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Tales of the Wold Newton Universe based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
This is quite the hefty collection, and even at 492 pages there are still stories by Farmer and others missing that could fill another volume (or two) of similar size. The majority of the material presented herein is by the Grand Master himself, stories that added depth to the large family tree he'd already outlined in Tarzan Alive! and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life. They range from short to novella length, starting with "The Adventure of the Sore Bridge -- Among Others," in which gentleman thief A.J. Raffles and his sidekick Harry Manders reveal what really happened during the three famously "Unsolved Cases" of Sherlock Holmes (Holmes and Watson do cameo in the story), and ending with my personal favorite, "After King Kong Fell," in which 13 year old Tim Howller of Peoria, IL, while witnessing Kong's great escape and downfall, brushes elbows with Doc Savage and The Shadow. (Howller is a peripheral member of the WN Family, and is a literary stand-in for Farmer himself.) Farmer is in fine form in all of these stories, marrying mystery, historical fiction, noir, fantasy and SF in equal measures in pitch-perfect pastiches of some of our favorite literary characters. Along the way, he also introduces a next generation to the family tree, with characters like Kent Lane (son of The Shadow and Margo Lane, naturally), and the German canine detective Ralph Von Wau Wau. The second half of the book is comprised of stories by those worthies authorized by Phil Farmer or his estate to carry on the author's creations, and these stories are for the most part equal to Farmer's voice and intent. There's a reason Farmer hand-picked Christopher Paul Carey to carry on the Khokarsa Cycle (also known as the "tales of Ancient Opar" books), and Win Scott Eckert to continue the adventures of Pat Wildman, daughter of Doc Savage. Farmer worked closely with these authors to complete his manuscripts for The Song of Kwasin (Carey) and The Evil in Pemberley House (Eckert). Carey and Farmer's story "Kwasin and the Bear God" takes place between chapters of their novel, but is a complete, original story (not a novel excerpt) that easily wraps the reader up in Farmer's pre-history world-building. Eckert's "The Wild Huntsman" is part of his on-going Wold Newton Origins series, in which he describes how those seven couples came to be in the town of Wold Newton when the meteor struck; Eckert deftly mixes historical-political drama with science fiction and melds French pulp influences (The Black Coats) into Farmer's established continuity. (Eckert also manages to bridge the gap between Farmer's licensed Tarzan and Doc Savage novels and his pastiches, Lord Grandrith and Doc Caliban.) The collection is highly recommended for fans of pulp adventure stories; you do not have to have a thorough understanding of the Wold Newton Family tree to enjoy these stories, and they just might whet your appetite to dive head-first into the wonderful creative mythography Farmer is known for.