Written by: Philip José Farmer and Win Scott Eckert
Published by: Subterranean Press
Pages Count: 212
Where to buy: Subterranean Press (sold out), Amazon, and other fine book retailers.
For over thirty years, readers have marveled at Philip José Farmer‘s inventive integration of popular fiction and literature’s most beloved characters, in a mythical web known as the Wold Newton Family. First described in the fictional biographies Tarzan Alive: The Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life, Farmer expanded his Wold Newton mythos in novels such as The Other Log of Phileas Fogg, The Adventure of the Peerless Peer, Time s Last Gift, Hadon of Ancient Opar, Flight to Opar, The Dark Heart of Time: A Tarzan Novel, and Escape from Loki: Doc Savage’s First Adventure.
The Evil in Pemberley House, an addition to the Wold Newton cycle, plays with the Gothic horror tradition. Patricia Wildman, the daughter of the world-renowned adventurer and crimefighter of the 1930s and ’40s, Dr. James Clarke “Doc” Wildman, is all alone in the world when she inherits the family estate in Derbyshire, England – old, dark, and supposedly haunted.
But Farmer, characteristically, turns convention on its ear. Is the ghost real, or a clever sham? In Patricia Wildman, Farmer creates an introspective character who struggles to reconcile the supernatural with her rational scientific upbringing, while also attempting to work through unresolved feelings about her late parents. He sets the action at Pemberley from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and ingrains the various mysteries in the Canon of the Sherlock Holmes stories.
The Evil in Pemberley House is a darkly erotic novel with broad appeal to readers of pulp and popular literature, particularly followers of Doc Savage, Sherlockians, and fans of Farmer’s own celebrated Wold Newton Family.
About the Authors:
Philip José Farmer (January 26, 1918 – February 25, 2009) was an American author, principally known for his award-winning science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories.
Farmer is best known for his sequences of novels, especially the World of Tiers (1965–93) and Riverworld (1971–83) series. He is noted for the pioneering use of sexual and religious themes in his work, his fascination for, and reworking of, the lore of celebrated pulp heroes, and occasional tongue-in-cheek pseudonymous works written as if by fictional characters. Farmer often mixed real and classic fictional characters and worlds and real and fake authors as epitomized by his Wold Newton family group of books. This ties classic fictional characters together as real people and blood relatives resulting from a meteor strike (a real incident) in Wold Newton, Yorkshire. Such works as The Other Log of Phileas Fogg(1973) and Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (1973) make Farmer an important precursor of the current vogue for literary mashup.
Literary critic Leslie Fiedler compared Farmer to Ray Bradbury as both being “provincial American eccentrics” … who… “strain at the classic limits of the [science fiction] form”, but found Farmer distinctive in that he “manages to be at once naive and sophisticated in his odd blending of theology, pornography, and adventure”.
Win Scott Eckert holds a B.A. in Anthropology and a Juris Doctorate. In 1997, he posted the first site on the Internet devoted to expanding Philip José Farmer‘s concept of the Wold Newton Family. He has recently served as an expert consultant on crossovers involving characters from pulp fiction and Victorian literature for a lawsuit concerning a major motion picture.
Win is the editor of and contributor to Myths for the Modern Age: Philip José Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe (MonkeyBrain Books, 2005), a 2007 Locus Awards finalist. He has written pulp tales for a yearly anthology of Wold-Newtonish stories, Tales of the Shadowmen volumes 1-5 (Black Coat Press, 2005-2009), mostly centered on the adventures of Doc Ardan, a French version of Doc Savage. He has also written stories for The Avenger Chronicles (Moonstone Books, 2008) and Lance Star-Sky Ranger (Cornerstone Book Publishers, 2008). He has several more tales forthcoming from Moonstone Books in The Phantom Chronicles, Volume 2, More Tales of Zorro, and Captain Midnight: Declassified.
Win was a regular contributor of Wold Newton essays and stories to Farmerphile: The Magazine of Philip José Farmer, and he was honored to contribute the Foreword to the new 2006 edition of Philip José Farmer’s seminal “fictional biography,” Tarzan Alive: The Definitive Biography of Lord Greystoke (Bison Books, 2006). Win’s latest books are Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World Volume 1, and Crossovers: A Secret Chronology of the World Volume 2 from Black Coat Press (soon to be reviewed on SNS), and the Wold Newton novel The Evil in Pemberley House, about Patricia Wildman, the daughter of a certain bronze-skinned pulp hero (co-authored with Philip José Farmer, Subterranean Press, 2009).
Hello Ghouls and Boils,
This evening I am proud to present my thoughts on the phantastic book, “The Evil in Pemberley House”. I must admit, I only have a cursory knowledge of Philip José Farmer and the Wold Newton Universe… it’s really Henry‘s (my husband) area of expertise. In fact, as some of our regular readers may remember, earlier this year we published an essay written by my husband on the subject. It’s a good primer for those who are not familiar with this Universe. We also had the opportunity to conduct a short interview with Win Scott Eckert. It was this interview that piqued my curiosity. I was intrigued by the way Win described this story and wanted to give it a read. This isn’t usually the type of book we review here at SNS. But I am always willing to try something new and I love cross genre material. So, I sent Win a message and asked him if he had any review copies. He kindly sent me one. But I won’t tease you about it any longer… let us get to the review. Enjoy, my fiends!
Sarah L. Covert
When I first opened this book, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Prior to this I had only read a chapter or two of a Farmer book. I have learned from friends that he was skilled at combining religious and sexual themes with science-fiction and fantasy. But beyond that, I am a newbie to the Wold Newton Universe.
The story begins in America where we are introduced to Patricia Wildman, the heroine of this story. She is not an average woman, by far. She had a very unusual upbringing. She was educated and trained by the best tutors – in subjects from science to martial arts and more. She traveled to the farthest reaches of the world as a young child. She rarely had any interaction with people of her own age, but that only seemed to enrich her and deepen her magnetism. Though she is only 22, she has the wisdom of a much older woman. Her beauty is captivating, men and women alike are awed by her presence.
Patricia experiences great loss as a young woman. First she loses her Mother and Father in a plane crash above the arctic circle. While she grieved the loss of her Mother, it was her Father’s death that hit her hardest. She loved her Mother, but not in the same way she loved her Father. He would be the man whom Patricia used as a measuring stick for relationships with other men. She managed to find love in Denis Verner, a man who worked in the clinic her Father started. Unfortunately, it isn’t long before she loses him tragically. An orphan and a widow at 22, Patricia wasn’t sure how she would go on. That is why when she receives a letter from an attorney that she is next in line to inherit Pemberley House in England – she agrees to make the trip to England.
Not long after her arrival peculiar things begin to happen. Strangers seem to recognize her, poachers take her and hold her captive in a tower, and her devious cousin tells her the story of a ghost named Bess who haunts Pemberly house — and this is all on the first night of her arrival in Lambton. Patricia is thrown into a mystery that is more than a century old. With lascivious cousins who follow her every move, and a bitter old dowager on her case – will Patricia ever learn the truth behind the evil that lies in Pemberley house?
When I first started this book it reminded me a good deal of a V.C. Andrews novel with its incestuous implications. While it is rich in history and quite detailed, there were times where I felt as if the authors were name dropping a bit too much. I remarked at one point that it was similar to reading the Bible – so and so begat so and so, who begat so and so and on and on. It took me out of the story a time or two. Eventually those initial concerns fell to the wayside. As the book progressed the story deepened and the mysteries kept me wanting to turn the page.
This book surprised me. When I first began reading it, I wasn’t sure I would like it. This is a very adult book – there are explicit sexual scenes and if you are uncomfortable with such things you may not like it. However, I would suggest you give it a chance. I don’t generally like erotica, but I didn’t find it overly gratuitous in this book. By the end of the story I was on the edge of my seat and cheering Patricia on. This story is complex and action-packed- all the way to the very last page. The mysteries of Pemberley House and its occupants are compelling to say the least. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Mysteries, Gothic Romance, or Paranormal stories. I also suggest fans of Pride and Prejudice and Shelock Holmes check this one out. If you enjoy Farmer and the Wold Newton Universe – it is a must have! I give this book a 3.5 out of 5.
Sarah L. Covert, Creator/Editor/Reviewer