sexta-feira, 4 de abril de 2008
A Novel is a Novel: Interview with Philip José Farmer
One of the finest genre writers of all times, Philip José Farmer is also one of the more versatiles. With themes that run from traditional Science Fiction to pulp oriented homages to authors like Lester Dent, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Jules Verne, he wrote great series such as DAYWORLD, RIVERWORLD and is the creator of the Wold Newton Universe, a project that try to unite several famous characters like Tarzan, Doc Savage, Sherlock Holmes and Fu Manchu as if they were members of the same family and that influenced in a way or another several other authors such as Kim Newman (ANNO DRACULA) and Alan Moore (THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN).
Today, with 86 years, the great master agreed to honor us here at the Intempol site with this small interview.
CARLOS ORSI MARTINHO: Much of your sf work, I may mention the World of Tiers and Riverwold series, seem to me to be more "rationalization frames" for wild adventure tales. It seems that you did plan some Tarzan or Doc Savage-esque adventure and then thought, "all right, in wich frame these things coud be plausible?" and then the sf worlds were build. Was the process something like this? In your mind what comes first, the sf frame or the swashbuckling?
PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER: The SF frame, of course.
COM: When I read "A Feast Unknown" I was kicked out of my feet: It's postmodern before post-modernism, tarantinesque before Quentin Tarantino... And quite fine yarn, too. It seems to have come before it's time. Same thing with your team-ups of classic pulp heroes, as Tarzan (or Mowgli) with Sherlock Holmes. All this things you did so many years ago are in vogue now. How do you feel about it? Why there isn't more of your work translated into film and comics?
PJF: A lot of my early ideas were too "early" for TV or movies at that time , and they wanted the traditional SF. I have no idea why it isn't used more now.
CARLOS ORSI MARTINHO E LUIZ FELIPE VASQUES: You have a wide transit in your literary work, going from pulp pastiches to some very sophisticated science fiction, to pulpish science fiction and into the mainstream. Today, some publishing houses are adopting the term 'scientific thriller' to nominate some SF novels, trying to avoid a direct relation with the genre. In a world where the frontiers among genres like SF, Fantasy and Horror are so diffuse, do you still believe in some kind of segmentation?
PJF: I never did believe in separating science fiction from mainstream or fantasy or horror. A novel is a novel.
COM: You have paid homages to such pulp era icons like Tarzan, Doc Savage, the Shadow and even Great Cthulhu, but -- if I'm not mistaken -- not to any of Robert E. Howard's creations. Any reason for that? Do you dislike Howard's work? Or am I mistaken?
PJF: I have nothing against Robert Howard's work. I just never got around to it. An author only has so much time to write, and can't cover everything.
OCTAVIO ARAGÃO: What about sex in SF? You are considered a pioneer in this field, not afraid to insert 'vivid' sex scenes and even sex-driven plots (like in FLESH) in the conservative world of American SF. Why you did it and how was the answer of the public and the critics to this?
PJF: Science Fiction is supposed to include everything in literature, but they left out sex. I thought it was time to include this very important area. A few traditionalists objected, but the authors were happy for the breakthrough.
LUIS FELIPE VASQUES E OCTAVIO ARAGÃO: Do you believe in the future of literary SF, or it is doomed? How do you see the market today for this kind of genre and what are your opinion to improve it, making it a healthful one?
PJF: Yes, I do believe in the future of Science Fiction. I'm not sure what you mean by "literary" SF. I thought any novel was literary.
OCTAVIO ARAGÃO: I was refering to the SF produced in novels and short stories against the movie Sci-Fi. But it is ok! Thank you very much, Mr. Farmer! And also thanks to Mike, webmaster of the excellent site http://www.pjfarmer.com, for helping us to get in contact with one of our favorite writers.
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