Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Perhaps the source code for the universe is a bit too much power for some...

A computer geek ends up even deeper than the Deep Web in Scott Meyer's Off to Be the Wizard.

Like many people, Martin Banks likes to play around on the internet when he's bored. He doesn't really do anything malicious; it's just not in his personality to create chaos for chaos' sake. Rather, he pokes at the security of random companies, simply to see if he can get around the often laughably minimal security measures that institutions put up.

Lodged in the inner workings of an old cell phone company, he finds an absolutely enormous text file. Five terabytes of text is a whole lot of text, and out of habit Martin ctrl+f's his name, and tinkers with the numbers after it.

Well, long story short, it turns out that banks sorta notice when your bank account randomly inflates itself. And with the feds on his tail, Martin escapes to the one place he can think of that the government can't find him. Of course, being the computer geek that he is, that place would be Medieval England.

But of course, he's not the first person to find this bit of code, nor is he the first to escape to the middle ages. Here, after thoroughly embarrassing himself in the nearest town, he stumbles upon other folks like him; folks geeky enough to have discovered how to manipulate the universe, folks living as wizards in a time when magic was simply accepted as part of life, folks who also kinda always wanted to be wizards.

Just because a person is clever enough to find the text file, though, doesn't mean that he is a good person. In fact, several people have been banished from their little slice of history, hog-tied, naked, and sent back to deal with whatever they had going on in their native time. As events in a town nearby become stranger and stranger, the group of wizards start to suspect one of their own is making a mess of the code. And it'll be up to Martin and a few of his friends to figure out exactly what's going on, and how to stop it.

Highs: Obviously written by a geek for geeks, Off to Be the Wizard feels like an idle daydream, but it's a fun one.

Lows: The author glosses over the whole 'timeline' issue with the It Just Works theory, which is rather unsatisfying.

Verdict: A fun, if shallow, fantasy-fulfillment read, perfect for a summer vacation.

Further Reading: Chasing the Moon, Magic Kingdom for Sale: Sold!

No comments:

Post a Comment