Welcome to Gramayre - where witches, warlocks, elves, and gnomes are real; where a spoiled girl-queen and an army of teenage witches, and ragtag beggars battle an overwhelming force of rebel knights and time-travelling anarchists for the future of the most unique, and perhaps most important, planet in the galaxy.
This is what cynical, hard-bitten, intergalactic spy Rod Gallowglass faces when he and his robot horse, Fess, try to bring peace and democracy to this magic-ridden Renaissance-age society. Rod's mission is threatened at every turn by anarchists, communists, and double-dealing royalists playing vicious political power games. Things are made even worse when Rod's advanced technology gets him labeled a warlock despite his constant denials. Help comes from the most unexpected sources when he meets an ancient ghost, the King of the Elves, and the most powerful witch on the planet.
This classic science-fantasy novel has been completely remixed to address issues with uneven volume some readers have experienced.
Gramayre comes to life in 11 hours of dramatic sword-and-sorcery, featuring well-known narrator Dennis Regan and a full cast.
©1969 Christopher Stasheff (P)2012 Geoffrey T. Williams
This comes in right behind Terry Pratchett and Kevin Hearne both series I listen to again and again just like I listen to this book again and again, hoping for the day when the rest of the series gets to audio.
The horse that isnt a horse and his complete breakdowns in the face of the impossible.
This is a daft question.
Check the headline for my review.
I wish I owned the entire series in any format. The humour in these stories is wonderful, and like i said brilliant old fashioned scifi adventure.
If you like Mel Brooks and Get Smart, you will probably like Rod Gallowglass and his cohorts. I do and I have. I particularly loved the voice of Tuan (very Gene Wilder in Sliver Streak) and the high farce of the sound effects (like the Goons meet Holy Grail) that was brought to life by this production. Sure, the sound quality is not great at times (it drops out like someone recording stereo from one speaker), but this is such a small defect in an otherwise great fun production it would be wrong to over blow it. Regan provided great continuity, but Rod's voice stole the show (as it should). Big Tom was great too, as was Fess. Gwen was as fruity and spicy as the author intended. I thought this a great piece of radio theatre. It reminded me of sitting by the radio on Sunday evening with my Dad laughing out loud at the antics of Hancock, Milligan, Sellers and Co. It's not for those inclined to literature, or when you want something deep, but just fine any other wise or time. I only hope they do a few more in the Series.
"Production: disappointing Story: good"
The production of this audiobook was awful. The narrator was so much louder than some of the character voices that I had to adjust the volume. In some places the sound effects were so loud that I couldn't understand the dialog and some of the voices were so over done that, once again they were not understandable. A straight reading of the story would have been an improvement.
I did enjoy the story. It was not great literature but it was entertaining, the parts I could hear.
"Great book, Great narrarator but with a warning."
yes, I read this originally as a child and it was great to revisit the series.
They don't write sci-fi like this much anymore. I might put some of Harry harrison's stainless steel rat series as the closest to this series.
He does a great job with the voices and helps bring the characters to light. Like much of the sci-fi of its time the story is more concept driven than character driven. The characters aren't terribly well developed and the narrarator does a great job of fleshing them aout with his voice acting.
The warning I mentioned is that this is the first in a very long series of books. It seems they only made the first one into an audiobook. So, if you only want audio format you are out of luck. the good news is that this is a very old series and you can get it for free at just about any local library.
"Very poor reading"
I couldn't listen to this book, there are different levels of volume for each individual character, the robot is inaudilble at times and some of the voices are indecipherable. Characterisation of character voices is so amateurish. I struggled through the first half then gave up.
Dont try to listen to it in the car it will drive you nuts trying to hear the slurred voices above the normal road noise and in some cases even with normal background room noise I can't understand what some characters are saying.
"Good Old School Sci Fi Fantasy"
I love the subject matter. Its a view of Old School Idealism that are in some ways noble (for there time) and complete tripe. But just remember while reading it, that the hero and heroins do "grow up" eventually in the series. But in this story they're very cookie cutter. The men are "MEN" heroic, smart, stoic, etc,,,, and the women are "women" Submissive and emotional, despite how much I like the series and its kinda blunt that the author thinks that men should be dominate and the women submissive. It gets kind of rubbed in your face a lot. I would note that the series is a long one that follows Rod Gallowglass and family for at least the next 2 generations and all the characters grow and flesh out into believable and likeable people and with a lot less male chauvinism.
But as for comparing it to say The Game of Thrones or the like... Its about a fifth of the length. Of course the characters are shallow in comparison. Its more or less a romance novel for young adults with odd bits of political activism thrown in. (Or more accurately a young adult political novel with bits of romance thrown in)
But in the end if your looking for a good swashbuckling hero with snarky wit who is chivalrous and 'manly'. Where the good guy wins and the bad guy loses. The damsel may not be in distress but shes worth rescuing anyway. The goals are noble. The villains are evil . The futuristic Science is some times old school. The philosophizing is thick. The inside jokes are in Iambic Pentameter, and you don't mind that this was written as in the mindset of typical non-hippie male in the late 1960's. This Is a good book for you.
And if you don't like this book don't give up on the author altogether he has a couple of other series that are all really good and less confusing. And to top it off you can normally find a used amazon copy for most of them for less then a dollar.
They are quite frankly Dime store paperbacks.
"Could've been better..."
I love this series, and Stasheff's sister series' as well. The writing, storytelling, etc was the most enjoyable for me.
I suppose there are some similarities to the Dresden Files, for a modern choice. The same premises abide in both, lead character thrust into dangerous situations partly of their own devising.
I was a bit surprised that this was done in a multi person/radio drama sort of style when it wasn't billed that way. Dennis Regan isn't a bad narrator, but it lacked some of the depth that the old cassette recordings had. I think probably crediting the other voice actors would be nice unless Regan really does do a soprano.
"Glad this classic is now advailable in audiobook!"
The story really comes alive when done as a full cast producion.
The narrators and actors does a great job putting the correct feeling into their voices.
The voices really lead to a more enjoyable experience and you can do other things while listening...
Wizard or science - determine for yourself.
The Narration and production of this book was incredibly bad. Unlike some of the five star reviews that lured me to buy this book I did not read this title when I was a teen and I am not a fan boy of the author. The story may be decent if it were not for the production. But I have my doubts. Here are the problems. The voices are extremely over dramatized to a very distracting point where some of the story is lost and becomes painful to listen through. I didn't care for the narrator voices of most of the characters. In fact, I would rather have heard a monotone narration of events instead of this performance. There was a variation in volume level. There is an extra sound track of background noises such as loud talking and clinking of glasses in a bar setting or cackling talk with laughter in scenes with witches. This is extremely distracting and adds to the inaudibility of certain characters. Those things aside. There is a lot of phases like "thou art" in an Old English style speak. This is something I hated. I might find the blending of medieval society and fantasy intriguing but only in certain parts. The story seemed to be a bit chaotic. Everything was very strange and truly earns its place in the fantasy genre (this is coming from someone who loves fantasy books such as those in the Landover series). From space ships and space travel, to cackling witches, elves and were wolfs, there is a lot to be confused about. With the aid of poor narration and production the story had lost my interest by the half way mark from the bits that I could follow.
"So bad I couldn't finish"
Dennis Regan isn't terrible but this audio book is set up sort of like a radio play. It isn't all bad once you get used to it other than that Dennis Regan sometimes uses voices that are so low you can't quite understand what he is saying. However, the dialog is SO incredibly SCHLOCKY - I mean really bad - that no narrator can save this awful book.
Disgust! The book seemed promising from the reviews and the beginning was OK. It is part farce and part medieval fantasy so the "radio play" drama worked alright with the farcical side of this. However, none of the women characters are well developed - they are all whores with a great heart or proud women who need to be knocked down a peg and the men are mostly cardboard cutouts running around with swords. The sex scenes are a yawn and the romance is laughable. Even the political intrigue suffers from lack of depth. This might all be acceptable in a farce, but hey, it's not that funny.
I'll admit that my thoughts about The Warlock In Spite of Himself may be lower because I recently listened to the First Law Series by Joe Abercrombie. And in spite of the fact that that series didn't have as conclusive an ending as I thought it deserved it was a stunning example of this genre of medieval fantasy - intriguing plot, fabulous characters, and a stellar narrator. This cartoon version of the genre didn't even serve as light entertainment. This is just a bad book.
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 feudal society. Now it’s a benevolent monarchy that’s threatened by anarchists, witches, and a man who wants to be dictator. Rod suspects that the agitators are being provoked and funded by an off-world interest. He decides that setting up a constitutional monarchy will be the best way to prepare Gramayre for moving on to a real democracy. Meanwhile, the people of Gramayre think Rod is a warlock because he’s got technology they can’t understand.
The Warlock in Spite of Himself, published in 1969, is a humorous science fantasy. I picked it up because I like science fantasy, I knew that Christopher Stasheff collaborated with L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt whose humorous HAROLD SHEA stories I enjoyed, and, lastly, an audiobook version of The Warlock in Spite of Himself has just been released by Wild Voices.
According to the publisher, The Warlock in Spite of Himself is “sword-and-sorcery with a witty, edgy, wry twist.” Though the story is fun and action-packed, I found that The Warlock in Spite of Himself, especially this audio version, didn’t live up to the publisher’s promise. It was often funny, but I wouldn’t call it “witty,” “edgy” or “wry.” There was nothing remarkable about the prose and I thought the humor was often juvenile and most likely to be enjoyed by teens (though The Warlock in Spite of Himself, because of the sexual content, is not marketed to teens).
Besides attempting to entertain us, Stasheff also uses his story as a platform to promote democracy and a representative government. I’m all for democracy and representation but, unfortunately, Stasheff’s treatment of different governmental systems is rather superficial and simplistic — democracy=good, Marxism=bad — without any serious discussion or explanation about what makes this so. This makes the story feel not only shallow, but also dated.
Another issue that makes The Warlock in Spite of Himself feel dated is Rod Gallowglass’s attitude toward women. For a future spaceman from an enlightened intergalactic confederation, it’s suspicious that his attitudes about women are congruent with those found in most 1950s American science fiction. He instantly falls in love with a woman just because she’s beautiful, laughs at the idea of asking a woman for help, thinks that men need to comfort women with lies about their relationship (“for a woman lives on love”), expects women to be weak and afraid, thinks they should be spanked when they misbehave and (if beautiful) “claimed” after a man proves his worth to himself.
The Warlock in Spite of Himself is over 40 years old, so I’m not asking it to fit my 21st century sensibilities (though plenty of old SFF does), but rather I’m explaining why the novel doesn’t hold up very well. I have no doubt, though, that it will be a fun and comfortable read for readers who originally encountered it and loved it a few decades ago, for readers who get nostalgic about old-fashioned science fiction, or for readers who occasionally (or always) enjoy a light, shallow, slightly silly adventure story.
The audio version of The Warlock in Spite of Himself was produced by Wild Voices and performed by a full cast. Unfortunately, this was not a good production and this may have contributed to my disappointment with the story. There are bad sound effects, inconsistent volume levels, and intrusive background music — all of these obscure the narration. The main narrator, Dennis F. Regan, was fine (though he pronounced “demesnes” like it looks), but some of the voices for the secondary characters were difficult to understand, sometimes because it felt like they were at the far end of a long tunnel. I couldn’t even hear some of what Fess the computer said, even with the volume on my Audible app turned all the way up. Needless to say, I won’t be trying any more Wild Voices productions. If you decide to read The Warlock in Spite of Himself, I suggest that you read the paperback or Kindle version.
I have read all of the Warlock series so was delighted to find one finally come to Audible. These books are full of humour, emotion and adventure. This one is fully narrated and acted to a degree you rarely find in Audio Books from any source. I did find the narration a little fast but on a second listen found it not so bad. The only problem seems to be a failure to make all the sounds hearable but, given the plot, it is forgivable. Some things are meant to be background or far away noises but it does detract a bit when you need to hear what is being said. Overall, however, I rated this 5 stars because of the quality and characterisation. Try this, you won't regret it and I only hope more become available.
"A MAGICAL PRODUCTION"
A brilliant series of books well written. I only hope more will appear from Audible.
I read this book when it was first published (1969) and again when I was pregnant with my middle child (1987) and now I have enjoyed almost 11 hours of listening to it and it still has it's magic to entertain me.
This was a book I read in my youth and was delighted to revisit it in a publication which was closer to a play than a spoken word. Beautifully, skilfully narrated - just hugely disappointed the rest of the series wasn't in Audible
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