FarmerCon 100 — Philip José Farmer: His Influence and Legacy

May 30, 2018 by

Not only does 2018 mark the centennial of the armistice that ended The First World War, it is also the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. Beginning on Thursday evening, July 26, and running through Sunday, July 29, PulpFest 2018 and its partner, FarmerCon 100will honor both the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I AND the century mark of Philip José Farmer. We’ll be celebrating at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just outside Pennsylvania’s Steel City.

Few people think of Philip José Farmer as a pulp writer, but he was a child of the pulps and launched his career in the pulps. Before trying his hand at science fiction, he wrote mainstream stories. He sold his first story, “O’Brien and Obrenov,” to ADVENTURE magazine. It was published in the March 1946 issue. His first science fiction story, “The Lovers” — published in the August 1952 STARTLING STORIES — is famous for breaking the taboo on sex in science fiction. It launched his science fiction career and won Farmer the 1952 Hugo Award as the “Most Promising New Talent.”

Over a long career, Farmer continued to write and sell science fiction short stories to such pulps and digests as AMAZING STORIES, ARGOSY, BEYOND FANTASY FICTION, FANTASTIC UNIVERSE, GALAXY, THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, THE SAINT MYSTERY MAGAZINESCIENCE FICTION PLUSSTARTLING STORIES, THRILLING WONDER STORIESWORLDS OF IF, and WORLDS OF TOMORROW. He also wrote novels and published stories in anthologies. In 1967, he won a second Hugo Award for the story “Riders of the Purple Wage,” published in DANGEROUS VISIONS. Farmer was also one of very few writers to win both the lifetime achievement award from the World Fantasy Society and the Grand Master Award presented by the Science Fiction Writers of America.

When Philip José Farmer died on February 25, 2009 at home in Peoria, Illinois, there were countless tributes on the author featured in such diverse forums as LOCUS MAGAZINE and Tor Books to CNN and THE NEW YORK TIMES. PulpFest 2018 guest of honor, Joe Lansdale, credited Farmer with changing the face of science fiction. “I just can’t begin to tell you how important he is to the field as well as other fields,” Lansdale said.

Farmer’s legacy endures and continues to entertain his many fans and readers. Perhaps the best testament to this is the annual FarmerCon gathering, held at PulpFest since 2011. This year, we’re very pleased to welcome our FarmerCon members back to our joint conference, particularly during the centennial year of Philip José Farmer’s birth. We’ll be celebrating the occasion with an expanded FarmerCon programming schedule.

On Friday, July 27, at 7 PM our FarmerCon programming continues with “100 Years of Philip José Farmer: His Influence and Legacy,” a panel featuring authors Joe Lansdale and Christopher Paul Carey, artist and illustrator Mark Wheatley, and FarmerCon co-founder and Meteor House publisher Mike Croteau. They’ll be discussing the importance of the author to the fields of science fiction and fantasy, as well as his importance to the many fans and readers of his work.

What better way to celebrate the 100th birthday of Philip José Farmer than by registering for Pulpfest 2018/FarmerCon 100? The Science Fiction Grand Master will be one of the main themes of the conventions, with plenty of programming about Farmer and his work. Also planned is a rare gallery showing of original art by acclaimed writer-illustrator Mark Wheatley, plus the conventions’ Guest of Honor — Joe Lansdale — the author of over forty novels, numerous short stories, and the introduction to THE BEST OF PHILIP JOSÉ FARMER. You can join both conventions by clicking the Register for 2018 button on the PulpFest home page. And don’t forget to book a room at the DoubleTree while you’re visiting the PulpFest site. They’re going fast!

(In the late 1990s, one of the local newspapers published an article on Philip José Farmer. It was illustrated by a picture of the author, seated in front of some of his book cases. The same photograph was used for Farmer’s obituary in THE DAILY TELEGRAPH, a national British daily founded by Arthur B. Sleigh in 1855.)

Friday at PulpFest

Jul 28, 2017 by

PulpFest 2017 enters it second day, following a successful dealer set-up, early registration, early-bird shopping, and a full slate of programming. If you missed our first day, there’s still more to come.

From 9 to 10 AM today, the dealers’ room will be open only to dealers for set-up. All visitors will also be able to register for the convention this morning — beginning at 9 PM — and at any time during regular dealers’ room hours. A full-weekend advance membership to PulpFest will cost you $35 — if staying at our host hotel — and $40 if staying elsewhere. Single day memberships will be available for $20 for Friday or Saturday and $10 for Sunday. Children who are fifteen and younger and accompanied by a parent, will be admitted free of charge. The general public is welcome to attend. There is ample free parking surrounding our host hotel, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry.

All members, dealers included, can pick up their registration packets at the entrance to our dealers’ room. To help things move smoothly, please bring along a completed registration form. If you have not yet registered, you can download a copy by clicking herePaper forms will also be available at the door.

The dealers’ room will open to all at 10 AM and will remain open until 4:45 PM. Located in the Grand Ballroom of the DoubleTree, our dealers’ room will feature exhibitors selling and trading pulp magazines and related materials, digests, vintage paperbacks, men’s adventure and true crime magazines, first-edition hardcovers, series books, dime novels, original art, Big Little Books, B-movies, serials and related paper collectibles, old-time-radio shows, and Golden and Silver Age as well as pulp-related comic books and games. That’s why PulpFest is known as the “pop culture center of the universe!”

If you’re a fan of Philip Josė Farmer, you won’t want to miss the Meteor House book launch party at the DoubleTree. Meet the team behind the MAN OF WAR novella, including author Heidi Ruby Miller, artist Mark Wheatley, and the editors at Meteor House. An assortment of light refreshments and non-alcoholic beverages will be served Friday, July 28, starting at 5 PM. Further details will be available at the PulpFest 2017 registration desk, outside of the convention’s dealers’ room.

Our afternoon programming will start at 1 PM with our New Fictioneers readings. Our evening programming will begin shortly before 7 PM as PulpFest chairman Jack Cullers officially welcomes all our attendees. Friday night’s programming will include our FarmerCon XII presentation on the “Psychos” of Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José FarmerFarmerCon favorite Win Scott Eckert continues our salute to “the psychos of the pulps” with the first of two readings that he will be performing tonight. Mike Croteau of Meteor House rounds out our FarmerCon programming with Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch.

PulpFest 2017 further examines pulp fiction’s psychos with 100 Years with the Author of Psycho: Robert Bloch — an illustrated survey of the life and times of Robert Bloch presented by Garyn G. Roberts, Ph.D.

This year’s celebration of hardboiled dicks gets underway at 8:40 PM with a reading from the work of SPICY DETECTIVE STORIES author Robert Leslie Bellem, the creator of Hollywood detective Dan Turner. Next, Anthony Award winner Jeffrey Marks looks at The Many Characters of Erle Stanley GardnerAltus Press publisher Matt Moring will also examine DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE, the pulp that truly popularized the hard-as-nails private eye. Closing out the night’s presentations will be pulp historian and fan-favorite author Will Murray. He will be discussing The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant.

Perhaps the most exciting event of the evening will be a WEIRD Audio Play by Robert Bloch, staged by the Narada Radio Company and their PULP-POURRI THEATREReturn to the Sabbath” was originally published in WEIRD TALES under Bloch’s Tarleton Fiske pseudonym. Narrated in the first person by a Hollywood public relations man, it’s the story of a European actor brought to the United States to star in a satanic horror film. Bloch’s story was later adapted and filmed for television as “The Sign of Satan.” It aired on THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR in 1964. The play will start at 11 PM.

You can find additional details about these and all of our presentations by clicking the Programming for 2017 button found at the top of our home page. Each event on the schedule is linked to a post that provides further information on that event. Just click on the event’s title. Watch for the “panels” banner to find our programming area.

PulpFest members are also welcome to socialize together in our hospitality suite at the DoubleTree. You’ll be able to enjoy drinks and snacks with your comrades in pulpdom and talk about the things that you love and collect. If you’re new to the hobby, please join us in our con suite and learn more about pulps and pulp fiction and art.

Friday’s sponsor of the PulpFest hospitality suite is, the online marketplace for books. AbeBooks has a strong focus on rare and collectible books as well as ephemera such as maps, posters, prints and photographs. AbeBooks is a company with a passion for books, art and collectibles. PulpFest is extremely pleased to have AbeBooks as a convention sponsor and  Friday’s hospitality suite sponsor.

If you are not from the Pittsburgh area and have yet to book your room for this year’s PulpFest, you can try calling 1-800-222-8733 to reach our host hotel. Perhaps there is an opening. Please be sure to mention PulpFest in order to receive any special convention deals that may still be available.

PulpFest 2017 will continue on Saturday and Sunday. It concludes at 2 PM on Sunday, July 30. Please join us at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry — just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” — for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con!” You’ll have a FANTASTIC time!

(Between 1935 and 1952, Robert Bloch published nearly seventy stories in WEIRD TALES, “The Unique Magazine.” “The Cheaters” appeared in the November 1947 issue and featured cover art by Matt Fox. A cartoonist, illustrator, comic book and advertising artist, watercolorist, painter, and graphic artist, with lithographs, woodcuts, and etchings to his credit, Fox painted eleven covers for WEIRD TALES and also contributed interior illustrations to the magazine. He also worked for Marvel Comics during the 1950s.

Philip José Farmer’s THE MAD GOBLIN was originally released in 1970 by Ace Books as part of their double line of paperbacks. The other half the book featured LORD OF THE TREES. Both sides of the book featured covers created by Gray Morrow, a comic book and paperback artist who also illustrated many science-fiction magazines. He was nominated for the Hugo Award for best professional artist in 1966, 1967, and 1968.

The “psychos” of  Robert Bloch, Philip José Farmer, and THE SHADOW MAGAZINE will be profiled during PulpFest’s second night of programming, scheduled to begin at 7 PM this evening. We hope to see you in at the DoubleTree Grand Ballroom for “Summer’s AMAZING Pulp Con! You’ll find today’s schedule immediately below.)

Friday, July 28

Dealers’ Room

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM — Early Registration and Dealers’ Room Set-Up

10:00 AM – 4:45 PM — Dealers’ Room Open to All


12:45 – 4:30 PM — New Fictioneers Readings — (author readings by Jim Beard, John Bruening, Peter McGarvey, Heidi Ruby Miller, and Don Shakers)

6:55 – 7:00 PM — Welcome to PulpFest 2017 (Convention Chairman Jack Cullers)

7:00 – 7:20 PM — The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — The Nine (Win Scott Eckert, Frank Schildiner, and Art Sippo)

7:20 – 7:30 PM — The Psychos of Philip José Farmer — Win Scott Eckert Reads from THE MONSTER ON HOLD

7:30 – 7:50 PM — Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch (Mike Croteau of Meteor House)

7:50 – 8:00 PM — Intermission

8:00 – 8:40 PM — 100 Years with the Author of Psycho: Robert Bloch (Garyn Roberts)

8:40 – 8:50 PM — Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents Robert Leslie Bellem, a Dan Turner Reading

8:50 – 9:30 PM — Hardboiled and Dangerous: The Many Characters of Erle Stanley Gardner (Jeffrey Marks)

9:30 – 9:40 PM — Intermission

9:40 – 10:20 PM — Hardboiled Dicks: A Look at DIME DETECTIVE MAGAZINE (Matt Moring)

10:20 – 10:30 PM — Philip José Farmer’s Most Dangerous Dame — Win Scott Eckert Reads from THE SCARLET JAGUAR

10:30 – 10:55 PM — The Dangerous Dames of Maxwell Grant: Myra Reldon, Margo Lane, and Carrie Cashin (Will Murray)

11:00 – 11:30 PM — Pulp-Pourri Theatre Presents “Return to the Sabbath,” a WEIRD Audio Play by Robert Bloch

Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch

May 17, 2017 by

Back in early April, we noted the 100th anniversary of the birth of Robert Bloch, best remembered for his novel PSYCHO. The author of more than 200 stories, nearly thirty novels, and a large number of non-fiction articles, screenplays, and teleplays, Bloch got his start as a writing professional in the pulp magazines that are celebrated each summer at PulpFest. At this year’s convention, we’ll be celebrating “100 Years of Robert Bloch” with a number of presentations.

One of our Bloch presentations will feature FarmerCon founder Michael Croteau, creator of Philip José Farmer’s Official Home Page and the publisher at Meteor House. Mike will be discussing Robert Bloch’s relationship with Grand Master of Science Fiction Philip José Farmer. In addition to being accomplished writers, both men were frequent guests and attendees at various science fiction and fantasy conventions. It was at the 1952 World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago that they struck up their long-lasting friendship.

Bloch — who was well known for his tongue-in-cheek sense of humor — often served as the toastmaster at convention banquets. At the 31st World Science Fiction Convention, held in 1973 in Toronto, Ontario, Bloch quipped:

“Then of course we have Philip José Farmer, one of the greatest innovators in our field, who stripped away much of the prudery and phoney taboos. More than twenty years ago Philip José Farmer dared to do what no one had ever done before. He wrote ‘The Lovers,’ a story in which a man had sexual relations with an insect. You might call it science fiction’s first case of buggery.” Greeted by groans from his audience, Bloch continued, “You hear that, Phil? That’s how the public is. Last year they give you a Hugo; this year they boo your name.”

Using photographs and other materials from the Farmer estate, Michael will regale PulpFest evening programming attendees with tales of the friendship between these two writers of science fiction and fantasy. Please join us on Friday, July 28, at 7:30 PM for “Philip José Farmer and Robert Bloch,” featuring FarmerCon‘s Michael Croteau. It’s all part of PulpFest 2017 and FarmerCon XII at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pittsburgh – Cranberry, just north of Pennsylvania’s “Steel City” of Pittsburgh. To register for both conventions, please click the Register for 2017 button just below the PulpFest home page banner. To book a room at the DoubleTree by Hilton — our host hotel — click one of the Book a Room buttons likewise located on the PulpFest home page.

Start planning now to attend PulpFest 2017 and FarmerCon XII and join hundreds of pulp fiction and Philip José Farmer fans at the pop-culture center of the universe. You’ll have a maddening time, especially if you’re planning to stay at the DoubleTree! We look forward to seeing you from July 27 – 30.

(Not only did Farmer and Bloch cross paths at science fiction conventions, they sometimes met up in the pages of books and magazines. Although he rarely submitted a truly “weird tale,” Farmer’s “The Freshman,” originally published in the May 1979 issue of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION, owes a substantial debt to H. P. Lovecraft, who mentored Robert Bloch as a writer. In that same issue is Bloch’s short story, “Freak Show.” It concerns a traveling side show that appears unexpectedly at the Goober City Fairgrounds. David Hardy contributed the issue’s cover. An artist and illustrator from the United Kingdom, his work has appeared in ANALOG, IF, GALAXY SCIENCE FICTION, SCIENCE FICTION MONTHLY, VISION OF TOMORROW, and many issues of THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION.)