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Philip Jose Farmer – The Other Log of Phileas FoggThe Other Log of Phileas Fogg by Philip Jose Farmer is a charming spoof/derivative of Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days (besides other classics) - so, Phileas Fogg is part of an alien race living along humanity, and his famous bet & trip was a tactical move in the hidden but gory war for domination over the earth between two alien species, both with lofty ideals but very prone to human-style foibles…


There’s a hidden but gory war going on on Earth – Eridaneans and Capelleans are slugging it out for survival, and for the implementation of their respective masterplans to bring knowledge, social wisdom, the end of sickness, famine, war, and an extension of live into millennia to humanity.
As a tactical move in this war, Phileas Fogg, an Eridean adopted human, makes a bet that he can circumvent the earth in 80 days, and sets of on his endeavour
This book describes the trip, as noted by Fogg in his 2nd, secret log, narrated and put into reference by Philip Farmer (identical initials being, of course, simply a co-incidence), listing inconsistencies in Verne’s account (based on the 1st, public log of these events), and explains them with ‘extra’ bits not covered in the official log, linking the story to other notable events and stories of the time.

This includes the overall story of the Eridean and Capellean landings, their conflict, and the subsequent infiltration of humanity by their agents, and the secret war that had been waged over the centuries. Both cultures are extremely long-lived due to a secret elixir, and still contain ‘old ones’, who have seen the planets of their origin. Both alien races have a grand ‘master plan’ for primitive earth, to bring peace etc – but only once their enemies have been exterminated, of course. The irony in this is not lost on Farmer, and neither is it on some (only some) of the protagonists.
Both alien cultures have a much advanced technical knowledge, the main bit thereof making an appearance in the story are the “Distorters” – badly explained, and not entirely logical matter transmitters and communication devices.
Stories linked are “20000 leagues under the Sea” (Nemo is a major character in the book), “The mysterious Island”, the Mary (or Marie?) Celeste makes an appearance; and stories by other author’s are linked, too, Professor Moriarty being the most notable occurrence.

This is not just a fun spoof, but a rather respectful (if playful) homage to Verne’s original. Farmer goes as far as imitating Verne’s writing style (quite well in parts). The entire story takes the form of an (Victorian style) scientific report on the finding of the 2nd log, and the comparison of the two.
It’s particularly entertaining to see how Farmer pulls the other stories into this narrative, creating a classic ‘secret society’ shenanigan from the original boy’s adventure story.
This is a non-essential, but very entertaining book, with a clever socio-critical twist on top; if you can get your hands on a (most likely 2nd hand) copy then by all means get it, it’s worth reading!

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Title: The Other Log of Phileas Fogg
Author: Philip Jose Farmer
Reviewer: Markus
Reviewer URL: http://skating.thierstein.net
Publisher:  Hamlyn
Publication Date: 1979
Review Date: 22 July 2006
ISBN: 0600367479
Price: 80p (1979 price…)
Pages: 166
Format: Paperback
Topic: SF
Topic: spoof

 

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