Another book I got from Bastian’s Book Reviews! Yep, there really was a whole suitcase full.
So I think this is the first time I’ve actually read Philip Jose Farmer’s work, despite being generally aware of it, particularly the Riverworld books. This is perhaps not the best introduction, because it’s Farmer playing with someone else’s toys, and he’s somewhat reliant on the source material: in this case, Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days. It takes that story and then ‘reveals’ an underlying story, in which Fogg is part of a long-running struggle between two alien races who are hiding among humans.
It’s a fun idea, and perhaps more fun when you’ve read Verne’s work and can see all the little tweaks and the uses Farmer makes of the source material. I have read Verne, but not that recently; I’m not sure if reading it more recently might’ve helped in appreciating some of the fun Farmer got up to.
At any rate, I found by the end that it’s mostly fun as an idea, and the actual execution is better the further Farmer strays from the frame narrative of Verne’s book. I enjoyed this version of the detective, Fix, for example — his internal thoughts and his ultimately divided loyalties. But parts which just reprise Verne are not exactly gripping.