In far too many fantasy stories only the main characters are people. Palace guards, in particular, come off badly; nobody seems to think twice about slitting the throats of a few guardsmen. I don't care what the job pays, you'd never get me to be a palace guard in some of these universes. If I wanted to commit suicide I could find more entertaining ways.
Besides, they're so utterly ineffectual. Really, has any clever thief or sneaky barbarian ever been stopped by palace guards? Why do all these palace-owners bother with them? If I were hiring guards, I would want them to have at least some instinct for self-preservation, and to know how to do something other than stand there looking bored until someone sneaks up from behind and cuts their throats, or jumps down from an overhanging ledge, or gets them to look the wrong way with the distinctive sound of a pebble being thrown.Lawrence Watt-Evans is a primarily Speculative Fiction writer who also works in comic books, and has dabbled in a few other genres. He's most famous for The Legends of Ethshar series, and for a tendency towards Deconstruction and Rationalist Fiction.His peculiar name was due to a recommendation by a publisher. Lawrence Evans seemed too ordinary, so they recommended a hyphen between his middle and last name to make it more interesting.Split Heirs, co-written with Esther Friesner, is a hilarious deconstruction of Prince and Pauper tropes, with THREE royal babies, one female and two male - the two boys get Moses in the Bulrushes'd, and the girl is brought up as a prince.He has also written an engaging critical review of the works of Terry Pratchett.
—Lawrence Watt-Evans, The Laws of Fantasy
Works by Lawrence Watt-Evans with their own trope pages include:
- The Annals of the Chosen trilogy: The Wizard Lord, The Ninth Talisman, and The Summer Palace.
- The Legends of Ethshar series
- The Misenchanted Sword
- With a Single Spell
- The Unwilling Warlord
- The Blood of a Dragon
- Taking Flight
- The Spell of the Black Dagger
- Night of Madness
- Ithanalin's Restoration
- The Spriggan Mirror
- The Vondish Ambassador
- The Unwelcome Warlock
- The Sorcerer's Widow
- The Nightmare People
- The Obsidian Chronicles trilogy: Dragon Weather, The Dragon Society, and Dragon Venom.
- Worlds of Shadow series: Out of This World, In the Empire of Shadow, and The Reign of the Brown Magician.
Other works include:
- The Chromosomal Code
- The Lords of Dûs series
- The Lure of the Basilisk
- The Seven Altars of Dûsarra
- The Book of Bheleu
- The Book of Silence
- Split Heirs (with Esther Friesner)
- Touched by the Gods
- The War Surplus series
- The Cyborg and the Sorcerers
- The Wizard and the War Machine
- The Tom Derringer series
- Tom Derringer and the Aluminum Airship
- Tom Derringer in the Tunnels of Terror
Tropes in his other works:
- The Air Not There: The Cyborg and the Sorcerers is one of the few works with a Disintegrator Ray to consider the issue of the ray having to disintegrate all the intervening air molecules before it reaches its intended target.
- Alien Among Us: Subverted in the short story "One Of The Boys", a Deconstruction of Superman, about an alien that looks human and was raised on Earth all his life, but is still painfully, dangerously alien.
- Curse Escape Clause: The short story "Ghost Stories" (collected in Bruce Coville's Book of Ghosts) features the ghost of a seafarer who simply could not stop wandering the world, much to the annoyance of his wife. Since she was a witch, she put a curse on him, that his ghost would only rest once man had walked on the moon, and he was told about it. However, he's not in much of a hurry to move on, as he's found a young boy who's eager to hear his stories (and the boy's friend almost spills the beans before he knows that).
- Hidden Backup Prince: In Split Heirs, the King's people believe that twins are a sign of infidelity, so when Queen Artemisia gives birth to triplets, she gives two of them to a nurse who gives them to two other families to raise as commoners. The rest of the book is a hilarious deconstruction of Prince and Pauper tropes.
- Inn Between the Worlds: The 1988 Hugo-Winning short story "Why I Left Harry's All-Night Hamburgers" features a hamburger joint that exists in the same spot in nearly all universes, making it a popular late-night hangout for inter-dimensional travelers.
- The Magocracy: The Cyborg and the Sorcerers and The Wizard and the War Machine, are set on an After the End planet where Psychic Powers are considered magic, whose countries are all ruled by mutant Magocracies. Yet each nation's government is different; some good, some bad, some outright incompetent.
- Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: In the short story "Efficiency", the agency keeping mythological creatures prefers to have these, in order to save the budget: it's cheaper to pay upkeep for one compound creature instead of two or three. For example, their dryad is also a naiad, as she lives in a mangrove tree. And their unicorn is also a vampire. And that's not all he is...
- Prince and Pauper: Parodied and subverted all to heck in Split Heirs, in which there are three physically identical people (though one is a girl raised as a boy).
- Properly Paranoid: In his fantasy short-short story titled "Paranoid Fantasy #1", the protagonist proves to be an example of this trope.
- A Protagonist Shall Lead Them: Played with in Touched by the Gods: Malledd is chosen by the gods to lead his people, but nobody, including Malledd, knows he's the Chosen One. He ends up leading accidentally but never actually becoming king, because he doesn't want to.
- Restraining Bolt: In The Cyborg and the Sorcerers, the protagonist has brain implants, including an explosive; the computer-controlled ship he's paired with uses this and its radio control to make him do things he'd rather not do.
- Rubber-Band History: The short story "One-Shot" has a guy go back in time to save Kennedy from being killed by a love-sick Marilyn Monroe. He drugs her and makes it look like a suicide. The Secret Service agent he confesses and proves his story to says he'll tell JFK about it after he gets back from Dallas.
- Super Empowering: The Cyborg and the Sorcerers series has sorcerers whose "magic" (Psychic Powers) originated from Mutants in an After the End colony world nuked back to the Dark Age. They learned how to psychokinetically alter other's neurons to pass on their powers, and by the time of the story, the only way to get magical power is from another wizard; the original gene has long since died out.