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Knights of Madness: Further Comic Tales of Fantasy [Ring-bound]

Peter Haining


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Book Description

Dec 31 1998
When comedy enters the world of fantasy, anything can happen - and it usually does in the inventive hands of such brilliant writers as Terry Pratchett, Tom Sharpe and Spike Milligan, all of whom are featured in this uproarious new collection.

Following on from the spectacular success of THE WIZARDS OF ODD and THE FLYING SORCERERS, KNIGHTS OF MADNESS presents fantasy at its most comic in a collection of SF, heroic romance and crime. With Terry Pratchett creating mayhem on the Hollywood freeway and Peter S. Beagle running riot with a New Yorker who just happens to be a werewolf; with manic knights, crazed astronauts and bungling criminals, here are stories that rollick from hilarity to absurdity, from satire to the bizarre, in a glorious melange of wit and imaginative genius.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Following from his comic-fantasy anthologies The Wizards of Odd and The Flying Sorcerers, Peter Haining presents a third collection of oddities, now with a somewhat wider scope. Besides funny fantasy and SF, these 24 stories include absurdism, allegory, historical tomfoolery, and even offbeat crime fiction. They range from inevitable names like Terry Pratchett--here with an SF riff on the old mystery of why or how the chicken crossed the road--to unlikely ones like L. Frank Baum of Oz fame, who contributes a wholly uncomic murder story.

Jerome K. Jerome spoofs SF's utopian socialist futures, Robert Bloch introduces a Tuxedo of Invisibility into the lowlife world of Damon Runyon, Ray Bradbury is exuberantly funny about low-budget SF/horror movies, Peter Beagle explores the embarrassments of being a lady werewolf's boyfriend, Mark Twain deliberately paints his daft medieval-romance plot into a corner, John Kendrick Bangs invents a new and silly Munchausen adventure, and Gene Wolfe actually lives up to his splendid title "How I Lost the Second World War and Helped Turn Back the German Invasion." It's a wildly eclectic mix, whose famous names also include Woody Allen, G.K. Chesterton, Philip K. Dick, Mervyn Peake, Spike Milligan, A.A. Milne, Peter Sellers, and James Thurber.

Everyone has different views on what's funny and what isn't, and some of Haining's choices seem eccentric--but most readers should find enough chuckles in this plump anthology to make it well worth the price of admission. --David Langford, Amazon.co.uk --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

Following on from his comic-fantasy anthologies The Wizards of Odd and The Flying Sorcerers, Peter Haining presents a third collection of oddities, now with a somewhat wider scope. Besides funny fantasy and SF, these 24 stories include absurdism, allegory, historical tomfoolery and even offbeat crime fiction. They range from inevitable names like Terry Pratchett--here with an SF riff on the old mystery of why or how the chicken crossed the road--to unlikely ones like L. Frank Baum of Oz fame, who contributes a wholly uncomic murder story. Jerome K Jerome spoofs SF's utopian socialist futures, Robert Bloch introduces a Tuxedo of Invisibility into the lowlife world of Damon Runyon, Ray Bradbury is exuberantly funny about low-budget SF/horror movies, Peter Beagle explores the embarrassments o Everyone has different views on what's funny and what isn't, and some of Haining's choices seem eccentric--but most readers should find enough chuckles in this plump anthology to make it well worth the price of admission. David Langford, AMAZON.CO.UK REVIEW --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great collection April 29 2000
By Harriet Klausner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Knights of Madness is aptly named. The twenty-four stories in this volume, from some of the maddest minds in not only literature, but entertainment, are divided into three parts, "Flights of Fantasy: stories of the absurd," "The Muddled Ages: tales of heroic times," and "Malice in Blunderland: cases of crime." However they're billed, such luminaries as Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Mark Twain, Orson Welles, A. A. Milne, Woody Allen, G. K. Chesterton, and Peter Sellers, provide phenomenally entertaining fare with such topics as how to make love to a werewolf, yet another look at why the chicken crossed the road, a medieval romance from one of the greatest minds in literature. These stories that range from the merely hilarious to the absolutely stunningly brilliant, remind us of how much fun it is to read.

Congratulations to Peter Haining and to Ace for putting together this excellent collection.

Rickey R. Mallory
3.0 out of 5 stars Some Good Stories, a Lot of Fillers Though Sept. 25 2010
By James N Simpson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Knights of Madness is a collection of 24 short stories, all by different authors, many of which are big names. However the big names haven't necessarily submitted their best work. I tracked this down for the Donald E Westlake story The Mulligan Stew. It's a basic story about cloning where nothing really happens and the ending very predictable. Westlake's one of the greatest writers when it comes to comic tales set in the real world, there's no laughs here though. Terry Pratchett's Hollywood Chickens seems to be just a long spiel to end so it can ask the age old question involving chickens and sides of roads. Bearable but nothing special. Philip K Dick's The War With the Fnools about a short alien species who all come themed as the exact same human replica, this time it's tiny real estate salesman. Just really drags on to be honest.

The best stories actually are from the lesser known authors. Peter S Beagle's Lila the Werewolf is a great tale where a man is dating an average looking woman. He's getting bored of her, her mother dislikes him and he's ready to dump her. However a few nights before he gets around to it he's in bed when a wolf jumps through his bedroom window. The wolf disappears and he later finds his naked girlfriend on the floor. When he goes to make breakfast and feed a dog he is looking after for a friend he finds it has had its neck ripped out. He hated that dog so doesn't mind that but still wants to give his girlfriend the flick. However she being a werewolf, what's the social protocol for dumping someone when you find out something like that? Is he supposed to stay with her like he would if she had cancer or something? It's only the fact that she is a werewolf and he can imagine what she's up to when she's outside on a full moon is wolf form that attracts her to him in the bedroom now as well.

The other great story is by Robert Bloch, the guy who wrote Pyscho which Alfred Hitchcock would make famous with his shower scene. The Little Man Who Wasn't All There, is a nice twist on the invisible man genre. A man named Lefty Feep is hired by a magician to sleep in his house and protect his latest magic props from rivals who are set to steal them. However some rabbits who are living in the bath, splash his suit with water which he was going to wear down to the bookie office. Why he is going down there when he's supposed to be guarding the props or why he can't wear a wet coat no one knows but Feep throws a tantrum so the Asian manservant tells him to borrow one of his masters suits. Everyone at the bookie office is freaking out as he appears as a floating head and pants. It's a good story, main character Feep is a bit of a racist though referring to the Philippine manservant as a Jap, or little Jap a lot of the time may put off some readers, but was obviously a reflection of how people spoke and viewed other races when this was written and time it was set so does add to picturing the time and characters in readers' minds.

All the stories have a really well written introduction by Peter Haining that outlines each author's career up to the time this book was written.

The 24 stories in Knights of Madness are -
Hollywood Chickens - Terry Pratchett
The New Utopia - Jerome K. Jerome
The Angry Street - G.K. Chesterton
The Pastry at Lady Cusp Canine's - Mervyn Peake
The Little Man Who Wasn't All There - Robert Bloch
The Year the Glop Monster Won the Golden Lion at Cannes - Ray Bradbury
Lila the Werewolf - Peter S. Beagle
The War With the Fnools - Phillip K. Dick
The Creation According to Spike Milligan - Spike Milligan
Mediavel Romance - Mark Twain
Ethelred the Unready - Ben Travers
Dream Damsel - Evan Hunter
Three Months in a Balloon - John Kendrick Bangs
How I Lost the Second World War - Gene Wolf
Fifi and the Chilean Truffle - Orson Welles
The Wastrel - Peter Sellers
Stirring the Pot - Tom Sharpe
The Suicide of Kiaros - L. Frank Baun
The Rape of the Sherlock - A. A. Milne
Wot the Eye Don't See - Stan McMurtry
The Condemned - Woody Allen
The Mulligan Stew - Donald E Westlake
The Dulwich Assassins - David L Stone
2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars what a great idea! April 28 2000
By mary mackenzie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a terrific collection of 24 pieces from the leading humorists of our times. This eclectic mix will introduce you to worlds you never dreamed, insane situations and wacky perspectives which is just what we all need. I couldn't put it down and read it deep into the night.......
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sci-fi madness tickles the funny bone. Sept. 4 2000
By Affaire de Coeur - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is an anthology from the best in the business. Covering all topics from Medieval knights to chickens crossing the road, this book will have you in stitches. Featuring names like Ray Bradbury, Orsen Wells, Woody Allen and Peter Sellers, Knights of Madness is a read you won't want to miss.

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