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Science Fiction & Fantasy

Warlock Spite Himself - Christopher Stasheff

Warlock Spite Himself

Author: Christopher Stasheff
Book title: Warlock Spite Himself
ISBN: 0441873375
ISBN13: 978-0441873371
Publisher: Ace (August 15, 1986)
Language: English
Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.4/5
Votes: 415
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The groundbreaking classic that first combined technology and magic--now available in a special collector's edition, featuring a new Introduction by the author.
Reviews: (7)
What good is having a Kindle edition of a book if it isn't the whole book? The Kindle version is abridged, and therefore a waste of money. Please remedy this.
I read the original many years ago, and I loved it. Unfortunately, the Kindle version is definitely missing some major sections. For instance, the relationship between Queen Catherine and Tuan is missing at least the section where Tuan gets into a fight with Catherine just before the final battle.
There are references to that scene that are still in the Kindle version that suddenly make no sense, without that context.

And this is just what I remember from when I read it years ago, so there is probably more that is missing.
When I was 16 years old my Father took me from Chicago to Brussels on a business trip and I finished this book on the flight. I found an English language bookstore in Brussels the next day and bought the next two books. I read of Psionic Wizards and Witchmoss Elves while prowling a country that wears it history openly. The books and the place were perfect compliments to each other. A few years later at Illinois State University I attended a medieval fantasy fighting club and was sorely beaten by a quick whip of a boy who introduced himself as Ed Stasheff. I commented "ah like Christopher Stasheff, one of my favorite authors" He replied, 'Yeah, that would be Dad." Now, I am right proud of my Father, but in that moment I was right jealous of Edward. I own every book Mr Stasheff has written and am now purchasing them in ebook form as they become available. I hope you pick this one up and enjoy the ride half as much as I have.
I apparently have a highly elevated ability to suspend disbelief since I have loved so many books that others have dismissed for the same reasons I find them so interesting and imagination-consuming. If I rate a Sci-Fi/Fantasy book a 5-Star it means the characters have translated me into their world or place of existence. THE WARLOCK IN SPITE OF HIMSELF took me into Gramarye effortlessly. I don't mean this book is perfect and will make sense to everyone else who reads it. What I mean is that the story has a background world that is given enough form to allow for extrapolation, elements that work within the plot for both a Fantasy and Science Fiction genre, and several characters that I adore because they are realistic to the time period it was written within and the world it is about while still making sense here on Earth if a person will consider the differences and not try to cram it into OUR world's view alone.

This world is with a medieval Fantasy belief system nestled with a Science Fiction technology that is seen as "Magic". It is another planet with beings known in Fantasy and human abilities that have been possibilities to the human development in the past few decades in Science Fiction. Japanese Anime has been using some of these basic ploys for years. Rod from a futuristic democratic conflagration of other planets is sent to this other world and finds the medieval world of Gramarye with a young queen, a noble's son, a discontented group of nobles, and a freedom-seeking group of peasants – all the right elements to begin setting up a democratic monarchy! Too bad a shadow group of influencers are trying for a totalitarian or anarchist government by trying to get rid of the current medieval kingdom that could be on its way to a democratic republic.

I wish this book could be used in EVERY SINGLE POLITICAL SCIENCE CLASS in the USA! I already got Book 2 and will try to see where this political intrigue will turn, change, and land in this series. This first book is a lively read, an interesting twist of Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and a group of characters I could not wait to see in the next book. I may be considered an EASY READER but I differ with that assumption. Read this novel and you might just come to realize that you have the same "highly elevated ability" that I have!
The book is just as much of a romp as it was when I read it in Jr. High. The full cast audiobook is especially delightful, and I frankly do not understand complaints of bad sound levels -- it sounds perfectly fine to me. I have other audiobooks where the background Foley is so loud you can't hear the dialogue, but this is quite enjoyable to me. At first, I thought the reader was performing the other roles himself, or with a voice changer. Without doubt, SOME of the voices are run through one, especially the elves, but not all are voices the reader could produce, especially the female voices. So it clearly is a full-cast recording, and the description, which I didn't read completely in my haste to purchase my old favorite "feel good" book of my youth bears out.

But what is NOT available as far as I can find is who the cast IS. It's by "Wild Voices". Great. Now who did Wild Voices contract to do this audiobook? I can't find it anywhere. I'd SWEAR (Art there, old mole?) that Fess the Robot Horse is performed by J. K. Simmons, and I recognize a couple of other voices I can't put a name to, such as old Duke Loguire. If these are unknowns doing the voice parts, they're damned good unknowns and should become knowns so we can support them in their endeavors -- they're wonderful!

Now, as for the book, I have to really stress my headline here. This book was written 40 or so years ago. It might as well have been written in the time of Mark Twain, given the differences in cultural norms compared with today. Also, it's a 40-year-old book about a Medieval/Renaissance pastiche fantasy setting. So there's a double-whammy of elderly cultural references and norms that will challenge the more "sensitive" audience, especially those who would judge Thucydides with the same yardstick as one might judge J. K. Rowling. You can't do that. It's just not appropriate!

When this book was written, the cultural norms were very different, and it was written ABOUT an even OLDER set of cultural norms, almost as a "Connecticut Yankee"-style story, hence my reference to Mark Twain. If you don't stop every few moments to screech about the language, or the "sexism" or any "microaggressions", you might actually enjoy it.

Personally, I adore this book. It's not Shakespeare, though there IS a Horatio, and a ghost, and swearing upon a sword. It's raw and bawdy and entertaining as heck if you DON'T treat it like a current-day copy of "Twilight" or something and find fault in everything as if you can change what was written, for many potential readers, before they were BORN.

Unless you can find a time machine, and can go back and throttle Stasheff into writing it differently, that is. But if you do, it'll change the time stream and I wouldn't even have noticed, so if you can, be my guest to try. But I'd by lying if I didn't hope that this story is a fixed point in time that can't be altered by the wishful thinking of the easily offended.

Give the book a try. Let it be what it is, an adventure story with heroes and villains and derring-do. It'll be GOOD for you. Make you strong, like bull!
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