In this week’s episode of Pulp Crazy, I celebrate what would have been Philip José Farmer’s 98th Birthday by discussing his tale of scholarship and sorcery at Miskatonic University.
“The Freshman” is Farmer’s contribution to H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos that follows an elderly frosh on his eventful first day at Miskatonic University. The short story was inspired by a dream Farmer had, where he was an elderly man rushing for a fraternity at a strange university.
This weeks featured story is not really a pulp tale, although it was written by a breakout pulp writer, who later became a well known science fiction writer. The story is Rastignac the Devil by Philip Jose Farmer. The story first appeared in the May 1954 issue of Fantastic Universe, a digest sized Science Fiction magazine. The story is now readily available online as it is has fallen into the public domain.
Rastignac the Devil takes place in the same shared universe as Farmer’s groundbreaking science fiction story The Lovers, as well as Moth & Rust. Both The Lovers and Moth & Rust appeared in Startling Stories, a science fiction pulp magazine. Rastignac the Devil acts as a prequel to The Lovers.