Paul Di Filippo was born on the 29th of October, 1954, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, United States of America. Di Filippo is an American science fiction author.
Along with being an able sci-fi writer, Paul is also a frequent reviewer for print magazines, such as the following: Asimov’s Science Fiction, The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Science Fiction Eye, The New York Review of Science Fiction, Interzone, Nova Express, and even the online editions of Science Fiction Weekly.
Paul is also a member of the Turkey City Writer’s Workshop. Working along with fellow writer Michael Bishop, Paul has published a series of novels.
These novels were published using a pseudonym, one Philip Lawson. Speculative fiction author Anthony Urias also noted that the writing of Di Filippo had a ‘tradition of the bizarre and the weird’.
The novella by Di Filippo named A Year in the Linear City was once nominated for a Hugo award. Being that Di Filippo is an accomplished sci-fi writer, we thought that it was about time that we got down to the nitty gritty of his own books. What exactly are the best books by Paul Di Filippo?
The Steampunk Book Trilogy
- Walt and Emily.
The works, however, weren’t published separately or throughout a period of years, but were released in the form of one book – The Steampunk Trilogy.
The first book sees the naturalist Cosmo accomplishing something that he’s been attempting for a larger period of time: he has created a hybrid of a human and a newt, named Victoria.
However, Cosmo isn’t incapable of supporting Victoria, so she’s left in a brothel. In the meantime, Queen Victoria – based on whom Victoria, the hybrid, acquired her name – has gone missing. The Prime Minister wants to switch the two so that people don’t panic.
In Hottentots, professor Agassiz and a small group of scientists attempt to find where a certain fetiche is located so as to call upon a set of Lovecraftian beasts. In vein of Lovecraft’s own implicit, even at times explicit, racism, the professor is a bit prejudicial towards black people.
In Walt and Emily, however, a certain pair of poets – Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson – are on an expedition to the afterlife with an entourage of spiritualists and scientists. It comes to no surprise that all three books are exceedingly funny, bizarre, weird, but altogether unique. The characters and the settings are all finely written. Without a doubt, The Steampunk Trilogy is rightfully on our list of the best Paul Di Filippo books.
During the latter years of the 1980s, the cyberpunk genre really took off. It concentrated on the frigidness of hardware. However, Di Filippo’s ribofunk – as the fusion of ribosome, a term frequently used in cellular biology, and ‘funk’ –, however, focuses on biology as a cutting-edge science.
The so-called Protein Police are a patrol for rebellious gene splicers, partially-human sea-beings living in a certain lake, and the like.
The stories are genuinely out there. In the way that writers like Lovecraft and Ligotti can write about the bizarre, Di Filippo can write about his signature ribofunk with a zest that undermines both aforementioned authors.
There’s a river that is completely sentient and capable of intelligent thought, a bodyguard that just might partially be a wild animal, an adrenalin junkie that climbs a lofty skyscraper, but then finds himself unable to get off, and plenty, plenty more wacky, odd characters.
The writing of Di Filippo is also amazing. He uses his own trademark slang for writing, the descriptions are scarcely confined to a single word, and his worldbuilding is unmatched. One of the best Paul Di Filippo books that will have you scratching your head not only at the scientific facets it boasts, but also at what the story progresses.
Top 10 Series: Beyond the Farthest Precinct
The Top 10 series is actually one of the most famous series penned by the renowned Alan Moore. However, it is the case that Di Filippo wrote one Top 10 sequel, and it is this one. Top 10: Beyond the Farthest Precinct was published in the year of 2006.
For those that are unfamiliar with the intricacies or the general background of the Top 10 books, we have the super-city for superheroes, supervillains, and anyone in-between with unique capabilities and mighty powers.
The city is referred to oas Neopolis. Well, the city of Neopolis has police force called Precinct 10. Surely, it is no small feat to even attempt to write a sequel to one of Moore’s most famous books, nay one of the most famous superhero series of all time, but Di Filippo aided by illustrator Jerry Ordway does it with flying colors.
Neopolis, as is wont to happen in such a city, is under siege from an odd entity: it resembles the fictional grim reaper a lot. The Top 10 goes to investigate, but things, not under their control, make things more confusing.
They see a very bizarre change in leadership. In fact, there’s even a drug becoming prominent on the streets. What’s weird about this drug is that it is meant for robots.
The story is through and through completely different from what Moore frequently wrote. This facet of the book is probably the most endearing and it is what makes the book a wholly Di Filippo creation, barring the illustrations. The book is amongst the best Paul Di Filippo books.
Fuzzy Dice by Di Filippo was published in 2003. It is one of Di Filippo’s most ambitious books, to date, and seeing as we’ve mentioned quite a few bizarre writings of his, that’s saying something. As such, Fuzzy Dice might be the best Paul Di Filippo book, out there, and this one certainly is out there.
A random, regular morning in the life of protagonist Paul is going on when a wholly weird thing occurs. He is visited by Hans, someone who is actually an AI – a dimension-traveling one, in fact. Hans grants Paul the ability to go to whichever world he wants.
Of course, there’s a catch. Seeing as Paul doesn’t know himself that well, the dimension-traveling isn’t quite as straightforward as it was made out to be.
Paul goes to a realm where the rulers are hippies, to a video-game world, even to the depths of the Big Bang, and Paul attempts to find the answer to the so-called Ontological Pickle.
Doubtless, everyone has had a point in their lives when the multiverse and its intricacies were a prominent thought. What we surely weren’t subject to was a piece of yo-yo made from a ‘strange matter’ that allows us to trod the infinite plane of existence. Paul, however, is in luck.
Where he isn’t in luck is the fact that since there are an infinite number of worlds, his own wishes can be interpreted in an infinite number of ways, so where he’s going to go is as random as the concept of infinity is.
Endlessly engaging, entertaining and humorous, Fuzzy Dice is a hoot and a half. This book is one of the best Paul Di Filippo books, if such a thing is possible.
Lost Pages by Di Filippo is another collection of short stories. They are, however, all connected in a completely unfound manner. They are all authors from the 20th century. Lost Pages was published in the year of 1998.
All of the authors that are placed in the context of a slightly off-kilter history. They aren’t placed in a different century, year, decade, or anything of the like, but something changes in their respective time. It is actually about as close to alternate history as sci-fi writer Di Filippo can come while remaining his own uniquely bizarre self.
Things get very weird, very fast. We have one of the most famous stories in the bunch of Anne Frank. This time, in the vision of Paul, Anne didn’t die during the Holocaust, but saw herself rise to superstardom after her diary was published. Then, Antoine de Saint-Exupery is amongst the final survivors of the human race after a deathly plague has taken the lives of most of humanity. He now tries to rebuild civilization based upon the power of air.
Then, we have Joseph Campbell as the editor of Astounding Magazine. Franz Kafka is even a pulp superhero in one of the odd worlds written and imagined by Di Filippo. Other exceptionally endearing works from Di Filippo are the following two: The Big Get-Even and A Year in the Linear City. All of these books can just as well be called the best Paul Di Filippo books.