cover image Up the Bright River

Up the Bright River

Philip José Farmer, Subterranean (, $40 (336p) ISBN 978-1-59606-329-7

This posthumous collection of 16 works by Hugo winner Farmer (1918–2009) provides an excellent introduction to the themes that permeated much of his writing, even if it doesn't include many of his most important stories. "Crossing the Dark River" and the title story, set in the Riverworld universe, develop the relationship between a 19th-century doctor and a ninth-century Viking. "The Blasphemers" and "St. Francis Kisses His Ass Goodbye" demonstrate Farmer's strong iconoclastic streak and fondness for tipping sacred cows. Farmer's deep love for the stories of his youth led to a sort of unified-field theory of fictional characters, which he puts forward in "Extracts from the Memoirs of Lord Greystoke," a version of Burroughs's Tarzan. This collection will appeal to both new readers and established fans, especially as many of the inclusions have not been widely reprinted. (Jan.)