Sunday, March 29, 2015

Paper Tyger!


Well that took long enough.

I've been wanting to read Lord Tyger for several years. I scooped it up when Titan Books published a few years back as part of their Philip Jose Farmer Grandmaster series. I kept putting off getting into it until the time was ripe to plow though it with the gusto a Farmer book deserves. Finally the time came, and I began, but within a few chapters I detected trouble on the horizon.

Sadly I have to say that this story of a young and vital and brutal "Ras Tyger" is overwrought. By that I mean despite is great skills Farmer has created a book here which becomes its own worst enemy with scenes and sequences which lumber on and on long after any vital effect is disappeared. The early parts of the story which show Ras learning about some inconsistencies in the jungle environment in which he is being raised are intriguing but the mystery is not sufficient to support the rambling and repetitive nature of the investigation.

Also Ras often takes time (as does Farmer) to diddle with the local natives. I'm not insulted by that, it's part of a Farmer novel and I know that going in, but it seems in this instance to be gratuitous after a while and bogs down the forward progression of the narrative.

I trust most stories by Farmer to clutch me by the throat and never let go. This one lets me loose repeatedly. Because of that it's taken me many months to finally finish this book which eventually dawdles to a reveal which is almost too obvious from the get-go.

Maybe I'm not in on the joke here, but the pay off is far too little after a much too long wait. Cut this book in half and you have a spirited yarn, but please cut it down.

For the first time I have to say I cannot recommend a Farmer novel, a unique experience.


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