First 200 Words (part 10)

During his career, Philip José Farmer gave many speeches at science fiction and literary conventions. A quick perusal of this list of Conventions, Events and Other Appearances will show that he was very well travelled in this regard. However, he was also a popular speaker in his home town of Peoria, Illinois. Sadly, he did not keep copies of most of the speeches he gave (boy would we love to read the speech he gave at the 1953 Worldcon, “SF and the Kinsey Report”). Just as Farmerphile did, we hope to print as many speeches as possible in The Worlds of Philip José Farmer series of books. Here is just the first, a very funny speech about writing his first mystery novel.

“The Legend of Mishiwapo”

by Philip José Farmer

Members of the Kiwanis and guests, it’s an honor to be your guest speaker.

Before I really get into this speech, I’m going to give you three quotations. These are on the quotation page of my mystery novel, Nothing Burns in Hell.

“Nothing burns in Hell, except self-will.” That line was written by an anonymous German medieval monk, and it begged to be part of the title of a novel.

The second phrase comes from a famous 1930s book: Trader Horn. Trader Horn was an Englishman who worked in the African ivory trade in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century.

“The Americans—a moral people except when it comes to murder and so on.”

The third quotation is from a poem, The Imitation of Faust, by Alfred Jarry.

“The world is ordered to an obvious Methodist design/And God, with a slight Peoria accent, hovers over all.”

I’d like you to keep these in mind as I talk to you. They are relevant to my mystery novel Nothing Burns in Hell.

Fellow citizens of Peoria, I’m a fiction writer, chiefly of science fiction, so far. Most people know science fiction only through the movies. Thus they don’t know there’s …

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

The rest of “The Legend of Mishiwapo” 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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