Latest Comments

Christopher Stasheff

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

THANK YOU, Ms. Colson. I’m glad to say that Escape Velocity is on Ortho’s list to convert to e-book form and is negotiating for more audio books. IF EITHER becomes imminent, we’ll post it on this website. Let’s hope they like me as much as you do.

Mr. Cummings, I heartily encourage your writing. I hadn’t known about the HP site. Thanks for letting me know so that I can check it out.

Mr. Ledden, Thank you for your endorsement. I think it should be made into a movie, too. Hope some producer somewhere picks up on it.

Mr. Smith, I have indeed mined Briggs’s Encyclopedia of Fairies extensively. Alas, I have now used every faerie creature she mentions. I’m going to have to search for other mythologies.

Oh, I’ll keep writing, Mr. Houston, and I’ll TRY to make them live up to your expectations. Ortho has serialized two books on this site and snippets from a third; just use the arrow in the lower left-hand corner of this site’s main page to find them. Hope you enjoy.

Mr. Casey, thank heavens for book exchanges! I patronize one in my grocery store. Every now and then, I find one I’ve been looking for – sometimes one of my own. Thanks for your kind comments.

Mr. Wells, the audible people are thinking of making more of my books. If they don’t, Ortho and Illishar may have me read one, and package it ourselves. Thanks for wanting them.

Mr. Houston, thank you for picking up on the main theme. I think you’re right, but an author doesn’t always know the deeper themes he’s working with – he only knows the story wants to be written. Every now and then, I do some analysis of my own books – but never on the one I’m working on at the time.

 Permalink 10/12/12 @ 11:52
Christopher Stasheff

In response to: Picaresque Plot Structure in SFF

Yes, the Doctor is definitely a prime picaro, possibly the best we’ve ever seen. Living by your wits does seem to hold down on the violence as, per example, McGyver. The Doctor may be the best on TV or in film, but he is not, thank Heaven, the only one.

 Permalink 10/05/12 @ 15:40

In response to: Picaresque Plot Structure in SFF

admin [Member]

After reading and absorbing this, I’d like to add another SFF Picar hero to the list: Doctor Who. An outlaw, an outcast, and an adventurer, he traveled through time and space with each new story being a new episode in his epic tale. More importantly, he consistently defeated his enemies not through brute force, but by outwitting them.

As a child, I instantly fell in love with the Doctor because, in truth, trickster heroes were in pretty short supply back then. Keep in mind that I grew up during the Regan 80s, where almost all heroes were tough, muscle-bound, and carried weapons. Meeting a threat with anything less than heavy artillery meant you were a sissy. Even as a child I somehow recognized that Captain Kirk was essentially just a cowboy in space. Heck, even Luke Skywalker carried a lightsaber and defeated his enemies through combat (personally, I always preferred Han Solo). It was hard for me to identify with these action heroes because I was most certainly NOT He-Man, Conan, Rambo.

Then into this setting walked a goofy-looking clown with a long scarf who defeated hordes of bad guys by outsmarting them over and over again. He didn’t even carry a weapon - just a tool, his sonic screwdriver. Now THIS was a hero I could identify with!

Thankfully, after a twenty-year hiatus, the Doctor is back with a vengeance and winning over a new generation of fans who love seeing a mild-mannered trickster hero defeat armies of Daleks with only a tool, his friends, and his brain.

 Permalink 10/01/12 @ 10:42
Richard Robertson

In response to: The Seaman: A Ghost Book in the Machine?

Richard Robertson [Visitor]

I found this book listed on Amazon
It attributes it to our beloved writer here. I’d like to snag a copy for no other reason than curiosity.

 Permalink 09/30/12 @ 23:00

In response to: Russian Volgacon '91, part 2

Florene [Visitor]

I do not create a comment, however I browsed a few responses here Russian Volgacon ‘91, part 2. I actually do have a few questions for you if you do not mind. Could it be simply me or do some of the remarks come across like they are left by brain dead folks? :-P And, if you are posting on additional online sites, I would like to keep up with you. Could you list of every one of all your social pages like your Facebook page, twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

 Permalink 09/27/12 @ 18:10
Steve Houston

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

Steve Houston [Visitor]

This is very interesting. I caught some of it, but the most important idea at my first reading, so many years ago, was a lone and lonely man finds himself and love as one. I have yet to find anything, (and I read a lot!) that has said it better.

thanks again for that book.


 Permalink 09/04/12 @ 14:12
Peter Wells

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

Peter Wells [Visitor]

I read your Warlock series years ago. I was surfing and was thrilled to find this book. Please beg them to make more of this series.

 Permalink 08/11/12 @ 20:21
Luhra Tivis

In response to: Russian Volgacon '91, part 2

Luhra Tivis [Visitor]

P.S. Forgot to mention that I, too, am a cat-aholic, with 7 plus new rescue kitten with no name yet. Also have a poodle Murphy & rat terrier Lucy (which makes me A Batty Old Cat Lady With Two Little Dogs, [age 56 in case anybody wonders]).

On the coffee drinking subject, I highly recommend mail ordering Community Coffee from New Orleans. But even Wal-Mart has decent fair trade coffee these days.

I loved reading about your grandbabies. And such a delightful photo of you & Mrs. Stasheff with the baby. I have one grandson age 12 who lives in town, and 2 who I don’t get to see very often. The one I do get to see makes up for any losses in the grandchildren department. Aren’t they something? I’m leaving him my literary estate.

I look forward to reading all your books. I was also wondering how Eleanore and Edward are doing.

Sincerely, Luhra Tivis

 Permalink 06/29/12 @ 01:33
Luhra Tivis

In response to: Russian Volgacon '91, part 2

Luhra Tivis [Visitor]

I bought a big stack of paperbacks by you at an ecumenical thrift shop; they do lots of good works for homeless, teen parents, job seekers. Thus I found out that I liked your writing. I will buy the rest of your available titles, some in kindle format, maybe some from rare book dealers. The thrift shop often introduces me to new authors, and I go on to buy new copies as well. This is an important issue to me, buying new books, because I’m a writer too, and I hope that I’ll sell some new copies, as well as benefit the resell market.

I was delighted to see your brilliant web site. I spent so much time this evening looking at cover art, wallpaper, and reading about you, that I haven’t got to actually reading your books yet.

I know I’ll like them, though. My current book is FAIRY POTTER: A BOY DISCOVERS HIS GAY HERITAGE, in kindle format at for $6.98. You can download a free sample (just ask Eleanore). If you don’t have a kindle, you can download a free app from Amazon and read kindle books on your computer.

I was born with a strange sense of humor, and I think my books probably reflect that. I’m now working on a Scifi/Fantasy WINDRUNNER. The next one is ALIEN ZOMBIES FROM PLANET VAMPIRE. Might as well take advantage of the zombie and vampire popularity, eh?

Sincerely, Luhra Tivis
Enid, Oklahoma

 Permalink 06/29/12 @ 01:14

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

Casey [Visitor]

I’m glad you did write the book. I came across _A Wizard in Mind_ completely by chance in my high school book exchange. Then I encountered _The Warlock in Spite of Himself_ in my public library, and from that point on, I read nearly every book you’ve written, and gotten my hands on about two-thirds. Thank you for writing people, not just characters, and thanks for creating memorable places and situations for them to get stuck in. And thanks for the puns, I’m serious. I hope to get my hands on the books I haven’t read, soon.

 Permalink 06/14/12 @ 16:55
Steve Houston

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

Steve Houston [Visitor]

I am glad you wrote it! It is still in the all time top ten of everything I have ever read. And I have read a lot! I miss seeing new things but I see there are some additions to this website so I will look these over. You have earned your retirement. Have fun, but write! Thanks.

 Permalink 06/14/12 @ 11:54
Mark Smith

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

Mark Smith [Visitor]

I’ve noticed in your writings as far back as “The Haunted Wizard” a large number of supernatural creatures many of whom I am only familiar with because of a book by Katharine Briggs. Does your research library contain “An Encyclopedia of Fairies?”
Thank you

 Permalink 05/11/12 @ 19:07
Craig Ledden

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

Craig Ledden [Visitor]

Loved this book when I read it years ago. It MUST be made into a movie!!

 Permalink 05/10/12 @ 06:44
Charles Cummings

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

Charles Cummings [Visitor]

Hi Christopher I am a fan of your wizard in rhyme series and hope you continue it however I know how writing goes,its sometimes like a dance when the music ends and the dance is over. I write thriller, chillers and suspense with a little bit of the supernatural thrown in, I just sent four novels in and am glad to say one was picked up but I didnt know how much was involved in the process. Anyways I also am a big fan of the HP series by JKR because of the kids, we used to read them together, I started writing FF on one of the HPFF sites and my third and final story I realized half way through I added some elements of your world from that series and then knowing what I did added in the last chapter a footnote where that universe is discussed. I did in the authors notes give you credit for being the creative genius behind some of that, of course JKR owns the characters themselves, well those I didnt make up. If your ever up for lazy typing and spelling errors, they dont offer Editors to help you undo those on Fan Fiction sites, I go under the name captain charles, the stories are HP and the Second war, HP and the Quest of Grindelwald, and HP and the Arabian Knightmare. Love your work and look forward to seeing more novels in the future CS, keep us fans dreaming and imaginative.

 Permalink 05/08/12 @ 01:00
Deby Colson

In response to: Why I Wrote "Warlock in Spite of Himself"

Deby Colson [Visitor]

My favorite book is Escape Velocity and I cannot find it in Ebook form. Would also love more audio books.

 Permalink 05/05/12 @ 17:37
Ron Hathcock

In response to: Russian Volgacon '91

Ron Hathcock [Visitor]

I’m glad to see you on the Internet! I discovered your works through a book club over 20 years ago and have a fair number of them on my shelves.

I was a trucker until my health collapsed (as did I with a SCA), now I’m taking a clue from your books and getting into chaplaincy (one quarter to go!)

I hope to see much more of your work through this site and perhaps in print as well… I’m hardly a technophobe, but I prefer books I can read in bed without worrying about wires, batteries, or dropping them off the edge of the bed when I do fall asleep!

 Permalink 07/27/11 @ 19:24

In response to: New Arrival

cstasheff [Member]

Thanks for bringing up he issue of loose ends. One of the problems with writing a series is exactly that ? the need to tie up the whole package in the last book. That means that, no matter how strong the first book is, the books in the middle will generate a hunger to know what comes next ? at least, if I?m doing my job right. When THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK came out, millions of moviegoers were very unhappy with it, and that was one of the reasons. It didn?t resolve anything, only added new unfinished business, such as Yoda. We were left wondering if Luke would ever become a full-fledged Jedi, having missed the crowning portion of his training, and the romance between Leia and Han, as well as? well, I could go on and on, and many fans did.

So, in the final chapter of THE RHYMING WIZARD, I will hopefully gather up the narrative strings in one complete knot. The problem, though, is remembering what all the threads are. Some readers have already helped, by pointing out that the link between the monarch and the land, so strong in the first book, is missing in the sequels. Ortho has seen the need for telling us what happened to the minor characters and has set out to remedy this with THE APPRENTICE WIZARD (more fan fiction is welcomed, by the way). I?d appreciate it if you, or any other correspondents, can give me a brief list of unresolved elements. If I do get to write the final volume (and I?m determined to, some day), that list will be a big help. Thank you for your kind comments.

 Permalink 02/19/11 @ 16:20

In response to: Russian Volgacon '91

Steve [Visitor]

Hiya Chris,

glad to see that you’re still writing both stories and the occasional blog.

Look forward to continuing to read your stuff.

Best wishes


 Permalink 02/11/11 @ 08:07

In response to: Where science fiction Came From

cstasheff [Visitor]

I?m delighted with this dialogue. The question has evolved from ?Where did science fiction come from?? to ?Where did fantasy come from?? The answer, of course, lies in the ancient past, and is as much a matter of suspending disbelief as of belief itself. One source I read said that though the ancient Greeks believed implicitly in the stories of their gods and goddesses, their descendants regarded the myths as charming fables.

Okay ? so what?s a myth?

I tried that one on a psychology professor, telling him that I had read Campbell?s THE MASKS OF GOD and read about one religion after another, and thought it was very interesting, but when were we going to get to the myths? He laughed loud and long ? because, of course, myths are the stories of gods and goddesses.

That does NOT mean that the myths aren?t true. A lot of them grow out of kernels of fact. The legend of Billy the Kid is well on its way to becoming a myth, even though William Bonney is an historical character around whom legends grew.

So what?s the difference between a myth and a legend?

Time, mostly ? if the story?s around for a few hundred years, it has probably grown into a myth because it has evolved to deal with fundamentals of being human. Mostly, though, it?s a matter of scale. The gods and goddesses of the ancients were archetypes, and the characters of myth and legend also become archetypes, if their stories last that long and grow as they pass from one teller to another. This doesn?t mean that they?re not true ? it only means that they have grown to the point of impacting our lives. The psychology professor thought for a while, then came up with a definition of myth that fitted our present discussion ? that a myth is a story that is so profound and so encompassing that it helps us figure out how to live our lives ? or not to. Billy the Kid lived a vivid life, but died young. So the moral to the story is ?You can?t fight the law??

No. Of course not. It goes much deeper than that. Billy has become ?the running boy,? the eternal youth, the embodiment of the romantic ideal: the individual against the institution. He also shows up as a character in Delany?s THE EINSTIEN INTERSECTION. He may be dead, but his story is immortal.

The morals to the myths are complex and multiple, possibly to the point of not being able to be put into words ? you have to feel them more than state them. If, in the process of myth formation, the historical figure becomes lost in the larger-than-life mythic figure, does that really matter? At least, to the teller of tales who wants one more try at telling Billy?s story in a way that will help people today live their own lives successfully? (Okay, so now we need a dialogue about what constitutes a successful life ? because SF, like all literature, is trying to tell us how to live).

That, I think, is what religion is all about. It asks the eternal questions that science can never answer because it can?t ask them ? such as, ?What is the purpose of life?? and ?What does it mean to be human?? Instead, science asks ?How does the universe work?? which is a question that religion can?t really answer ? it?s a completely different frame of reference ? until the really advanced sciences begin to show us evidence of a Higher Power. Ultimately, both ways of learning and knowing bring us to the same understanding, each to his own way of cognition – but it?s a lifelong discipline.

I don?t claim to be able to understand either one fully ? but that doesn?t mean I won?t try to share what I do comprehend through my novels. After all, by writing science fantasy, I?m trying to follow both paths at once, so doesn?t that double my chances of success? And if occasionally I throw in fantasy creatures based on science, such as Maxwell?s Demon or Schroedinger?s Cat, please understand them as two different routes to the same destination.

 Permalink 01/22/11 @ 13:02
Ortho the Frank

In response to: Where science fiction Came From

Ortho the Frank [Visitor]

I definitely agree with setting up (and sticking to) the rules of the magic system or technology you create for a story. A challenge for novice writers, however, is explaining the rules adequately. Sometimes it devolves into an “info dump” that bores the reader.

On the other hand, not explaining the rules at all is just as frustrating for the reader. One of the things I disliked about the Lord of the Rings series was that we never know how the magic worked, or just what the limits of Gandalf’s powers were. This resulted in several magical “dues ex machina” moments that irked me. If I had known Gandalf was capable of making the river flood, for example, then I wouldn’t have been worried about the heroes’ safety in the first place.

JK Rowling in the Harry Potter series and Jim Butcher in the Dresden Files do this quite well, explaining the rules a bit by bit at just the right times, and only the rules that the audience needs to know at the moment to understand the story. I get the impression that both writers have carefully thought out the rules and stick to them, even though they may not have necessarily explained ALL of them to us (nor do they need to).

 Permalink 01/19/11 @ 07:49
Falchion Wielder

In response to: Where science fiction Came From

Falchion Wielder [Visitor]

Perhaps the defining criteria is one of speculation. If one speculates that a human can move things solely with the mind, then the story can proceed from there. This would be true in either Fantasy or SciFi.

The trick is to then be consistent with the all rules, the ones specified and the remainder that must be more or less untouched in order to provide a frame of reference to the characters in the story and the readers.

The ‘rule change’ along with the scene and plot line, shapes the genre in which the work is identified. So the mix found in the Warlock books is interesting as psi powers to that degree work anywhere, as Gwen ably demonstrated upon her trip to Earth.

The medieval culture of Gramarye helped define the series as fantasy. Another series could be written in a futuristic ‘world’ where psi powers fit into more of a SciFi definition. I’ve often dreamed of plot lines where Magnus ‘hangs a right at Albuquerque’ and enter orbit around some future world that needs a it of revolution to free the oppressed.

 Permalink 01/14/11 @ 20:35

In response to: New Arrival

Iain [Visitor]


You may want to try Bookmooch if you’re not comfortable with online purchases. If you have some books you no longer want you can post them on Bookmooch to give away which earns you Bookmooch points which you can then use to ask for books that other folks are giving away.

If you were comfortable with online purchases I’d recommend and

 Permalink 01/03/11 @ 11:28

In response to: Where science fiction Came From

Misiaczek [Visitor]

That’s bloody ordinary isn’t it?

 Permalink 01/03/11 @ 05:21

In response to: Meeting the Dead Dog

Misiaczek [Visitor]

@person below - you could be wrong. just sayin’ … !

 Permalink 01/01/11 @ 21:52
Brian Pinar

In response to: Where science fiction Came From

Brian Pinar [Visitor]

Chris asks where Science Fiction comes from, Brent says the better question is where does fantasy come from. I do not attribute either subject to authors, as stories were well and truly spoken long before they were, or weren’t in many cases, published. However I do have some kind of an answer for both. Belief and/or faith. Simple, not very eloquent, but there it is.

Fantasy is a fictional story that has a great deal of elements left unexplained because they are not meant to be understood being believed to be beyond understanding, or beyond the understanding of us mere humans anyways. Thus fantasy is a story of faith. Faith being the belief in something with no proof of it’s existance whatsoever. Since the moment humans began to imagine stories that had no basis in thier everyday live, fantastical or not, fantasy has existed.

Science fiction is written with the idea that all things can, and maybe will, be understood with time and effort regardless of whether we do at this moment in time. Belief and not faith because science fiction is based on what we believe are facts and not just taken whole. While you bring names like H. G. Wells and Jules Verne as suggestive origins of science fiction, I tend to lean more towards names like Archimedes and Divinci for thier beliefs that they could figure everything out. (Obviously some names that are probably better and of an earlier origin can be found, but these are the two that popped into my head.)

As for ‘road’ books, I think not. In order for that to be true wouldn’t your characters have to feel the place they left from was home? Seems to me that they rarely ever come to a place they do not feel is thier home. In the Warlock series the adventure is Rod finding that this wonderful and hard to explain place, Gramarye, he has come to is his home. A Wizard in Rhyme the same. Though I would say that your Starship Troupers series feels like a road story, but the road IS thier home in itself. But, as to the point, none of your characters that I’ve read to date seem to feel like they are trying to return home, so much as they are trying to find one.

 Permalink 12/30/10 @ 22:09
Brian Pinar

In response to: The Seaman: A Ghost Book in the Machine?

Brian Pinar [Visitor]

The Seaman is a book written by one Jane Yolen in 1997 about sailors aboard a dutch ship in 1663 finding/capturing a creature that is a mix between fish and man. As I’ve never read the book I cannot honestly tell you more about it, or if this is the book alledgedly written by yourself.

Off subject but very intresting to me is your comment about a ghost in the machine. It is my understanding that such is not inaccurate imformation carried on, but rather bits of information from unknown origin that occassionally come together to do rather crazy, and sometimes not so crazy, things to, or within, our machinery. Such as a machine designed to make soles for shoes suddenly spitting out a size it was never designed to make.

 Permalink 12/30/10 @ 21:18

In response to: New Arrival

Eniola [Visitor]

Congratulations!! the baby is cute too. in all honesty, I’m not so sure I can claim to be a fan but about 10 years ago, I came across a few pages of M’lady witch…I was spellbound. Finding you hasn’t been easy because I didn’t even know your name. Is there anywhere in Nigeria where I can find your books? i have searched and searched. can’t do the online purchase thing because of the fear of internet Fraud (lol). please, please please…i really can’t bear the suspense any longer. I need information. thanks. ;)

p.s: I think you are a wonderful writer

 Permalink 12/20/10 @ 00:35

In response to: The Seaman: A Ghost Book in the Machine?

Neil [Visitor]

I thought it might be the Shaman as well, but it has a different ISBN and was published 2 years later…weird.
Amazon has it listed as…
“Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,417,590 in Books”

not sure how a book that doesn’t exist made the charts though. lol
It’s listed everywhere though - all currently out of stock of course.

My current thinking is that you wrote this in the future after Doc Angus became your agent.

 Permalink 11/08/10 @ 08:24

In response to: Meeting the Dead Dog

Marcus [Visitor]

So… would Jack be a convention of fleas? :)

 Permalink 11/02/10 @ 14:12

In response to: New Arrival

Patricia [Visitor]

congratulations! and will we ever read another book from Gramarye?

 Permalink 10/21/10 @ 16:59
Brent Lynn

In response to: Where science fiction Came From

Brent Lynn [Visitor]

Science Fiction and fantasy are cut from the same cloth. However, it is the author’s attitude towards fantasy that determines how the book is labeled. The author who takes comfort in an orderly universe where scientific laws provide explanations for everything even at the smallest level will write the Jules Verne type book. I think this sort will even write the H.G. Wells type book because even though his science fiction often predicts doom, it is still a prediction based on knowledge of the laws of science. This type of author makes it his mission to show all those who are prone to fantasy?which usually means those who believe in religion?are disillusioned about reality. Such people, the author claims, need to face up to the fact that our total existence can be broken down into the laws of science. And if there is a god, she?s also subject to those laws. However, whether this type of author wants to admit it, he/she is still writing fantasy.
Here?s why. First, scientific explanations for everything are always changing because understanding of science is always changing. What was once a sure fact later becomes modified or is discounted altogether. Many authors of this type would probably admit that they know the theories they base their odysseys on are just that?theories. However, they feel sure that reality must be something like that even if some of the scientific facts change along the way. Second, such an author usually has characters who understand everything there is to know about all the sciences. They are generalists in the field; thus, they can know a little about everything. In addition, they can usually fly spaceships, fix spaceships, climb asteroids, punch out space pirates, and communicate with aliens and so on. Again, no matter how fantastic these characters and their situations are, they are always given just enough ?science? to show that what is happening is at least possible?theoretically. Finally, everything in these types of stories usually works out for the characters (at least the main ones) as if they were guided by Providence throughout their adventures. And even if the author decides to be a hard realist and kills off all of his characters through a malfunction in oxygen, a crash with a runaway comet, or a malfunctioning computer, then that author has to face up to the fact that no comfort can be taken in the laws of science because everybody eventually dies anyway. Thus, they are forced to realize that maybe a little fantasy in their stories is not such a bad thing in the end since it is the only way they can gain any meaning in life.
I really think the question asked here should be, ?Where does Fantasy come from??

 Permalink 08/17/10 @ 11:25
Mark-Jonathan Hellesto

In response to: Where Science Fiction Came From

Mark-Jonathan Hellesto [Visitor]

I’m proud to know you, been taught and counseled by you in television production and writing, and most significantly, to have your friendship.



 Permalink 08/15/10 @ 15:23
Tammie Darden

In response to: New Arrival

Tammie Darden [Visitor]


 Permalink 07/31/10 @ 15:30
Christopher Stasheff

In response to: The Seaman: A Ghost Book in the Machine?

Thanks, Jon. It might give me an idea for a second book – about a Finnish sailor. The Finns, according to legend, could literally whistle up a wind. Captains were very polite to them.

 Permalink 07/13/10 @ 19:04

In response to: The Seaman: A Ghost Book in the Machine?

Jon [Visitor]

My first guess would be a mis-spelling of The Shaman somewhere, at some time, by somebody who didn’t recognize the term, and so got the title wrong.

 Permalink 07/04/10 @ 00:55