Book Review: The Warlock In Spite Of Himself

Book Name: The Warlock In Spite Of Himself
Author: Christopher Stasheff
First Published: 1969

Christopher Stasheff’s long love affair with television began at an early age. He started on staff at the University of Michigan as a paid student and moved up the ladder as his degree progressed into the Manager of the entire Student Staff. Once he obtained his M.A, he moved on to a position in the Broadcast Department of the University of Nebraska. At this point he switched his field of study and began to work on a Ph.D. In Theater Arts.

It was at this time that he read about a competition for unpublished writers of science fiction and fantasy and he decided to enter the contest. While he did not finish his manuscript in time for the contest, he ended up sending The Warlock In Spite Of Himself to Ace Publishers. They bought it and it was the start of a long career in writing novels. He has 44 titles to his name to date.

Stasheff continued to teach broadcasting at various universities for another fifteen years before he gave it up to become a full-time author. He is married with four children and with grandchildren on the way.

The Warlock In Spite of Himself, a title that plays on the old british novel The Doctor In Spite of Himself, begins when SCENT spy Rodney Gallowglass lands on the backwater planet of Gramarye in a spaceship that is disguised as an asteroid. Rod and his epileptic robot/steed/sidekick Fess discover a feudal world right out of a modern day renfaire. Sprinkled through the population are fantasy creatures such as witches, ghosts, werewolves, dwarves and elves that came about due to the psychic abilities of the people that settled on the planet. SCENT, a planetary democratic federation wishes for this world to be guided toward democracy and represented rule. Rod decides that the best way to promote this is to set up a constitutional monarchy that will foil off-world anarchists, a coven of home-brewed witches, and a man that wishes to become the dictator of Gramarye. Due to Rod’s use of technology that the natives do not understand, he is branded a warlock and uses this misconception to further his aims.

Sometimes you discover an author who has that perfect blend of interests and writing that simply comes together for you. I am a science fiction and fantasy buff with a radio/television/film degree. How perfect is it to find an author who was one of the first to combine a fantasy with science fiction elements, something that is commonplace now, but certainly not when this novel came out, but also an author who creates a fictional catholic saint of television producers and IT computer geeks? I adore the entire concept of St. Vidicon, an order of monks who wear a small screwdriver in a pocket of their robes. While there are customs and concepts about women and the way that Gallowglass behaves that seem right out of the 1950’s and might prove jarring to younger readers unaccustomed to old-fashioned ideals, still the story is charming and humorous. This is Stasheff’s first novel and the first of a long series of books about the Gallowglass clan. It is well worth checking out to see if you are ready for this unique adventure in reading. Prepare to be enchanted.

The Warlock Inspite of Himself Book CoverYou can find The Warlock In Spite of Himself at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at your local used book store.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

This week’s links cover topics from why a coffeehouse is good for your writer, how to tap into your creative genius and tips for promoting yourself via the radio. Enjoy your start of summer with articles linked from No Wasted Ink.


Book Promotion: 7 top tips for promotion on the radio

The Top 25 Ways to Blow a Book

Study of the Day: Why Crowded Coffee Shops Fire Up Your Creativity

Free Sites to Promote Your eBook

Social Reading is Coming. Deal with It.

Kind of Training Do You Need to Publish a Novel?

The Best Free Apps For Writers

Becoming A Creative Genius With Phil South

The Power of a Deadline…The Importance of a Goal

Checklists

Author Interview: Tami Parrington

I often fall into chatting with fellow writers on twitter and this is how I was introduced to Tami Parrington. Tami is an author that started with more traditional publishing of her work, but moved into self-publishing after a series of events changed her outlook. Please welcome Tami Parrington to No Wasted Ink.

Author Tami ParringtonHello, my name is Tami, and I’m addicted to words. I started actually writing down the stories I came up with in high school, although my active imagination began long before that. It wasn’t until my late 30s that I truly began a quest for publication of anything I’d written though.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

My plans for this year were to re-release Dark Side of the Moon, and complete a new book for the Demon series started with Hell’s Own. Dark Side of the Moon is such an important project for me. It was the second book I completed in my professional career. This was back when self-publishing was still considered only vanity work, and the wonderful world of indy authors did not exist. It had been accepted by a mid-sized publisher and made it to press (physical book only, ebooks weren’t widely considered much by publishers then even though some very good ebook houses were springing up back then). Unfortunately, less than a month after publication, the house it was published through went bankrupt due to some sort of crazy dealings in the financial world of the owner’s husband. Dark Side of the Moon was suddenly an orphan.

In those days, traditional publishers didn’t want a book already put out by another house, even if it had only been out a short while, and there weren’t a lot of viable options for a book with such a fate. Over the years I wrote more books and either had them published by other companies, or as the Indy world began to grow, published them myself. However, another unfortunate turn of events made self-publishing Dark Side Of The Moon difficult. The novel had been created on an old computer that died a rather horrible death, and the files were lost. At the time, since the original publisher had everything it didn’t concern me, but after the original digital copy was gone, I couldn’t do anything with it because all I had were paperback copies of the book, no manuscript on a hard drive.

That event and several more over the following years made me very anal about backups. I now have two external hard drives where I back up my novels, as well as saving all work to a cloud drive file. I never could bear the thought of having to retype the entire thing again. I do have a few problems with carpal tunnel thanks to decades of typing, so that much is not something I like to think about. Finally, I just decided it had to be done. I really like the story, and there’s so much of it that actually happens in the entertainment industry. I brushed it up, and updated it a little, but am just very happy to say that it is all nicely redone on my hard drive now.

How did you come up with the title?

Any Pink Floyd fan knows that Dark Side of the Moon isn’t original as titles go. However, it is just perfect for this book that deals with the music industry’s crazy fanatical side and its dark and sinister side.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

All of my work tends to have some message in it that I hope the readers can take away with them. What good book doesn’t? While the theme and message in Hell’s Own is wildly different from that in Dark Side of the Moon, or even Married to a Rock Star (book one of the Rock Star series), one thing I do want readers to know before they embark on a journey with me is that I don’t follow formulas and my heroes and heroines do not always make the right choices. In fact, they often do not. They are not “heroes or heroines” in the commonly thought of publishing view. People in real life don’t make the right choices all of the time. That doesn’t make them bad. It makes them human. I don’t even bother to try and make ‘excuses’ for my character’s shortcomings, as if to say, oh this person is doing this, but it’s not their fault. What I really want readers to come away with in Dark Side of the Moon, and perhaps any of the stories I write, regardless of genre or theme, is that good people make the wrong decisions sometimes, the struggle is to deal with them, try to overcome them, and to find the way “home” again to where you can make things right.

Are experiences in the novel based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

In Dark Side of the Moon, definitely. For a long time in the early to late 90s, I was very involved in a large, vibrant and powerful fan community–I saw that side of it firsthand. I also got to see a lot of the “business” side because I knew people who were musicians and caught up in the whole power and image struggle. The same is true for Married to a Rock Star, except that the story is not based on any actual events. Of course, Hell’s Own is not based on ANY actual events either. If you do ever hear about a demon flying about, trying to escape from the devil with the help of two humans please let me know so I can hide.

What books have most influenced your life most?

Wow, so many. I guess I’d have to go all the way back to when I was very young. Not the earliest, perhaps, but in my late childhood, early teens, the Walter Farley books (The Black Stallion series and others) had a profound impact on me. Those were, I think, the first books that showed me you could lose yourself inside a story, and that even fiction could teach you things about the world it existed in. Plus I just loved horses. Later, Anne Rice showed me that you could create something wildly new from an old character type. I think the entire “vampire movement” from Buffy to True Blood, and Twilight to Personal Demon have her to thank for that.

Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?

Not anymore. In the early 90s, I did signings, I did conferences, I did all that. Now, it’s not all that necessary, and I prefer it this way As a self-published author, most of my sales are in the form of ebooks, although some physical books do sell. Being self-published is still a big road block for authors who want to try and get into brick and mortar stores, although I am hoping that will change even more as the publishing world evolves. I’ve watched as the Internet has become such a powerful force in marketing, that for self-published authors especially, it is the best form of marketing. Connecting with readers through social media, blogs and reader dedicated websites such as Goodreads, provides a wonderful resource for both sides. If anything, I think the internet has made authors more accessible to readers, and the connection much more personal. You only get a few minutes at a book signing. Online you can have a long-term relationship if you want it, and even if you aren’t that committed, you can follow everything your favorite authors do much easier.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Follow your heart. Do what you love, and create what you believe in. You can hope, and you can want readers to love it too, but you’re not going to please everyone. You do, however, have to please yourself.

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

What I would like to say most to readers is: Thank you! Thank you for finding the joy, for finding the excitement and for being such a big part of my life and the life of every other author out there. Without readers we’d be talking to ourselves, and we do that enough anyway.

Dark Side Of The Moon Book CoverTami Parrington, also known as T.L. Parrington, lives in Burbank, Illinois, a little suburb just south of Chicago. Along with her fiction, she is a full-time freelancer and spends her days happily writing and playing with her crazy dog and having conversations with her parrot so that no one thinks she’s talking to herself.

Dark Side of the Moon is available at the following sites: Amazon, Smashwords, and Barnes and Noble.

Please follow Tami on Twitter at @TParrington or visit her at her website.
The book cover is self-illustrated by Tami Parrington.

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

This week features articles about why writer’s get depressed, simple tools to help your creative process and more about the new gender gap that is changing the way fantasy is being written as a genre. Enjoy!


Useful Tools For Writers

The Oh So Fun Process of Editing Your Novel

How to Pick an Image for a Book Cover

Gender Gap

The Simple Reason You’re Not a Writer (Yet)

21 Tools to Unlock Your Creative Genius

Pixar story rules (one version)

If Only You Could Write Like Malcolm Gladwell

Hello Darkness, My Old Friend: New Research Helps Writers Fight Depression

Using Setting As A Character: A Tip for Novelists

Book Review: Earthman’s Burden

Book Name: Earthman’s Burden
Author: Poul Anderson and Gordon R. Dickson
First Published: 1957

Poul Anderson is known for his larger than life adventure stories of political satire and in the direct and inextricable connection between human liberty and expansion into space. A great supporter of the space program, Anderson’s science fiction stories took great care in using provable science in its objects and settings, the only exception being the use of the theory of faster than light travel. Gaining his baccalaureate degree with honors in physics, Anderson made no real attempt to work in that field. Instead, he published his first story while still an undergraduate at the University of Minnesota, and then began his career as a free-lance writer after his college graduation in 1948. In 1953, Anderson married Karen Kruse and left Minnosota with her to live in the San Francisco Bay area. Their daughter, Astrid, was born soon after the move. They made their home in Orinda, California, near Berkeley. After Poul’s death, his wife donated his typewriter and desk to the local bookstore in Berkley, where the author had given readings over the years.

Gordon R. Dickson was born in Edmonton, Alberta, in 1923. After the death of his father, he moved with his mother to Minneapolis, Minnesota. He served in the United States Army, from 1943 to 1946, and received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Minnesota, in 1948. From 1948 through 1950 he attended the University of Minnesota for graduate work. It is at the University where he met his fellow anthology collaborator, Poul Anderson.

At the start of Earthman’s Burden, Ensign Alexander Braithwaite Jones crash lands on a planet 500 light years from earth. He is rescued by a cuddly race of aliens that resemble over-sized teddybears. The Hokas have the ability to absorb any trace of Earth culture they encounter and reproduce it with devastatingly unpredictable and hilarious results. You’ll see the wild wild west, an Italian style opera featuring a teddybear Don Giovanni, an atmospheric Victorian England featuring a Hoka Sherlock Holmes, a science fiction space patrol featuring a Scottish accented Hoka space engineer, pirates and French legionnaires.

Underscoring the fun, is a witty satire about the burden to raise up these “primitive” aliens so that they can join the space federation as full citizens. Jones, the appointed ambassador plenipotentiary to Toka, begins to understand the complexity of his aliens charges and that they are not the silly innocents that they appear on the surface. It is a direct commentary on the concept that the English poet Rudyard Kipling wrote about in his poem The White Man’s Burden that he wrote for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee and defined the English idea of imperialism that was commonplace during the 19th century.

I first encountered this novel in my early twenties when I was looking for a light summer read at the bookstore. With teddybear aliens on the cover, I did not expect anything of substance. Inside the book I discovered a world with more depth than I expected and a satire that made me think about I viewed the world and my place in it. Over the years, the novel tends to come up in conversation, especially among vintage science fiction buffs such as myself. It is a novel well worth reading and adding to your collection. It will delight you with humor and leave you feeling uplifted. My favorite story is the first one about the sheriff of canyon gulch.

Stories included in the anthology:

    “The Sheriff of Canyon Gulch”
    “Don Jones”
    “In Hoka Signo Vinces”
    “The Adventure of the Misplaced Hound”
    “Yo Ho Hoka!”
    “The Tiddlywink Warriors”

Earthman's Burden Book CoverEarthman’s Burden is not available as an ebook, but you can still find copies for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and at your local used book stores.