(1949- ) US writer who began writing stories of fantasy interest with "A Malady of Magicks" for Fantastic Magazine in 1978, a tale which inspired his first novel, A Malady of Magicks (fixup 1986), which with its two sequels – A Multitude of Monsters (1986) and A Night in the Netherhells (1987) – makes up the Ebenezum sequence of comic Genre Fantasies set in a crudely depicted Fantasyland. The Ballad of Wuntvor sequence – A Difficulty with Dwarves (1987), An Excess of Enchantments (1988) and A Disagreement with Death (1989), assembled as The Wanderings of Wuntvor (omni 1989) – continues the adventures, which are filled with slapstick and bad puns.
More interestingly, the Cineverse sequence – Slaves of the Volcano God (1989 UK), Bride of the Slime Monster (1990) and Revenge of the Fluffy Bunnies (1990), assembled as The Cineverse Cycle (omni 1991; vt The Cineverse Cycle Omnibus 1992 UK) – features a young man from Earth who discovers that various movie genres (see Story; Wonderland) reflect the natures of the various Alternate Worlds which make up the Cineverse. With his Captain Crusader Decoder Ring he traverses these worlds, fighting off the evil plans of Dr Dread, almost succumbing to cliffhanger perils, etc. The Arabian Nights sequence – The Other Sinbad (1991 UK), A Bad Day for Ali Baba (1991 UK) and Scheherazade's Night Out (1992 UK; vt The Last Arabian Night 1993 US) – is a Parody of the Arabian Nights (see Arabian Fantasy). In the first volume, a Genie confuses the real Sinbad and a street porter with the same name, precipitating various adventures taken from the original; in the second, Ali Baba and Aladdin become involved, along with Scheherazade; with pleasing intricacy, the first two volumes turn out to be tales told by Sinbad and Ali Baba in a storytelling contest, which Scheherazade tops by herself narrating the actual third volume, in which she describes herself narrating it. All ends well.
About CSG's fourth sequence, the nonhumorous Dragon Circle series – Raven Walking (1994 UK; vt Dragon Sleeping 1994 US) and Dragon Waking (1995 UK), with further volumes projected – opinions remain mixed. There is a welcome straightforwardness about the telling and the setting of this tale, during the course of which a number of humans from Earth begin to work out their family traumas as they make good in Fantasyland; but the plot is unwieldy and the cast overlarge. From the beginning of his career, CSG has also published Novelizations, including: The Lost Boys * (1987), which novelizes The Lost Boys (1987); Wishbringer * (1988), a game tie; two Batman ties: Batman * (1989) and Batman Returns * (1992) (see Batman Movies); and two Back to the Future ties, Back to the Future II * (1989) and Back to the Future III * (1990). The Batman Murders * (1990), is based on the Comic. [JC]
Craig Shaw Gardner