Gateway Essentials: Philip José Farmer

Ninety-nine years ago, today, in North Terre Haute, Indiana, Philip José Farmer was born.

Winner of three Hugos, the SFWA Grand Master Award and the World Fantasy Award for life achievement, Farmer was a pioneer in introducing radical themes into SF. His 1952 novella ‘The Lovers’ is credited with breaking the taboo on sex in science fiction. It won Farmer the 1953 Hugo for best new writer, and established him as a major new voice in SF. His continued use of transgressive themes – particularly sexual and religious – made him an important bridge between the pulps and the New Wave, but he remains best-known today for his epic Riverworld sequence.

Riverworld is set on a strange world where every human being who ever lived has been resurrected along the banks of a seemingly-endless river. Beginning with To Your Scattered Bodies Go, which won Farmer the 1972 Hugo Award for best novel, it continues with The Fabulous Riverboat, The Dark Design, The Magic Labyrinth and Gods of Riverworld.

You can find Philip José Farmer’s work via his Author page on the Gateway website and read about him in his entry in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction.