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The Warlock in Spite of Himself

(Warlock #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  5,538 ratings  ·  137 reviews
Rod Gallowglass is a man of science who does not believe in magic. ** Gramarye is a world of witches and warlocks. Of strange abilities and phenomena. A world where society mirrors Earth's own Middle Ages, and a world headed for doom. **

Rod Gallowglass must become a part of the local fabric to save the world from both itself and external forces that threaten its existence
Kindle Edition, 283 pages
Published (first published 1969)
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Heather Clawson
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book starts off as typical sci-fi/fantasy fodder: An undercover agent, Rodney Gallowglass, discovers an entire planet of earth-descended espers who cut off communications with their home planet centuries before. By the time Rodney finds them they've structured their civilization based on a medievel monarchy. Rodney's use of technology gets him branded as a wizard and he finds himself balanced between the monarchy and a large group of "witches" and "wizards" who are, in actuality, regular peo ...more
July2014: Rereading this for the first time in a lot of years with the Sci-fi and Heroic Fantasy group.
I'm hoping it won't disappoint since it is an old favorite.

It's fast moving & a lot of fun even today & knowing what was coming. Some of the ideas of SF are a bit dated, but I found the observation on literacy & the spread of knowledge interesting, especially in light of today's Internet.

These are 2 paragraphs from very early in the book.
It h
Kat  Hooper
May 12, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
ORIGINALLY POSTED AT Fantasy Literature.

Rodney Gallowglass is a spy whose job is to discover unknown planets that need to be brought into the fold of the enlightened democratic intergalactic system. When he lands on the backward planet of Gramayre in his spaceship disguised as an asteroid, Rod and his epileptic computer Fess discover a world of fantasy creatures — witches, ghosts, werewolves, dwarves and elves. Gramayre was originally settled by a group of humans who wanted to revert back to a f
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-fiction
Honestly, this book may constitute a 'guilty pleasure' type thing for me. The premise is really great - a scifi story that reads like fantasy, where the magic is psychic and the culture is basically a giant Renaissance festival made a lost planetary colony. The characters are not bad. Fess, the epileptic robot, is far and above my favorite of the bunch. And I have a weakness for puns, you see, and he clearly loves puns.

But why guilty? Well, because of the writing. The writing is... well. There i
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an interesting book. I read it in high school, and liked it, and decided to revisit it.

It's an intriguing blend of fantasy and sci-fi. And not in the science-fantasy way, like Star Wars, but in a real high fantasy meets hard sci fi way. Some delightfully archaic concepts of future tech, such as data stored on tapes, etc.

Rod Gallowglass is an undercover agent for SCENT, an organization that seeks to spread democracy across the galaxy. In this future, communications have improved to the po
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
This was the first book that I read by Christopher Stasheff. I found it on my dad's bookshelf, picked it up, and devoured it. At the time, being twelve-ish years old, I knew practically nothing about any form of government other than republican (representative) democracy and monarchy. I learned a lot about my own government and other forms of government by reading this.

Christopher Stasheff seems to be on a quest to educate through entertainment. (In fact, in a number of his other books he has ch
Apr 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had first come across Christopher Stasheff years ago with his Rogue Wizard books. The combination of sci-fi, fantasy and politics intrigued me and though the books weren't masterpieces by any stretch of the imagination they were good reads which were slightly educational.

This is the first book Stasheff wrote and the progenitor of the Rogue Wizard books so when I wanted to reread those books I decided to go back a little further and start at the very beginning.

While I didn't enjoy this as much
A classic sf fantasy tale of a man from an advanced technological universe who comes to a planet where strange properties can be used to create magic, and becomes a powerful warlock to maintain peace.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Druhé čtení po více než dvaceti letech. Čtyři hvězdičky z nostalgie.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
I read this book in high school and couldn't stop till I got through the whole series. Now I love to go to the RenFair every February and it always makes me think of Rod Gallowglass.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I read this book first when I was much younger and found it to be a wonderful read. Or at least that was what my memory told me. After reading it again, I am not sure that wonderful would be the word I would use for the description, but I did enjoy it a great deal. It was a fun read, enjoyable, easy to work through and complex enough in the plot to hold interest start to finish.

I am looking forward to re-reading the rest of the series to see if it holds up as well as this one did to my memories
Paul Baker
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Warlock in Spite of Himself by Christopher Stasheff is one of the great classic works of science fantasy and deservedly belongs beside the works of L. Sprague de Camp, Edgar Rice Burroughs, and Samuel Delaney.

It is also unique in that it taps into the pipeline of intellectual humor popularized by Robert Lynn Aspirin, Harry Harrison, and Terry Pratchett. I refer anyone doubting this to the title of Part 1 of this novel: "A Visit to a Small Plantagent." The number of puns in this book is massi
Jul 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: c_sf-f-explorer
3.5 stars

I loved the concept of this story but I did have some issues with the execution. (view spoiler) However, for the most part I quite li
Beth Hobson
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has been one of my favorite books since I first read it. I immediately fell in love with Stasheff's unique and quirky writing style. The humour is clever and subtle and you'll find romance, politics and a study of fundamental human nature all wrapped in an entertaining science-fiction fantasy tale.
Story that's hung on to its amusement value over the years. An odd mixture of science fiction (spaceships, Ray guns, robots and time travel) with fantasy (witches, gnomes, elves, banshees.) A fast-moving plot keeps things simple in the odd environment of a feudal society being tugged between differing galactic organizations and its own internal political struggles.
Jan 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-fantasy
I remember reading the first 2 or 3 books in this series as a teen-ager. I remember liking the first one but apparently the conceit palled by book 3 (or was it book 2?).
Keith Davis
A pretty good portal quest fantasy; nothing to get too excited about.
David Caldwell
Or at least I think I did, back when I was still riding my mastadon to school.
I need to reread this one.
Adrienne Lehnert
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
I was about to give it one star for being obnoxiously sexist, but then saw the date of first publication. The book is well-written but omg hooray for social progress!
Rhonda BeeZee
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This entire series is one I will love forever. Read originally in my teens, I started re-reading it a few years ago, and it stood the test of time.
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just re-read this; still excellent. Fantasy meets Science Fiction. A little political intrigue, romance, and a little bawdy.
Jul 02, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-have
Celkom zabavne citanie. Ano je to stare, ale ako zabavny mix fantasy a s/f to vobec nie je zle :).
An Odd1
Feb 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Like cricket, "no matter who wins, it's going to be hard on the wicket .. Me" p 131. Rod 32 p 285, ugly, becomes knight Gallowglass to save lost colony Gramarye for galactic democracy, but his science is mistaken for warlock power. Identical advisers alienate nobles from Queen Catharine Plantagenet, who subsidizes beggars, protects witches, and exiles her only loyal Lords, uncle Loguire and son Tuan 22 p 395. Help comes from computer Fess inside iron horse, Big Tom, elf King dwarf Brom, ghosts, ...more
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this when if first came out, so my star rating reflects what I thought at that time, place and age. I really enjoyed it, and have re-read a few times since then, still enjoying it. Not sure if it will hold up as well today for a new/younger reader, there are some fairly sexist attitutdes and dated political viewpoints. But certainly well worth a look if you enjoy reading fantasy and are interested in seeing how/where it has developed.
One of the best things about this book is that it is STAN
Tonja  Condray Klein
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I apparently have a highly elevated ability to suspend disbelief since I have loved so many books that others have dismissed for the same reasons I find them so interesting and imagination-consuming. If I rate a Sci-Fi/Fantasy book a 5-Star it means the characters have translated me into their world or place of existence. THE WARLOCK IN SPITE OF HIMSELF took me into Gramarye effortlessly. I don't mean this book is perfect and will make sense to everyone else who reads it. What I mean is that the ...more
Alice Dillon
Dec 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was certainly pleasantly surprised by this book. Because of some slight issues of repetition which should have been picked up in editing (Rod seemed to be confused over/just working out things he had already discussed or thought about) as well as occasional pacing issues and a definite political agenda (democratic), I developed fairly low expectations. However, throughout the book I warmed to it more and more and in the end it charmed me with its witty writing style, likeable characters, fasci ...more
Isabel (kittiwake)
Rodney d'Armand's is a SCENT agent, whose job is to rediscover lost colonies and prepare them for re-entry into the confederation of worlds. His latest mission has taken him to the land of Gramarye, and soon realises that he has found the planet settled that was by a group that wanted to recreated Renaissance European society. So he isn't surprised to find a mismatch of architecture and customs taken from all over Europe, and a monarchy with both the aristocrats and a society of beggars on the v ...more
Jul 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f-2014
This book was easy to read and fun with some interesting ideas. I like the overall plot of a secret agent arriving on a medieval-esque planet to sow the seeds of democracy, discovering that there are other forces trying to turn it into a dictatorship or a communist utopia.
The main character, Rod Gallowglass, is generally likable, but perhaps less so than his epileptic robot/horse, who has a sort of dry humour. The queen, Catherine, is annoying from the beginning to the end but for different rea
Matteo Wong
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Warlock in Spite of Himself, by Christopher Stasheff, is an incredible story about Rod "Gallowglass," a scientific explorer that finds a new world. This world is not developed scientifically, like the rest of the world. It doesn't have spaceships, but is still in a medieval time period. There is real magic on this planet, and they believe Rod is a warlock, but he only uses science. Rod has to save the planet from being conquered by other futuristic characters. This is a great story about lie ...more
Sep 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book has been sitting on my shelf for several years and I was surprised to find that I hadn't read it after all.

It's a nice SF/Fantasy "romp" - a direct application of Clarke's Third Law executed in a relatively original fashion, although, being forty years old, it perhaps doesn't feel quite so original now.

I enjoyed the clarity of his writing, which has a good visual style, and the characters were generally distinctive and well defined. But ultimately I found the overly political thrust of
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Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Warlock in Spite of Himself 18 66 Aug 30, 2014 06:16AM  
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Christopher Stasheff was an American science fiction author and fantasy author. Stasheff was noted for his blending of science fiction and fantasy, as seen in his Warlock series.

Other books in the series

Warlock (1 - 10 of 14 books)
  • Escape Velocity (Warlock, #0)
  • King Kobold
  • King Kobold Revived (Warlock, #3)
  • The Warlock Unlocked (Warlock, #3)
  • The Warlock Enraged (Warlock, #4)
  • The Warlock Wandering (Warlock, #5)
  • The Warlock Is Missing (Warlock, #6)
  • The Warlock Heretical (Warlock, #7)
  • The Warlock's Companion (Warlock, #8)
  • The Warlock Insane (Warlock, #9)
“But democrats are seldom welcome on planets run by totalitarian governments, and scarcely more welcome on planets where anarchy prevails--this is due to the very nature of democracy, the only practical compromise between totalitarianism and anarchy.” 8 likes
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