Atomic Moo Book Review of The Wind Whales of Ishmael!!!


Good morning El Moochadores! Titan Books is now reprinting the classic science fiction and fantasy stories of author Philip José Farmer, and I got to read one! First published in 1971; The Wind Whales of Ishmael is Farmer’s exotic and adventurous continuation of Herman Melville’s classic; Moby Dick. Here’s the Synopsis. Of Wind Whales… not Moby Dick. The Whale wins by the way, in case you didn’t already know. Anyways…

Ishmael, lone survivor of the doomed whaling ship Pequod, falls through a rift in time and space to a future Earth—an Earth of blood-sucking vegetation and a blood-red sun, of barren canyons where once the Pacific Ocean roared.
Here too there are whales to hunt—but whales that soar through a dark blue sky….

Okay, so here is what I liked about Wind Whales of Ishmael. Farmer does a great job of creating a horrifying world. The future Earth Ishmael is sucked up into is wild, dangerous, and full of flying sharks! I have actually had nightmares about flying sharks which are only slightly worst than the nightmares I have about my ex-girlfriend. This book also reminded me of some of H.P. Lovecraft’s stories what with the dangerous and dying world full of many tentacled monsters. I enjoyed how Farmer imagined a world so dangerous that most of its inhabitants had to flee the surface to learn how to survive. However, I also felt this story was too much like the stories written by Lovecarft, or Edgar Rice Burroughs. Milieu stories where a lone adventure is pulled into strange new territory. to me, The Wind Whales of Ishmael, read too much like A Princess of Mars but without the super powered John Carter or naked Dejah Thoris. In fact, I read Moby Dick as a kid and although I don’t remember much of the story (I was a teenager and really wanted to something else… like Sega) I do remember not being very impressed with the character of Ishmael. He didn’t seem so much heroic as he did very lucky. His role as the heroic leader storming the castle seemed kind of forced and hard to swallow. Yet, I totally bought into flying sharks and two nosed monkeys… weird.

Go get your own copy of Wind Whales of Ishmael (or several other Philip J. Farmer titles) at the Titan Books online store and let us know what you thought about the book!

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  1. I only know Farmer by reputation; I think he wrote a series of well-received semi-pornographic time travel stories.

    Moby Dick was a drag, but the bit where Ishmael dreams that a hand is holding his is very creepy! It’s a shame; with a good edit, that book could (and should) be great.

    You wanted Sega? Instead of Nintendo? What were you, a big square?

  2. Mister Trog

    04/04/2013 at 12:19 am

    …and yes, we (I) were a couple of squares. It’s a perfectly adequate shape.

  3. I said “semi” pornographic. It was the 1970s, when you didn’t have the Internet, and if you were under 18, you had to use your imagination. Anyhow I haven’t read these, but go nuts:

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