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The River of Dancing Gods (Dancing Gods #1)
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The River of Dancing Gods (Dancing Gods #1)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  1,848 ratings  ·  37 reviews
Life had not been kind to Joe and Marge. Now, according to the stranger who met them on a road that wasn't there, they were due to die in nineteen minutes, eighteen seconds. But the ferryboat that waited to take them across the Sea of Dreams could bring them to a new and perhaps better life.

There lay a world where fairies still danced by moonlight and sorcery became real.
Mass Market Paperback, 263 pages
Published December 12th 1986 by Del Rey Fantasy (first published 1984)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,657)
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Dec 01, 2014 David rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: iron-thewed barbarians, half-naked maidens, dragons in need of therapy
A number of other reviewers have made the obvious comparison to Xanth, and they're right - this first book in a prolonged series reads very much like a slightly more mature Piers Anthony novel. But only slightly. The River of Dancing Gods is part traditional portal-epic fantasy, part satire of that genre. Chalker must have had a lot of fun writing this, but in his self-aware parody, he sometimes comes off as trying a little too hard to convince us it's all a joke. "See, the bit about beautiful w ...more
Matthew Havrilla
This is a wonderful series that a roommate had me try back in '96. I read the first two books and they left such a good impression that I just had to find them 15 years later. Or rather, Brenda did and got them for my birthday. Lol. They are no longer in print so a used book store or site would be ideal.

These are a simple read. I would say somewhere along the lines of Piers Anthony. Not a complicated read, but a good simple story with a few decidedly adult moments. As well, he is one of the only
Brian Chafin
Decent start to a decent series.

This wasn't as good on rereading as I remembered. They story and characters are still interesting. There just wasn't room in a short book to introduce a world with great quirks, add depth to the characters, and tell a good story. Chalker makes a worthy attempt to do all three and succeeds in setting the stage for the following books.
reread 4/26/12
I remembered this book as a goofy fun romp. It was a little more tiresome/tired than I remembered, but it's also more self-aware and self-criticizing than I'd remembered, too, which was interesting. Chalker plays around with a lot of fantasy tropes, installing them as the "Rules" of this world: fair maidens MUST be scantily clad when weather permits, magical items like lamps and charms MUST be well defended, and of course, epics MUST at least be trilogies. Chalker's sense of humor
David R. Pendleton
Very Enjoyable

Very Enjoyable

I will admit upfront that four stars is probably a harsh review and would not be fair to most authors it is only fair because my respect for Mr. Chalker is so high. I have yet to read the other books in this series so my minor complaint may prove entirely unfounded but here it is: the barbarian hero was basically a wimp. He was undone by magic consistently had only one fight he came out of successfully without serious wounds and that was against hotel clerks. I was ex
This was the very first Fantasy novel I ever read. I remember clearly going into the adult section of the library (I think I had only been in 6th or 7th grade, and the adult section was still a Whole New World). I was waiting for mom to finish up and I had been spinning one of the paperback racks. The cover caught my eye and I checked it out. I had never read anything like it before.
Aaron Anderson
This series is semi-fun, but seems tiresome after a while. The beginning of the end for me with Chalker. I read all 4, none are horrible, but there's no really neat series idea, to me. Ends up feeling like a Xanth/early Discworld novel with a bit more depth.
The very first sci-fi/fantasy book I ever read, and a great story too!
Mr. Chalker has been one of my favorite authors of science fiction since the early 80's when I discovered the Well of Souls series. In that series humans find themselves in a fantastic world that stretches the readers imagination, not just the characters that must comprehend and deal with the challenges that they are presented with. As complex as the Well World is, so to is the story line of that series.
The story of Joe and Marge follows a similar pattern. Two humans from our world and time, qui
Steve Caldwell
I have read this book many times, and it is one of my all time favorite Fantasy books. Jack Chalker was one of my favorite writers of all time, and this book series is a big reason why. It is a People from our universe taken to a fantasy universe to stop the dark lord story. It has engaging characters, fun fantasy elements, and a mysterious adversary. Well plotted, with an interesting back story for the fantasy world. I would recommend this story to anyone who likes a good rollicking fantasy.
Ted Fauster
After reading this book, I decided I would become a writer. This was the pivotal book for me. The journey of Joe and Marge precluded everything by Salvatore, Williams and the others. It was my catalyst.

The classic 'portal' tale, River of the Dancing Gods transports two ordinary people into a rich fantasy world. There's a quest, of course. There's always a quest.

What is unique about this book, and all the subsequent books in this series, is the complete transformation each character endures. Th
The River of Dancing Gods begins with lots of promise as the hero and heroine are transported to a parallel universe prior to their demise on Earth. This parallel universe is sort of the antithesis of Earth. It is governed by a set of "Rules" written in a massive volume of books.

As the book opens the characters learn about their new world and become accustomed. At this stage the books shows lots of promise, but once the hero, heroine, and a new pack of pals head out on their journey to vanquish
A highly original fantasy, which, although formulaic in some parts, continually surprised me with refreshing characters and unexpected events. In many cases, the characters were likable, however the reader should not expect to find persons or creatures who are deeply developed and interpreted. Consequently, this book is simply entertaining without being absorbing in emotion or awe. To put it another way, I could never escape from the animated feeling of the story that would allow me to enter a p ...more
Randy Smith
Not bad but it was like there was something missing. Can not put my finger on it.
Steve Williamson
Along with Joel Rosenberg's Guardians of the Flame series, Chalker's The Dancing Gods series stand out to me as the classic examples of what pure D&D-style fantasy novels should be. They have engaging characters that you wish you could meet in person, and Chalker is an expert at making ordinary things -- like walking barefoot across shag carpet -- seem extraordinary. Like Rosenberg, Chalker's works made me want to become a writer myself.
The first installment in this series is hands down the best of the bunch. I read these years ago, and actually recall very little about the subsequent books other than thinking that I would have been happy if this book began and ended the bunch. At any rate, this one is worth your time, and the others aren't horrible if you need to know what happens afterwards.
It's funny, well written and enjoyable. What more can you want from a fantasy book. I bought it from the library ex-book sale when I was a lot younger than now and still I want to follow up and read the rest of the series. I like this style of writing and recommend it to people who enjoy their fantasy light and simple.
This book is perhaps more for adolescents, but it's pretty sweet anyway. There are virgins, witches, maps, dragons, barbarians, loincloths, elves, wizards, genies in lamps, and orgasmic unicorns. I do no know what else anyone could possibly want in a book.
The Well of Souls series completely enthralled me. Thus, I was so excited to read this one, but I thought it was only OK, and I was disappointed. I can't put my finger on why it wasn't great. I will most likely read the rest in this series.
Frank Taranto
Marge and Joe get taken to another world. Marge becomes a sorceress who becomes more fairylike every time she uses magic. Joe becomes a barbarian hero with a magic sword named Irving. A good rollicking tale of fantasy edventure, fun to read.
Kevin Driskill
This was my first exposure to Jack Chalker's work and it so captured my interest that I have read his work faithfully ever since. This tale of another world so close at hand and so wonderful in richness is fantastic and intoxicating.
Jim Razinha
I like Chalker's science fiction, but I'm not so sure about his fantasy. This was a slow didn't start to get infesting until 2/3 through. But, because it had promise toward the end, I might try the remainder of the series.
Brandt Deforrest
Flawlessly written. Chalker finds the humor in traditional fantasy themes but still treats his subject with respect. The characters begin as somewhat stock but are fleshed out very satisfyingly.
Shawn Camp
I felt like I was reading back in high school again. Which it was written back then. Like a mix of tolkein and piers anthony. Humor mixed in with fantasy makes a fun read.
One of the series, along with Lord of the Rings, that I have read and reread. I was very sorry that Jack Chalker died and there would be no more Joe and Marge adventures.
Brent Moffitt
Entertaining, but not challenging or even terribly imaginative. Everything seems to fall in place for the heroes while the villains end up looking a little silly.
Intriguing to read a fantasy novel from 1984 and see how much things have changed compared to today's novels in the genre.

Still, it was an enjoyable tale.
first of a fantasy series that poked fun at all the tropes of this type of fiction. Example: one law was that all beautiful women must be scantily clad.
Ron Jones
This is the book that made me a huge fan of Jack Chalker. The characters and story are just as vivid to me now as they were when I first read it eons ago.
I love books about modern people thrust into a fantasy setting. This is a funny, imaginative book. Great fantasy, but not serious fantasy.
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Besides being a science fiction author, Jack Laurence Chalker was a Baltimore City Schools history teacher in Maryland for a time, a member of the Washington Science Fiction Association, and was involved in the founding of the Baltimore Science Fiction Society. Some of his books said that he was born in Norfolk, Virginia although he later claimed that was a mistake.

He attended all but one of the W
More about Jack L. Chalker...

Other Books in the Series

Dancing Gods (5 books)
  • Demons of the Dancing Gods (Dancing Gods, #2)
  • Vengeance of the Dancing Gods (Dancing Gods, #3)
  • Songs of the Dancing Gods (Dancing Gods, #4)
  • Horrors of the Dancing Gods (Dancing Gods, #5)

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