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.
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.
There’s Aragog in the Harry Potter series
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.
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?
The Weaver from China Mieville’s “Perdido Street Station” fits the bill.
In Stephen King’s book It, 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.
Krek, from Vardeman’s Cenotaph Road series is the sidekick of the protagonist.
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?
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.
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.
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.
There’s also the goblin spider (bakegumo) from Japanese folklore.
Spider-man doesn’t count, does he?
James Tiptree, Jr.'s short story “Love is the Plan, the Plan is Death.”
James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl) has one - I think she’s just called ‘Miss Spider’.
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.
So this was some kind of bizarre interspecies porn novel?
What, no mention of the Hobbit spiders?
I take it you’ve never read any Piers Anthony?
I’m rusty on my D&D lore, but wasn’t there a spider-god named Lolth?