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Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson

3.57  ·  Rating Details  ·  122 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordsperson is a 1993 anthology by George Alec Effinger, with cover and interior illustrations by Ken Kelly. They collect all of his stories about Maureen 'Muffy' Birnbaum, a Jewish American Princess who is magically teleported to various fantasy and science fiction universes, and later recounts the tales to her best friend, 'Bitsy' Spiegelman. ...more
Hardcover, 154 pages
Published 1993 by Guild America
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Jun 09, 2009 Charles rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy, friendsbooks
Almost everyone loves these stories. I'm afraid I don't. Oh, they are well written, very clever, and witty, but they're not my cup of tea. I like my fantasy straight up and taken more seriously. These have just too much tongue in cheek for me to really enjoy.
Tom King
Jan 21, 2016 Tom King rated it really liked it
You need a sense of humor for this one. If you're one of those guys that lives in your Mom's basement and have a complete Viking raider costume complete with horned helmet and warhammer, you might not appreciate the broad satire of your favorite genre. Effinger drills straight into dozens of our favorite classic sci-fi and sword and sorcery epics and skewers the improbable magic and unlikely setups that are so often found in low-grade pulp fiction of this sort. He also does a nice job playing in ...more
Joseph Teller
A nifty collection of short stories, taking the classic concept of the crossworld hopping person from the modern world ending up in a fantasy setting (this one resembling a Burroughs "Barssom" setting) and adapting to their new surroundings rapidly. Its done with tongue in cheek and humor as the goal, as well as satire, and in this case a Jewish Princess Valley Girl that becomes a Barbarian Swordswoman when she world hops....

It's probably hard to find a copy, and long out of print, but worth it
Oct 02, 2009 Craig rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This collection is a lot of fun; it casts a clueless, preppy, Jewish princess society girl in the role of a swashbuckling, swordswoman-adventuress in famous fictional fantasy worlds. Great funny stuff!
Apr 14, 2009 Rob rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
If you love parody, you have to read this. It's a scream. THe only low point may be when Maureen enters into a shopping context with Maid Marian. That, I could do without. But the rest is excellent.
Jan 21, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it
Oct 12, 2015 Jim rated it really liked it
The late George Alec Effinger does a great job of parodying other authors with his stories of the teenage Maureen "Muffie" Birnbaum. His heroine finds herself on Barsoom, then at the Earth's Core, and then in other worlds. Perhaps my favorite is the story about Ms. Birnbaum appearing on the planet named Lagash just in time to face the panic that ensued when Night Fell ( from Isaac Asimov's "Nightfall").
Very entertaining stories--only wish there were more adventures of the gorgeous sword-wield
Nov 20, 2014 Scott rated it it was amazing
I really loved these adventures. It does help to have read the different books that George Alec Effinger was parodying. It's too bad that there won't be anymore Maureen Birnbaum adventures. My favorite was Maureen Birnbaum at the Earth's Core. The art work through out the book was awesome. The most amazing thing is after all those adventures Maureen Birnbaum is still a virgin.
Jan 01, 2016 Aliesha rated it liked it
Although some stories still made me chuckle, overall the book hasn't aged well. The "real world" sections are too dated, and characterization is done broadly, well past satire and back around to condescending. So what made me chuckle? The send-ups of the F/SF genre stories themselves.
Nov 22, 2015 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Ralph
jewish princess who speaks with a heavy 80s valley accent hops thru a few , like, well known SciFi/Fantasy plots.
The author gleefully parodies everything from fictional worlds (the very first trip is to Barsoom of course! followed by a stop in Pellucidar) to The Holy Grail mythos
May 25, 2013 Ian rated it liked it
In the title piece of this collection of cult-fave stories, prep-school senior Maureen "Muffy" Birnbaum finds herself transported to Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom (unnamed but readily identifiable nonetheless) and prevails against the natives armed only with her Heather-ish attitude and sense of entitlement (well, a honking big sword she picks up along the way helps). Subsequent adventures take her to similarly copyright infringement-skirting versions of Burroughs' Pellucidar, Isaac Asimov's Nig ...more
Melissa Gabelman
Feb 24, 2013 Melissa Gabelman rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I was first introduced to Muffy & Bitsy in one of Esther Friesner's Chicks in Chainmail anthologies, and fell in love. I found this collection in a used bookstore and bought it without hesitation. The main stories of Muffy's adventures were fun but grew old fast, possibly because I don't know the backgrounds of the different worlds she intrudes upon. Of more interest to me was the progression of Bitsy's personal life. I enjoyed the book, but I think a dedicated collection is the wrong format ...more
Jerry Robinette
Effinger is very funny, and an astute observer of the tropes, cliches and conventions of the heroic fantasy genre. Several famous worlds take their licks in here, but none of it is mean-spirited. You can tell these stories were written by a fan of the sub-genre. Pleasant, amusing, worth looking up if you're also a fan.
Aug 07, 2011 Jenniffer rated it really liked it
Like Totally! No story is safe where Maureen Birnbaum is concerned. This book contains short stories, such as Maureen Birnbaum at the Earth's Core, and Maureen Birnbaum's Lunar Adventure. its definitely worth reading for the laughs.
Rick Jones
Feb 14, 2012 Rick Jones rated it it was ok
I was lured by Effingers' trilogy of arabic themed science fiction, but this was not nearly as thought provoking, nor was the 'ironic' value really up to snuff.
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Denise Huston marked it as to-read
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