Allen Varney, writer and game Designer

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This page last updated: November 30, 2003

In addition to the sharecropped gaming novel Cast of Fate (TSR, 1996), I've published a few stories in Dragon magazine and various gaming products. Though I haven't published much fiction, I haven't given up and am currently working on several projects. One work in progress appears here.

"Chance Music"

A comic historical fantasy of the chance-derived aleatoric music experiments undertaken in the 1950s and '60s by modern music composers like John Cage. A young New York composer tries using a computer to generate notes randomly, and gets frustrated when it keeps churning out recognizable music. Written for the November 2003 Turkey City writers' workshop in Austin, Texas.

Ultra-Violet (Chapters 1-7)

My novel in progress, a scramjet-paced fantasy about a boy who journeys up the colors of the rainbow, and each color is a different techno-magical land. Think Wizard of Oz for the 21st Century, times seven. People either love it or stare in sullen resentment, which is probably better than "ehh." I want to write a book that, for better or worse, nobody else in the world could have written. So far, I think, so good. I will be posting new sections here as I complete them. Whatever your opinion, I'd like to hear it.

Piercing A Veil

Purchased by (now defunct) FASA Corporation in 1994 for a line of novels based on its (now deceased) Earthdawn roleplaying game, but never published in English, the novel tells of a magical plague on the city of Merron, the contentious magical guilds behind it, and the enigmatic creature they obey. The retired warrior Alban Peyl, who lost his arm ten years ago, is drawn into the conflict when his lost arm suddenly returns.

"In the Swift Workshop"

Science hero Todd Speed reopens his long-abandoned laboratory in this science fiction novelette. At the May 2001 Turkey City writers' workshop in Austin, SF writer and host Bruce Sterling said this story is "trembling on the edge of a major breakthrough in the field."

"Bollix at the Hamster Race"

First in a series of Wodehousean SF comedies about socially inept freelance uber-hacker Jeremy Kidwell and his virtual actor, Bollix. Find out how a major software company decides to test a new Internet protocol by racing hamsters.


A short parody of the work of a well-known Australian writer of hard science fiction. This story appeared in the fanzine Nova Express, Vol. 5/2 (#18), Fall/Winter 1999.

"Craverlane Bend"

Not only an otherworldly fantasy of the trans-dimensional city of Agon, but also an allegory of my many years in the adventure gaming hobby.

"Following the Elephant"

This comedic fantasy novelette, set in 14th-Century Thailand, derives from a historical incident. To find a suitable site for a Buddhist temple, the king of Lan Na Thai sets a sacred white elephant loose, hoping it will give him a sign from the gods. But an ambitious young monk has other ideas...

"Goblin Tax"

A 1980 half-hour radio comedy script about four fantasy roleplaying gamers who discover a parallel world that is more, and much less, than they imagined. In 1987 the long-running Minneapolis science-fiction radio show Shockwave did an excellent production of "Goblin Tax." The same producer, Jerry Stearns, staged a live performance of the play at MarsCon in Bloomington, MN, May 11-13, 2001.

"A Christmas Phone Call"

A short-short modern fantasy that I sent out to friends as my 1991 Christmas card.

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