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The Warlock in Spite of Himself (Warlock #1)

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  4,837 Ratings  ·  112 Reviews
Rod Gallowglass is a man of science who does not believe in magic.

Gramarye is a world of witches and warlocks. Of strange abilities and phenomena. A world where society mirrors Earth's own Middle Ages, and a world headed for doom.

Rod Gallowglass must become a part of the local fabric to save the world from both itself and external forces that threaten its existence. But to
ebook, 280 pages
Published April 20th 2012 by Smashwords Edition (first published 1969)
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July2014: Rereading this for the first time in a lot of years with the Sci-fi and Heroic Fantasy group.
I'm hoping it won't disappoint since it is an old favorite.

It's fast moving & a lot of fun even today & knowing what was coming. Some of the ideas of SF are a bit dated, but I found the observation on literacy & the spread of knowledge interesting, especially in light of today's Internet.

These are 2 paragraphs from very early in the book.
It h
Heather Clawson
May 12, 2008 Heather Clawson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book starts off as typical sci-fi/fantasy fodder: An undercover agent, Rodney Gallowglass, discovers an entire planet of earth-descended espers who cut off communications with their home planet centuries before. By the time Rodney finds them they've structured their civilization based on a medievel monarchy. Rodney's use of technology gets him branded as a wizard and he finds himself balanced between the monarchy and a large group of "witches" and "wizards" who are, in actuality, regular peo ...more
Kat  Hooper
May 12, 2012 Kat Hooper rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Rodney Gallowglass is a spy whose job is to discover unknown planets that need to be brought into the fold of the enlightened democratic intergalactic system. When he lands on the backward planet of Gramayre in his spaceship disguised as an asteroid, Rod and his epileptic computer Fess discover a world of fantasy creatures — witches, ghosts, werewolves, dwarves and elves. Gramayre was originally settled by a group of humans who wanted to revert back to a f
Apr 13, 2009 Inventrix rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Honestly, this book may constitute a 'guilty pleasure' type thing for me. The premise is really great - a scifi story that reads like fantasy, where the magic is psychic and the culture is basically a giant Renaissance festival made a lost planetary colony. The characters are not bad. Fess, the epileptic robot, is far and above my favorite of the bunch. And I have a weakness for puns, you see, and he clearly loves puns.

But why guilty? Well, because of the writing. The writing is... well. There i
Feb 09, 2014 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting book. I read it in high school, and liked it, and decided to revisit it.

It's an intriguing blend of fantasy and sci-fi. And not in the science-fantasy way, like Star Wars, but in a real high fantasy meets hard sci fi way. Some delightfully archaic concepts of future tech, such as data stored on tapes, etc.

Rod Gallowglass is an undercover agent for SCENT, an organization that seeks to spread democracy across the galaxy. In this future, communications have improved to the po
Apr 09, 2008 Jared rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
This was the first book that I read by Christopher Stasheff. I found it on my dad's bookshelf, picked it up, and devoured it. At the time, being twelve-ish years old, I knew practically nothing about any form of government other than republican (representative) democracy and monarchy. I learned a lot about my own government and other forms of government by reading this.

Christopher Stasheff seems to be on a quest to educate through entertainment. (In fact, in a number of his other books he has ch
Apr 18, 2011 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had first come across Christopher Stasheff years ago with his Rogue Wizard books. The combination of sci-fi, fantasy and politics intrigued me and though the books weren't masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination they were good reads which were slightly educational.

This is the first book Stasheff wrote and the progenitor of the Rogue Wizard books so when I wanted to reread those books I decided to go back a little further and start at the very beginning.

While I didn't enjoy this as much
A classic sf fantasy tale of a man from an advanced technological universe who comes to a planet where strange properties can be used to create magic, and becomes a powerful warlock to maintain peace.
Jun 23, 2009 Cynthiaj rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I read this book in high school and couldn't stop till I got through the whole series. Now I love to go to the RenFair every February and it always makes me think of Rod Gallowglass.
Jun 17, 2015 Teri-k rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scifi-fant
I first read this decades ago. I think it was a better book then, when there were fewer choices in fantasy. I didn't feel it held up well upon this reread. I remember being delighted at finding a moderately strong female, but now it just felt really sexist. The Marxist vs Democratic rhetoric got old and it felt way too wordy, too. But perhaps the worst problem was that Rod, the MC, is the most boring character in the book. You never understand why he reacts the way he does to anything. He makes ...more
3.5 stars

I loved the concept of this story but I did have some issues with the execution. (view spoiler) However, for the most part I quite li
Beth Hobson
Aug 05, 2010 Beth Hobson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been one of my favorite books since I first read it. I immediately fell in love with Stasheff's unique and quirky writing style. The humour is clever and subtle and you'll find romance, politics and a study of fundamental human nature all wrapped in an entertaining science-fiction fantasy tale.
Story that's hung on to its amusement value over the years. An odd mixture of science fiction (spaceships, Ray guns, robots and time travel) with fantasy (witches, gnomes, elves, banshees.) A fast-moving plot keeps things simple in the odd environment of a feudal society being tugged between differing galactic organizations and its own internal political struggles.
Jan 12, 2009 Terence rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I remember reading the first 2 or 3 books in this series as a teen-ager. I remember liking the first one but apparently the conceit palled by book 3 (or was it book 2?).
Aug 08, 2009 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just re-read this; still excellent. Fantasy meets Science Fiction. A little political intrigue, romance, and a little bawdy.
Feb 05, 2017 Stuart rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Amusing book I have heard about several times over the years but never managed to get around to reading. Listed to this as an audio book recently and found the story line very entertaining although a bit unbelievable.

Definitely something from the late '60s as the blatant sexism and prejudices in there were a surprise from what we see these days.
Scott Waldie
Still a pretty fun book even though it's been many years since I last visited. Actually my attention never held deep into the series but the first couple are worthwhile cult classics of comic science-fantasy.
Susan Fehr
As one of the other reviewers says, this is a mix of sf/fantasy revolving around the desirability of democracy as a goal...but having a lot of issues with standard 70s pulp fiction ideas of manliness and female roles.

I read it as an uncritical teen and thought it was funny and interesting enough to read the whole series, but downloading a sample to my kindle now I am somewhat Im not going to be able to ignore a lot of the casual and blatant sexism or the simple politics. To be fair
An Odd1
Feb 05, 2014 An Odd1 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Like cricket, "no matter who wins, it's going to be hard on the wicket .. Me" p 131. Rod 32 p 285, ugly, becomes knight Gallowglass to save lost colony Gramarye for galactic democracy, but his science is mistaken for warlock power. Identical advisers alienate nobles from Queen Catharine Plantagenet, who subsidizes beggars, protects witches, and exiles her only loyal Lords, uncle Loguire and son Tuan 22 p 395. Help comes from computer Fess inside iron horse, Big Tom, elf King dwarf Brom, ghosts, ...more
Tonja Klein
Oct 28, 2015 Tonja Klein rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Rhonda BeeZee
Sep 23, 2016 Rhonda BeeZee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This entire series is one I will love forever. Read originally in my teens, I started re-reading it a few years ago, and it stood the test of time.
Alice Dillon
Dec 09, 2014 Alice Dillon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was certainly pleasantly surprised by this book. Because of some slight issues of repetition which should have been picked up in editing (Rod seemed to be confused over/just working out things he had already discussed or thought about) as well as occasional pacing issues and a definite political agenda (democratic), I developed fairly low expectations. However, throughout the book I warmed to it more and more and in the end it charmed me with its witty writing style, likeable characters, fasci ...more
Mar 30, 2014 Angie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a pretty good example of how overt misogyny can ruin an otherwise okay book. Granted, it's not the worst I've ever read, but the female characters are 1-dimensional and exist only as foils to the men. The main character apparently thinks any woman who acts on her own behalf is automatically a bitch; if the author had wanted this to be a legit thing to call the queen, for instance, he should have spent more than about 2 sentences of dialog to actually present a situation that showed her a ...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
Rodney d'Armand's is a SCENT agent, whose job is to rediscover lost colonies and prepare them for re-entry into the confederation of worlds. His latest mission has taken him to the land of Gramarye, and soon realises that he has found the planet settled that was by a group that wanted to recreated Renaissance European society. So he isn't surprised to find a mismatch of architecture and customs taken from all over Europe, and a monarchy with both the aristocrats and a society of beggars on the v ...more
Jul 26, 2014 H.t. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f-2014
This book was easy to read and fun with some interesting ideas. I like the overall plot of a secret agent arriving on a medieval-esque planet to sow the seeds of democracy, discovering that there are other forces trying to turn it into a dictatorship or a communist utopia.
The main character, Rod Gallowglass, is generally likable, but perhaps less so than his epileptic robot/horse, who has a sort of dry humour. The queen, Catherine, is annoying from the beginning to the end but for different rea
Matteo Wong
Sep 16, 2013 Matteo Wong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Warlock in Spite of Himself, by Christopher Stasheff, is an incredible story about Rod "Gallowglass," a scientific explorer that finds a new world. This world is not developed scientifically, like the rest of the world. It doesn't have spaceships, but is still in a medieval time period. There is real magic on this planet, and they believe Rod is a warlock, but he only uses science. Rod has to save the planet from being conquered by other futuristic characters. This is a great story about lie ...more
Cromm Krommlach
I have a problem with books - if I start reading one, it is difficult to stop, event if it quite bad.

That was the case here. I finally managed to stop and am very happy that I do no have to read it anymore and can move to better things.

I could have potentially enjoyed the book when I was 10 years old, now it just feels stuffy, boring as hell, unoriginal, cringe-inducing.

I could not write even such a a bad book as this was but definetely can say this was not a pleasant experience.

I do recognize
Sep 04, 2010 Scurra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book has been sitting on my shelf for several years and I was surprised to find that I hadn't read it after all.

It's a nice SF/Fantasy "romp" - a direct application of Clarke's Third Law executed in a relatively original fashion, although, being forty years old, it perhaps doesn't feel quite so original now.

I enjoyed the clarity of his writing, which has a good visual style, and the characters were generally distinctive and well defined. But ultimately I found the overly political thrust of
Jun 08, 2012 Radwa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was reading a novel to kind of run away from all the crazy politics here in Egypt, only to find a brilliant blend of politics, technology and magic in the Warlock in Spite of Himself. Rod Gallowglass, a spy of an intergalactic organization, goes on an adventure to protect democratic transition in the medieval kingdom of Gramarye. All with the help of his robot horse, Fess.

The only drawbacks are some chunks of vocabulary that I had to look up in my dictionary, English being my second languag
Dec 31, 2012 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok so here we go with the first comments of 2013. I should make a note of myself never to read comments and reviews of others on books I am or am about you read. You see yes I agree with many I still find some issue of my own. Namely that even though this is a science fantasy (by many commentators agreement a phrase coined for these books) I struggle in the fact that some characters - namely the main protagonist- speak in modern clearly understood english, while the natives speaketh thus and so ...more
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Warlock in Spite of Himself 18 54 Aug 30, 2014 06:16AM  
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Christopher Stasheff published his first novel, The Warlock in Spite of Himself, in 1969. He is often credited as one of the founders of the "science fantasy" genre. Over the next forty years, he wrote 44 novels, 29 short stories, and edited 7 anthologies. His most popular works are the Warlock of Gramarye series and its spin-offs, the Wizard in Rhyme series, and the Starship Troupers.

Stasheff has
More about Christopher Stasheff...

Other Books in the Series

Warlock (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Escape Velocity (Warlock, #0)
  • King Kobold
  • King Kobold Revived (Warlock, #2)
  • The Warlock Unlocked (Warlock, #3)
  • The Warlock Enraged (Warlock, #4)
  • The Warlock Wandering (Warlock, #5)
  • The Warlock Is Missing (Warlock, #6)
  • The Warlock Heretical (Warlock, #7)
  • The Warlock's Companion (Warlock, #8)
  • The Warlock Insane (Warlock, #9)

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“But democrats are seldom welcome on planets run by totalitarian governments, and scarcely more welcome on planets where anarchy prevails--this is due to the very nature of democracy, the only practical compromise between totalitarianism and anarchy.” 5 likes
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