Earlier today, at FarmerCon 90, a convention in honor of Philip José Farmer's 90th birthday held at the Lakeview branch of the Peoria Public Library, a "Mystery Panel" was held in which it was revealed that Phil and Bette Farmer made the decision to have writers they trusted complete some of Phil's unfinished manuscripts.
Among these are:
- The Song of Kwasin, a continuation of the Khokarsa cycle, the first two books being Hadon of Ancient Opar and Flight to Opar - completed by collaborator Christopher Paul Carey (I've read it, and it's a wonderfully stirring conclusion to the saga, which fans of H. Rider Haggard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and, of course, Phil Farmer, are going to absolutely love; read Chris' own blog post here)
- A Western, Cougar By the Tail, with collaborator Tracy Knight (author of many short stories and two novels, Beneath a Whiskey Sky and The Astonished Eye
- "Getting Ready to Write," a very funny Polytropical Paramyth written with Paul Spiteri, and appearing in Farmerphile #13 (July 2008)
- The Evil in Pemberley House with collaborator Win Scott Eckert
I first discovered the short synopsis, longer outline, handwritten notes, and incomplete manuscript for The Evil in Pemberley House in the "Magic Filing Cabinet" in Phil Farmer's basement on a trip to Peoria with Mike Croteau, publisher of Farmerphile and webmaster of the Official Philip José Farmer Home Page, in July 2005. (During the same trip we also discovered the Kwasin manuscript and notes, much to Chris Carey's joy.) At Phil's bequest, I researched and prepared to finish the novel for two years (amidst other writing projects, in particular finalizing the manuscript for Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World, long-anticipated and coming in 2010 from MonkeyBrain Books) and wrote in earnest this past year.
During this time Chris Carey was also completing The Song of Kwasin and I can't thank him enough for the literally hundreds of emails and many phone calls, in which we bounced ideas around, exchanged feedback, and in general provided much needed support and encouragement.It's an incredible honor and supreme thrill to have been selected to tell the story that Phil didn't complete, the "origin story" of Patricia Wildman, the "woman of bronze," the daughter of "Doc" Wildman, who was a renaissance man and battler of evil-doers from the Golden Age of the 1930s. (For fans who may have forgotten, Phil brought this bronze superman's real name and family background to the world-at-large in a "fictional biography" published in the early 1970s.)
With Phil and Bette Farmer's blessing, the manuscript is now in the hands of Phil's agent. For more information, I've launched a website for The Evil in Pemberley House. Please bookmark it and check back often for news, a forthcoming book trailer, etc. I'm thrilled beyond belief to be involved in this project, and to finally launch it in earnest to the blogosphere. An excerpt from the novel will appear in Farmerphile #14 (October 2008).
In the meantime, content yourself with the gorgeous spot illustration of Patricia Wildman, woman of bronze (lovingly rendered by the amazing Keith Howell) and read below the summary which appeared in the convention booklet handed out today at FarmerCon 90.
THE EVIL IN PEMBERLEY HOUSEFor over thirty years, readers have marveled at Philip José Farmer’s clever integration of some of popular fiction and literature’s most beloved characters, in a mythical web known as the Wold Newton Family. First described in the fictional biographies Tarzan Alive and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, Farmer expanded the mythos in The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, the Tarzan-Sherlock Holmes pastiche The Adventure of the Peerless Peer, Time’s Last Gift, Hadon of Ancient Opar, Flight to Opar, and the authorized series novels The Dark Heart of Time: A Tarzan Novel and Escape from Loki: Doc Savage’s First Adventure.
Now, from imagination of Philip José Farmer and Wold Newton expert Win Scott Eckert, comes an addition to the Wold Newton cycle, a Gothic tale of adventure which builds upon the Canon of Sherlock Holmes mysteries and explores the psyche of a pulp superman’s offspring…
It’s 1973, and Patricia Wildman is traveling from New York to Derbyshire in England to claim her legacy, the grand estate known as Pemberley House. The descendant of famous and infamous dukes and duchesses, and of Pemberley’s memorable Fitzwilliam Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, Patricia is also the daughter of the world-renowned crimefighter of the 1930s and ’40s, Dr. James Clarke “Doc” Wildman. She is also the inheritor of her father’s bronzed skin, gold-flecked eyes, and his physical and intellectual perfection, as well as her mother’s cunning and compassion.
Patricia is looking to put her past behind her and start a new life at Pemberley. Instead, she’s almost immediately attacked by poachers and has to contend with the resentful inhabitants of Pemberley who would prefer the venerable estate pass to them. Foremost among those seeking to prevent Patricia from accepting her legacy and becoming the new Baroness of Lambton are the imperious 103-year-old dowager duchess of Pemberley, her adopted grandchildren, and her personal physician, Dr. Augustus Moran.
Patricia, however, is not only faced with the devious machinations of British nobility and greedy hangers-on, but must also contend with being haunted by her direct ancestor, the 16th century Baroness, Bess of Pemberley. Or is the “Pemberley Curse” really the product of the conniving residents of Pemberley House?
As Patricia struggles to reconcile the supernatural evidence in front of her with her rational scientific upbringing, she also attempts to work through unresolved feelings about her late parents. It’s not easy being the daughter of a superman, after all…
The Evil in Pemberley House is an adventure, Gothic horror, and genealogical mystery set against the backdrop of Jane Austen’s Derbyshire, which will excite a broad array of readers of both pulp and popular literature, especially fans of the Doc Savage pulp novels, the Sherlock Holmes mysteries of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Farmer’s own celebrated Wold Newton Family mythos.