Philip José Farmer
Dies At Age 91
Phil Farmer sailed
down the River Iss last week, January 25, 2009, on his final journey into
the unknown. Most national newspaper obits, such as the New York Times,
skipped over his preoccupation with Tarzan and the Burroughs legend, but
faithful fans remember him well through his many Tarzan oriented books
such as Tarzan Alive, The Peerless Peer, Lord of the Trees,
Was a Lovely Beast, Flight to Opar, and numerous magazine interviews.
I first met him face to face at a Chicago dinner in 1989 at the Adventurer's
Club where we both received awards from the Normal Beans Chapter of the
Burroughs Bibliophiles. He was delightful company, and so was his beautiful
wife Bette. To cement our friendship, he sent me the large original painting
of the Greystoke Coat of Arms which he had researched and which was painted
by Bjo Trimble. The motto (in archaic French script) is pictured at the
top of the heraldic shield, and reads: "Je Suys Encore Vyvant" ("I Still
Live"). The watchword at the bottom reads: “Kreeg--ah!” Phil gave a speech
at the 1971 Detroit Dum-Dum on his Greystoke Coat of Arms, and it was published
in Burroughs Bulletin #22 (Summer, 1971) by his good friend Vern
Coriell, editor and publisher of the magazine.
many letters over the years, and in 1996 we both appeared in a French documentary
entitled "Moi Tarzan" in which Phil was filmed in his own home giving a
talk on how he met the real Tarzan. His imagination was vast, as demonstrated
in the huge array of books he published in the science fiction genre, most
notably his Riverworld and World of Tiers series.
Most of all, we remember him for his original view of the Tarzan myth
which he tried to convince his reading public was not myth but reality.
He made no bones about Tarzan inspiring him to become a writer. He won
two Hugo awards (1967 and 1970), was named a Grand Master by the Science
Fiction Writers of America in 2001, and was always in demand by publishers
for more of his brand of writing skills. He spent most of his life in Peoria
where he grew up, went to college, and where he died last week, survived
by his wife Bette, two children, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren,
so he managed to fill his life with good memories and to inspire friendship
in those who knew him. He will be missed.
Here is a gallery of Phil's Burroughs-inspired covers to remember him
... "Ye Editor"