RIP Robert Asprin
May 22, 2008 10:12 PM   Subscribe

Not another fine myth. I've read Robert Asprin's Myth books from the beginning, and still re-read them every couple of years. You may also know him for co-creating the Thieves' World shared universe books. RIP Mr. Asprin, Skeeve, Aahz, Tananda, and the rest of the gang. (Now I have to go and dig up the graphic novels he did with Phil Foglio.)
posted by wenat (66 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I read the entire myth series during a weekend in the 9th grade when i had the flu. I thoroughly enjoyed them, though I couldn't even begin to tell you what they were about, 20 years later :)
posted by empath at 10:20 PM on May 22, 2008


Well, damn. I feel like I felt when Heinlein died.
posted by Cathedral at 10:22 PM on May 22, 2008

posted by gurple at 10:23 PM on May 22, 2008


In retrospect the books are pretty shitty, but I fucking loved them so fucking much. I remember them better than most of my real life experiences from when I was 10 or 12 - the age I was when I was reading them.

Thank you Robert Asprin!
posted by serazin at 10:37 PM on May 22, 2008

posted by CuJoe at 10:46 PM on May 22, 2008

I was never a huge fan...

But this is actually bothering me quite a bit. Apparently he was in perfect health. Someone coming to pick him up for a con he was the guest of honor at, and discovered him slumped in a chair. [source]

It doesn't bother me so much that I could die like that... in fact... hell, I can't imagine a better way to go... completely unaware that it was even going to happen and the poof...

What bothers me is that it can happen like that at all. Makes me look at my loved ones and think... damn. I couldn't handle losing them like that.

My heart realy goes out ot his family and friends.
posted by vertigo25 at 10:49 PM on May 22, 2008

posted by sebastienbailard at 11:11 PM on May 22, 2008

hell, I can't imagine a better way to go.

When I go, I want my friends to say "He sure owed me a lot of money."

posted by Dipsomaniac at 11:15 PM on May 22, 2008 [4 favorites]

I enjoyed his books when I was in high school, and it's strange to hear that he's died. I always thought he would disappear and be declared mything in action.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 11:20 PM on May 22, 2008

posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:28 PM on May 22, 2008

Were there short stories set in the Thieve's World universe as well? I seem to remember reading something where a female protagonist had some sort of spring-loaded razor sharp contraption tucked away you-know-where as a sort of rape insurance. It certainly impressed 13-year old me...
posted by Harald74 at 11:34 PM on May 22, 2008 [1 favorite]

Robert Asprin was my gateway into sci-fi/fantasy, basically the whole reason I am any kind of geek at all. I loved his books as a kid and as an adult...this is a real shock, so sad.
posted by angeline at 11:43 PM on May 22, 2008

This must be a mythtake!
posted by idiotfactory at 12:02 AM on May 23, 2008

Were there short stories set in the Thieve's World universe as well?

Yes, as mentioned in the FPP. Specifically, he was editor for the first four and the co-editor for #5-12. He was also the creator of several of the characters in the books.
posted by moonbiter at 12:31 AM on May 23, 2008

He brought a whole lot of joy into my life during my high school years. Here's to you, Mr. Asprin. Thank you for all the time you let me spend in your worlds.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:56 AM on May 23, 2008


He gave me some of the most laughter-filled weekends of my teenaged life. Thanks, Mr. Asprin.
posted by Minus215Cee at 1:22 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by sixo33 at 1:26 AM on May 23, 2008


I used to devour his books. Great stuff; he'll be missed.
posted by jtron at 1:35 AM on May 23, 2008

Damn, damn, damn. Count me in as another fan of the Myth books. The worst of it is that I can't remember if I got to shake his hand once, or if I'm getting him confused with Craig Shaw Gardner.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:34 AM on May 23, 2008

Mr Asprin was a fairly influential early member of the SCA. I've never read any of his work, but I'm indebted to him for helping craft a group which has added so much to my life.

posted by anastasiav at 3:59 AM on May 23, 2008

It's been years since I read any of the Myth books, but I remember them fondly. Even though I wasn't just completely into them, to this day if someone calls me a pervert, I'll often correct them with "It's pervect!"

RIP, Mr Asprin.
posted by Shohn at 4:20 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by Falling_Saint at 4:35 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by ikkyu2 at 4:46 AM on May 23, 2008

He'll be mythed.

posted by cupcakeninja at 4:57 AM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by bshort at 5:03 AM on May 23, 2008

I haven't read most of his work, but ran across The Bug Wars when I was much younger, and it definitely made a tangible difference in my life and in my tastes in science fiction. If I understand correctly, the book was atypical when compared to most of Aspirin's works, as it was not comic in tone at all.
posted by WCityMike at 5:09 AM on May 23, 2008

Goddamn horrible.

I've been a myth fan since I was a wee lad.

RIP dogg.
posted by smackwich at 5:41 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by ZachsMind at 5:59 AM on May 23, 2008


I used Myth books to be the gateway drug for my friends who didn't think they liked fantasy. I remember them fondly.
posted by desuetude at 6:23 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by dwivian at 6:25 AM on May 23, 2008


They were really fun books when I was a teenager. I don't know if they'd hold up now or not but I enjoyed them at the time - and that's all that matters.
posted by substrate at 6:25 AM on May 23, 2008


Damn, Adams dead, Heinlein dead, Clarke dead. All my great heroes are gone. I am feel so old and lonely ...
posted by homodigitalis at 6:27 AM on May 23, 2008

Oh damn. I tore through all those Thieves World books back in my misspent youth. Thanks for the good times Mr. Asprin. RIP
posted by Ber at 6:37 AM on May 23, 2008

Both the Myth and Thieves' World series were touchstones of my early teen years. This is a sad, sad news.

No more fine myths.

posted by oddman at 6:54 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by elfgirl at 7:00 AM on May 23, 2008


He wasn't the guy who wrote the myth books. He wasn't the guy who made the DI what they are today. He wasn't the filker.

He was a fan, and I knew him. We talked, we joked, we were all part of that grandfalloon known as fandom. That's what Bob was. He was a Fan, just like the rest of us. He just did some work on the side.

I miss him already. There's another hole in the world, a gaping void where a friend and fellow traveller used to sit. The universe has too many holes already. Last night, I find out an old coworker has terminal cancer, this morning, this. Entropy wins, I know. Some have lost Robert, some have lost Yang the Nauseating, some have lost Bob.

We're all crying.
posted by eriko at 7:09 AM on May 23, 2008 [2 favorites]

Damn. The myth books and Thieves' World were a big part of my imaginary landscape as a kid. Its feels wierd, all of the authors that I read as a kid (who were alive and actively writing then) are dying: Adams, Asimov, Clark, Asprin. . . the list keeps growing. The world is becoming a much more mundane place.
posted by anansi at 7:10 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by jlkr at 7:12 AM on May 23, 2008

Wow. I loved Thieves' World as a teenager; in fact, thanks to jtron, I've just been slowly rereading them. And they kinda, sorta hold up, too - some of the stories are wonderful. Imagine getting that many people to work together for that long: 12 whole books. What a genius for collaboration that man must have had. How sad and how sudden.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:50 AM on May 23, 2008

This man helped me escape from many a cold, boring winter night during my youth. He'll be missed.
posted by vporter at 8:40 AM on May 23, 2008

Geez, I haven't read those books since I was a teenager... used to love them, though. I think the Myth books (along with the Spellsinger series) were the first fantasy books I read.

posted by joelhunt at 8:43 AM on May 23, 2008

Aww shucks, all my geeky influences are passing on.

Resquiescat in pace, Mr. Asprin
posted by elendil71 at 8:50 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by webmutant at 8:59 AM on May 23, 2008

I loved the Theives' World books. They were probably the last fantasy books that I was able to read just straight, without trying to read them too deeply. They scratched the itch that Fritz Lieber created for me by having the sheer gall to not write enough Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser material.

Haven't revisited them; I did revisit Lieber and to my deep pleasure and surprise, all of the Fafhrd/Mouser material is so, so, so finely crafted and, for want of a better word, literary, that it was pure sensual and analytic pleasure.

Thanks for your stuff, Bob. The shared universe concept for writers was something that your contributors clearly had a total blast with, and so did I.
posted by mwhybark at 9:00 AM on May 23, 2008


I tore through those books. Read them in middle school and again in high school, getting many more references. I was going to make a myth joke here, but I can't think up any that haven't been used already.
posted by Hactar at 9:00 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by nonliteral at 9:18 AM on May 23, 2008


I recently picked up Dragons Wild (sort of his love song to the French Quarter) and wanted to tell him how much I enjoyed knowing about some of the places he was writing about. Now I won't have the chance.

posted by djeo at 9:23 AM on May 23, 2008

Let me add:


I can happily say I was a huge fan of the Myth series as well as the Thieves World books. I was a huge fan of Aspirin, and he even got Phil Foglio to do the covers! How sad when I heard this early today...I already posted a blog entry at my site but had to add to the memorial here. I was a HUGE fan.

Adams, Jordan, and not Aspirin. Who's left who is any good? Martin maybe....
posted by Dantien at 9:52 AM on May 23, 2008

oh yeah, and Shohn, you arent alone you pervect! I correct everyone too.
posted by Dantien at 9:53 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by cybercoitus interruptus at 9:57 AM on May 23, 2008

Ils damnit.
posted by Aversion Therapy at 10:23 AM on May 23, 2008

I liked the Myth books but it's the Phule series that is my comfort read for when I'm laid up in bed with lurgy. I'm extremely glad he wrote them.
posted by MUD at 10:45 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by ZakDaddy at 10:57 AM on May 23, 2008

In retrospect the books are pretty shitty

Depends on your metric, I think. They're certainly not Great Literature, but they are exactly what they set out to be: sf/f versions of classic pulp tropes. Judged that way - which I would contend is how they should be judged - they're gems.

posted by phearlez at 11:01 AM on May 23, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by cerebus19 at 11:36 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by RussHy at 11:39 AM on May 23, 2008

I was about to be first on the Phule train, for as much as I loved the Myth series some themes from Phule are stuck deeper in my brain than those from many greater classics. Go figure, I guess they (and the Myth series) just arrived at the right time in my forming noggin.

posted by abulafa at 11:59 AM on May 23, 2008

posted by zbaco at 12:09 PM on May 23, 2008


posted by lysdexic at 12:31 PM on May 23, 2008

Shadowspawn > Drizzt Do'Urden

That is all.

posted by JaredSeth at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2008


Adams, Asimov, Clark, Gygax, Asprin

This really blows - I re-read the Mythadventures every few years. Heck, I even had a treasured 1st edition signed by Bob when I was a teen...
posted by jkaczor at 1:02 PM on May 23, 2008

The early Myth & Phule books are just plain fun. I've read and re-read them dozens of times, whenever I needed a pick me up.

And the new Dragon's Wild series was a really interesting premise, just begun.

This sucks.

posted by FfejL at 1:28 PM on May 23, 2008

I used to absolutely devour the Myth books when I was a kid. They were funny, fun, fast moving, and comforting. My mother would throw them at me as roadblocks to keep me from stealing her Isaac Asimov magazines and it sometimes worked. I haven't thought about them since then, but I really liked them.

posted by louche mustachio at 6:35 PM on May 23, 2008

Not a fan but... well, that's not cool. Not cool at all.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:29 PM on May 23, 2008

posted by Vindaloo at 11:56 PM on May 23, 2008


I met him at DragonCon in September. Seemed perfectly fine! I got to exchange a couple of words with him after a panel. I said he didn't look as I imagined him. He chuckled and edged away.

I read some of the Myth books before, wasn't greatly impressed honestly, but he was wonderful at the panel. This is a tremendous shame.

posted by JHarris at 2:01 AM on May 24, 2008

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