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The Compleat Enchanter (The Incompleat Enchanter #1-3)

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,891 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
The Mathematics of Magic was probably the greatest discovery of the ages - at least Professor Harold Shea thought so. With the proper equations, he could instantly transport himself back in time to all the wondrous lands of ancient legend. But slips in time were a hazard, and Shea's magic did not always work - at least, not quite as he expected...

This omnibus volume conta
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Mass Market Paperback, 416 pages
Published February 12th 1984 by Del Rey (first published 1941)
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Grass by Sheri S. TepperParable of the Sower by Octavia E. ButlerThe Anubis Gates by Tim PowersThe Adventures of the Stainless Steel Rat by Harry HarrisonBlood Music by Greg Bear
Most Under-rated Science Fiction
225th out of 1,116 books — 1,264 voters
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Best Books Written By Two Authors
9th out of 29 books — 11 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,522)
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StoryTellerShannon
Remember that Sprague and Pratt wrote this before LORD OF THE RINGS and only a few years after the hobbit. There weren't as many fantasy books to draw upon either.

Great system they set up for how magic works through mathematical formulas. Not too confusing either for people like me who don't care for math either.

The book is divided into three books that cover different mythologies: the first being Norse where Harold Shea, our hero, gets to meet some of the Norse Gods as they travel in to giant t
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Metaphorosis
Nov 11, 2014 Metaphorosis rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 2014-rev

reviews.metaphorosis.com

3 stars

Bored psychologist Harold Shea draws on his mentor's work to transfer bodily to the world of Norse mythology, and later to other lands, posing most often as a sorceror, with exciting consequences.

Collecting a series of stories mostly written for magazines in the 1940s, I liked this book better the first time I read it. The first story is best, and the second is good, though the authors ran out of either time or energy and finished in a rush. The last story in the s
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Lina
Jul 04, 2013 Lina rated it it was ok
I enjoyed the multiple literary worlds the characters travel through (Norse Ragnarok, Spenser's "The Faerie Queene," Coleridge's "Xanadu", "Orlando Furioso" and the Irish myths of Maeve and Cuchulain); however, the actual plot was repetitive and juvenile.
Thannasset
What I learned from this book? Yngvi is a louse!

Was looking for this in my brain--couldn't remember title!

Thanks again, Dan.

Thannasset
Myles
May 13, 2014 Myles rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned, fantasy
I gave this the best shot I could, and though each book contained in this omnibus is brief, it never stopped feeling like a chore.

I wanted to read this because I have a great respect for the authors who expanded the genres of fantasy and science fiction past childhood reading, and L. Sprague de Camp is too major a figure for me to never have read before.

Too bad I couldn't stand his protagonist and the story was hackneyed. One could counter that this seems hackneyed because of all the imitations
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Shari Scott
Mar 24, 2015 Shari Scott rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It takes a lot to make me laugh out loud while reading a book, yet I found myself doing so several times while reading this collection. 3 books regarding the trials and errors of one Harold Shea, psychologist. He travels through various worlds of myth and legend, meets strange and wonderous people and creatures, and meets the "dream-girl" he had been waiting for. Let's say Xanth meets MiddleEarth, before either had been imagined.

Have fun!
Brandybuck
Jan 06, 2013 Brandybuck rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This is the book that put L. Sprague de Camp so high on my list of favorite authors. I found the three novellas in The Compleat Enchanter: The Magical Misadventures of Harold Shea so utterly fun and charming that as soon as I finished the book, I was overcome by a great sadness resulting from knowing that I would never again get that magical experience of reading it for the first time. However, I soon realized that the novellas in this book are so wonderful that they will be just as good upon a ...more
Alan James
Oct 03, 2015 Alan James rated it it was amazing
old book, but great story based on "Orlando Furioso". I first read it in about 1964 and then again in 2012, just as good the second time around.
Nathan Segerlind
Apr 08, 2015 Nathan Segerlind rated it it was ok
The Roaring Trumpet is by far the strongest story of the three and I give that three stars on its own.
Jannon
Aug 09, 2015 Jannon rated it really liked it
Warning for being dated (some racism, some sexism), but pretty enjoyable otherwise.
Graham Crawford
Oct 02, 2012 Graham Crawford rated it it was ok
The first book in this collection was quite fun. There was a section about a wizards meeting which really reminded me of both Pratchett and Rowling - I wonder if they read this when they were younger and then improved the germ of an idea in their far more successful creations.
The later books in the series were pretty dreary. hack writing. I have a feeling that as the series collaboration progessed it became more of Sprague de Camps - and less of Pratts - and I think it was Pratts involvement wh
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Dorothy
Jan 24, 2016 Dorothy rated it it was amazing
An old and beloved favorite
Michael Hall
Mar 25, 2013 Michael Hall rated it liked it
Three entertaining novellas in one... for the most part. These do contain a young adult naivete that exemplifies classic sword and sorcery fantasy of the pulpy cheesy kind, so they are certainly not epic or full of deep meaning. Things start out a bit awkwardly yet with a touch of whimsy that brings out a certain 1940's mindset, but unfortunately each story got progressively worse in style, content, and interest -- in that order. Not sure if I would be interested in pursuing any other tales in t ...more
Josh
Mar 30, 2011 Josh rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, high-fantasy
Fun to read one of the foundational books of fantasy literature, which spawned a whole series of imitators and served as a starting point for a wide number of books. Some of it reflects a 1940's mentality, but it really was a leap forward for the genre with heroes that would think their way through problems much of the time over simply bludgeoning their out of trouble. The conceptual ideas are a lot of fun and the worlds are deeply entertaining for anyone familiar with mythological literature an ...more
Norman Howe
Fantasy
Keith Davis
Nov 26, 2009 Keith Davis rated it it was amazing
An adventurous young man and an old professor discover a way to transport themselves into alternate realities by fiddling with the rules of logic in their "syllogismobile". Pratt was mostly know for his detailed fictional worlds and De Camp was known for humorous adventure fantasy, and the combination makes for excellent reading.
Alessandro Paci
Jun 04, 2015 Alessandro Paci rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa
Stupendo libro, assoluta poesia. L'ho adorato per la sua particolarità, per come giustifica l'esistenza della magia, l'esistenza dei mondi fantastici stessi, per l'assoluta logica e indiscussa varietà della storia. Meraviglioso, non esagero nel dire che sia uno dei fantasy che in assoluto mi è piaciuto di più.
John E
Apr 26, 2012 John E rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful collection of three long stories of mythic time travel with a single main character. Published first in fantasy pulp magazines in the early 1940, they show much wit and thoughtfulness. The last story was a bit thin. One of the great forefathers of Tolkien's works.
Chris
Nov 05, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
This was the first fantasy book I read that I fell in love with. It is different and an easy read. Will forever have a special place for me.
Eric Orchard
Sep 02, 2013 Eric Orchard rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I have to admit I didn't finish this one compleatly..... Something about the tone or style I just don't enjoy.
Linda Robinson
Aug 10, 2009 Linda Robinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I donated my books in 2004, this is one I kept. Enchanting. Compleatly.
Kitty
Mar 12, 2013 Kitty rated it it was ok
Dated.
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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
More about L. Sprague de Camp...

Other Books in the Series

The Incompleat Enchanter (6 books)
  • The Incompleat Enchanter
  • The Castle of Iron
  • The Enchanter Compleated
  • The Enchanter Reborn
  • The Exotic Enchanter
  • El aprendiz de Mago

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