Philip José Farmer's Wold Newton Universe discussion

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June - What books (Wold Newton only) is everyone reading right now?

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message 1: by Win (new)

Win Scott Eckert (win_scott_eckert) | 37 comments Starting a new monthly thread on this....

I am continuing to re-read the essays in 'Heritage of the Flaming God,' and I started the new ERB Wild Adventures novel 'Untamed Pellucidar' by Lee Strong last night.


message 2: by Will (new)

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
I'm picking my way through Other Log and Wisdom's Daughter still. Other Log is almost as funny as Around the World in Eighty Days, which is the funniest novel I've read in a while. As for Wisdom's Daughter, when I was 17 and reading Alan Moore comics I never pictured myself 31 and completely enamored w the prose of H Rider Haggard but I'm glad that's how it shook out.

Additionally, Doris Lessing's Sirian Experiments is currently provoking some thoughts about Ayesha and Lalila's family trees and the origins of some of the characters in Dark Heart of Time.


message 3: by Win (new)

Win Scott Eckert (win_scott_eckert) | 37 comments Will wrote: "I'm picking my way through Other Log and Wisdom's Daughter still. Other Log is almost as funny as Around the World in Eighty Days, which is the funniest novel I've read in a while. As for Wisdom's ..."

Please tell us more!


message 4: by Will (last edited Jun 05, 2018 04:11PM) (new)

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
This may be for issue no. 2 of FarmerFan rather than the first issue that Jason, Sean and I will be launching before Pulp Fest. (Our main format will be ebook but we'll have some DIY published copies at Pulp Fest). But it's been coming out of my research on Dark Heart of Time and Stone God Awakens.

EDIT: Typical Will Emmons begins his post with the word "Briefly" then waxes in nerd for a baker's dozen of paragraphs...

Briefly, while we know Khokarsa is the historical basis for the Atlantis spoken about in, e.g., Ancient Egypt and Greece, Lessing reports on still earlier phases of human prehistory and evolution.

Sometime before the Ice Age, the area around the North Pole was an ocean and islands that weren't submerged or frozen. Under the influence of benign aliens from Canopus, the polar matriarchy of Adalantaland was a relatively stable healthy society when the rest of the world was doing poorly after an earlier calamity. (The Sirian Experiments, pp. 77-81).

I suspect that Lalila is a direct descendant of Adalantaland's final Queen (unnamed in the text), although I haven't done any research to establish intermediate generations yet. This Queen was smart enough to know that her civilization was in decline though there was not much to be done about at that point.

They are likely related not just because Lalila's people have similar complexion and coloring to the prehistoric Adalantans but also for attitudinal reasons. Until near the end, they were in touch with their spiritual side in a holistic way that probably carried forward in a diminished way by a line of nomadic matriarchs that leads up to Lalila (and through her down to La). Some textual evidence for this in Lessing is that Adalantaland had a big influence on the European gene pool.

The most recent Ice Age started about 3 million years ago. We know that Lalila lived during the tail end of the lce Age and was a contemporary of Gribardsun circa 12,000 BC. So there is some room for speculation about who the intervening family members would be. If I were pursuing this for another article I would look into Jean M. Auel's ouvre, William Golding's The Inheritors, Rosny's Quest of the Dawn Man, and the old Gold Key comic series Tragg and the Sky Gods, among others.

I suspect we can also trace Ayesha's heritage back to these folks as well and she's likely also a distant relative of Lalila. Ayesha's Arab heritage gives a toe hold and allows us to speculate that her family tree likely included the historical Abraham (Gribardsun if memory serves) and the historical Hagar via the historical Ishmael.

Additionally, her wisdom could lead us to speculate that she's also a descendant of King Solomon.. We should pause for a moment and consider Solomon because its likely through him and his affinity for foreign wives that Adalantaland's ancestors Lalila's people come into Ayesha's family tree.

Like Ayesha's, the source of Solomon's wisdom was apparently preternatural. Mythically speaking, he also had the ability to control various supernatural entities (probably alien laborers, actually) that he used to construct his Temple. This and some details of the Old Testament might lead one to the conclusion that Solomon was under the influence of Canopus.

My major evidence is the shared preoccupation of Solomon and the Canopeans with architecture. Canopus has developed an advanced science to understand what shapes and positioning of buildings is 'needful,' i.e. good for health, psychology, etc. II Kings contains a protracted, detailed architectural description of the Temple. That it is written down in the Bible probably speaks to the importance of its geometry etc.

Additionally, in his dotage, Solomon ran afoul of the priestly class of Israel who purportedly disapproved of how his foreign wives caused him to honor foreign gods. Likely Solomon was just communicating with a number of Canopean agents and the priestly class did not like what they were telling him. According to Lessing, Canopus-inspired religious leaders (some of them actual aliens themselves) frequently ran afoul of the religious establishments that have grown up in the wake of previous Canopus-inspired leaders.

Now, I'm not sure what the world was like during Solomon's life in the 10th century B.C., but commerce and flows of people seem to have always been international. Probably a trader came across a beautiful slave, a distant relative of Lalila from another line, that we might recognize as from Western or Northern European barbarian extraction. Something about her caused her to be traded from merchant to merchant across the Mediterranean. Eventually she came into the hands of a Near Eastern merchant who gave her to the King to win favor, knowing Solomon's appetites. We can imagine that they had a daughter who was gifted to an Arab prince or king in marriage as a diplomatic tool or a son whose status as a lesser princeling led him to travel to Arabia to seek his fortune. (IIRC, things were rocky for the House of David after Solomon, so their child may have also been a refugee).

There is a 600 year span between Solomon the Wise and Ayesha, Wisdom's Daughter. Ayesha's father Yarab was likely born around 400 BC and Ayesha in the first half of the 370s BC.

I think there's a Canopean connection to Ayesha as well, which lends credence to the Solomonic connection. In fact, her potential connection to Canopus raises questions about the relationship between Canopus and the Ethicals who made Riverworld. Here's is a section from the rough draft of an Appendix to my forthcoming fan article:

A third piece of circumstantial evidence tying the Canopeans and the Ethicals comes from the role of Isis in the Ayesha prequel Wisdom’s Daughter. The opening scene of the book is a conversation between Ayesha’s prenatal soul and the gods Isis and Aphrodite. It is reminiscent of nothing so much as Burton’s opening experience in To Your Scattered Bodies Go.

In a later scene, Noot, the high priest of Isis, is telepathically controlled by Isis and speaks to Ayesha. While this may have been divine intervention, the ability to telepathically inhabit the minds of Earthlings is a technique Canopean agents have used to influence human affairs.

That Ayesha has been able to avoid aging (what the Canopeans call “the degenerative disease”) is likely due to Canopean intervention in the same way the Sirians likely bootstrapped Rafmana’s immortality. Ayesha's death and resurrection also speaks to the Canopean and/or Ethical ability to capture and reincorporate wathans.



message 5: by Win (new)

Win Scott Eckert (win_scott_eckert) | 37 comments Fascinating. The outline/proposal I just submitted posits an earlier destroyed civilization than ERB's Atlantis/PJF's Khokarsa, which was high technologically advanced. Could this pre-Atlantean civilization, which some have called "Atlantis" (rather than ERB's Atlantis), be the same as Adalantaland?

I think I need to speak with you directly at FarmerCon. I don't want to get into too many details about my outline/proposal on a public forum.


message 6: by Will (new)

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
For sure. I'm really looking forward this year.


message 7: by Win (new)

Win Scott Eckert (win_scott_eckert) | 37 comments I am as well!


message 8: by Will (last edited Jun 06, 2018 08:57AM) (new)

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
It struck me in the middle of the night last night that obviously XauXaz is in the family tree hypothesized above.


message 9: by Win (new)

Win Scott Eckert (win_scott_eckert) | 37 comments What is the time frame of the Adalantaland civilization?


message 10: by Will (new)

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
It came to an end roughly 3 million years ago around the time of the beginning of the most recent Ice Age. Lessing has people living in advanced settled civilizations during periods of prehistory that modern anthropology has not brought to light. She says the cities from millions of years ago were buried deep during the Ice Age.

I'm not sure if the text has clues as to when it was founded but I'll be looking at it again before too long.

All this is to say if XauXaz or anyone else is in the family tree from back then, then there's a few million years of genealogy no one's figured out yet.

RE Atlantis and ancient civs, Haggard's late novel When the World Shook and Andre Norton's pulp novella The People of the Crater might help some.

The former is kind of a rehash of Haggard's transmigration themes from She but he's got this South Seas millions of years old ancient civ that has a much more of a science fiction feel than Kor. And I seem to remember the folks who come out of hibernation from that civilization outline some of the other prehistoric civs they warred with etc. Haggard lampoons the English and Christianity throughout. But there's also some casually racist stuff about Polynesians.

People of the Crater also has good details about advanced prehistory. Its also got a copy-and-pasted reincarnation plot but with an ancient aliens premise only the aliens are humans and we're their descendants.

The ancient aliens left a dead civ in a crater at the South Pole (iirc) that influenced the rise of Atlantis, Mu, Lemuria, etc. The unsavory part of the novella is that the South Pole ancient alien race were ultimately killed off by a race with some horrible name like the black ones or the dark ones--the name is definitely about their skin color and they are the product of a failed eugenics experiment wherein the ancient aliens tried to breed with savage humanity before it became civilized.

However, there's also a major delight factor in the various races of lizard, squirrel, etc-derived people (also eugenics experiments) that lived among the ancient aliens and continue to populate their environs.


message 11: by Win (new)

Win Scott Eckert (win_scott_eckert) | 37 comments Fascinating stuff!


message 12: by Will (new)

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
On an only semi-related note I just reread Dennis Power's "When Day Breaks the Stone God Awaits" I just now am grokking how cool his connection between Dark Heart and Ironcastle is. I see why Exiles of Kho is dedicated to him now.


message 13: by Will (new)

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
Now I'm being pedantic with myself: above I said Gribardsun was Abraham. I forgot he was in fact Abraham's father.


message 14: by Sean (new)

Sean | 8 comments I just started reading THE BLACK MASTER, a Shadow novel. The back cover states, "Not since Sherlock Holmes locked wits with Professor Moriarity (sic) have there been such formidable opponents on the battlefield of crime!"


message 15: by Win (new)

Win Scott Eckert (win_scott_eckert) | 37 comments I am losing steam with 'Untamed Pellucidar.' Some of you may know that I did a deep, deep dive into ERB's Pellucidar novels very recently. I won't go into it in a public forum. I will grant that the writing is generally more competent than on many of the Wild Adventures of ERB books. Chris Carey's Moon Men book, of course, remains the highest standard. Putting aside the Pellucidar book, I started reading Neil Gaiman's 'Norse Mythology.'


message 16: by Sean (new)

Sean | 8 comments Today I started two novels with Wold Newton relevance. One is DAVID COPPERFIELD by Charles Dickens, which Farmer brought in in ESCAPE FROM LOKI. I also started TARZAN AND THE FOREIGN LEGION. Of course, that's the novel where Tarzan reveals he received an immortality elixir from a grateful witch doctor. Those who've read Win's "The Wild Huntsman" will know that said witch doctor was much more than he appeared.


message 17: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (talekyn) | 8 comments I think the only thing I've read/listened to so far in June with an obvious WNU connection is the Audible Originals production of Dracula, with Alan Cumming reading Seward's diary entries and Tim Curry reading the very few pieces of the story actually narrated by Van Helsing. VH is such a focal character throughout the book, and is so often the "scenery-chewing" performance of the movie adaptations, that one forgets very little of the original book is told from his POV -- and those few pages are still more first-person narration than Morris or Holmwood get (never mind Renfield or the Count himself)!


message 18: by Anthony (new)

Anthony (talekyn) | 8 comments Oh, wait, duh ... I read John Small's book of essays this month as well. That definitely counts!


message 19: by Will (new)

Will Emmons | 40 comments Mod
I have begun my research of prehistoric fiction with Claire Cameron's new book The Last Neanderthal, available on Audible. I think there is probably a family tree that can be constructed showing the prehistoric literature's connection to family tree but I haven't read enough to work it out yet.

I really wanna read Quest of the Dawn Man by Rosny the Elder soon. I have it an old Ace paperback but I need to finish reading my book on Dogon mythology (reading parts of The Pale Fox--dense text by anthropologists describing figures drawn by the Dogon; probably less exciting than Neil Gaiman...) and finish up The Other Log of Phileas Fogg and The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five to make sure I've got my t's w/r/t to my FarmerFan essay first.


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