kwasin’s enormous battle-ax is a major character), and filled with pulp tropes. Fans of Farmer’s original series will appreciate this repackaging and enjoy the finale, both in tone and because of the closure it provides. Likewise, fans of Burroughs, H. Rider Haggard, and other pulp authors will find the entire collection an accessible and enjoyable throwback.

Read the complete review here.

I like how they say “and other pulp authors.” Do you think they perhaps found the nod I made to Manly Wade Wellman?

Cover reveal: Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa by Philip José Farmer and Christopher Paul Carey

Cover art by Bob Eggleton

Behold, Bob Eggleton‘s awe-inspiring apocalyptic cover art to Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa!

The book, due out in late April, is an omnibus comprising Philip José Farmer’s complete Khokarsa trilogy, which includes the novels Hadon of Ancient Opar, Flight to Opar, and the never-before-published The Song of Kwasin (the latter coauthored by yours truly). This marks the first time any of these books have been published in hardcover.

From the publisher:

Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa collects for the first time anywhere Philip José Farmer’s epic Khokarsa cycle, including the never-before-published conclusion to the trilogy, The Song of Kwasin. In Hadon of Ancient Opar, the young hero Hadon journeys from his outpost city to the heart of the ancient African empire of Khokarsa, battling in the Great Games for the chance to win the king’s crown. But just as Hadon stands upon the precipice of victory, the tyrannical King Minruth usurps the throne and overturns the beneficent, centuries-old rule of the priestesses of Kho. Now Hadon must set out upon a hero’s journey unlike any other—to hunt down a living god and return with his bounty. The saga continues in Flight to Opar, as a decree by the oracle hurtles Hadon upon a perilous quest that will determine the fate of the next twelve millennia. In The Song of Kwasin, Hadon’s herculean cousin returns to Khokarsa after long years of exile in the Wild Lands. But soon Kwasin finds that in order to clear his name he will have to take up the cause against King Minruth himself and stop him before he fulfills his mad quest for immortality high atop the sun god’s bloody ziggurat.

Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa is available for preorder from Subterranean Press, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local independent bookstore.

Gods of Opar update

I’ve just completed my review of the Gods of Opar Advance Uncorrected Proof and sent off my final round of corrections for the omnibus to the publisher. This weekend I’ll be back at the keyboard working on my next big project, which I’m quite excited about and hope to announce in the near future. Stay tuned.

Oh, and speaking of Farmer, if you haven’t read it, you’ll want to check out the new ebook edition of The City Beyond Play by Philip José Farmer and Danny Adams (also available in a Kindle edition).

Philip José Farmer’s Time’s Last Gift: New Titan Books edition with all-new bonus material

I’m very excited to announce that I’ll be contributing a new, heavily Wold Newton-flavored afterword to Titan Books’ new edition of Time’s Last Gift, Philip José Farmer‘s classic novel of time travel. The Titan edition will also include a timeline by Wold Newton scholars Win Scott Eckert and Dennis E. Power detailing pertinent events in the long, long life of the book’s protagonist, John Gribardsun. I’m viewing the books in this new Wold Newton series as the definitive editions of these classic Farmerian works, so I’m encouraging folks who want to see more books like this down the line to preorder them or pick them up as soon as they’re published.

Check out Win’s update about his and Dennis Power’s Time’s Last Gift timeline here.

This novel is of particular interest to me because it’s positioned as the prequel to the Khokarsa series (collected in the forthcoming Gods of Opar: Tales of Lost Khokarsa, due out this April from Subterranean Press). If you don’t know how the books are connected, you’ll just have wait and find out by reading Time’s Last Gift and my afterword.

The bonus pieces for the new Titan edition, due out this June, are as follows:

  • Afterword: “John Gribardsun and the Prehistoric Wold Newton Family” by Christopher Paul Carey
  • “Gribardsun through the Ages: A Chronology of Major Events Pertinent to Time’s Last Gift” by Win Scott Eckert and Dennis E. Power

    The new edition of Time’s Last Gift can be preordered now at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.