Friday, June 24, 2011


This past Tuesday, Titan Books went to street with its new edition of a Philip Jose Farmer classic, "The Peerless Peer". The tale is one of the foundations for the concept of the Wold Newton Universe, with Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson meeting the Lord of the Apes, Tarzan.

I still have my paperback from the mid-70's, back when I devoured anything I could find about Holmes. I always had a fondness for the pastiches, since that was how I first got into Sherlockiana, via Nicholas Meyers' "The Seven Per Cent Solution". And after reading the omnibus collection of Conan Doyle's works, I think "The Peerless Peer" was next on the list.

This all followed on the heels of my reading the "Incompleat Enchanter" series of stories by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague deCamp, and the combination of the two were the guiding forces into my own foray into shared universes with the Toobworld Dynamic.

Having made frequent visits to the Wold Newton site run by Mr. Farmer's worthy acolyte Win Scott Eckert, and having read several of Win's books on the subject, I feel it's time to read "The Peerless Peer" once more. Although it was a "cracking read" the first time round, I'm sure there were plenty of references to other sources that went right over my head back then. Now I'll be able to more fully enjoy the experience.

And I plan to order this edition to do so, for two reasons. One is that I'm not sure my battered old paperback from thirty plus years back should be subjected to any further wear and tear - much safer to leave it tucked away in the crate full of other books on Sherlock Holmes.

The second reason is that I want to do my part in showing support for this new line from Titan Books. See, on the back cover the novel is trumpeted as being a "Wold Newton Universe Novel". And should Titan Books see that there is interest in such a line, other books may follow. And fans of the Wold Newton concept can only benefit from that.

Of course, from the Toobworld perspective it doesn't work, unfortunately. The adventure takes place as the stage is set for World War I, and while the TV Sherlock Holmes would be present during that time period, the tele-Tarzan was to be found in the late 1960's. Still, that's all for the best, I think. The differences between the two shared universes might spark interest in them both from each concept's fans.

If "The Peerless Peer" sounds like something you might be interested in as well, check out these links:

The Peerless Peer by Philip José Farmer - Direct from Titan Books - Afterword by Win Scott Eckert

* Amazon

* BN

* BN NOOKbook (eBook)



PDXWiz said...

I plan on getting this book at some point (and I also want to get the Manly Wade Wellman book of Holmes and Wells' War of the Worlds).

Good reference to Win as a 'worthy acolyte'! I usually think of him as Farmer's #1 fan.

I have not seen either the TV Holmes or the Tarzan tv series. But I ask you about the Tarzan show, did they ever show his parents? On one of the WNU sites, there was an article about the Tarzans (or maybe several) that talked about some of the films being Boy from the earlier films, grown up. I think they talked about him being the subject of the Ely series, but I can't recite it from memory. And since Ely was the titular character in the Doc Savage film, and Doc, Holmes, and Tarzan are related in the WNU, you have some leeway there. Ely's wiki article says he played a big game hunter named Gordon Shaw in the 1992 syndicated Tarzan, a clear homage to Gordon Scott, who did six Tarzan films.

Anyway, another good post.


Toby O'B said...

Thanks, Gordon!

Of course, unlike the WNU and Robert's TVCNU, I try to focus mainly on just TV sources and online content as well. A few movies have been "kidnapped" and dragged out of the Cineverse and into the TV Universe, but those are exceptions that have strong ties to Toobworld - the 'Star Trek' franchise, 'Batman' (1966), the 'McHale's Navy' movies, 'Maverick to name a few - but on the whole I don't count them.

As far as I know there was no detail about Tarzan's past in the TV series. He just was already there as the Lord of the Apes. But I could be wrong.....

Thanks for visiting! It meant a lot today.......