Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Maker of Universes

As a rule, I always carry a book with me to read during those down-times. When I had my accident in Samal last month, I carried in my backpack Philip Jose Farmer's "The Maker of Universes." I had picked it up just a week prior, for the low, low price of P30. What made me buy it? The name, of course, because Farmer comes pretty well regarded in SF&F circles; and the cover. 'Nuff said.

So some four weeks later, I finally finished reading the book. Was it that good that I had to read it slowly, savoring each and every sentence? No. Was it that deep, full of artsy metaphors and meaning? No.

In fact, it was horrible. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible. Horrible. I can't repeat it often enough. It was horrible. Hor-riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiible.

Philip Jose Farmer, in this book, at least, writes with all the skill and vocabulary of a sixth-grader. The characters? Pure cardboard? The scenes? Slap-dash and careless. The narrative? Oh, Buddha.... Someone once said that Farmer wrote "The Maker of Universes" while he was on drugs. I tend to believe that.

So why did I take four weeks to finish it? And why did I stick it out?

But darn it, like an impending train wreck that you just can't keep your eyes off, I just had to read it through the end, no matter how painful each and every sentence became. This is what they probably mean by "it's so bad it's good." I just can't imagine, though.

On the other hand, it's been a real confidence builder. If a guy like Philip Jose Farmer can get this drivel published, darn it, why can't I?

For a kinder review, see www.sfreviews.net, from which I also lifted the picture.


  1. Four weeks actually implies a sub-par novel, in my opinion. I find that if I like a book enough, I usually finish it in less than a week. Given that logic, I figure that your perception of Farmer's efforts can be determined based on how your four-week reading period compares with those of better books.

    That said, the cover art did make me wonder: "Where the heck are her arms?"

  2. Yeah, it was really bad. In comparison, I finished two novels just this week. So I blame it on Farmer.