Here, at last, my long journey into Philip Jose Farmerworld comes mostly, and gratefully, to an end. I first encountered Farmer through his Riverworld books, which I continue to think are a great achievement in SFF, and deservedly qualify as classics. After extensive reading, though, the sad fact is that his other work – including stories for which he won prizes – doesn’t come close. The bulk of it is slipshod, far-fetched, and thinly characterized.
This collection, fairly enough, captures all facets of Farmer’s writing, from three reasonably solid Riverworld stories to stories that received acclaim to stories that are outright juvenile – and not in a fun way. In brief, I’d have to say that the only reason to buy the collection is for the Riverworld stories. They’re not essential, but they do flesh out a Tom Mix side story, and some of them show the good side of Farmer’s work.