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The Black Tower (Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon, #1)
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The Black Tower (Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon #1)

3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  495 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews

The return of a classic "shared world" fantasy series created by Philip Jose Farmer, award-winning author of the Riverworld saga!

Plunging into a vast prison that spans a planet, Clive Foliott faces a fantastic world of dwarves, cyborgs, and aliens unlike anything he has ever imagined. It is a multi-leveled collection of beings from the hidden folds of time and space. Tr

Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 1st 1989 by Bantam (first published 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nov 13, 2011 Space rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
When you read this book at age nineteen, amid the sound of a piano coming from another room, the warm sweet splash of cheap wine in your throat and the excitement of a fresh cigarette inside, safe from the rain, it's romantic. The book itself is full of romance, but it's the act of reading it - this story - that feels romantic. As an adolescent, at least. Here, as a grown-up, it didn't quite feel the same.

Back then all I thought about was getting laid and getting drunk. So of course I wanted to
Daniel McGill
Aug 04, 2011 Daniel McGill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's been about 20 years since I actually read these books but my impressions have really stuck with me so I'm going to review the first and the last and give my recollections of the series as a whole. This series has an unusual style, a shared world created by Philip José Farmer and 6 volumes written by 4 other authors.

This first volume and for the most part the next 4 are a great mix of pulp scifi, fantasy dungeon crawl and adventure mystery, as Clive Foliott 19th century minor English noblem
Jason B.
I read this series in high school, and apparently loved it, because when I found it on the ol' Kindle, I gave it another go.

Richard A. Lupoff managed to perfectly capture the essence of his main character, to the point where his prose is stilted, unpleasant and voluminous, as you would find in the journal of a major in Her Majesty's army.

I found myself repeatedly backing up and re-reading passages because it was not immediately clear what had just happened, why the character went from scaling
Robert Negut
Dec 27, 2012 Robert Negut rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The start of a very interesting writing experiment. Six books written by five different authors, the first and last written by the same author, with a sixth as supervisor and editor.
It passes through the "real" world of 1868 rather quickly and adds fantastic details to it even sooner, so you don't really have time to notice whether it's pictured realistically or not, but that's all good; it doesn't matter anyway.
Clive isn't the kind of character that I could like. A stuck-up 33 year old officer
Kirk Macleod
The Dungeon was a series conceived of by author Phillip José Farmer, and written by Richard A. Lupoff (vol. 1 & 6), Bruce Coville (vol. 2), Charles de Lint (vol 3 & 5), and Robin W. Bailey (vol. 4). As I’ve been working my way through the works of de Lint, and had come across used copies of various volumes for years, I finally decided to give the series a try this month, which was a pretty good decision as I was introduced to it’s protagonist (and this week’s genre character) Major Clive ...more
Joey Wardell
Jan 03, 2013 Joey Wardell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a series that stuck with me as well. I've read the entire series about 3 times now. I don't understand all the hate for book 6 (though it's very common among readers to dislike it), book 4 bothered me the most. The language of the spider, Shriek, changed drastically in that one, but the story line was strong enough to over come it, but because it's an easy world to dive into, to imagine yourself in the adventure (the time of book where you daydream off into the world and don't even reali ...more
Sep 13, 2010 Jerjonji rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is not written by Philip Jose Farmer- now that you understand that, on to the book. It took me a bit to get over the fact that this is a series of books based on an idea of Farmer's written by different authors. By book 2, it feels like a cheap trick, but back to book 1. I loved the voice of the book- the 19th century characters thrown into a strange and ugly world without explanation or reason. The search for the missing twin feels lame after the hero suffers so much and still goes forward ...more
Jose Vidal
La serie de la Mazmorra intenta ser un libro de Philip J. Farmer sin serlo, y se nota. Algunas ideas interesantes, un aire de aventura que recuerda por momentos al Mundo del Rio... pero sin llegar a alcanzarlo.

La sucesión de autores en la serie tampoco ayuda, de forma que la primera y la última pueden casi leerse de forma unitaria sin recurrir a las demás.

En la primera novela seguimos al bien definido protagonista, un héroe victoriano, en una enloquecida aventura a un lugar imposible. Se plante
Renato Rodriguez
Aug 24, 2014 Renato Rodriguez rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is my fourth time reading this book in 20 years or so. There are 5 other books in the series but for some reason or another i have never gotten around to read the others. The first time i couldn't find them and after i bought the rest it seems like once i read book one, something prevents me to getting back to the series.
I'd really recommend it if you're looking for a weird scifi tale about parallel worlds and time traveling adventures.
I have read that the other books in the series are no
Roxanna Fortenberry
About as male power fantasy as you can get. Clive, busy frolicking with his lady decided to go on adventure, gets hit on by ladies, gets in and out of trouble, spirited away to a magical realm where he gets hit on by more ladies (one of whom, his granddaughter from the future who would be totally cool with it if he decided to get it on with her apparently), everyone looks to him automatically for guidance, basically everyone except him and his man crush are pathetic, he easily topples foes with ...more
James Oden
Sep 26, 2016 James Oden rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
I'm not sure I have ever felt so neutral towards a protagonist. On one hand you could see Clive Folliet had been handed some bad hands, but on the other being born to a well to do English family at the height of the British Empire, really wasn't such a bad thing (even if you were just the second born). Still I persevered through the book, and somehow towards the end, and in about the last 50 pages I really got into it. I've bought all six of them at a used book store, so I suppose I'll be on to ...more
Nov 03, 2013 Topher rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years and years ago, possibly pre-high school, and remembered enjoying it. I don't even remember where I saw it more recently - likely some used book store, but I've had it sitting on my shelves for about two years now. I figured it was time to read it.

There's a saying that you can never go home again. It may have been better if I had not picked this one back up, but, I did still enjoy it. I'll likely keep going - if only because book 2 is in the same volume I purchased.
Jan 12, 2013 Luke rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like Jose Farmer's Riverworld and World of Tiers series (or Zelazny's Amber books) then this is a book that follows a very similar formula and style. Although the worlds created aren't quite as neatly connected and characters aren't quite as compelling it does feel like your reading a PJF novel and if like me you've read the others this is a welcome addition.
Dec 31, 2012 Robert rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the few books I've ever skimmed through to the end just so it would end. The author wrote as if he were writing in the mid-late 1800s, but not very well. I'm reading a book by H. Rider actually written in 1892, and it is a much better book.
Feb 13, 2011 Abby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is a favorite of my husbands, and I hated it!!! It makes no sense, and I don't like the style of writing. The only character I liked was Finnbog. :)
Jul 19, 2012 Derek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nice tripped out series, really enjoyed it.
Ralph Carlson
Aug 30, 2016 Ralph Carlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast moving book. First of six volumes.
Feb 12, 2014 Bodie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was pretty good, some really classic, raw adventuring. Wasn't especially well written or clever but I liked how interesting and strange the world was. Very surreal.
Jason Valletta
Jason Valletta rated it it was ok
Oct 05, 2012
Clay rated it it was ok
Jan 22, 2016
Ngutierrez31 rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2016
Jesse rated it really liked it
Mar 19, 2015
Black Backpack
Black Backpack rated it really liked it
Jan 23, 2015
Paul Blough
Paul Blough rated it really liked it
Sep 07, 2015
Raghu Ram
Raghu Ram rated it really liked it
Jul 09, 2015
Lisa rated it liked it
Jun 25, 2011
Turner rated it it was ok
Oct 03, 2007
Nick rated it really liked it
Apr 27, 2016
Jim rated it it was amazing
Aug 11, 2011
Shawnds rated it it was ok
Oct 04, 2011
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Richard Allen "Dick" Lupoff (born February 21, 1935 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American science fiction and mystery author, who has also written humor, satire, non-fiction and reviews. In addition to his two dozen novels and more than 40 short stories, he has also edited science-fantasy anthologies. He is an expert on the writing of Edgar Rice Burroughs and has an equally strong interest in H. P ...more
More about Richard A. Lupoff...

Other Books in the Series

Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon (6 books)
  • The Dark Abyss (Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon, #2)
  • The Valley of Thunder (Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon, #3)
  • The Lake of Fire (Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon, #4)
  • The Hidden City (Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon, #5)
  • The Final Battle (Philip José Farmer's The Dungeon, #6)

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