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Hobgoblin

3.34 of 5 stars 3.34  ·  rating details  ·  247 ratings  ·  39 reviews
Hobgoblin by John Coyne is a 1981 book about Scott Gardiner, a teenaged boy who becomes obsessed with "Hobgoblin," a fantasy roleplaying game based on Irish mythology, as his life in the game & in reality slowly blend.
Like the contemporary Mazes & Monsters, this is a species of problem novel (altho not aimed at young adult readers) by an established writer, which
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Paperback
Published October 1st 1990 by Warner Books (NY) (first published 1981)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 387)
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Vezlandia Day
I first got this book in high school. It's about a kid who has this totally kick ass 'dungeons and dragons' character. He moves to a castle with his mom who does historical preservation work or something like that. You guessed it, weird things start happening. He has to battle the things that become real...or are they?
I will probably read this book 5 more time before I kick the bucket. There's just something about it...
Vomithatsteve
Jan 02, 2010 Vomithatsteve rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Gamers who've run out of Chick tracts
Recommended to Vomithatsteve by: Goodwill
This is a book about fantasy role-playing games from the early '80s. The question here isn't "is this a good book." The question is "is this book hilariously bad or not? The answer is, unfortunately, not particularly.

The main character is the standard cliche for this genre: a misunderstood teen who plays RPGs and has trouble distinguishing the game from reality. However, where other examples of this genre would usually make him likeable, Coyne doesn't bother. The character acts like a jerk (espe
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Julian
Jun 27, 2008 Julian rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Imelda Marcos
Recommended to Julian by: I did, I'm a jackass.
I read this book when I was vaguely a teenager. At the time I was still in the throes of intensive Dungeon and Dragoning, and this book is about a roll playing game acted out in reality, which with spectacularly failed results my friends and I also attempted. I'd love to read this again, as at the time I found this book both scarey and sexy. The characters were real people (vs. Lolth, the wicked spider queen of the drow elves for example) and their actions were realistic to me. Despite a good 20 ...more
Fred
One of my all-time favs.( also one of only a few titles that I own multiple copies of.) If you're a RPG gamer I highly recommend this book. This book also set me on a quest to find out more about Brian Boru. As I write this I'm tempted to dig it out and re-read it.
David
Another book I read as a teenager. This was a schlock, sensational novel written back when Dungeons & Dragons (and the associated mania surrounding it) was just becoming a big thing. The protagonist is a teenager obsessed with a D&D-style roleplaying game, to the point that he over-identifies with his character. The plot is almost like Jack Chick's "Dark Dungeons," minus the Christianity... and the humor.

Despite that, I gave it 2 stars instead of the 1 it probably deserves because I do r
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Travis
Found a copy in a box of books that were going to the used bookstore. After I read this I realized why my extended family was so concerned that I played role playing games as a child. If this book was what they thought happened when you played role playing games, I probably would have been concerned too.

The unfortunate part of this book is the inconsistancy. Characters know information that has never come up prior to the scene they need the information and the information will stop being importa
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Frank
So after reading Mazes and Monsters, I struggled with this book. It deserves a 1/5 but it's not absolutely worthless. It's not crap, the characters have a small amount of depth, but the ending is weak, and the story fails. The motivation of the characters is poor, but at least there's motivation rather than "I rather sleep with X instead of Y and Y is ok with it".

The book starts with Scott Gardiner, a character already starting to show psychological problems (though he hides them from others). H
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Andrew
Legitimately creepy YA novel about a Dungeons and Dragons-esque role-playing game that comes to life. Written in the early eighties at the height of D&D's popularity and growing parental concern, this goes straight for the supernatural. Still holds up well in spite of some clunky prose and occasional melodrama. A preteen favorite of mine.
Jimbo
story about a kid that is into playing a fantsay role playing game. he also is a misfit, and then bad stuff starts happening as his mother start digging away at the history of a castle. it was a bit creepy, but not scary. written pretty well, but got a little predictable towards the end. not a bad book at all.
Jeff
A great book, and a wonerful character who makes you feel like you're not the only one who feeds off of your over-active imagination.
Keleigh
My number one fav book EVER! I would read this over and over, in fact, you'll have to excuse me, I'm going to go read it now.
Dave/Maggie Bean
Yeah, yeah. I know -- gamers are fun to pick on, and gaming is a target-rich environment. Be that as it may; if one chooses to belittle the field and its devotees (make no mistake; Hobgoblin does just that, by treating gamers as disordered personalities rather than eccentric hobbyists), one should do one's homework beforehand. Like the schmuck who penned _Mazes and Monsters_ (another exercise in geek-bashing), Coyne didn't bother. Thusly, the characters are two-dimensional, cliched paper-dolls ( ...more
Aaron
An oldie but a moldie. I think I may have read this when I was in high school, as it seems very familiar to me (I read a great deal back then). I found this book in a used book store for a buck and read it. It chugs along as it should, lots of mystery, lots of death and even some steamy scenes. Overall a fun read, nothing earth shattering, but a nice book to read on a rainy Sunday.
Guillermo Hang
Uno de los libros que decidí releer, porque cuando lo leí al comienzo de mi adolescencia me había atrapado. De adulto no lo hizo tanto, pero reconozco los elementos que lo lograron en su momento. La trama es veloz, sencilla y con suspenso, pero el final es abrupto y el desarrollo de personajes débil. No obstante, igual lo recomendaría a un adolescente que apenas empieza a leer novelas de misterio.

One of the books I decided to reread, because it caught me when I was a teenager. As an adult, it di
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Tim
My favorite book when I was 10 or so. Recently found a copy for a dollar. I never saw this cover though. Reading again for first time in 30 years.
John Ulrich
I liked this book especially realizing that it was written in 1981. With the recent explosion of games like World of Warcraft, Magic - The Gathering, and other Dungeons and Dragons type games, it's like Coyne wrote this last year. I'm not a big fan of those types of games, but I understand them and I understand the appeal some people have with them. I won't give away the secrets of the book, but it was a quick read and a nice break from the labored text I usually read. It's definitely creepy, wh ...more
Mark Palmer
First novel I read that revolved around a D&D type game. Didn't have as much to do with the story as I was expecting.
Hugo Negron

Jumping on the bandwagon of the paranoia around fatnasy role playing games like Dungeons and Dragons back in the day, the story builds upon a lonely teenager and his obsession with a role playing game that uses Irish mythology as a backdrop.

The owner of a house that died has supposedly come back, and Scott Gardiner, our protagonist, starts to confuse fantasy with reality. Are creatures from his book actually coming to life around him? That would have been an interesting premise, but in the end,
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Anthony
Not terrible, but not great. In all honesty, I want someone to make the Hobgoblin RPG, so I can play it. It sounds pretty cool.
Jim Brooks
Bought this years ago, thinking it was fantasy, but it's mainly horror.
Nothing exciting happens in the first half, then it picks up, but never getting real scary.

Often Hobgoblin is compared to Mazes and Monsters, but coincidentally, both were published the same year (and perpetuated the stereotype that Dungeons and Dragons players were insane, hahahaha).

Hobgoblin differs from M&M with its Irish characters/mythology and horror aspects.
Cristina (a book away from an episode of hoarders)
You know, I remember reading this book when I was a teenager. I don't remember getting any negative ideas about RPGs though. I just read it as a horror/suspense book.

I might get something different from it if I read it again.

By the way, I still play RPGs and its been probably 15 years since I read this book.

My memory of the book would give it 4 stars but I'll give it 3 since I wouldn't be willing to read it again.
Scott
I think you have to actually have been an 80s teen into role playing games to like this book. But I was and I did. It's a bit dated now, but so are we.
Rebecca
I think I know who John Coyne was, and it's evident that he has no business writing female characters. The plot was taking forever to get going, the women were insipid, the main character undeveloped, and then it just got so bizarre and infuriating that I put it down.

No congratulations.
ReaderNation
I didn't really read until halfway through undergrad! I read this thick book a couple times - which must have meant something. I've put in on my amazon watch list when ever I get a bug up the six to revisit the "old days"
Erik Graff
Jul 21, 2009 Erik Graff rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: gamers?
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: literature
Why did I read this horror novel? Never having been a gamer and not much liking horror per se, I got nothing out of this at all. Some friend (my boss' son?) must have recommended it.
Andrew
This book scared the crap out of me as a kid. I read it a gain a couple years ago and its still a good book to pass the time with. I bouth a first edition hardcover to add to my library
John
I've read this book on and off over the years. Probably read it a total of 5 to 6 times. There's just something about the book I find enjoyable, especially the tie to Ireland.
Dale
A fast read; your run-of-the-mill pulp/horror novel with aspects of fanstasy. If you were an RPGer in th 1980s you will enjoy this. It's not Faulkner, but it's fun.
Doug
Wish I still had a copy. This book was terrorfying on several levels. It is a mystery, a horror, and a fantasy all in one. Read it twice, would again.
Charles
Came out at a time that folks were worried about kids getting too caught up in fantasy games. This one worked pretty well, I thought.
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193729
John Coyne (born 1937) is an American writer. He is the author of more than twenty-five nonfiction and fiction books, including a number of horror novels, while his short stories have been collected in "best of" anthologies such as Modern Masters of Horror and The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. A former Peace Corps Volunteer and a life-long lover of golf, Coyne has edited and written a number of ...more
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