A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
Bink is a teenage boy without magic who lives in a land where everybody else has some particular magic spell they can cast. Bink must go on a quest to discover what his power is before he is exiled from his beloved homeland.
This is in no way a proper review because I read A Spell for Chameleon about 20 years ago and I can't remember enough of the details to write anything more substantial. And I don't want to re-read the book because I hated it. In fact, I couldn't even get past the midpoint. The book was juvenile, silly, and often disgusting. Actually, the best word is puerile. It's most likely to be enjoyed by a 12 or 13 year old boy. A Spell for Chameleon is full of objectification of girls and, worst of all, the stupidest puns I've ever read.
The XANTH series is very popular, but I just couldn... Read More
Piers Anthony(1934- )
Piers Anthony is one of the world’s most prolific and popular authors. His fantasy Xanth novels have been read and loved by millions of readers around the world, and have been on the New York Times Best Seller list many times. Although Piers is mostly known for fantasy and science fiction, he has written several novels in other genres as well, including historical fiction, martial arts, and horror. Piers lives with his lovely wife in a secluded woods hidden deep in Central Florida. Learn more at Piers Anthony’s website.
Xanth — (1977-2013) Publisher: Xanth was the enchanted land where magic ruled — where every citizen had a special spell only he could cast. That is, except for Bink of North Village. He was sure he possessed no magic, and knew that if he didn’t find some soon, he would be exiled. According to the Good Magician Humpfrey, the charts said that Bink was as powerful as the King or even the Evil Magician Trent. Unfortunately, no one could determine its form. Meanwhile, Bink was in despair. If he didn’t find his magic soon, he would be forced to leave…
A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony
Centaur Aisle by Piers Anthony
Piers Anthony's Centaur Aisle is one of his many Xanth books — Xanth being the magical land these stories are set in, filled with dragons, ogres, and really bad puns. Often the puns provide clues to the riddles and plot twists and sometimes it takes a while until you have enough information to realise how certain puns will effect the story. Other times the puns form the basis of the flora and fauna of Xanth. For instance, a cocoa tree provides hot chocolate drinks.
I wonder how many potential readers will stop reading the review right here and decide they've learnt enough? :)
You can apply this review to pretty much any of the Xanth novels, since they all follow very similar paths: take one teenage boy, give him some friends, one of whom will be a s... Read More
Incarnations of Immortality — (1984-1991) Publisher: When Zane shot Death, he learned, too late, that he would have to assume his place, speeding over the world riding his pale horse, and ending the lives of others. Sooner than he would have thought possible, Zane found himself being drawn to Satan’s plot. Already the Prince of Evil was forging a trap in which Zane must act to destroy Luna, the woman he loved… unless he could discover the only way out…
On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony
When the grim reaper shows up a few seconds early, Zane shoots him instead of using the gun on himself as he’d planned. Now, instead of being dead, Zane is Death. He has to take over the office, riding around the world in his convertible pale horse collecting and measuring the souls of those who’ve committed equal amounts of good and evil during their lives — those who are “in balance.” In his new guise (complete with all of the accoutrements: scythe, hooded cloak, skeleton face, etc), Zane sets out to change Death’s image while dealing with his own personal demons.
This is a fun premise and I expected Piers Anthony to do a lot with it, but unfortunately I found On a Pale Horse to be mostly illogical, trite and, worst sin of all, just plain boring. Part of the problem is that it doesn’t know if it wants to be a come... Read More
Aton — (1967-1975) Publisher: Chthon was Piers Anthony’s first published novel in 1967, written over the course of seven years. He started it when he was in the US Army, so it has a long prison sequence that is reminiscent of that experience, being dark and grim. It features Aton Five, a space man who commits the crime of falling in love with the dangerous alluring Minionette and is therefore condemned to death in the subterranean prison of Chthon. It uses flashbacks to show how he came to know the Minionette, and flashforwards to show how he dealt with her after his escape from prison. The author regards this as perhaps the most intricately structured novel the science fantasy genre has seen. It was a contender for awards, but not a winner.
Battle Circle — (1968-1975) Publisher: Wandering tribes of primitive humans meet and fight and love and die. When one tribe meets another, individuals fight inside a Battle Circle. The loser must become a member of the victorious tribe. Each warrior is named by his weapon. When Sol the Sword is bested by Sol of All Weapons, he loses his tribe, his name, and his weapon. Re-named Sos the Rope, he joins with Sol of All Weapons to try to create something greater than a world of Battle Circles. An early classic from Piers Anthony, creator of the legendary Xanth series, Sos the Rope was nominated for the prestigious Hugo Award.
Of Man and Manta — (1968-1976) Publisher: Three scientists came to the mysterious planet Nacre to discover, to explore, to record. Utterly defenseless, they trekked through the grotesque jungle of multiform mushrooms and dense spore-clouds, hoping to unlock the secret of this strange world. The stunning climax of their mission was just the beginning of a complex drama in which their survival — and return to earth-could spell the extinction of humanity.
Cluster — (1977-1982) Publisher: The CLUSTER series of SF adventures is set in a future focused on colonization of distant planets. Every living thing has a Kirlian aura that can be measured. Through transfer, a refinement of mattermission technology, the mind and personality of individuals with high aura can be sent to animate a body physically distant but a hosted aura fades at the rate of about 1 unit per Earth day and higher-Kirlian individuals last longer and thus have more freedom of movement. As CLUSTER opens, the alien envoy Pnotl of Sphere Knyfh seeks help from Sphere Sol in a shared galactic-level crisis: Galaxy Andromeda has discovered the secret of energy transfer and intends to use it to steal the basic energy of the Milky Way Galaxy. Knyfh offers the secret of aura transfer on the understanding that Sphere Sol will spread the technology to help create a galactic coalition to find and defeat agents of Andromeda. Sol’s highest-Kirlian individual is Flint, a green-skinned native of Outworld, who has a Kirlian aura of 200, an eidetic memory (useful for memorizing the complex equations of Kirlian transfer that he will need to communicate to other spheres). He has extraordinary intelligence, and is highly adaptable. His mission is complicated, however, by the fact that he is pursued everywhere by a very high Kirlian female Andromedan agent and, somehow, the Andromedans are able to detect and trace Kirlian transfers.
Tarot — (1979-1980) Publisher: On the ancient planet of Tarot, the timeless Tree of Life is the one supreme god. It’s people however are now being haunted by aparitions form the ancient cards of the Tarot deck. Is their god testing them?
Apprentice Adept — (1981-1991) Publisher: On the technological, decadent world of Proton, someone was trying to destroy Stile, serf and master Gamesman. His only escape lay in Phaze, a world totally ruled by magic. Soon he learned that his alternate self had already been murdered, and that he was next. On Proton, his fate depended on winning the great Games. On Phaze, he must master magic to survive. And if he used any magic at all, his friends were determined to kill him at once!
Bio of a Space Tyrant — (1983-2002) Publisher: Though he was later accused of every crime and sexual perversion in the galaxy, Hope Hubris began as an innocent. Because he defended his older sister against the violent lusts of a wealthy scion, Hope and his peasant family were forced to flee Callisto, one of the moons of Jupiter. Pursued by the bloodthirsty scions across the airless desert, they barely escaped with their lives. The illegal space bubble was overcrowded with refugees, all hoping to reach Jupiter for asylum. But the space travelers had not reckoned on the terrible threat of high space-the pirates, barbaric men who rape, rob, and murder, with no thought but to satisfy their bestial appetites. It will take all Hope’s ingenuity to survive, but the atrocities he witnesses will never die. There is only one way he can be rid of them…
Kelvin of Rud — (1987-1992) With Robert E Margroff. Publisher: The Prophecy: A Roundear there Shall Surely be; Born to be Strong, Raised to be Free; Fighting Dragons in his Youth; Leading Armies, Nothing Loth; Ridding his Country of a Sore; Joining Two, then uniting Four; Until from Seven there be One; Only then will his Task be Done. When Kelvin was a child, his mother read to him from the Book of Prophecy and he asked what the poem meant. Now he was about to learn. The Kingdom of Rud languishes under the heel of a usurper; an evil sorcerer has taken the throne in the name of his wicked daughter. Even deep in the forest, away from all power, the people tremble and await the day of prophecy’s fulfillment. It cannot come too soon: Charlain and her children are soon to lose their home to the tax collector. But Kelvin and Jon have other plans. they have found a dragon’s territory, where scales of purest gold, shed by the dragon, lie free on the ground for anyone with courage, or innocence, to take. And the words of Mouvar the prophet echo across Rud.
Mode — (1991-2001) Publisher: When she falls in love with a strange man who disappears before her eyes, Colene says goodbye to reality — and hello to an infinite world of dragons, monsters, and impossible dreams.
Geodyssey — (1993-2010) Publisher: A magnificent saga of passion, heroism, and survival, Piers Anthony’s Isle of Woman is a tale like no other ever written. It is nothing less than the story of humanity itself, from its savage origins to its troubled future, told through the lives on one family reborn throughout history. At once grand in scope and intimate in human detail, Isle of Woman tells the story of a man and a woman born at the dawn of human history, separated by fate, yet united by an unquenchable passion that even time could not conquer: Blaze, the fireworker who raised his kind out of savagery, and Ember, the beautiful green-eyed woman who forever haunted his dreams.
Chromagic — (2003-2008) Publisher: 1,000 years ago Earth colonized the planet Charm. But the population of Charm is now far removed from their ancient ancestors. Technology has been lost over the years but the people have something better—Magic! Charm is a world covered by volcanoes, each erupting a different color of magic. Everything within a particular Chroma becomes that color. Plants, animals, insects, and even humans all become one color and can perform that color of magic. Traveling is dangerous because a person leaving their native Chroma home can no longer perform their color magic. Havoc is a barbarian living in a non-Chroma village, where no one has magic. As a boy, he rescued a dragon that rewarded him with special magic; to sense pending danger. His gift becomes more valuable than he can imagine as he is suddenly drafted and forced to become the new king of the planet. He must perform his duties or be executed for treason. To make matters worse, the assassin who killed the former king is now after Havoc!
Return of Aladdin — (2011-2012) With J.R. Rain. Publisher: Return to the magical land of the Arabian Nights… The end of “Aladdin of the Lamp” finds the cunning Aladdin ruler of a great kingdom. Now, many years have passed… Aladdin is older, richer and wiser… and heart broken, and after losing his beloved wife and son to foul play, he resigns from being king and sets out to do what he does best…. Now working as an anonymous relic hunter using the name Niddala (Aladdin spelled backwards), he’s hired by a desperate-and beautiful-noble woman named Jewel to rescue her kidnapped son. Prince Zeyn, a powerful wizard from the magical land of Djinnland, has designs on Aladdin’s kingdom, and Jewel’s son is to be the final piece of a bloody plot to rule two worlds. From bestselling authors Piers Anthony (Xanth) and J.R. Rain (Vampire for Hire), Aladdin Relighted is the first in a magical series featuring Aladdin and his Extraordinary Lamp.
Trail Mix — (2011-2012) Publisher: Follow Tod Timmonds as he leaves his mundane life behind and embarks on a remarkable trail of adventure and uncertainly. As Tod navigates the trail he encounters a mix of creatures from alternate realities, periods in time, and different planets. There are qualities previously hidden in Tod that he must quickly realize to have a chance to survive even one day on his new path. In short order Tod must differentiate friends from foes, lust from love, and fantasy from reality in order to save the one thing that connects us all before it is too late!
Metal Maiden — (2012) Publisher: Humanoid robots are surely in our future, but their uses are likely to be limited to body guarding, childcare, companionship, and sex. Other chores can better be done by smart non-humanoid machines designed for those specific tasks. But for these limited purposes, the best robots must be so realistic that they are indistinguishable from live people. Elasa is such a robot. You can’t tell her nature if she doesn’t reveal it. You can talk with her, embrace her, kiss her, and she is the perfect woman. Until she becomes the first conscious robot. She no longer is satisfied to pretend to be a woman, she wants legal recognition that she is a woman. So that, among other things, she can marry the man she loves. Therein hangs a tale…
Hasan — (1969) Publisher: In the days of Sinbad, the handsome young merchant Hasan quests forth from Bassorah, seeking great wealth. But Lo! The hand of Allah sets the youth upon a rare journey — into the heart of deadly adventure, unearthly peril… and magic. Enslaved by the alchemist Bahram, bound into a camel’s corpse and left on the Mountain of Clouds to be devoured by a roc — such is the beginning of Hasan’s destiny. For he has entered a world of mighty jinns and hideous ifrits, amazon empires and bejeweled jungle palaces, enigmatic wizards and cloistered virgin princesses. And to know his life’s desire, Hasan must twice capture the love of the bird-maiden Sana — the world’s most beautiful woman, child of the vengeful king of jinns on the dreaded Isles of Wak! Harken ye now to a tale of exotic mystery, sensuous beauty, and strange sorcery.
Shade of the Tree — (1986) Publisher: A widower and his two children move into a house in Florida left them by an eccentric uncle. But the house, built beneath the shade of a huge oak tree, proves to be haunted — by shades of the living and of the dead, and even more.
Through the Ice — (1989) With Robert Kornwise. Publisher: Seth is whisked from fighting teenage punks in Michigan to being part of a quest — along with Tirsa the telepath, Rame the faun, and Vidav the giant — when he falls through the ice.
The Willing Spirit — (1996) With Alfred Tella. Publisher: Hari leaves his native village on a quest for true wisdom, but unbeknownst to him, his journey becomes the subject of a wager between two immortals, the beautiful Mohini and the evil Ravana.
Quest for the Fallen Star — (1998) With James Richey and Alan Riggs. Publisher: The Realm, to its sorrow, has seen evil before. But in these strange new times has come a thing never seen before. A star has tumbled, burning, from the sky: the Fallen Star, which has journeyed through the Abyss to land on Infinitera. It holds a power of evil more dangerous than the Dark One himself, one that could defile all Creation. All this is known to High Bishop Marcus Alanda, watching from his temple in the Holy City of Norivika. To save the Realm and its power, the High Bishop charges a lonely band of travelers to accompany him on a journey to a lost island at the end of the world. There, in the temple Atablicryon, waits the one weapon that can defeat the Fallen Star. Running before the storm, this doughty band must traverse mountains, deserts, forests, oceans, and undreamt-of peril – and learn the true nature of the Fallen Star – in order to preserve the Realm from the rising darkness.
Dream a Little Dream — (1998) With Julie Brady. Publisher: Nola and Tina are both girls with problems. They don’t know each other yet, but they will, because each is a Creator, with the magical ability to turn dreams into reality. It would be great gift and a great power – if either knew she had it. But this world is hard on dreamers, whether they dream true or not. Nola is trapped in a terrible, abusive relationship with a man she once loved; Tina is an orphan who makes her living on the street. All their dreams are slowly being ground into dust. It’s a common enough tragedy, a sorrow and a grief and a shame upon the world, no matter who it happens to. But when dreams themselves die, when the great dreamers stop dreaming, whole universes of imagination are lost. And the land of Nola and Tina’s dreams is fighting back. Into their miserable everyday world soars Esprit, a winged unicorn dark as the space between the stars. He is the vessel of Nola’s dreams, come to aid her in her battle with sordid reality. Following after him comes Prince Michael, whose quest it is to find the human dreamers who can save his land from ruin. And suddenly Nola realizes that the last thing she wants is to keep both feet firmly on the ground…
If I Pay Thee Not in Gold — (1993) Publisher: In the first book of a brilliant new series that rivals Xanth, fantasy superstars Anthony and Lackey join forces to create a marvelous fantasy quest that examines the war between the sexes and the ethics of desire.