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Tales From Gavagan's Bar

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  135 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The Gavagan's Bar stories fall into the genre of barroom tall tales, though in this instance most of the tall tales turn out to be true, or at least possibly true. The authors patterned them after Lord Dunsany's "Jorkens" stories. The Gavagan's stories are widely considered classics.

· Preface · pr
· Elephas Frumenti [Gavagan’s Bar] · ss F&SF Win/Spr ’50
· The
Mass Market Paperback, 277 pages
Published January 1980 by Bantam Books (first published 1953)
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Classic Science Fiction - 1950-1959
65th out of 139 books — 176 voters
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147th out of 410 books — 895 voters

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Community Reviews

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Nov 24, 2014 Jokoloyo rated it liked it
I have weakness, liking stories that occured at the same place/setting in the whole/most of the story (e.g. Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, or Wuxia novel Happy Hero). So, when I learned that there is bar tales theme in fantasy/SF, I was excited.

This is my second fantasy/SF bar tall tales short-stories anthology. My first was The Draco Tavern. I can't help myself comparing these two books, and with Draco Tavern (DT) as the reference, I must remind myself several times if I thought Draco is the
Apr 29, 2012 Shawn rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-fantasy
I first read these stories when I was about 10 or 11 years old, then loaned the book to someone and never saw it again. As I was passing the sci-fi section in a well-stocked used bookstore recently, I thought I'd take a chance and, there it was, another compilation of my youth.

Take 2 jiggers of Lord Dunsany's Mr. Jorkens club tales, add a snifter of the rare essence (in 1950) of what we now call "urban fantasy", grate some Damon Runyon to taste (alternati
Roland Volz
Feb 04, 2014 Roland Volz rated it it was amazing
Welcome to Gavagan's Bar (rhymes with "pagan") where it's always 1953, the bartender is Irish, and the drinks are never watered down! Where you can rub elbows with mad inventors, dark wizards, and ancient gods masquerading as ordinary schlubs.

The Gavagan's Bar stories were written by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt between 1950 and 1956, and were among those stories that pioneered the modern Fantasy-or-Science-Fiction "Tall Tales." The idea was to write a sci-fi or fantasy story as an anec
A couple of stories got a laugh. A few got a chuckle. Most ended with a shrug of the shoulders. The illustrations are charming.
Jul 15, 2008 Danna rated it liked it
A charming book that stands up to repeated reading. It's a collection of short stories published in the 1950s, each a tale of supernatural weirdness experienced by the patrons of Gavagan's Bar (rhymes with 'pagan'; located in an unnamed U.S. city that seems like New York to me). On the surface, each story appears to be a typical tall-tale as one would expect to hear in a pub, but the strange happenings within the bar itself cause the patrons to lend more credence to each other's odd claims of fa ...more
Norman Howe
May 22, 2015 Norman Howe rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
Collected fantasy stories narrated at a bar.
Fraser Sherman
Sep 07, 2013 Fraser Sherman rated it liked it
The title bar seems to magnetically draw people troubled by one sort of supernatural nuisance or another (dragons, were-dachshunds, X-ray spectacles and so on) but presenting this as stories overheard by people soothing themselves with liquor turns most of them into shaggy dog tales or leaves them frustratingly unresolved (I liked that the first time I read it, not so much now). Very much a YMMV book, I think.
Rea K
Sep 05, 2015 Rea K marked it as started-couldn-t-finish-atm
Shelves: owned, mine
I read this when I was a kid. I didn't understand everything in it, but I loved it. Found my copy in a box (looking for books for my pop sugar book challenge) and so I'm going to reread it. Judge it as an adult.
Oct 07, 2012 Alex rated it it was amazing
One of the biggest surprises of the year for me. It wasn't easy to find and required some internet grimcrackery in order to purchase, but well worth it.
Jun 22, 2011 Bill rated it it was amazing
This was a really fun collection of stories to read. If you're into strange tales of the supernatural vein, this is a great choice.
Apr 13, 2010 Cat rated it it was amazing
A wonderful read, and the beginning of a whole new sub-genre in science fiction and fantasy.
Dec 12, 2011 Ari rated it did not like it
Didn't really hold my attention, only read a few of the stories.
Feb 15, 2010 Joes rated it really liked it
Need to find this again.
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Lyon Sprague de Camp, (Pseudonym: Lyman R. Lyon) was an American science fiction and fantasy author and biographer. In a writing career spanning fifty years he wrote over one hundred books, including novels and notable works of nonfiction, such as biographies of other important fantasy authors.He was widely regarded as an imaginative and innovative writer and was an important figure in the heyday ...more
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