Thursday, July 23, 2020

THE MYTHS OF RALTARNEE by Philip José Farmer

The late, great Philip José Farmer has prolific library of books and other writings available.  Farmer passed away in 2009 and his devoted fan base (of which I am one) continue to seek out his work.  These include posthumous publications, collaborations, and original works by other authors that are connected to the fantastic worlds he created over the many decades of writing.  One of the more interesting aspects, to me, of Farmer's writing is how often he was involved in projects where he was not the marquee name.  His ego was such that he was willing to be the partner, part of a round-robin style project, or as in the focus of this blog post—providing evocative phantasmagorical commentary accompaniment to the fantasy art of painter Boris Vallejo.

From 1995 through 1999, Farmer wrote the accompanying commentaries for Vallejo's Fantasy Calendar series from Workman Publishing.   The Philip José Farmer International Bibliography website does have listings for all the calendars, but does not really give you a fair taste of how cool they really are.  Any Farmer completist really needs to seek these out and add them to your collection.  It seems pretty clear that the process was that the paintings from Vallejo were selected for the calendar and then they were presented to Farmer who let the visual imagery guide his imagination into whatever creative tangent or imaginary world they birthed within his author's mind.  Fans of Farmer's World of Tiers books will find a lot within these calendar commentaries that could easily slide into the parallel worlds mythology of the World of Tiers if they want them to.

I'm going to use this blog to reproduce the text from the 1996 calendar along with their corresponding picture for the month just to give the reader a taste but also for a representative historical example of an obscure writing of Farmer's that has been unavailable anywhere else for 25 years as of 2020.

Enjoy...The Myths of Raltarnee and Other Character Profiles by Philip José Farmer inspired by artwork created by Boris Vallejo! 
All image descriptions copyright © 1996, 2020, by the P J Farmer Family Trust.