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DECEMBER 2013 BOOK CLUB SELECTION: Warlock in Spite of Himself by Chris Stasheff

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Goodreads sums it this way: 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.

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.

There is an author essay online at his blog titled, Why I Wrote Warlock in Spite of Himself. You may find it here ( The book cover below is from the first printing in 1969. The website, TV Tropes, and some fun content too - found here (


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