First 200 Words (part 3)

The Worlds of Philip José Farmer isn’t just about publishing never before seen material by Farmer and new stories set in his worlds. We also intend to preserve essays written about Farmer and his work during his long career. If the essay happens to have been written by the man himself, so much the better:

“Comment on ‘Sail On! Sail On!'”

by Philip José Farmer

Three years before “Sail On! Sail On!” was written, I had a dream. I saw the tiny galleon of the Portuguese Prince Henry the Navigator (1394–1460 A.D.). It was sailing along in a heavy sea and on a dark night. A small building was on the poopdeck; in it sat a very fat monk. He had earphones on and was tapping out a coded message, in Latin, on a spark-gap transmitter.

That was all. The dream ended. However, I never forgot it. And a year later, the dream came to me again, as many of my best dreams do. Six months afterward, that dream occurred again. For some reason, my unconscious insisted upon thrusting up this strange picture. Perhaps it was a rather bizarre form of warning to me. If so, I never got the message. Instead, I wondered what kind of story I could make out of it.

Before I even worked the story out, I had exchanged Columbus for Prince Henry. As a child, I had always been fascinated by the idea of Columbus’ falling off the edge of the world. Even when I was told that the earth was round, I did not quite believe it. …

(Copyright © 2010 by the Philip J Farmer Family Trust)

The rest of “Comment on ‘Sail On! Sail On!'” can be found in The Worlds of Philip José Farmer 1: Protean Dimensions. Keep watching this space for more 200 word excerpts.

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