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Jim C. Hines
Five Star, 326 pages

Alan M. Clark
Jim C. Hines
Jim C. Hines began his writing career with an award-winning story in Writers of the Future XV. His work has since appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Sword and Sorceress, Turn the Other Chick, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Fantasy Magazine. In his free time, he fixes computers for the State of Michigan and does male outreach work for MSU Safe Place, a local domestic violence shelter. He lives in Lansing, Michigan, with his wife Amy and his daughter Skylar, both of whom have shown amazing tolerance for his odd writing habits.

Jim C. Hines Website
GoblinQuest homepage
Publisher's page
REVIEWS of GoblinQuest: 1, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3, 4

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Georges T. Dodds

Goblin Quest, while it tends to lapse at times into a linear, encounter-to-encounter-group role-playing game narrative, nonetheless has a lot working for it, particularly its humour and lighthearted narrative. A broad parody of the quest genre, it innovates in placing the usually downtrodden race of goblins at the forefront, with a particularly runty, nearsighted, cowardly and ugly goblin, Jig, being forced to follow an expeditionary force hell-bent on reclaiming a long lost artefact, the Rod of Creation, apparently hidden deep underground by a powerful Necromancer. Through all the dangers, both those from within (a possessed wizard, a gung-ho I've-got-something-to-prove warrior, a captive she-elf thief, and a tough as nails warrior-cartographer dwarf) and without the group (venomous lizard-fish, skeletal zombies, bats, dragons, hobgoblins, and a necromancer), Jig learns of courage, friendship, faith and what it really means to be a hero.

While one can hear distant dice rolling in the background, GoblinQuest thankfully avoids such things as participants being healed ad infinitum of everything from swords wounds to withering spells and poisons by a seemingly unlimited supply of healing potions or spells. Also, unlike strictly game-based narratives such as William Hill's Wizard Sword, Hines tells a story which is coherent, where the characters, however clichéd their character-type attributes, are a great deal of fun to go along with for the ride. The story has a clear introduction, quest and dénouement -- neither an endlessly meandering story nor a mere instalment to yet another trilogy. Another plus, is that GoblinQuest's peripheral characters, like Golaka the goblin cook, and Jig's pet fire-spider, Smudge, don't just pop in and out to move the story along, however short their stay, they have physical attributes and personalities.

What also makes GoblinQuest interesting, is listening to the evolution of Jig's internal conversations and ponderings, first with himself, then with the fallen-out-of-favour god he aspires to worship. This makes Jig both sympathetic in human terms, yet still a goblin-at-heart. So if you've always kinda rooted for the little guy, even maybe had a bit of a place in your heart for the likes of Gollum, rather than the Boromirs and Gandalfs of the world, pick up GoblinQuest -- just make sure you keep well away from Golaka's stewpot.

Copyright © 2005 Georges T. Dodds

Georges Dodds is a research scientist in vegetable crop physiology, who for close to 25 years has read and collected close to 2000 titles of predominantly pre-1950 science-fiction and fantasy, both in English and French. He writes columns on early imaginative literature for WARP, the newsletter/fanzine of the Montreal Science Fiction and Fantasy Association and maintains a site reflecting his tastes in imaginative literature.

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