Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Thu Feb 08 12:31:47 EST 1990

Raymond's Reviews #8

%T Wizard's Bane
%V I
%A Rick Cook
%I Baen Fantasy
%D Feb 1989
%O paperback, $3.50
%P 307
%G 0-671-69803-6
%T The Wizard Recompiled
%A Rick Cook
%I Baen Fantasy
%D Jan 1990
%O paperback, $3.95
%P 307
%G 0-671-69856

These books were inevitable -- had to happen, sooner or later. In a culture where "wizard programmer" has become a term of folklore, somebody had to figure there was a hit in a novel that dropped one into a fantasy world and set him to learn wizardry.

Aside from the premise and the cutenesses that directly follow, these books are very much the same old same old. You shouldn't necessarily let that stop you from buying them -- I enjoyed the heck out of them, myself. But then I had a particularly easy time identifying with "Wiz" Zumwalt -- if I had acne and glasses and no confidence around women and a besetting fondness for junk food and the Forth language I'd darn near be him. If you are a UNIX wizard or anything like one, you'll probably love these books even as you wince at them.

As our story opens, the Council of the Mighty (aka good guy wizards, white hats, the home team) is sorely pressed by the evil machinations of the Dark League (aka nasty bad guy wizards, black hats, the away team). Patrius, greatest of the Mighty, journeys into the Wild Wood and risks his all to perform a Great Summoning, calling across the dimensions the One who can aid the Mighty in their desperate plight.

Assisting him is his chance-met former apprentice Moira, now a hedge-witch ministering to the humble folk of the Fringes (naturally, she's a knockout redhead). The spell succeeds but costs Patrius his life. When the smoke clears, who should be standing there but a very confused "Wiz" Zumwalt, until seconds before one of Silicon Valley's ace hackers.

When Moira discovers that "Wiz" isn't a mage, and that Patrius has pinned him to her with an infatuation spell, she is furious. But she contacts another of the Mighty and they set out to discover what this unpreposessing, magic-less lout might have to offer.

Will Wiz save the world? Will he get the girl? Will there be lots of adventure and hair-raising scrapes and gaudy magical combat and groaner puns and hacker in-jokes along the way? Oh, come on. You already know the answers to all of these, they're those kinds of books. If you're one of Cook's intended audience, though, it won't matter that you know where the train is going, you'll enjoy the ride anyhow.

Baen Books confirms that There Will Be More Of These...

One quibble, though -- somebody ought to have told the author that backslash isn't a shell prompt!

Up to Eric's Home Page To Index Thu Feb 08 12:31:47 EST 1990

Eric S. Raymond <esr@snark.thyrsus.com>