Mundania's most esteemed traveller to Xanth is whom I praise this evening. Piers Anthony of Florida; author of Bio of a Space Tyrant, Xanth, Apprentice Adept, and MANY other series. It was the Xanth series I first fell in love with. My dad, to whom most laurels must go, introduced me to puns when I was in my pre-teens, and I seized upon the copious punnery one finds when one travels to the extraordinary land of Xanth through such novels as Demons Don't Dream, Isle of View, and my personal favourite, The Color of Her Panties. I've read his earlier Xanth works and have learned that the series wasn't always so pun-ridden. There's barely any pun-work in Centaur Aisle or Castle Roogna; not that I miss it when I read these earlier works. His most recent works in the vein of Xanth are becoming overly-cluttered with puns. Who can blame him, when the fans are the ones who send truckloads of ideas and embarrasingly dreadful puns to him every day?
He has, of course, written series in a more serious vein, which is where Bio of a Space Tyrant and works like Incarnations of Immortality come in. The latter is a most remarkable series as well, and I recommend it highly. The idea to praise Piers Anthony came while I was reading the Apprentice Adept series. This series also deals in alternate universes and is lightly sprinkled with punnery and doggerel, but is more serious than Xanth and jumps from SF to Fantasy with nearly every chapter. I am coming to enjoy this series as much as I have the Xanth series. Just the right amount of realism and punnery without the plot getting lost, and the characters are fantastic.
Stile, the main character of this series, crosses into the Fantasy universe of Phaze to escape being killed, but continually has to shuttle back and forth from Phaze, where magic rules, to his home world of Proton, where he plays increasingly competitive games to keep himself alive. I'm presently reading Blue Adept, which is the second book in the series. Again, highly recommended. The one series I should read but have not yet had the pleasure is Bio of a Space Tyrant, but that will shortly change. I close this post down with a few final praises of Piers Anthony's work. There is no doubt that Xanth is my favourite of the series he has crafted, but to be completely balanced, I would suggest that you read as much of his other masterworks. Man cannot live on bread alone -- he'd just loaf around that way.