I met the late Robert Asprin in the late seventies at a con in Greensboro, North Carolina where he was there with George Takei promoting their novel, as well as his MYTH series which wasn’t very old at the time. He was a charming young man and told several wonderful anecdotes about encounters with Isaac Asimov. It was a depressing day when I heard of his untimely death in 2008 at sixty-one.
ANOTHER FINE MYTH is the first book in the humorous fantasy series. Each title was a pun with the word myth(MYTH-gotten Gains, Little Myth Marker, Myth-conceptions, etc.) eventually reaching nineteen books. Jody Lynn Nye has said she will continue to write the stories they’d planned.
Skeeve is apprenticed to the magician Garkin. He’s only in it to learn a few tricks to supplement his career as a thief. Of course Garkin knows that and is determined to teach the young man a lesson. With that in mind, he calls forth a demon after drawing a pentagram with a lit candle at each point to trap the demon when he appears.
Just as Garkin utters the chant to call forth said demon, an assassin appears, driving a crossbow bolt into the magician’s chest, uttering the words, “Isstvan sent me!” Garkin has just time to fire a bolt of lightning into the assassin before he dies.
Skeeve is looking in horror at all this, especially since when Garkin’s body falls, it knocks one of the candles over, rubbing part of the chalked pentagram out as well. Skeeve finds himself staring up into a green-scaled, horned demon now free! The demon starts to laugh.
All is not as it seems.
Aahz is a demon, short for dimensional traveler, from the dimension of Perv whose inhabitants refer to themselves as Pervects(the running joke is that everyone else calls them perverts, much to their consternation). Aahz was an old friend of Garkin’s and the pair were forever pulling practical jokes on each other. The one here is that the old magician used a spell that removed Aahz’s ability to do magic, especially his ability to travel the dimensions with a thought. Easy to remove, the only problem was that Garkin was dead.
A partnership was formed at that moment. Aahz knew about magic,but could no longer perform it. Skeeve could perform, but didn’t have the knowledge. He became apprenticed to the Pervect.
The assassin was from the dimension of Imper, an Imp. Some of the other dimensions shown here are Deva, deveels were the inhabitants’ names, and this dimension that Skeeve inhabited was known as Klah, the inhabitants Klahds(think about that one for a moment).
Aahz is familiar with Isstvan, a demon who wants to rule the dimensions. He’d tried before and was stopped by Aahz. His plan is to kill all magicians in one dimension, thus gaining all the force lines powers(each dimensions has force lines on the grund and in the air which magicians draw their power. If they are all killed, one being can control all the power, then move to the next dimension, repeating the process.
Skeeve and Aahz set out to confront and defeat Isstvan once again. Along the way they pick up a naive demon hunter named Quigley, a warhorse unicorn stallion named Buttercup, an immature dragon named Gleep(for the sound he makes) who attached to Skeeve by eating part of his sleeve(You feed a dragon and they’re yours, no good to anyone else), and a former assassin, a beautiful woman named Tanda, who’d grown tired of paying guild dues and now worked as a con woman/hooker. An old friend of Aahz, she joins the quest.
These beings formed the core that would eventually be the business known as M.Y.T.H. Incorporated in later books, set up to help people out of james and more importantly, make a lot of money. In a humorous fashion of course.
It has been a good many years since I read this first book detailing the beginnings of the series. It was a nice visit with an old favorite.