Philip Jose Farmer keeps coming up on my radar screen, though I see little real notice being taken of this author, one of my all time faves: from the bizarre interpretation of baseball found in Flesh (what a wonderful title for a pubescent SF reader to come across!) to the absolutely astonishing Big Dumb Object that is the Riverworld…not to mention his explorations of other literary figures, playing with Verne, Burroughs, Vonnegut, weaving it all together with the Wold Newton Family concept…stupendous. As an adoptee, I can allow myself the fiction that I am an as-yet unidentified member of that strange family; as an atheist, I have no belief in an after life, but resurrection on the Riverworld doesn’t violate my “belief system”; my condolences to fan friends frequently include the hope that I will see them again on the Riverworld.
It’s tough to go wrong with a Farmer novel. His forthright engagement with sexuality may seem a bit dated these days, despite being ground breaking when originally published, but many of his concepts (Riverworld, World of Tiers, Dayworld) are so gargantuan that they can’t help but wow. Those interested can start with the Wold Newton family, or with his novel To Your Scattered Bodies Go.
Space Cadets. If you’re really looking for some sci fi nostalgia, you can’t go wrong with some of TV’s earliest heroes. Oh sure, we know of Captain Video, and we know Tom Corbett, but what about the others? Did you know that before appearing on the premiere episode of The Outer Limits (Galaxy Being), Cliff Robertson was a space cadet? Yep, Cliff was Rob Brown of the Rocket Rangers. There was also Space Patrol (the live US show, not the marionette UK one of the same name) featuring Commander Buzz Corey, there was Rocky Jones, Space Ranger and Commando Cody. Who knew the Earth was being protected by so many different space cadets!? There’s a fine summary of cadet capers here.
For the friends I spent time with hiding under a desk…does the threat of nuclear war with North Korea or with Iran hit you in the same way concern over the Soviets and “Red” China did back in the day? Or does the current situation seem like little league compared to the Bigs? Somehow, nuclear armageddon without the assurance of world-wide mutual destruction just doesn’t feel the same to me. Still and all, I don’t ever remember the US acting in a way towards another nuclear power the way Trump has been acting towards North Korea. It reminds me of an anti-social brat poking caged lions and tigers with a pointy stick…having entirely forgotten than cages have doors and animal keepers are human….
Passing thought: In the long run, The Orville will win the Trek vs Trek-that-is-not-Trek battle with ST: Discovery. (Side note: for those who dislike Discovery, following normal Trek abbreviaton practices yeilds the very satisfactory “ST:D”) Why? One reason and one reason only: by remaining a broadcast, as opposed to a streaming, show, Orville assures itself of a much wider potential audience than Discovery. That may be mitigated when the first season of Discovery is released…but by then, hearts and minds will have been captured.