Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:01 PM
Skald the Rhymer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,555

Looking for examples of sentient spiders in fantasy literature


Of course, "fantasy" is probably redundant, given that we're talking about sentiient spiders. I want to contrast menacing and beneficient figures. I've already thought of Shelob, Ungoliant, and Charlotte; can anybody else name any? (Along with the titles of the books and names of the authors, of course.)

Thanks in advance.
__________________
"Don't get emotional, T'Challa."

"I'm not emotional. I'm happy. All my enemies are in the same place."
  #2  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:22 PM
ouryL is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: 21 20' N 157 55' W
Posts: 6,519
Piers Anthony Xanth novel "Crewel Lye" contained a sentient spider accidentally bespelled into a tapestry with our hero. There's a humporous scene where the spider interprets a hostile act as being a sign of friendship and an overture of friendship as an act of hostility.
  #3  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:28 PM
USCDiver's Avatar
USCDiver is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: NC
Posts: 5,079
There's Aragog in the Harry Potter series
  #4  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:30 PM
Miller's Avatar
Miller is online now
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 44,254
Vernor Vinge's sci-fi novel, A Deepness in the Sky, is about a race of sentient, spider-like creatures that hybernate for about half of their solar year, and a ship full of humans who land on their planet during their sleep cycle. The novel cuts back and forth between the humans, who are in the midst of a deadly political crisis, with betrayals and murders and acts of hideous inhumanity, and a family of spider-creatures (from just before the humans show up) having, essentially, a big Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys adventure. It's sort of funny, reading the adventures of these plucky teenagers uncovering a groovy mystery, and then remembering that the teens in question have eight limbs, compound eyes, and a tendency to drip ichor.
  #5  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:34 PM
Steve Wright is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Reading, UK
Posts: 3,283
There was the Doctor Who story, "Planet of the Spiders" (last one of Jon Pertwee's tenure as the Doctor.)

Hey, they novelized it, so it's literature. Right?
  #6  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:38 PM
GargoyleWB's Avatar
GargoyleWB is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Somewhere cold 'n squishy
Posts: 5,457
The Weaver from China Mieville's "Perdido Street Station" fits the bill.
  #7  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:41 PM
Gordon Urquhart is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Denver
Posts: 1,305
In Stephen King's book It,
SPOILER:
It took the form of a giant spider
near the end (or so I'm told, since I've erased that part from my memory and I'm more than content to be super-freaked out by the clown).

For a benevolent balance, there's Miss Spider from Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach.

Last edited by Gordon Urquhart; 10-26-2007 at 04:44 PM. Reason: added benevolent balance
  #8  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:58 PM
Algher is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Southern California
Posts: 4,586
Krek, from Vardeman's Cenotaph Road series is the sidekick of the protagonist.
http://www.cenotaphroad.com/

The bugs in Heinlein's Starship Troops are semi-spiders.

The bugs in Stakely's Armor (or Armour?) are also semi-spiders as I recall.

Was the crystal spider in Krull intelligent?
  #9  
Old 10-26-2007, 04:58 PM
Malacandra is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: England, Britain, UK
Posts: 18,480
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouryL
Piers Anthony Xanth novel "Crewel Lye" contained a sentient spider accidentally bespelled into a tapestry with our hero. There's a humporous scene where the spider interprets a hostile act as being a sign of friendship and an overture of friendship as an act of hostility.
You misspelled "Castle Roogna".

Tarnsman of Gor introduces a small colony of intelligent spiders near the city of Ar, but they're never seen again.
  #10  
Old 10-26-2007, 05:01 PM
jayjay is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Central Pennsylvania
Posts: 37,159
Do roleplaying games count? The aranea in the old D&D (just D&D. No A, no d20, no 3rd edition) game were intelligent spiders.
  #11  
Old 10-26-2007, 05:02 PM
levdrakon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 17,348
Geez, many years ago I read a couple few books which were part of a series about a future dominated by sentient spiders. I can't remember the name, but a quick google search turns up the Spider World series by Colin Wilson.

I can't guarantee those are the books I read. I popped off an email to my friend who I think may have originally loaned me the books to see if she remembers.
  #12  
Old 10-26-2007, 05:12 PM
Pazu is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Up a creek
Posts: 773
There's also the goblin spider (bakegumo) from Japanese folklore.
  #13  
Old 10-26-2007, 05:51 PM
Thudlow Boink's Avatar
Thudlow Boink is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Lincoln, IL
Posts: 27,411
Spider-man doesn't count, does he?

Or Anansi?
  #14  
Old 10-26-2007, 06:38 PM
RealityChuck's Avatar
RealityChuck is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 42,740
James Tiptree, Jr.'s short story "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death."
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
  #15  
Old 10-26-2007, 06:42 PM
Mangetout's Avatar
Mangetout is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: England
Posts: 57,901
James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl) has one - I think she's just called 'Miss Spider'.

Last edited by Mangetout; 10-26-2007 at 06:43 PM.
  #16  
Old 10-26-2007, 06:49 PM
foolsguinea is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: Tornado Alley
Posts: 15,829
Quote:
Originally Posted by RealityChuck
James Tiptree, Jr.'s short story "Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death."
Is that from the point of view of a black widow or some kind of mantid? I thought it was unspecified what species exactly it was.

I only came in to mention Jumper in Castle Roogna, but it's covered.

Last edited by foolsguinea; 10-26-2007 at 06:51 PM.
  #17  
Old 10-26-2007, 06:52 PM
Elendil's Heir is offline
SDSAB
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: my Herkimer Battle Jitney
Posts: 85,220
Quote:
Originally Posted by ouryL
Piers Anthony Xanth novel "Crewel Lye" contained a... humporous scene....
So this was some kind of bizarre interspecies porn novel?

Last edited by Elendil's Heir; 10-26-2007 at 06:52 PM.
  #18  
Old 10-26-2007, 07:14 PM
Septima is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oslo
Posts: 1,504
What, no mention of the Hobbit spiders?
  #19  
Old 10-26-2007, 07:15 PM
Miller's Avatar
Miller is online now
Sith Mod
Moderator
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: Bear Flag Republic
Posts: 44,254
Quote:
Originally Posted by Elendil's Heir
So this was some kind of bizarre interspecies porn novel?
I take it you've never read any Piers Anthony?
  #20  
Old 10-26-2007, 08:33 PM
I'm No Saint is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Hazard, KY
Posts: 286
I'm rusty on my D&D lore, but wasn't there a spider-god named Lolth?
  #21  
Old 10-26-2007, 08:58 PM
bbs2k is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: DUDE, in boston
Posts: 4,869
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon Urquhart
In Stephen King's book It,
You forgot about Mordred Deschain from the Dark Tower series. Sort of a magical half-spider half-boy, but The same thing for It.

I have NO benevolent counterparts, spiders are evil.
  #22  
Old 10-26-2007, 09:48 PM
Rubystreak is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: South of Heaven
Posts: 9,246
Mr. Nancy in American Gods by Neil Gaiman is a spider god. He's also in Anansi Boys, which is more about his family.
  #23  
Old 10-26-2007, 09:53 PM
fluiddruid is offline
Charter Member
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: West Des Moines, Iowa
Posts: 5,928
Quote:
Originally Posted by I'm No Saint
I'm rusty on my D&D lore, but wasn't there a spider-god named Lolth?
Yes, but she can also take the form of a female dark elf. The dark elves worship spiders, but as far as I can recall, they do not deal with any intelligent spiders. They do have half-spider, half-dark elf creatures called "driders", however.
  #24  
Old 10-26-2007, 09:55 PM
Skald the Rhymer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,555
Quote:
Originally Posted by Septima
What, no mention of the Hobbit spiders?

I think that my mentioning Shelob in the OP led people to believe that I had heard of Mirkwood. Besides, I'm actually looking for characters with names (and "Attercop" doesn't count).
  #25  
Old 10-26-2007, 09:56 PM
Skald the Rhymer is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 27,555
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbs2k
You forgot about Mordred Deschain from the Dark Tower series. Sort of a magical half-spider half-boy, but The same thing for It.

I have NO benevolent counterparts, spiders are evil.


Um, have you COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN Charlotte?
  #26  
Old 10-26-2007, 09:59 PM
Left Hand of Dorkness's Avatar
Left Hand of Dorkness is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 41,331
Although Mieville's Weaver is my favorite (supercreep), and Miller's comment about Piers Anthony is exactly what I was thinking, I do have one contribution: Mary Howitt's Spider from The Spider And the Fly.

Also, Arachne.

Daniel
  #27  
Old 10-27-2007, 03:40 AM
Der Trihs's Avatar
Der Trihs is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: California
Posts: 38,858
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbs2k
You forgot about Mordred Deschain from the Dark Tower series. Sort of a magical half-spider half-boy, but The same thing for It.

I have NO benevolent counterparts, spiders are evil.
Arachne in Pyramid Scheme by Dave Freer and Eric Flint is half woman and half spider, and portrayed as a heroine, victim of the evil Athena.

Alan Dean Foster's The Hour of the Gate includes a race of sentient, civilized spiders called the Weavers. The are fairly isolationist, but are convinced to help the other races against the invasion of the totalitarian and extremely nasty Plated Folk ( insectoids ).

In Fleet of the Damned by Allan Cole and Chris Bunch, there's a spider-appearing alien who serves in the same force as the hero Sten. I don't recall her name.

On the dark side, in the Deed of Paksenarrion trilogy there are the High Servants of Achrya and Achrya's Spawn, as well as Achrya herself, an extremely evil spider goddess. The Spawn are giant spiders; the Servants can change into them.
  #28  
Old 10-27-2007, 04:09 AM
bbs2k is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: DUDE, in boston
Posts: 4,869
I thought we were supposed to be a sarcastic lot here?

  #29  
Old 10-27-2007, 04:13 AM
Anduinel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 327
The Shadows in the Babylon 5 novels are essentially big spiders.
  #30  
Old 10-27-2007, 06:18 AM
KGS is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Porn Capital USA
Posts: 4,657
In case you meant Internet spider (as opposed to the 8-legged furry kind), there's Jane from Orson Scott Card's Speaker for the Dead.
  #31  
Old 10-27-2007, 06:29 AM
Scissorjack is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Auckland
Posts: 6,670
The Racnoss from The Runaway Bride, which began the latest series of Doctor Who. That was some good makeup and effects, though they apparently didn't have the budget to show more than one. The webship was cool, though.
__________________
Detrimento malignitas; victoria ultio
  #32  
Old 11-01-2007, 07:31 PM
ouryL is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: 21 20' N 157 55' W
Posts: 6,519
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer


Um, have you COMPLETELY FORGOTTEN Charlotte?
Charlotte
Charlotte Bronte?
  #33  
Old 11-01-2007, 07:58 PM
Glory is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2000
Posts: 2,691
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skald the Rhymer
I think that my mentioning Shelob in the OP led people to believe that I had heard of Mirkwood. Besides, I'm actually looking for characters with names (and "Attercop" doesn't count).
The spider from Castle Roogna (the last good Xanth book!) was mentioned twice, but not by name - Jumper. I amused myself by instantly remembering his name, haven't thought of this book in years. Jumper was a great character!!

Last edited by Glory; 11-01-2007 at 07:59 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:45 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017