Read: February 2020
Author: Robert Asprin
Length: 212 (paperback)
Selected By: BillMo
“Skeeve is a magician’s apprentice (and a wanna-be thief) until an assassin’s bolt kills his master, Garkin. Along with Aahz, the green-scaled, purple-tongued demon and master magician summoned by Garkin, he sets out on a quest to get even. The road to vengeance is bound to prove rocky, however, because Skeeve can barely light a candle with his beginning magic, and Aahz has lost his own considerable magical abilities as a consequence of Garkin’s summoning spell.
“Before they can confront the power-mad wizard who ordered Garkin’s assassination, they must survive a trip to a weird alternate dimension, encounters with Impish hitmen, and a somewhat dull but persistent demon hunter who rides a friendly war unicorn, outwit a sharp-dealing Deevel, and deal with other uncanny enemies and even stranger friends… all without killing each other in the process.”
This was a fun read that did not require a lot of thought. There was some substance missing but then again how much substance can you fit in to a 212 page book? I would definitely read more of this series and recommend it to others. It was very fast and fun.
It is indeed a sorry state when the sound of your own name becomes a knell of doom.
The characters are quirky and easy to like. I still don’t know about Aahz (pronounced like Oz) in regards to his telling the truth but I know I like him. In the synopsis of the story it tells us he loses his powers but I’m still a little skeptical on whether or not he ever had powers.
Now, faced with a demon, I decided to pattern my behavior after that which had saved me in the aforementioned situations. I froze. At least, in hindsight, I like to think it was a deliberate, calculated act.
I thought that our main character Skeeve was going to be just an oaf but he turned out to be okay and pretty clever. I really liked his dragon Gleep best about him.
I mean, by this time I was pretty sure he was kidding about ripping my heart out, but that’s the sort of thing one wants to be very sure of.
I really liked how our author had Aahz describe different “species” if you will. I don’t know if species is the right term but just go with me on it. Such as a dimension traveler is a demon. A Deveel is from Deva and an Imp is from Imper. It’s so clever it’s adorable.
“I think he’s been playing with his wand too much.”
One of the cons for me goes back to the substance that is missing. There is a lack of description of the world and the characters so I have a hard time picturing it. If I have to pick a description I get a Monty Python feel with some cartoon characters mixed in like Bed-knobs and Broomsticks. I want Gleep to be a cartoon dragon running about with live action people. I think it could make a fun television series if someone wanted to invest the time and money. You could probably have a pretty good bit of freedom to add little things here and there to spice it up a bit. Overall it was cute.
City people seemed to be accustomed to loud, rude individuals of any age.
If you are bored and just want to read something that’s fun and you like fantasy this would be the series for you.
BillMo’s Favorite Character(s): The demon hunter, Quigley, who rides upon a war unicorn. He is just ridiculous and hilarious without meaning to be.
BillMo read the Amazon Kindle edition of this selection.
Lady Esbe: n/a
Esbe did not participate in February’s selection.
Lady Esbe’s Favorite Character(s): n/a.
Lady Esbe did not read this selection.
Another Fine Myth is the introductory novel of a series spanning a whopping twenty-one novels to date (I believe Asprin was involved in all of the novels from the first through the nineteenth, at which point his co-author took over sole control following the author’s death). On the one hand, I can see why it has its own cult following; on the other hand… I won’t be joining said cult.
There’s not a whole lot to say about Another Fine Myth. It wasn’t great… but it wasn’t bad, either. It was short and mindless and silly, which made for a nice little goofy break from reality, but it did have a bit too much slapstick and puns masquerading as witty banter for my tastes.
As BillMo stated, there’s not a whole lot going on, but there really couldn’t be too much going on in a fantasy that lasts about two-hundred pages. Our hero, Skeeve, is, of course, a bumbling apprentice magician whose master magician is, of course, going to leave him long before his training is complete to fend with, of course, the most impossible villain imaginable: in this case, a demon called Aahz. The synopsis makes it pretty clear that all things are not as they are initially presented, however, as the demon is given little choice other than to pick up Skeeve’s training where the master magician left off, and the unlikely pair sally forth into the world to avenge Skeeve’s late master and, with the help of Tananada the assassin, a dragon named Gleep, Quigley the demon hunter, and a war unicorn called Buttercup, stop a villain from assuming control over all of the dimensions in existence.
“It’s said if you make a deal with a Deveel, you’d be wise to count your fingers afterward… then your arms and legs, then your relatives…”
In Asprin’s novel, the term “demon” is a catch-all phrase used by those-in-the-know to describe a variety of beings from various worlds who travel between dimensions. The term is misunderstood and misused by a majority of the people who share Skeeve’s particular dimension, Klah, who believe it to be synonymous with “evil.” Other terms are also given the old elbow nudge, such as a dimension called “Perv” whose denizens are mistakenly called “Perverts,” Trollia’s population of “Trollops,” and Deva’s “Deveels.”
And that’s really about it. They walk around a lot, bumping into examples of strange races, zipping from one place and situation to the next, working in and around puns as they go, until the final showdown, which comes to an end after a few more elbow-nudging jokes are told.
All in all, Another Fine Myth was almost childlike with its innocent goofiness; it isn’t trying to transmit a message about society, it’s not slipping you bits of moral code or lessons about right and wrong in its telling. It’s just… a 1980s cartoon of a book. That’s what it is. A literary cartoon.
Honestly, I probably won’t read any more of this series, unless BillMo picks one as a monthly selection in the future. It wasn’t bad… but I don’t typically turn to books for mindlessness; my sense of literary humor in fantasy goes more along the lines of the dry wit of the Discworld – when I want to really just let my brain go to jelly, I play video games or, if in the mood for goofy fantasy humor, a show like JourneyQuest.
Elle Tea’s Favorite Character(s): Gleep, I guess? He didn’t do anything, really, but he seemed kinda cute. I wasn’t really into anyone else, though.
Elle Tea read the Amazon Kindle edition of this selection.