Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Warlock in Spite of Himself (Warlock, #1)” as Want to Read:
The Warlock in Spite of Himself (Warlock, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Warlock in Spite of Himself

(Warlock #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  5,871 ratings  ·  157 reviews
Back in Print: the novel that launched the epic Warlock series.

In an interstellar romp that proves science and sorcery can mix, only hard-headed realist Rod Gallowglass can save the people of Gramarye from their doom by becoming--The Warlock in Spite of Himself--if only he believed in magic.
Paperback, 384 pages
Published March 1st 1982 by Ace (first published 1969)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Warlock in Spite of Himself, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Warlock in Spite of Himself

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,871 ratings  ·  157 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Warlock in Spite of Himself (Warlock, #1)
Heather Clawson
May 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 25, 2008 rated it really liked it
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 had long been
Newly Wardell
Dec 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
How does this book only have like 6000 ratings? I mean Its got everything! Um space traveler, time machine, magic witches, war, gallantry just the perfect blend of sci-fi and fantasy. Its funny, romantic, down right spooky. Its an absolute romp.
Kat  Hooper
May 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Insp. Caracal
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
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
Shelves: books-i-own, fantasy
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
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
Jan 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Paul Baker
Jul 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Beth Hobson
Aug 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Aug 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Just re-read this; still excellent. Fantasy meets Science Fiction. A little political intrigue, romance, and a little bawdy.
Adrienne Lehnert
Jun 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Sean O'Hara
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was ok

You know when people go on and on about how modern SF is too political, and the old stuff was just concerned with telling a ripping yarn? This book is a prime counterexample. Written at the dawn of the feminist movement, the story is reactionary horsehockey full of misogynistic blather.

The basic plot is standard stuff: a galactic patrolman stumbles across a lost colony that's fallen back to a medieval society (or at least how bad writers envision medieval society). The twist is, since the i
Tonja  Condray Klein
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 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 a planet that was settled 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 verge ...more
Matteo Wong
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was reading a novel to kind of run away from all the crazy politics here in Egypt, only to find a brilliant blend of politics, technology and magic in the Warlock in Spite of Himself. Rod Gallowglass, a spy of an intergalactic organization, goes on an adventure to protect democratic transition in the medieval kingdom of Gramarye. All with the help of his robot horse, Fess.

The only drawbacks are some chunks of vocabulary that I had to look up in my dictionary, English being my second languag
Mar 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok so here we go with the first comments of 2013. I should make a note of myself never to read comments and reviews of others on books I am or am about you read. You see yes I agree with many I still find some issue of my own. Namely that even though this is a science fantasy (by many commentators agreement a phrase coined for these books) I struggle in the fact that some characters - namely the main protagonist- speak in modern clearly understood english, while the natives speaketh thus and so ...more
Doc Opp
May 01, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
The first in this series is a fun, if not particularly thought provoking read. It chronicles a space explorer with futuristic technology who lands on a planet with medieval culture and real magic. Because of his technology, he is believed to be a warlock by the locals.

The book is great for junior high or high school students just getting into reading sci-fi, or for somebody looking for a feel-good read to unwind after a long day. Folks looking for anything of depth or substance will probably be
Jul 27, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favorite stories of all time. The tongue-in-cheek play on words and government agencies, really hit my funny-bone. The characters in this book are lovable and you really and truly care about them. This is one of those wonderful novels that can be read at several different levels depending on what mood you are in. I am so happy that it is back in print. I have already worn out my 2 previous copies.
I love Christopher Stasheff's writing and his choice in reading material. I was so
Sep 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is a witty and yet whimsical book, from a world where the main focus is trying to lead governments away from tyranny or despotism.
Yes, it is better than that sounds.
The author teaches about the dangers by personalizing them as spoiled interlopers who did not get their way in the future, so go to the past to get their way no matter who it hurts, versus the poor shmoe who has to blunt their plots against a medieval kingdom.

This is only the beginning, and half the fun is reading it for the wh
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sci-fi and Heroic...: The Warlock in Spite of Himself 18 68 Aug 30, 2014 06:16AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Another Fine Myth (Myth Adventures, #1)
  • Myth Conceptions (Myth Adventures, #2)
  • The Dragon and the George (Dragon Knight, #1)
  • The Riddle-Master of Hed (Riddle-Master, #1)
  • The Ship Who Sang (Brainship, #1)
  • A Spell for Chameleon (Xanth, #1)
  • Myth Directions (Myth Adventures, #3)
  • M.Y.T.H. Inc. in Action (Myth Adventures, #9)
  • Hit or Myth (Myth Adventures, #4)
  • Catseye (Dipple, #1)
  • The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1)
  • Welcome to Nowhere
  • Harleen
  • Camber of Culdi (The Legends of Camber of Culdi, #1)
  • The Devil in Velvet
  • The Way I Heard It
  • Logging Off
  • Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction
See similar books…
The late Christopher Stasheff was an American science fiction and fantasy author. When teaching proved too real, he gave it up in favor of writing full-time. Stasheff was noted for his blending of science fiction and fantasy, as seen in his Warlock series. He spent his early childhood in Mount Vernon, New York, but spent the rest of his formative years in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Stasheff taught at th ...more

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)

News & Interviews

Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
63 likes · 28 comments
“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
More quotes…