The Maker of Universes (World of Tiers, #1)by Published 01 Jan 1965
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When Robert Wolff found a strange horn in an empty house, he held the key to a different universe. To blow that horn would open up a door through space-time and permit entry to a cosmos whose dimensions and laws were not those our starry galxy knows.
For that other universe was a place of tiers, world upon world piled upon each other like the landings of a sky-piercing mountain. The one to blow that horn would ascend those steps, from creation to creation, until he would come face to face with the being whose brain-child it was.
But what if that maker of universes was a madman? Or an imposter? Or a super-criminal hiding from the wrath of his own superiors?
THE MAKER OF UNIVERSES is unlike any science-fiction novel you have ever read, it is wonderfully unique.
"The Maker of Universes (World of Tiers, #1)" Reviews
As an exercise in world building, World of Tiers is very interesting. That's about it, though. I enjoyed it on a pulpy quick read level. However, I wouldn't recommend it to anyone looking for a deep involving novel.
Robert Wolff is a retired linguistics professor looking at homes to buy in Arizona. While inspecting a room alone, a gate to the world of tiers opens before him. He steps through and finds a world where mermaids and nymphs exist. After a few weeks of eating the food and drinking the water, he is young again. That's when the plot really gets going and he tries to figure out what this world is.
The world of tiers is a pretty cool invention. It's a world shaped like a stepped Myan/Incan pyramid, four steps high. The individual layers are separated from each other, connected only in the middle by massive monoliths. Each layer is massive, containing entire continents.
The world exists in a pocket universe, created by an alien race of immense power. It is orbited by one sun and one moon. When the sun goes behind the monoliths in the middle of the world, that's when night occurs.
People get from level to level by climbing the nooks and crannies of the massive monoliths in the middle of each level. This is forbidden by the "god" of the world of tiers, though.
Most of the inhabitants were kidnapped from earth and their physical bodies altered by the "god" to resemble creatures of earth's myths, such as centaurs and mermaids.
All of this is really cool, and very inventive, in my opinion. I liked this world building aspect of the novel the most.
The not-so-good? Pretty much everything else. The book read like a summary of another, longer book. For instance, while climbing the central monoliths, one of the character's girlfriends becomes pregnant and later loses the baby. I didn't really spoil anything here, because this happens in the space of a couple of pages. No psychological ramifications and no blaming or hurt feelings occur.
The characters were also not very compelling. There was one who was kind of a trickster, but it was obviously a "mary sue" self insertion character for the author himself. He was a little too perfect and competent to be true.
It's a good enough read but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who isn't a big fan of world building. On that alone, it deserves praise. That's about all the praise it deserves, though.
Fun at the time, around 1977, I’d be 15 years old. As one does with friends we were passing around books or at least buying the same books. Some author would became the thing to read and Farmer was one. I think I liked the idea of this book more than the book. Over time I read quite a few of Farmer’s novels. As an adult reader I’ve taken a couple looks back. I was recently looking at Hadon of Ancient Opar ( because Burroughs ) but concluded that he rather bored me. Stuff happens but his pacing isn’t really there. There’s a lack of excitement and tension. Or maybe it’s more the characters making me not care. So I hate to dump on Mr Farmer, but I can’t read them anymore. My 3 out 5 comes out of nostalgia really. Oh well.
I have read so many books from this era with this similiar plot. I'm sure you know it well too. The Narnia/Wizard of Oz/Alice in Wonderland theme of a modern day character unsatisfied with life being transported to a magical world. I may have read it before but this is one of the better ones. Nice writing and world building. Doesn't really stand up to current fantasy or science fiction but an above average example of the golden age of pulp. Recommended to both fans of fantasy and science fiction. To anyone interested in this era of writing. And to fans of Guy Gavriel Kay's Fionavar series as well as the books named above.
A dissatisfied retired man finds a strange gateway in the basement of a house that’s for sale. Going through it, he finds a bizarre world of stacked disks on a spindle, full of danger, weird environments, and beautiful women.
Pretty much my entire, limited knowledge of Philip Jose Farmer comes from the Riverworld series. I thought those books were mostly very good. But it turns out that the bits I didn’t like – the macho tone, the occasional lack of logic – are very much a part of the Farmer approach. In this book, they’re the main part.
It appears Farmer had a modestly intriguing idea – the stacked world of tiers, and ran with it. This is pulp fiction, but not in a good way. It’s all manly men, beautiful, obedient women, and a very thin plot tied together with an almost complete lack of logic. In the hands of someone like Zelazny or Anthony, this could have worked. For Farmer, it feels like a seat of the pants project written to deadline. I just can’t recommend it.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I didn't really like the book, it seemed very dated, but it was possibly ahead of its time when it came out. However, it fails to hold my interest because it focuses on fighting and adventuring instead of characterization.
Some random thoughts:
It contains fight scenes that make my eyes glaze over. The bits with the creature where they mention the Lord reminded me of The Island of Doctor Moreau.
The people stealing from the lord by sneaking into his palace and getting the dimension hopping device reminded me of Jack and the Beanstalk.
The book really starts to loses me when it goes into the fighting tribes and slave traders- then we're no longer in scifi pulp but maybe something like those old pulps where someone adventures in Africa. (Haven't read any of those personally )
Then there's some nonsense with medieval knights, and I am not particularly amused, then for the finale I imagine the cheesiest, campiest sort of 1970s scifi flick- the Prisoner meets Planet of the Apes meets Star Trek meets, monkeys fighting robots with cheesy control panels, with Lords with rivalries like in Doctor Who! I know those things actually post date the novel- in fact checking quickly, the original series of Star Trek premiered in 1966, this book came out in 1965, for example, one could imagine this book is ahead of its time, but today I find it very, very dated.
(He also has a sort of artificial world,used later in more famous books like Rendezvous with Rama by Arthur C Clarke, but he doesn't really seem to try to imagine it as an artificial planet with its own ecology the way a hard science fiction author would)