Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I think I found my new superpower...

Due to the fact I can't renew it and it's due back on the 14th, Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines jumped to the head of my reading list. Book 1 in his new Magic Ex Libris, series, I was originally expecting at best a Mary Sue (Mary Ellen, Sue Ellen...whatever the term is. Maybe not Sue Ellen, that kind of character is the one that shows up and demands the deed to your oil field.) story, wherein the author was more or less writing himself into the story. At worst...

And then I started reading. My initial reaction to the start Issac's story was one of jealousy. Issac, out narrator is a libriomancer, a magician who can literally reach into a book and grab something out, as long as the object is big enough to fit through the book. (Examples so far include a disruptor ray, a lightsaber, the winged sandals of Hermes, a sonic screwdriver...) The jealousy directed not only at the ability, but also that I wrote a very similar power into characters about 20 years ago. Then again, I bet that most avid readers wish for very similar powers most of the time.

I digress.

Issac, much like the characters mentioned in my last post, is another one who has fallen from grace. A member of a secret magical organization, Die Zwelf Portenaere, Issac was on the fast track for a research position when he screwed up his field work. As such, he starts the book as a cataloger on Michigan's Upper Peninsula, not allowed to use magic except in cases of emergency. (A bit of background here on DZP. It's revealed early on that Johannes Gutenberg founded the order after discovering libriomancy. The magic works on a couple of ideas, mainly that there are multiple copies of the same edition of a book, and that as people read said book, their belief in the story fuels the magic inside.) Mostly, what Issac does is keep a database of what kind of things could be pulled from the books he catalogs. His specialty is Science Fiction and Fantasy, which leads to much name dropping in the narrative. (More side notes.  I remain amused at how he's getting around trademarks and copyright on a few items. There's enough description to let you know what it is he just pulled without ever naming it. Second, I'm glad he has a small bibliography at the end, because a few of these I want to read now.) Should something be in the book that should be locked (for instance, the miniature black hole from David Brin's Earth or the weapons grade rabies from a book created for this narrative), Gutenberg will "lock" the text to prevent anyone (especially awakening libriomancers) from grabbing something really bad out of a book.

Well, after getting attacked by "Sparklers" (vampire species Sanguinious Meyerii, caused by people getting vampirism from Twilight novels) and being saved by a hamadryad, we find out that not only are vampires of several species attacking libriomancers and the other types of magicians in DZP, but Gutenberg and his immortal automatons have gone missing. Lots of investigation and visiting a vampire nest in Detroit later, we're suspecting that Gutenberg himself is behind the war between the factions (the vampires are saying they were attacked first), particularly since a few locked books are suddenly semi-unlocked. To a point where Issac just violated a whole bunch of rules of magic by more or less trying to enter a book that has its lock ripped out to try to find the person who destroyed the lock. This was a bad idea. However, the person who ripped the lock out seems to be suffering from what the psychiatrists libriomancer being held by the vampire nest in Detroit describes as a cross between Dissociative Identity Disorder and possession. Namely, the bad guy just identified himself as about 5 different people, including Moriarty, Norman Bates, and Ernst Stavro Blofeld.

I love his shameless name dropping, and I love the powers on display here. Although I honestly think Issac would be well served by pulling Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden's trench coat out of a book at this point.

On a personal note, I'm trying to make this blog look prettier than it does now. I seem to have not inherited the fabulous allele when I got the gay gene, which is making the process more difficult.