In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women — mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends — view one another. Total number of points: First year in Top Last year in Top Highest place: 2 , Lowest place: 93 Number of years in Top 5 Number of years in Top 3.
In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem. The Capitol keeps the districts in line by forcing them to send teenagers to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Total number of points: First year in Top Last year in Top Highest place: 3 , Lowest place: 26 Number of years in Top 4 Number of years in Top 2. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. The Capitol wants revenge. Total number of points: First year in Top Last year in Top Highest place: 3 Lowest place: 31 Number of years in Top 4 Number of years in Top 1.
Total number of points: First year in Top Last year in Top Highest place: 11 Lowest place: 65 Number of years in Top 5 Number of years in Top 0. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Total number of points: First year in Top Last year in Top Highest place: 2 Lowest place: 77 Number of years in Top 4 Number of years in Top 2. Kindle Unlimited is growing fast — and it starts to affect Kindle bestseller lists. In alone, as much as 82 books from the Top were available via Kindle Unlimited.
In , when the service was launched, it was only 7. So, how many all-time Kindle bestsellers are available via ebook subscription? The Top includes 15 Kindle Unlimited books. We list them in the table below. The columns are the same as in the main chart, with one exception. It is an excellent material for analysis. Other big names in publishing, naming only J. Rowling, would easily join the club if they had decided to release their books in Kindle edition soon enough.
James Patterson wins thanks to being a prolific writer. As much as 46 of books he had written or co-written landed on annual bestseller lists. Suzanne Collins is on the opposite side of the landscape. She published three books from the Hunger Games series, plus a bundle collecting them in a single edition. All four publications were ranked very high on annual lists.
How we attached categories to single titles? As you know, most books on Amazon appear in more than one category. To pick up the most representative genre, we used Amazon Best Sellers Rank. It shows how well the book is selling compared to other titles in the same category. The last thing we would like to share is two lists of top Kindle books released between and that filter books by type. First one shows top 10 fiction books, the other one puts together nonfiction titles.
The list of fiction books is very similar to what you see in the overall ranking. Make sure to subscribe to new articles and deals either via RSS or email. In this developing list, we present all Audible deals that Amazon customers can get during Prime Day shopping season. Both for Prime members and non-subscribers. Prime Day Audible. Founder of Ebook Friendly. Ebook enthusiast, technology geek, and self-published short story author. Info Posts Twitter Blog Mail.
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The Paris Wife: A Novel. The Target Will Robie Book 3. Alex Cross, Run. Saving Rachel Donovan Creed series Book 3. The Secret Wife: A captivating story of romance, passion and mystery. When I Found You. Very probably. Does it contain a warning? For some, surely. It is one of those rarities which yields to the degree the reader participates in it; which gives back quantitatively what the reader brings in - but gives back something vastly different in kind.
It is rife with horror that intrigues, with blood which somehow does not come off on one, with apparent sacrileges which may well be admonishments to those who have lost devotion. An oddment. A most worthwhile oddment. Theodore Sturgeon. Here is a hollow sphere, with the living-space on the inside.
Up in the middle of the sphere is the sun always, of course, directly overhead. Cull has an apartment in a tower of one of the cities; out his window he looks over the desert to mountains but the terrain curves upward, fading away into the distant "sky. While Cull must shave with a flint razor, he has the use of a telephone: Telephones in Hell? Why not? They were the work of those who had been here before man, "demons. Yes, the "demons" had been there first. But as Earth's population of humans expanded, more and more of them it was supposed had died and come to "hell.
Leaving for work, Cull notes that a falling stone has killed someone; he joins the expectant crowd. An ambulance comes to pick up the dead man. Disappointment; "X" has not come this time. And people killed here didn't stay dead; the ambulance -- with silent, unknown propulsion -- took away the corpse but it was expected that within a few hours the man would be back, alive. All are naked in Cull's city, with the same age and body with certain exceptions as when they "died.
Diseases, insanity, have disappeared. Buy oddity continues to pile onto oddity, in this outre tale. The reader cannot help but be intrigued, is forced to read on in ever-building fascination. What is going on here? What is going to happen? This is truly "a book that cannot be put down. In a remarkably few pages Farmer has created an incredible environment.
Then, Cull arrives at work, answers his phone, and the game is afoot. Suffice to say that Cull and two others, after "X" is torn apart by a mob, go on a chase into the sewers, finally into and down an air shaft, and then Then comes the discovery that their world -- this "Hell" -- is artificial, a titantic ship!
They can look out a port and see the stars. They manage to make it back to the interior.
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New earthquakes have flattened their city. And then, they capture the "demon" who had fled with "X's" head; he admits that he is not really a demon, but an extraterrestrial humanoid. And he reveals that this "world" is controlled by powerful beings of great antiquity. The humanoid escapes, as more quakes come, the a "final" cataclysm; gravitational attraction ebbs and everything floats freely into the inner void.
Eventually, Cull and his two friends drift into a large mass of stone, tubing, etc. Cull finds that he can use certain discs to create duplicate "X's. We are not just interested in our own kind and its preservations Things, though, are not quite as simple as you might suppose.
The ancient race of Immortals has set up "soul" stations throughout all creation, supplying souls to all creatures because if left to their natural fate, death would bring total obliteration. This "Hell" is one such station, its occupants being ethically conditioned while awaiting the births of the creatures to whom they'll become attached. And how much of Farmer's explanations for this setup will parallel his final "Riverworld" explanations?
Will his background Immortals-Ethicals here be behind the setup there? But all Riverworld addicts will want to -- must! It may very well give you at least a hint of what is to come. Edward C. Books Received: Avon Equinox , March, pp. Farmer was obviously tinkering with the Riverworld series when he wrote this and it contains all the concepts he used later plus an actual ending that pretty well explains things to some degree. The cover by Jack Wyrs in impressionistic of something.
Heinlein, throughout the course of their respective careers in SF, have had a fascination with the idea of immortality and the transmigration of souls. Inside Outside is another. Jack Cull lives in Hell, which is populated by resurrected humans and demons and ruled over by The Authorities. He remembers his life on Earth vaguely and has adapted to his hellish existence by getting a job with the local equivalent of Bell Telephone combined with the Secret Service.
Hell is much like Earth, except for the demons and the periodic earthquakes. And the fact that no one knows quite what is going on - it may be Purgatory, not Hell, for instance. So Jack, Phyllis and Fyodor who may or may not be a Russian writer whose last name is Dostoievsky set out on a journey into the bowels of Hell to track down the mysterious X, who may or may not be Christ, still in hell, because -- oh, never mind.
If this is beginning to sound a bit like Riverworld, well, it is. A fact that illuminates Farmer's career as a writer is that Riverworld was originally a single book, written in the s -Farmer's first SF novel. He won a prize for it from a publisher that promptly went out of business and didn't pay him. Riverworld remained unpublished until the s, when Farmer began to re-write it as stories and novels.
Meanwhile, it must have struck him that he could do a kind of Riverworld in reverse in Inside Outside. The world is actually the inside of a spherical shell in space, with an unmoving light source that dims regularly at night. Jack and his companions discover that humans and demons alike are prisoners. Then, in a final switch, the transmigration of souls is explained and the whole thing turns out to be different than we thought - but that need not be given away here. Inside Outside is a justifiable SF rediscovery - original, sloppy, provocative, hard to classify - a Farmer novel.
It is one of those SF books that is better in the seventies somehow than when it came out in And a pleasant way to pass the time until we get the final novel in the Riverworld series next year. David G. Berkley Paperback, pp. Jack Cull jackal , a sexy lady and a character that's supposed to be Fyodor Dostoevsky but comes out more like Mr.
Natural, are caught up in a revolution that literally sweeps Hell off its foundations. Fast paced and gripping despite plenty of "theological" small talk between Cull and Fyodor, Farmer's short novel starts out as pure fantasy but ends up science fiction if you can buy the all-powerful pseudo-science that's revealed in the end.
Jack Cull is convincing enough and Fyodor is an amusing cartoon, but the sexy lady is so nondescript as to be nonexistent. Too bad Farmer didn't make her at least as real as Cull -- if he had this would be an outstanding novel than just above average. New introduction by Lou Stathis. This library edition, offset from the original text, is the first hardcover edition. Pyramid, R , pp. The Ultimate Weapon is set off on Earth, effectively obliterating life.
An intra-Soviet struggle between the American and other remaining factions of the survivors on Luna begins, while hanging over the Soviets' heads is the knowledge that the Axis fleet was in space, probably near Mars, at the time of holocaust. The book is notable only for the interrelations of the characters; the science is not explained and the future society is not as fully developed as it could be.
A good time-passer, but not memorable. Robert W. The idea upon which the story is based is by far the most interesting thing in the book: a variety of Terran colonies on the moon and elsewhere continue to exist after a devastating nuclear war, and carry on the hostilities of their parent societies. But Farmer does little with the idea after presenting it, and the novel sort of drags along for pages. Pyramid T, International politics -- only the names have been changed from today's bloc-building -- continue after the bombs.
The survivors engage in senseless squabbles, barely political considering the number of people left; moon base against moon base, wiping out some of the people the bombs missed, before the hero finally triumphs. This book moves very rapidly, and is basically an action story. Farmer seems to be saying that humans will fight, even if there are only two left in the world. I've seen better elsewhere. Read this as a space war adventure, if at all. This book, first published by Ace , is the first volume in Farmer's "Tier of Universes" series.
It's good Burroughs type adventure fiction, but I can't really see it as an important enough book to rate this hardcover reprint. In the first half of NIGHT OF LIGHT he is close to his best which makes the book well worth attention , but in its second half he gives us merely a series of violent adventures which add nothing that could not have been said in five or six pages.
Weinkauf from which I learn that Farmer writes "mythic fiction No matter how high the quality of the work chosen by Del Rey, the fact remains - Farmer is best known and generally appreciated for his early mid '50s experimental work combining sex, biology, and traditional science fiction themes. In Seekers of Tomorrow, Sam Moskowitz credits work like The Lovers and the stories collected in Strange Relations as the cause of a "traumatic revolution contributing toward the maturation of science fiction".
Indeed, Farmer's early work represents one of the few generally recognizable landmarks in the modern history of science fiction, but, whatever his reasons, del Rey chose to reprint examples of Farmer's later work. All considered, more significant or singularly outstanding examples of Farmer's work might have been chosen, but both of these volumes are representative of his better work in the 60s and deserve a place on the serious reader-collector's shelves. Ace, pp. This is his "World of Tiers" series. These began in and numbered five books altogether.
For some reason, I never found the fifth, so I'm hoping to rectify this lapse soon. Ace Books, in its most welcome new policy of putting the best of its backlist out again rapidly, is now issuing the series on a one-a-month basis. These books deal with a decadent race who once mastered all science.
Each Lord, as he calls himself, can now literally build himself a private universe - a pocket universe, as it is called - to his own design and with its own laws of physics. The first book shows us Robert Wolff being called into one of these universes - a world laid out something like a Babylonian ziggurat. The Lord had peopled it with all sorts of mythical beings, abducted from Earth or created. And now the Lord is missing, and the universe is going to hell in a hurry. Wolff and the mischievous Kickaha the Trickster set out to rescue damsels and restore order. It's a romp of adventure and marvelous inventions.
After that, the second book takes off on another wild romp as the Lords fight each other in their own vicious way through a perfidious ubiquity of pocket universes. The books are totally lacking in significance, relevance, or symbolism - and they are just pure fun to read. Lester del Rey. This first volume of the "World of Tiers" pentology has been specially revised for this copy limited edition.
There is also a new introduction by Farmer. ISBN Farmer takes his inspiration from the famous "lost" colony of Roanoke, Virginia, where the first white baby in North America, Virginia Dare, was born. He speculates that the colony may have been transferred to another world, together with a ship that also disappeared about this time , and a large caravan described in Ibn Khulail's History of the Turks.
All of these people are settled on a planet named Dare, the "second planet of a star classified as Tau Ceti by the moderns. Farmer then picks up the story with the Roanoke descendants. Dare is a world where such mythological creatures as dragons, werewolves, unicorns, and humanoids with horsetails still exist. The colonists have lived in relative peace with the goldenmaned Wiyr also called "Horstels" , but now there's a movement afoot to kill the natives and grab their land.
Jack Cage gets involved almost simultaneously and by chance with the horstel killers and a beautiful member of the native species. The background is well developed, the action competently handled. Those who enjoyed Farmer's Riverworld stories will also enjoy this. Robert E. Berkley, , pp. I don't know if the book has been revised since it was written, but if so Farmer did it on a whole series of off days. The main problem is that the plot runs continuously and dangerously close to standard cowboys and Indians.
There are some good science fictional ideas, notably a huge underground being in whose "horns" one can live symbiotically, and there are some rather charming intelligent dragons, but none of these are integral to the story. It's the old favorite about the young man caught up in the unjust war between the settlers and the natives and unable to decide which side he's on. Farmer's is a lot more superficial, with strictly one-dimensional characters and so much action that in a stricter sense very little happens.
Nothing interesting goes on between the people involved. The title, by the way, isn't daring you to read this book which has a naked lady on the cover , but refers to a planet named after Virginia Dare, the first English baby born in North America. The Roanoke colony was spirited off to the stars, it seems, for reasons never quite made clear. Also, for unclear reasons, the descendants of the settlers seem to be Roman Catholics and used to hearing masses in Latin, even though , the year the colony was "lost" was also the year of the Spanish Armada, and being a Catholic in Protestant England was less fun than being a Communist in America in Of course, the book maintains a certain level of readability, but Farmer has done a lot better.
Darrell Schweitzer. First hardcover edition; library binding and good paper. Belmont B, The frustration of his knowledge, no longer 'modern' and the knowledge of the world in which he finds himself is played off neatly against his growing realization and gradual acceptance of new values. Roger Two Hawks may remind some of Andre Norton's protagonist in "The Beast Master," which is all to the good -- both are fine characters, as are both fine books.
David C. An abridged version of this work, called The Gate of Time, was published in by Belmont. This new version restores Farmer's original title, includes three chapters which extend the story's ending, and reinstates several violently sexual passages which were edited out of the original edition. This is a parallel universe story in which Roger Two Hawks, a World War II bomber pilot, is transferred into a similar, although less technologically advanced, "Earth. Mediocre fare, of interest only for Farmer enthusiasts.
Jerry L. But the last halves of both sections are integrally related and powerfully modeled, in full depth and dimension. Judith Merrill. Garland X, pp. This is the first hardcover edition of one of Farmer's odd imaginitive novels. It's part of the Father Carmody series and is a successful blend of fantasy images and SF themes. I'm glad to see it finally in hardcover. My paperback copy is falling apart.
Limited edition, good paper. In Night of Light , Farmer combined his use of sexual material with an equally unaffected use of religion. The protagonist, John Carmody, travels to the planet Dante's Joy to investigate its religion, the worship of a continually reincarnated god called Yess and his mother Boonta, and a regularly recurring madness and loss of communication tied into the religious rites.
With the help of special equipment, Carmody hopes to stay awake during The Night, a period of intense solar activity and radiation that results in intense psychic activity when the unconscious mind's archetypal images are given physical reality and loosed on the planet.
Carmody experiences gods, demons, archetypes, symbols, and mythical realities sufficient to cow Freud, Jung, and Campbell. As with much of Farmer's work, Night of Light is an intensely interesting action tale set against an incredibly bizarre, almost hallucinogenic background that warrants re-reading and closer examination. If you don't, then you can put down the characteristics of the school itself. If you do, you can defend them. But there isn't much you can say about an individual book except to point out how well the author operated within the rather restrictive format.
To have swashbuckling adventure you have to have phoney swashbuckling, adventurous heroes and villians. You can't use real people except as minor characters; if you try, the effect isn't worth the effort. For instance, the hero of Glory Road is Heinlein's attempt to combine a swashbuckling hero with a clearly drawn "real person", and that's all Oscar Gordon is, a combination—elements of several types of personality thrown together in one body.
And you can't even use the real swashbucklers of history as an example—they're all such mean, brutish, immoral bastards the reader wouldn't want to identify with them. So all that's left is to use a personality type that exists only in literature—the stereotyped violent but virtuous hero. And that's why villians are usually so much better portrayed. If you haven't read the first two books, you really should before you read the third—the series is set in this very complex universe that's hard to figure out even when you read the books in order.
All three are in print from Ace right now, or at least Bookmaster has all of them displayed. In any case, the whole series is worth reading. If you are an ERB fan, though, maybe you'd better not read it—"The World of Tiers" is Farmer's attempt to write washbuckling adventure fantasy in the ERB vein, and he shows Burroughs up just about any way you judge the stories. I have an idea that Farmer designed his "World of Tiers" universe with a fairly lengthy series in mind, and it's the best fantasy universe I've encountered outside Tolkien.
First, there's the world itself—an artificial construct of "The Lords", an alien super-scientist race who act as movers behind the scenes in all the books. Farmer has constructed his world in tiers, each tier with more area than an Earthly continent and with its own distinct civilization s , each people patterned after some people on Earth or from some other sf or fantasy series.
Farmer has lifted elements from just about all his competitors, and manages to use each element as well or better than its originator. Then there are the Gates—teleportation devices built by the Lords—which allow his heroes to pass from one tier to another and allow the Lords to get around behind the scenes. And there is some indication in Cosmos that the fourth book of the series will be set, at least partly, on Earth.
The real fantasy element is the science of the Lords, who are portayed as the typical hedonistic, lazy, and generally neurotic descendents of the creators of all the shiny machines. Only in this case they aren't actually descendents: all the Lords in the series so far are around ten thousand years old—immortal.
The swashbuckling elements are provided by Farmer's heroes, and by the inhabitants of the Tier World itself—the technological level of the world being pre-gunpowder, with swords, etcetara being the order of the day. You can see the complexity of the background from my brief sketch, but you can't see the details that make the series the best of its kind—just a bout every background detail Farmer brings in comes from either the real world or from other sf or fantasy. For instance, A Private Cosmos starts on the Amerind level of the Tier World and is peopled with Amerinds of various types, from tribes of Plains Indians to the more civilized Tishquemetmoac, who seem to be patterned after the Incas.
The rest of the details are straight anthroplology, history, archeology, etcetera. As I say, a good deal of the appeal of the series comes from sorting out the various details and trying to figure out which element is based on fact, which is lifted from a particular piece of fiction, and so on. In any case, the elements are fitted together reasonably well Of course, virtually all the action is deus-ex-machina: the protagonist rarely does anything on his own initiative, but just rolls with the punches and tries to get out of trap after trap and fight after fight.
He always triumphs in the end, but his actions from beginning to end are all defensive. As far as I'm concerned this is perfectly all right. I don't think any other type of story could be set in this type of universe. The story line of A Private Cosmos isn't particularly believable in summary, and I'm not going to summerize it but the action keeps your eye moving fast enough so you don't notice. The details of background keep the inquiring part of your mind busy, so reader identification is almost total, which is about the best the writer of adventure fiction can hope to achieve.
All three "World of Tiers" books are a hell of a lot of fun to read, and I'll even recommend them to more "serious" sf readers who don't usually go for ERB-type adventure fantasy. Earl Evers. And to a person who can see only the sex in a book where sex is used as a tool, then the issue is settled and the work labeled. Except that Philip Jose Farmer is not a simple man, not is he a simple writer, and any book he writes is always more than it seems. The Image of the Beast begins sometime after with the city of Los Angeles covered by a penetrating green smog. Private detective Herald Childe is in the folm room of the L.
Police Dept. He views a film showing his partner's shocking murder: a woman using steal teeth half-severs the man's penis at the moment of ejaculation, and a man dressed in formal clothes, a cloak and blue sneakers enters, cackling, and finishes the "beheading". The film has been mailed to the police. On the surface this is a grotesque private-eye story. Yet what are we to think of a name like Herald Childe? And on the title page the book is ammended: An Exorcism: Ritual 1. What happens when Childe finds the mand the woman of the film in an old, secret-passaged mansion in Beverly Hills?
He encounters a very horny ghost, a woman with an incredible snake-like creature living in her womb which emerges to enter her throat during a solitary sex act, plus assorted werewolves, witches, vampires. Is there erotic sex in the book? Yes, some. Mostly the sex is too strange, and humorous, and grotesque, and mind-stopping to be arousing. The text may produce an erection or two in readers, but Farmer's intent isclearly not pornographic.
He is using sex as a tool, perhaps as a weapon, as symbol; using it Toward what end? I'm not sure. The book ends with death and destruction of the mansion by fire. Herald kills or causes to be killed most of the supernatural creatures in the old house, yet the book is obviously only an episode, part of a larger whole, because so many, many questions are left unanswered, and in the end Childe is marked for further contact with the Outside forces.
There are indications that the supernatural creatures are aliens who come into our universe through cracks, rifts, "gates" in the "walls. In a postscript Theodore Sturgeon mentions shock at encountering in the book the woman who has sex with the creature in her womb. He had never run across an image of that nature before. There is more to it, I suspect, than meets the eye. Perhaps more to it than meets the mind.
Richard E. Essex House, North Ho1lywood. A terrible smog holds Los Angeles in its grip. Police Department. Harold Childe is a private detective, and he was about to ditch his partner. But, stomach still writhing from his viewing of the film, he vows to get the person or persons unknown who have done this terrible thing. He is working with a cop named Bruin. He put a heavy paw on Childe's shoulder for a second.
He was your partner, right? But you was going to split up, right? In his eloquent, if misplaced, postscript to the book, Theodore Sturgeon asks that we not label — ah, Label — this book. If we avoid Labels in judging the novel, what are we to make of its slapdash pastiche of three old-fashioned pulp genres — the private-eye story, the 'spicy' horror story, and the monsters who turn out to be from another dimension — all served up between lip-smacking sex scenes?
To begin with, there is the label the publisher has placed on the book. Opening the cover we find a page on which the sole legend, in very black type, reads "This is an original Essex House book — the very finest in adult reading by the most provocative modern writers. So perhaps those "poor tilted souls" may be forgiven the waste of their buck-ninety-five on a book which purports to seek after Truth.
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A much better case could be made for the actual value of pornography, qua pornography, than the present-day hypocritical stand these publishers so half-heartedly pursue. And after all, the book does indeed contain a number of sex scenes, all of them written with exactly the same monotonous attention to lubricious detail which the sex-book reader has come to expect in his purchases.
But what about that "living connective tissue" of which Sturgeon spoke? Dreary pickings, actually, and the quote from Officer Bruin should tip a hint in that direction. Farmer is a classical case of the "uneven" writer. Whatever the causes, he manipulates his characters unmercifully, often in flagrant contradiction of the motivations he has previously established for them, or — as in the case of this book — he sets them to walking woodenly through his plot without the whisper of life to them. Harold Childe a name only slightly less ham-handedly Symbolic than Bruin is explained to us on several occasions, but never demonstrates the slightest personality, talent at his profession, or intelligence.
He is a faceless automaton despite the fact that everyone notices his resemblance to Lord Byron, of all people! Unfortunately, the story itself is cobb1ed together from some pretty hoary o1d plot ideas, as previously noted, and Farmer tells it without a sense of pace, movement, style or color.
What could at least have been passed off as "camp" is merely dreary. Under the circumstances, what fare best in the book are the sex scenes. In his descriptions of mutilation, torture and horror, Farmer evokes the psycho-sexual with a vivid imagination the implication of which I will leave for others to analyze. But nobody ever told Farmer that sex could be realistically described in terms not weighted with all the cliches of hackwork pornography, and so even these, his best scenes, suffer from inept writing.
Thus, in the long run, not one, but two reputations will suffer from the publication of The Image of the Beast. Ted White. Essex House No. This one is called "Image of the Beast". In "Image," which may be one of a series if the faithful buy it, private eye Herald Childe sets out to find out what manner of monsters killed his slob of a partner by, among other things, biting off his penis in a moment of good fun.
Said monsters turn out to be strays from that old stereotype of SF, the parallel universe. Vampires, werewolves, and one wench that the original Bluebeard knew. But it's a bad book, and the sex and sadism don't help it. In our fifth issue, we presented a bibliography of his work.
Certainly the rarest of his works are the adult novels he wrote, which were published by Essex House. The hero, whose name is an unlikely Herald Childe, is a private detective who is trying to find out who was responsible for his partner's mutilation and death, and, more importantly, why. What seem at first to be a mixture of standard occult and weird beings werewolves, etc. Their true intents and visages cannot be known by man, but materialize as grotesque physical caricatures of man, with strange sexual appetites.
In the course of an exiting though bizarre novel, our hero escapes with his life, having defeated or destroyed many of the foe, yet having also lost something himself. The book ends with as many questions unanswered or newly set, as it began with. A lengthy postscript by Theodore Sturgeon provides perhaps the best explanation of the novel, along with a diatribe against those who would Label - in this case, those who would label this book as pornography, or science fiction, or whatever. I agree thoroughly with him that a work such as this transcends ordinary labelling.
While on one level, it may be read as pornography although the scenes set are more grotesque than erotic , it may also be read as science fiction. Most of all, however, it may be read as allegory. The characters are symbols from the darker side of man, and the novel is a quest for truth. Grant Thiessen. If the symbolic structure of the book is somewhat awry at times, the shock effects and perverse encounters Farmer literally scatters throughout the plot are genuinely original.
The images Farmer uses are outrageous: we see the detective's partner being castrated by a beautiful woman with a set of false iron teeth and a sinister, almost parodic Dracula figure; another major character has a snake-like symbiotic character living in her vagina. Farmer had of course become a past master at outre' "biosexopsychic" situations in his earlier books and better short stories, but the editorial carte blanche of Essex House allowed his imagination to take full, fluent flight. It is not always in the best of taste, but he is certainly a master of startling speculative concepts.
Maxim Jakubowski. Not a book for the weak of stomach, this collection of two s erotic horror novels comes from Philip Jose Farmer, best known for the mindbending Riverworld series, but also the man credited with introducing explicit sex into SF. Starting of as a pastiche of hard-boiled crime fiction, the two books quickly zoom off into an uncanny and violent world of their own, all the while spiced with a mixture of hardcore sex and gruesome splatter.
Image of the Beast kicks off in a smog-choked Los Angeles, where world-weary detective Herald Childe is on the trail of his partner's killers. The clues lead him to the house of the mysterious Baron Ignescu, where Childe is understandably surprised to find himself abducted by a gang of perverse shape-shifters and forcibly ravished by a sex-crazed ghost. Events get even dafter in Blown, when after having been thoroughly abused and escaping the shape-shifters, Childe discovers that they're actually a warring gang of aliens, and that he himself is their new leader thanks to being a descendant of Lord Byron.
The result is plenty of orgies and accidental monkey-sex, before the saga comes to an utterly peculiar and cosmic conclusion. With barely a page going by without some graphic carnal shenanigans, the overall effect is like a psychedelic remix of Channel 5's dodgy late night "adult dramas". Despite all this, the book is saved from being one-dimensional horror porn by the power of Farmer's grotesque but brilliant imagination, and the fact that he's obviously not taking any of it remotely seriously. Saxon Bullock.
Farmer is a superb storyteller, as always and his narrative gallops at breathtaking pace. I can't see this story boring anyone, although it may offend some with delicate stomachs. Plotwise it is something of a mish-mash. Sturgeon points out in his postscript that Farmer is exploring the relationship between violence and sex, and Sturgeon draws the conclusion that unlimited violence and unlimited sex add up to unlimited absurdity. That would seem to make this an absurd book since it has both, but one must halt and observe the author's tongue in cheek, which is the most innocent place for it in these pages.
Certainly he carries the proposition close to the logical end with a hero who can only have an erection, and ejaculation, when killing someone, a condition he came by honestly, having inherited it, more or less, from his father, Jack the Ripper. Actually, both he and his father were victims of the same elixer of youth, whcih like the miracles of modern pharmaceutical science had its own side effects.
The plot is a pot-pourri of myth, legend and fictional characters durable enough to have become legends, all blended together. The main character here is Tarzan, but a Tarzan who expects to live to be 30, years old by virtue of the elixer if his Jack the Ripper proclivities do not get him bumped off.
The elixer is supplied by a group of ancients called the Nine, many of whom are at least 30, years old and who certainly numbered amongst them such individuals as Wodin and lesser-known gods. The mayhem in this little tale is beyond belief -- it outclasses many a small war. For a simple duel between two characters the weapons employed run to missles, bazookas, hand grenades, tommy guns, simple pistols and knives of various sorts whil I did not attemp to count the bodies.
I'd make a quick guess that it would run to at least. The violence is vivid too. Take as a small example, Tarzan dispatching one enemy. And then, while he screamed, I raised him by one buttock, while holding the end of his bloody anus with the other hand. I shot him away with my arm, giving him a half-spin, so that until then I ejaculated.
Screaming he soared His intestines approximately 24 feet long, trailed out behind him and then tore loose from his body So much for unlimited violence. There is considerable sucking of penises and a little eating actual of testicles. In the final battle between Tarzan and his adversary, who is similarly afflicted with this problem of erection only during violence -- well you can imagine the diffculties these two would have in a hand-to-hand combat. It's No. For this is a sexed up pastiche in which the "real" Tarzan Burroughs changed names, places, et cetera, to protect the innocent and the puritan proprieties feuds with the "real" Doc Savage, assorted baddies, and a powerful clique of bestowers of immortality, the ageless Nine.
Lord Grandrith whose ancestral castle is near the village of Greystoke and Doc Caliban have had a puritanical upbringing, and they are acutely embarrassed by the sexual adventures that come their way—the more so since they have both become impotent except when they are trying to kill someone. Farmer debunks both series of stories very logically and plausibly and his four-letter words and multi-lettered sex intrudes less.
For good measure, he has made Tarzan and the Bronze Man half brothers and sons of Jack the Ripper—courtesy, doubtless, of Robert Bloch, who may be parodied in "Image of the Beast. It could have been a lovely straight parody. But, until people grow bored with it as they seem already to be bored with open sexual calisthenic on the stage, there'll be more exotic sex and more four-letter vocabulary in much of our science fiction If it's well done and belongs to the plot and the situation, no harm done.
If it's dragged in for shock appeal, you can forget it. It won't last. Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban are Farmer's slanderous counterparts to Tarzan and Doc Savage in this spoofs that aborts itself with every juvenille analogy, meaningless simile, and tired pun. Farmer does manage to turn sex and violence topsy-turvey, but he screws his values around so much that nothing ends up making any sense and the absurdity becomes so intense as to be, much before the long delayed ending, painful.
The book is overstuffed with violence and horror and, like a child overfed with candy mints, the result can be and in this instance, is awfully messy. There's a satirical subplot involving the mysterious, world-dominating Nine, as well as various diversionary forays into scatology, bestially and other less appealing sidelines. The book becomes an unhappy glut of any- and everything, finally becoming so exceedingly messy that even Farmer runs out of steam and sperm and just drops it all with loose ends dangling like spaghetti ends.
I won't deny Farmer the right to write such drivel because he's proven to me many times that he can write well; I only find it very disappointing that he would willingly claim it under his own byline. This is a breath of fresh air, after Evil Companions. But it has its own intrigues. Lord Tyger might be a Tarzan juvenile—except that children are never permitted to be portrayed as they are, in their natural insensitivity and sexuality, lest this corrupt adult notions.
Funny world we struggle in, no? You just never can tell. But he does have a sexual hangup: it is violence that makes him ejaculate, not pulchritude.
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This is a pretty good story, that picked up a Nebula nomination or two and deserved them. But for me there was one major drawback. I'm sure it was well done, but somehow it turned me off, and I suspect it offered scant pickings for the hard-core sex reader. Maybe it's that a chase is one way to get from point A to B, and too much chase dilutes the content.
The Postscript this time is by Theodore Sturgeon. It is violence which makes our society ejaculate, while genuine pleasures are suppressed. Piers Anthony. Edited by Philip Jose Farmer. Essex House. Would you like to read a brand-new Tarzan story? Sure you would! Do you enjoy a Doc Savage adventure? How a super-special epic thriller in which they both appear; a violent physical confrontation between these two legendary supermen of fiction?
Speculation can be endless when one considers the possibilities in such a story. Well, the story has yet to be written, although Philip Jose Farmer almost persuades us that he has done it. If they are really meant to be Tarz and Doc, then they are dwellers in some alternate time-stream. His two might heroes are called James Cloamby, Lord Grandrith, demi-god of the jungle, and Doc Caliban, all-around scientist and fighter against the forces of evil.
Doc even has two henchmen whom you may think that you recognize. Grandrith himself admits to the seperate existence of Tarzan, who by the way, and as you should know, is not the same as Tarzan. The tale is told by Lord Grandrith, whose better-known identity we do not learn.
He is the natural son of Jack the Ripper, who as it turns out, is also the father of Doc Caliban. Both heroes are members of a secret organization of near-immortals headed by the mysterious and sinister nine, who seem to be the real rulers of the world. The global intrigues of the Nine are carried out by the rank-and-file, bound to them by the dependance on the elixer of prolonged youth.
For reasons of their own the Nine pit Grandrith and Caliban against each other in a contest to the death. The struggle of titans carries on from Africa to England to a terrific and bloody climax, where the true evil of the Nine is eventually realized. The simple plot outlined above is but the overstory and should be great fun, especially to a bibliophile, if he can refrain from losing his temper at the understory, where the meat is.
Say it right out there in cold print with lots of good old four-letter Anglo-Saxon words, so that the previously unread may find his way without difficulty. Don't pussyfoot around coyly speaking about a commodity usally found in a corral; call it something more terse. There should be a large enough Pavlovian response among s-f and ERB fans alone to ensure a good sale without the seekers of blatant sexual situations. Telling It Like It Is also includes exposing to the light anything currently within the totality of human experience, or whatever may possibly be imagined, no matter how unpleasant.
Perhaps Farmer had long had the feeling that ERB, that hopeless old Victorian, both because of the publishing restrictions of his day, and because of the social milieu that formed him, had left a lot untold about his ape-man. Grandrith admits that there was much he kept from his biographer, not wanting to shock him, and who, even if he did suspect, chose not to tell anyway.
You know, for instance, that Tarzan, because of his Mangani upbringing is essentially a loner, with many of the habits and characteristics of the beasts. He has, among other things, their unquestioning reactance to injury, a stoical acceptance of what cannot be changed, and unlike his harried civilized brother, an apparent perfect obliviousness to the passing of time. What Farmer has done here is to throw some light on the murkier implications of environmental indluence upon a while man raise from infancy among a tribe of apes, herein called the Folk.
Perhaps long exposure has inured your stomach to a reasonable fortitude while contemplating Tarzan's gustatory delight in slugs and bugs. Your civilized and squeamish stomach must learn to endure the knowledge that there are things much worse than nice fat grubs and worms that a true apeman may eat. Farmer also tells you that your jungle lord not only has feet of clay and gonads of flesh, but most certainly will enter a bathroom for the same purpose as you and I.
Also that the entirely uninhibited and guiltless sex-play or pre-pubertyMangani young cannot failt to have left its influence on an impressionable young Taramangani. It is a shocking book, with gobs of very bad taste, requiring an extremely strong stomach, but it is an honest book. I think seekers of pornography will be disappointed, for it strikes out in that department, even though there are many assorted repellent, perverse and perverted practices on display.
The mayhem and brutality in the fighting sequences are about par for today's readers. We cannot advocate entirely the convenient sweeping of unpleasant things under the rug, for the hinges on the lid of Pandora's box are sprung beyond any possibility of closing. Nevertheless, simple good taste and not old lady Grundy should tend to make us go along with Kipling when he observed that, "there are things in the breast of mankind that are best, in darkness and decency hid. Shuyler Miller to learn that Farmer's book did not, as he clairvoyantly foretold in his November '69 Reference Library column, "drive the Burroughs Bibliophiles up the wall.
After that, I had a lot of fun reading the book. Frankly, I haven't enjoyed so many belly-hurting laughs in ages Maybe after fifty and some years of actually living life, I've learned the necessities and nastiness of it all. Maybe my stomach is tough after years of eating in restaurants, cook houses, grease joints, mess halls, and out of army messkits and various and sundry tins and boxes.
I recall the billions of flies on Corregidor and wonder how many I unwittingly consumed along with my C ration. I recall the mutilated bodies of comrades which we found What else is in that beef, or pork, or hamburger you had for lunch? Haven't you wondered why your canine friend' s breath is so hot and fetid?
Or what the acute alcoholic drinks when he is broke and thirsty? How does your garden grow? Is it all so very repugnant? When was the last time you swallowed your pride. Whatever else Phil's book is, as Al sezs, it's honest, but the casual reader will think it is not dirty enough. Any Burroughs Bibliophile who does not read it and place it in his library--along with the forthcoming sequels from Ace--is chicken! You say that it isn't a spoof; that it's a further extension of the prototype hero-mythos making use of the simulacra of familiar popkulchur figures in order to deepen its racial-subconscious prevelence and provide a traumatizing shock of recognition.
Heaven forfend, though I don't doubt that you have a point imbedded there. For those new to Farmer's naughty books, A Feast Unknown is the ninth volume of Lord Grandrith's autobiography, the first eight of which haven't been written -we're led to believe that they remain hidden, be we know better. In this episode Grandrith who henceforth will be called Tarzan because it's easier to spell trots about Africa and England wearing little but a knife and a hyperbolic erection "Adults Only. He fights, kills, eats animal wastes, battles Doctor Caliban, the bronze. T and DS even come together, as it were, while hand wrestling on a tight-rope bridge over a proverbial yawning chasm.
To quote T: "We swayed back and forth in this footless dance. With women both of our heroes are a flop; is it the lack of the wound that keeps them detumesced? Or are they just peculiar? After much nastiness DS is killed by T. Or is he? No, certainly not. T and DS are now brothers in league against The Nine.
Who are The Nine? That's the part I didn't get into above. All of the routine and cliched plot is tossed off by Farmer with a kind of rapturous insouciance. It's kind of like that wondrously picaresque "Noah" section of the John Huston film, The Bible ; the creator is having a ball, and you're invited if you wear the right attitude.
But if you are going to wear your serious clothes, don't come, you'll only be miserable. Odd that this long out-of-print collector's itme shoudl appear simultaneously from Fokker in the U. Fokker's edition has naughty illustrations by Richard Corben. The Quartet edition leaves it all to your imagination. Martin Last.
I can say it's one of the strangest I've ever read, but I haven't read much fantasy. I can call it the dirtiest book I've ever read, but I haven't read much pornography. I think it's great adventure, but once again, I haven't read mush adventure. A Feast Unknown is brawling, sprawling, exciting, terrific and terrifying. It is weird, strange, fantastic. It is dirty, filthy dirty.
It is funny. It is disturbing. It is unique. At first, the book appears to be pornography. Sensationalized pornography. There is cannibalism, castration, rape, and death. Sex and death are both the theme and the plot. The chief protoganist is one Lord Grandrith, a wealthy peer raised in the jungle by primitive men. He suffers from what he calls a small aberration, a strange mental problem that causes him to ejaculate whenever he kills.
He is persued through the book by Doc Caliban, a huge bronze-skinned good-1ooking genius of a crime-fighter makes you wonder, doesn't it? I can't tell you what the plot's about. First, I don't want to beat Mr. Farmer out of his royalties, and second, it would take a good three pages. Suffice it to say that Caliban is chasing Grandrith with murder in his gold-flecked eyes. Grandrith supposedly killed Caliban's cousin, but no one really cares. But the plot is not nearly so important as the theme. Thus the reason for the heavy sexual undertones. You don't have to be Freud to see the link between stabbing or shooting and sex.
Grandrith's "aberration" is merely one of many visual links. Grandrith is portrayed as a much more believable wild man than Burrough's version. He runs around naked. He is totally free sexually. Be is animalistic. The spirit that Farmer wrote the book in is hard to pinpoint. Is it, as the forward states, part of the memoirs of Lord Grandrith read Greystoke?
Or is Lord Grandrith simply Farmers idea of what a Tarzan-like character would act like? Most likely it is a combination of all three. The Voice of Ignorance yours truly says, "I like it! Todd Rutt. Essex House , For Essex House, which puts out Adult Entertainment in quality bindings would that other paperbacks could be bound so well Mr. The Tocs require sex to survive, the Ogs require blood.
Both find peculiar ways to satisfy their cravings -- and that's putting it mildly. Whether Farmer has a personal demon to excise or exercise or is just in it for the money or for some other inscrutable reason has been turning out this sort of work, is the subject of a good deal of debate in "the sf community" to coin a cliche. I doubt that very many people begrudge him his right to do so, but from a literary standpoint the work is disappointing.