One Shouldn't Forget The Name of a Tyrant
March 12, 2007 12:02 PM   Subscribe

Help me remember the name of a series of political/scifi novels. The novels centers on the life of a character referred to as "The Tyrant".

The first novel talks about his childhood, most notably the time spent on a spaceship full of families. The ship is plundered by pirates, the men are killed, the food is stolen, and the only way the women and children manage to survive is by eating the bodies of the dead.

Later novels in the series have this character rising to become a head of state. He makes the government "the employer of last resort", repeals all drug laws, and even (if memory serves) repeals age-of-consent laws.

He also hires one of his most strident critics in the media to be a sort of ombudsman for his government to guarantee that the government is not censoring the media.

I hope this is enough to go on. Thanks!
posted by DWRoelands to Writing & Language (18 answers total)
Best answer: Bio of a Space Tyrant - Piers Anthony.
posted by Infinite Jest at 12:11 PM on March 12, 2007

Response by poster: Woo! You are my hero.
posted by DWRoelands at 12:14 PM on March 12, 2007

Gah! This sounds really nifty but it seems that my local library does not have them!
posted by Xoder at 12:50 PM on March 12, 2007

I've heard that these are the only Piers Anthony novels that really hold up for adults (as opposed to Xanth or the Incarnations). Can anyone weigh in on that?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 12:56 PM on March 12, 2007

I would be very surprised if you couldn't get them via InterLibrary Loan. Ask one of the nice Reference Librarians to help you track down a copy!

These were among my favorite reads as a child, even though they are NOT really for children. Witness: accounts of cannibalism aforementioned, rape, enormous warned!

That said, I like 'em.
posted by griffey at 1:02 PM on March 12, 2007

Spoiler? Umm, if you mean includes really cringe inducing sex scenes with the character's adopted daughter, then yes, it holds up for adults.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:06 PM on March 12, 2007

Ah, maybe I'm being hard on the books. I remember liking them quite a bit when I was 13 or so. I have no idea if they'll hold up or not though, sorry.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:20 PM on March 12, 2007

A robust discussion regarding Anthony and child sexuality is on the Wikipedia talk page, with proponents of both positions. Personally, there's enough evidence existing for me that I feel uncomfortable reading or owning Anthony's novels.
posted by WCityMike at 1:50 PM on March 12, 2007

Yeah, I was asking about adult in the sense of "writing that adults find readable" which was not my experience when I tried to re-read some of his other stuff as an adult, not (necessarily) "adult situations".
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 1:59 PM on March 12, 2007

Can anyone weigh in on that?

I have to say I did not find these any more readable than most other piers anthony when I tried to read them as an adult.
posted by advil at 2:08 PM on March 12, 2007

Ditto with advil. Even just looking back on my memories of the stories I see now how ridiculous some of the situations in those books were.
posted by freedryk at 2:18 PM on March 12, 2007

Woo! You are my hero.

Thanks. Nice to read one of these questions where I knew the answer off the top of my head :)

Although I haven't re-read Anthony's books as an adult, they strike me as something that would appeal mostly to teenage boys. I did find his ideas interesting, but I get the feeling that I'd find the writing very clunky, were I to re-read them now.
posted by Infinite Jest at 3:15 PM on March 12, 2007

I will admit to having read a great deal of Piers Anthony in my youth, but not the "Space Tyrant" books. I mean, I didn't read them, not that I read them and won't admit it.

Anyway, in retrospect, I think that very little of his work really holds up for the "serious adult" reader, but I'll venture some recommendations anyway:

In The Barn, a short story from the early 70s, nominated for a Nebula according to the link. Might be hard to find; 5 minutes with google didn't reveal an online copy anywhere. Everything2 appears to have a plot synopsis [with spoilers] and some analysis. Sadly, this one really doesn't age as well as the others, since nowadays there are probably internet fan clubs devoted to things described in the story.

Macroscope, a novel (originally published in 1969) that gets some good reviews (and has a non-spoiling summary) on amazon, for whatever that's worth. If I was stranded on a desert island, and was only allowed one novel and it had to be Piers Anthony, I'd take this one.

I also recall Mute as a good read at the time, although it's weaker than the others and is really more of a "beer & pretzels" grade read. I'd characterize it as having basically good ideas, but marred with Piers Anthony characters.
posted by doorsnake at 3:24 PM on March 12, 2007

Oh, one more while I'm at it: Chthon.
posted by doorsnake at 3:37 PM on March 12, 2007

i liked the 'incantations of immortality' series, with on a pale horse being the best.
posted by lester's sock puppet at 5:23 PM on March 12, 2007

and to answer yr title question, that would be 'hope hubris, the tyrant of jupiter.'
posted by lester's sock puppet at 5:24 PM on March 12, 2007

I strongly dislike fantasy, but I give the incarnations an A- and the Modes about a B, overall.

Never read any Anthony when I was younger than 25.
posted by baylink at 7:54 PM on March 12, 2007

I'm surprised no one has mentioned Pornucopia.
posted by Caviar at 1:07 PM on March 13, 2007

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