John DeChancie was born on the 3rd of August, 1946, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States of America. John is a famed American author, most notably known, in his hometown of Pittsburgh, for his comic fantasy Castle series, along with his sci-fi Skyway series. DeChancie ended his formal education at the University of Pittsburgh.
DeChancie has authored more than two dozen books, some belonging to fiction, others to nonfiction. He has even written for periodicals, ranging from Cult Movies, and all the way to Penthouse.
The novels written by DeChancie, especially the ones in the science fiction or fantasy genres, have garnered many readers for north of fifteen years, now. More than one million copies of DeChancie’s books have been printed thus far, many of which have been translated in various foreign languages.
The highest award that DeChancie has, thus far, been nominated for is the ‘Locus Award for Best First Novel’, in the year of 1984. What, however, may the best books by John DeChancie be, we will now take a look.
Castle Perilous Book Series
DeChancie’s most famous series, Castle Perilous, is comprised of a whopping nine books. The first one was published in the year of 1988, while the last entry was released in 2015 – twenty-seven years later. The books go as follows:
The books go as follows:
- Castle Perilous.
- Castle for Rent.
- Castle Kidnapped.
- Castle War!
- Castle Murders.
- Castle Dreams.
- Castle Spellbound.
- Bride of the Castle.
- The Pirates of Perilous.
The first book, Castle Perilous, concerns itself with the titular Castle Perilous. The castle is quite large, numbering about 144,000 rooms that are actually gateways or portals to other realms and worlds. These portals, in fact, are in a state of flux, a constant shifting in and out of different dimensions, so much so that they sometimes even open on somewhere on Earth.
During these times, the people that go inside of the castle might not be able to find their way back. Instead, they are to become perpetual guests. As guests, though, they receive gourmet food, plentiful luxuries, even servants that wait on them and do as they ask. What might be the greatest perk of all is the fact that they can go through some of the portals that are stable as they lead to wonderful new places.
Gene, who is an unemployed philosophy major, finds himself, out of the blue, transported to the Perilous Castle. He is there with Linda and Snowclaw. Their story stars like that, but the following eight books make the series glow with an unfound, striking glimmer so very innate for DeChancie’s fiction. As it is DeChancie’s most famous series, as stands to reason, these are the best John DeChancie books.
Skyway Book Series
- Red Limit Freeway.
- Paradox Alley.
Starrigger was published in 1983, Red Limit Freeway in 1984, and Paradox Alley was published in 1987. Starrigger, as the first of the trilogy, is a highly enjoyable book. The premise is one exceedingly frivolous.
The idea is that a bygone race once crafted a series of skyways – to the mere human, they are basically roadways – on a great number of planets that are connected to other planets – some thousands of light years away – through a set of uniquely special gates. There are rumors, also, that some might lead the passers to the future or past.
Our protagonist, however, Jake, has a bit of an issue. He’s a renowned trucker, driving a singularly advanced truck, that can venture through these various worlds, finding the skyways that aren’t as well- known. He thinks that he can find these if he goes to the future, after they’d been deemed as charted territory, and then he’ll come right back.
The following two books in the series don’t disappoint either, though it is well-known that the brilliance of Starrigger is unmatched as pertains to sci-fi comedy. Still, they are some of John DeChancie’s best books.
Castle Fantastic Book Series
While readers might be asking themselves what the connection between DeChancie and castles is, Castle Fantastic is still a superb book. The 1996 publication is amongst the best books by John DeChancie.
The book is, essentially, a collection of some sixteen shorter stories all featuring a castle of some kind in it. The genres that the stories expertly mix range from fantasy, all the way to science fiction, then a bit is concentrated on horror, and others are just straight up fiction.
The stories go from the blissful Amber of Roger Zelazny, to the legendary and wonderful citadel of King Arthur, even to floating castles that are searching for their own kingdom where they can ‘nest’.
As they aren’t many, we can enumerate all of the stories featured in the book. They go, as follows:
- Hall of Mirrors.
- The Garrison.
- Castle Collapse.
- Bookworms & Nosewigs.
- Concrete Example.
- Death Swatch.
- Give Me Something to Eat.
- Gwythurn the Slayer.
- Getting Real.
- Knight Squadron.
- Swimming the Moat.
- The Soft Terrible Music.
- Held Safe by Moonlight and Vines.
and Other books written by DeChancie that are sure to amaze genre lovers are – Innerverse, Living with Aliens, and Masters of Spacetime.