Off to Be the Wizard
Rocket Hat Industries
DESCRIPTION: When twenty-something computer geek Martin stumbles across a data file that controls reality, he decides he'll play it smart, and just change a few things here and there in his life. Nothing fancy. Still, he figures he might as well have an escape plan, an emergency exit route to a time and place where his new, near-magical abilities won't get him prosecuted or burned at the stake. There's a nice, stable slice of time in medieval England that seems perfect, where a modern man could make a nice little life for himself if need be. But surely he won't need it. It's just his own life he's tweaking, after all. Nobody will ever notice.
He arrives in medieval England with little but his smartphone and the clothes on his back, escaping a pair of U.S. Treasury agents and a slew of cops. Martin figures he'll dazzle the natives and play wizard until things cool off at home... but he's not the first geek to have found reality's programming and fled into history, and they don't take kindly to newcomers blundering into their territory. He'll have to learn the ropes fast, because in a world of hacker wizards, revenge can be deadly.
REVIEW: This fun little outing, written by the creator of one of my favorite comic strips (Basic Instructions), reads like Douglas Adams Lite. It never takes itself too seriously, yet manages to craft an interesting, occasionally nuanced tale of hackers running amok through the programming of time, space, and reality. While some of the humor is geared for the computer geek crowd, it's plenty amusing for those of us with only passing familiarity with programming culture. I gave this book an extra half-mark for honoring the late, great Commodore, the best computer system nobody remembers, and for overall whimsy. Despite a few shaky bits, it's a delightful little romp from start to finish.
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