Pavilion Digest: February 2009

A plethora of perplexing pavilion posts. The Pavilion Annex thread, the Pavilion Discussion thread, and monthly digests of all messages from the Pavilion.

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Alex Schor

Postby Alex Schor » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:07 pm

Name: Alex Schor
Source: unca20090314.htm
Oh God. Farmer now. It's shaping up to be a torturous year.

Funnily enough the first book of Farmer's I ever read was VENUS ON THE HALF-SHELL, which he wrote as Kurt Vonnegut's inimitable Kilgore Trout. I eventually gave the book away to the library, but I wished to hell I'd kept it. I also greatly admired his RIVERWORLD and DAYWORLD series, and especially THE LOVERS.

I'm so sorry, Harlan.


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Waiting for the riverboat

Postby KOS » Wed Feb 25, 2009 2:21 pm

Name: KOS
Source: unca20090314.htm
For Philip Jose Farmer -


Yea we have thought of royal robes and red.
Had purple dreams of words we uttered;
Have lived once more the moment in the brain
That stirred the multitude to shout again.
All done, all fled, and now we faint and tire
The Feast is over and the lamps expire!

Yea we have launched a ship on sapphire seas,
And felt the steed between the gripping knees;
Have breathed the evening when the huntsman brought
The stiffening trophy of the fevered sport
Have crouched by rivers in the grassy meads
To watch for fish that dart amongst the weeds.
All well, all good so hale from sun and mire
The Feast is over and the lamps expire!

Yet we have thought of Love as men may think,
Who drain a cup because they needs must drink;
Have brought a jewel from beyond the seas
To star a crown of blue anemones.
All fled, all done a Caesars brief desire
The Feast is over and the lamps expire!

Yea and what is there that we have not done,
The Gods provided us twixt sun and sun?
Have we not watched an hundred legions thinned,
And crushed and conquered, succored and sinned?
Lo we who moved the lofty gods to ire
The Feast is over and the lamps expire!

Yea and what voice shall reach us and shall give
Our earthly self a moment more to live?
What arm shall fold us and shall come between
Our failing body and the grasses green?
And the last heart that beats beneath this head
Shall it be heard or unremembered?
All dim, all pale so lift me on the pyre
The Feast is over and the lamps expire!

Viola Garvin

If there is a "Riverworld" (deus volent!), there is one hell of a party going on right about now.


Jordan Owen
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RIP, Philip Jose Farmer

Postby Jordan Owen » Wed Feb 25, 2009 4:09 pm

Name: Jordan Owen
Source: unca20090314.htm
Philip Jose Farmer is one of those writer whose prose are what I call "compulsively readable" meaning one of those writers whose work requires no special effort of focus or intentional mindset to enjoy; his words go down smooth and resonate with the soul. That he is no longer among us is devastating pause, but only a pause. His words give form to his immortality.

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Harlan Ellison
Harlan Fucking Ellison
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Postby Harlan Ellison » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:41 pm

Source: unca20090314.htm
It's hours later, now. I've tried a few times in the interim to enter several thoughts; and I plummet each time. I mistyped Bette Farmer's name. It was a black moment. So I will do it one more once, quickly, and hope I can get there this time.

I thank KOS again for his mailing.

I need to tell Robert Ross, in the words of that wise man among good men, Antonio Porchia, "We live only in hopes of becoming a memory," and that somewhere tonight a kid lives who might not've; and even in the midst of your personal torment, you demonstrated yet again...again, Robert...and we go demonstrated once again that you are pluperfectly what my Dad told me when I was a kid, was the best thing you could ever hope to be:

You are a mensch.

I may go away for a day or two. Please do not worry, do not fret. And though I feel the kindness of your words, please do not expend commiserations on me. I'm here, I'm okay, and the least I can do toward the memory of a man I loved and admired since 1951, is to cry in the lee of his going far away forever.

Thank you, though. Harlan

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P.J. Farmer

Postby DTS » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:43 pm

Name: DTS
Source: unca20090314.htm
ALL: Even on the otherside of the world, news of Mr. Farmer's passing has made the local, online, papers (I'm sure the hardcopy papers will follow suit). A world-class writer, to be sure. It was a pleasure to help out on one of his last collections (because all did was read and try to pick out as many great stories as the publisher, and allote space, would allow). He's left an empty space in the world.

HARLAN: Condolences, and warm wishes.

Jim Thomas

Philip Jose Farmer

Postby Jim Thomas » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:50 pm

Name: Jim Thomas
Source: unca20090314.htm

My first copy of Dangerous Visions was the 1975 paperback; I was just 12 at the tim, and half of the stories skipped merrily over my head. Riders of the Purple Wage was one such story, but I just kept re-reading it. The WTF tableau of the opening, the dreadful puns..but the point of the story eluded me for several more years.

A few years later, I got my hands on Doc Savage: An Apocalyptic Life and A Feast Unknown. My older brothers had gotten me hooked on Doc Savage and The Avenger, and watching Farmer weave their threads, along with those of the other great adventurers, caught me in that young fanboy manner--he GOT it! He loved and revered these stories as I did, and wanted to be a part of that legacy.

JORDAN--You hit it right on the head. Farmer's prose was so easy to just cruise through it, and then suddenly the ideas start to coalesce in the wake and you do a mental double-take as the implications sink in...

Harlan, I'm so sorry.

As for me, I'll be reading RotPW yet again later this evening. The story may have finally revealed its secrets, but the poetry remains.

William Sherman
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In Pace Requiescat

Postby William Sherman » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:09 pm

Name: William Sherman
Source: unca20090314.htm
Dear Mr. Ellison et al.:

You have my deepest condolences, Mr. Ellison. Another literary light snuffed out; another full harvest for the Death Angel. Remembered him in my prayers during Ash Wednesday services today.

First story read (and the hook): "Mother". Simply blew me away and lead me to the "Riverworld" series. (Loved the scene in "To Your Scattered Bodies Go" when Hermann Goering dies. Wonderful.) My SF reading group plans to read one of his non-"Riverworld" novels in April or May. Glad that Pavilionites discussed "Riders" before Mr. Farmer's passing. Sign of his talent and effect on all of us, especially through "Dangerous Visions".

As the former owner/office manager of a long-term health care facility, though, I must say that ninety-one years represents a long, full life as a writer and library patron, despite his declining health, a la Jack Williamson. His work endures.

Regards on this sad start to Lent,

William Sherman
Boxford, MA

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Postby robochrist » Wed Feb 25, 2009 6:56 pm

Name: Rob
Source: unca20090314.htm
My Sojourn Chapter Three

I was PLANNING to use this space to offer a sort of stream-of-consciousness entry about my trip, which took me from Queens NY (my first behind-the-wheel experience ever thru the frenzied canyons of NYC) to Kent, Connecticut.

But having spent part of this day going thru the photos and records I retrieved, to assemble it all into an album, I came across an item I'd COMPLETELY forgotten. And I mean COMPLETELY (note that SOME stuff in that place I just grabbed in handfuls, to save time, so I don't entirely yet what I have in the spoils).

Leo was with us until I was nine years old. He, my mother, and I occasionally gathered in the house to play a game, a sort of Godwin-Shelley-Byron tradition, where we'd take turns uttering a topic to which we'd write a poem. The time allowed to write it was something like 15 minutes. Then we'd each read aloud what we had.

Turns out my mother kept those. I'm looking at 'em right now.

Here's one I wrote - and this was when I was 8 or 9:

On Money

Is it money? Is that our King?
Well, gee, I THOUGHT it was the Divine.
Is money not our life-long vine?
Or is it the People merely hailing the Weeds of Hell, hollowed eyes never knowing? To Buy. To Sell. To Wither.
No other idols to bow before, we are forever trapped in the Weeds of Hell.

Alright! Alright! It's corny as hell! It's from a damn 8-year-old Commie, OK? That's when you have a RIGHT to be corny!

Here's a nice one Leo wrote (and here you'll see who shaped my socio-political eye):

Sitting Bull

White Man raped the virgin Indians,
Then came genocide to destroy them,
With his cruel greedy rush for gold,
Transformed the dark green hills to sand dunes,
Fenced in all his small possessions where once
The roaming Red Man lived the life of God,
Then came the cold steel tracks of trains,
To help decimate and destroy the buffalo
Then the wagon trains, road makers for the concrete highway,
Now destruction of all verdure, and the birth of vile pollution,
And soon we breathe and live no longer
And yearn for return to the Red Man's way.

This was most likely inspired by the book he'd been reading, 'Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee'.

Yeah. Leo, then in his early 80's, passed away about a year or so later. A very conscientious man on such issues as race, history, politics, and Capitalism.

And to think I'd repressed these memories for some years, which, for a time, WAS necessary.

Incidentally, I also came across photos and event flyers showing my mother when she was in her early 20's, as a singer at Carnegie Hall. That was LONG before she'd met my dad. She told me how, eventually, her drinking ruined her voice. Yet - and this is the sort of thing that always distressed me - THAT realization never STOPPED her from bingeing over the 30 years or so. She ruined her life. And, for a time, I got taken down WITH her.

I'm striving to turn that around, for both myself AND her. It's just a drag no other family - from EITHER her side, OR my dad's - ever tried to help or check in on us or express concern about her. There's a burning anger inside of me because of that. But I'm going to turn that around one day.

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Postby Keeney » Wed Feb 25, 2009 9:51 pm

Name: Keeney
Source: unca20090314.htm comes the dark night of the soul
wherein any unlikely light
falls upon blind, weeping eyes...

r.i.p. PJF

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Postby Doc » Thu Feb 26, 2009 12:02 am

Name: Doc
Source: unca20090314.htm
Robert Ross: Often, we mere mortals must do those things which God in his Almighty Absence can or will not (and to all children, at some point, until we learn otherwise, Mom and Dad are Gods). I don't know whether I could have resisted confronting that lady (and by "confronting" I mean "giving a good shake to"; the older I get the more volatile I seem to become on such issues as parental responsibility), but it sounds as though you handled the situation appropriately. Whether she rated a public dressing down or not, no child needs to see that happen to his or her mommy. You done a good thing, sir. And good luck with the chemo - we need you to stick around.

Steve Barber: I imagine passing milestones feels like passing a certain other kind of stone. Thank goodness I'm not prone to either! Seriously, though, thank you for the kind words and wishes.

Cindy: My only kinfolks in Austin are the variety one chooses, not those one is born (sometimes shackled) to. I think I'm closer to them for that. I attended the month-long Summer Theater Workshop at UT, in 1981, then lived there from '87 to '91. At the moment, I'm in Oklahoma City, waiting to sort out my mother's estate, but I actually live in Los Angeles.

KOS: Thanks for "The House of Caesar". A bit of it turned up in Robert Howard's suicide note, and I've always wondered whether it was original to him or elsewhere.

On PJF: My reading hasn't been exhaustive, but I have read enough of the man's work to say this - it always, ALWAYS, whether I liked the particular story or not (and I usually did), touched me somewhere emotionally. He might have inspired awe, rage, hilarity, fill in whatever emotional response you wish, but I never finished a Farmer story thinking "So what?" or "Meh..." He always gave my passions a working-over. It takes not only a good writer, but someone with a special line on humanity to do that so consistently and brilliantly. I can only vaguely imagine what the man himself must have been like.

Harlan and Susan, my heart is with you both.

Dennis C
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Phil Farmer

Postby Dennis C » Thu Feb 26, 2009 3:35 am

Name: Dennis C
Source: unca20090314.htm
When you come back, I think we'd all love to hear stories about Phil Farmer. I only know his magical work, but I know nothing of the man.

And I highly recommend is WORLD OF TIERS books to all of you.

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Condolences and other news

Postby TallyJohnson » Thu Feb 26, 2009 5:17 am

Name: Tally
Source: unca20090314.htm
Harlan- So sorry to hear about Phil Farmer. The work lives on. I know that's weak tea at a time like this. We're here and we all care.

In other, hopefully more pleasant news, I will be a guest at my first Con this year. I will be at ConCarolinas in Charlotte sometime from May 29 to May 31. I have no idea what to expect, having only gone to dragoncon once as a paying customer to meet Harlan. ANY advice from those who know would be appreciated either here or via the above email address. And I do mean ANY. I'll be pimping my three books of SC ghostlore, not standard fiction, if that matters. Hope to see some of you there.

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Postby robochrist » Thu Feb 26, 2009 6:57 am

Name: Rob
Source: unca20090314.htm
Incidentally, not meaning to leave this out: my sincerest condolences for Phil Farmer's passing.

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Postby Moderator » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:19 am

Name: Steve Barber
Source: unca20090314.htm

Philip Jose Farmer.

Another great voice has gone silent. Fortunately he left a legacy through his works and the memories of his friends.

My father was a real proponent of "oral histories", and while it may not be recorded I'd like to add to the requests for some memories of the man from anyone (Harlan) who really knew him.

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Philip Jose Farmer

Postby Midnight » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:35 am

Name: Mary
Source: unca20090314.htm
I had been planning on writing Mr. Farmer someday to discuss "Riders of the Purple Wage". Now, sad to say, that opportunity is gone.

But the stories are still there.

I wanted to tell him how much I admired his writing skill and what he had to say. I would have loved to have just one discussion with him about anything. It more than likely would have been an evening to remember.

You were a lucky man, Mr. Ellison, to know someone with a mind like that. Mr. Farmer will definitely be missed.

I consider myself lucky that I get to write to you on this website, along with everyone else here. When the world gets too crazy, this place is great to come to. It's a breath of fresh air amongst all the bad news that the media sees fit to print.

When the time is right, I'd like to talk to you someday about "Riders of the Purple Wage." Until then, consider yourself hugged.

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