Monday, July 04, 2005


I picked up a recommendation to read something - I wanna say the Riverworld series - by Philip Jose Farmer sometime, somewhere. On one of my latest used book-buying binges I picked up Father to the Stars... not part of the series but it still looked interesting.

After I read the first "chapter," however, I realized that I was largely mistaken. Or, rather, various clues I took to mean that it was a bizzare and inventive form of quasi-novel were misread. It is, rather, a collection of five short stories published in the 50s and 60s focusing upon a John Carmody. The stories are relatively inventive if a bit simple. Carmody is, at times, a mildly interesting character... the further he moves along in his religious order the less interesting he gets.

When I first realized that they were short stories - after the second "chapter" was mostly unrelated to the first... and I looked more closely at the non-text parts of the book - I was surprised that the stories were presented in an order other than that in which they were published. After reading the earliest stories this made much more sense. the first story, "Attitudes," is neither representative nor terribly good; "Father" is long (90 pages) and not that interesting either.

As a side note, yes, not pay much attention to the back cover and front flaps and whatnot does makes me look pretty stupid... but I tend to prefer to not know anything about a book before I start it other than that I want to read it. The delay between putting a book on a want-list and actually reading it helps in this endeavor.

In this case not knowing much about the book backfired. The first story, "The Night of Light," was odd and compelling and worth reading; the others, however, were less adventurous and generally silly... nothing of the sort I'd read again or recommend.


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