▸ world of tiers

Read: Gates of Creation

Farmer's second World of Tiers novel, The gates of Creation, is a bit of a disappointment. Its brevity and, admittedly, its innovative ideas for a number of artificial universes / planets that do not adhere to the common understanding of what planets are or should be speak in its favor. The novel's characters are, however, underdeveloped, without personality and easily exchangeable. Without the first World of Tiers novel this novel's protagonist would remain a total enigma.

This is quite a pity. There are a some good ideas that could be hammered out in more detail. However, whenever there is an opportunity for adventure and character development Farmer skips ahead advancing the rather weak plot. The few twist and turns do not help to make this whole sad and sorry little book more interesting. Instead, they feel like a last effort in showing some story telling skills. Famer's Riverworld series is definitely his better work.

Read: The Maker of Universes

After the imaginative Riverworld series it was only a matter of time for me picking up another Farmer novel. The World of Tiers series seems to be rather closely related as, again, there is an artificial world, some alien ├╝berlords playing gods and a bunch of underlings gifted (?) with relative immortality. They can get killed, though they will not die of old age or illness.

Considering when Maker of Universes was written, Farmer sure shows some imagination and original ideas – at least others who came later (like Stargate) seem to have borrowed from him. Compared to more modern works Maker of Universes is short. Too short actually, part of the story advances so fast that you wonder what happened in between, when the protagonist learned something that he should not yet know, that the reader did not know so far. Despite this discrepancy between length of the novel and progress of the story this first novel in the World of tiers series will certainly not be the last one that I read.