It's a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble.
Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.
Off to Be the Wizard is a light, comedic novel about computers, time travel, and human stupidity, written by Scott Meyer, the creator of the internationally known comic strip Basic Instructions.
Magic will be made! Legends will be created! Stew will be eaten!
©2013 Scott Meyer (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
I got this book yesterday and listened to the whole thing almost straight through (a few breaks here or there for some basic sleep etc). I couldn't stop smiling through the whole read- the narration was great and the story really well put together.
It's funny- very rarely do books actually make me laugh, but this one did. It lays out the parameters for the various plot devices, time travel primarily, quite well and then sticks to them. A lot of books (or movies) with this topic end up all over the place with plot holes or painful logical inconsistencies. Meyer avoids this trap.
It's certainly not earth shatteringly profound or intense. But it's well written and extremely entertaining. Most importantly, at least for me, it is surprisingly creative and held my attention raptly for the duration- clearly.
To expose bias, I am clearly in Meyer's demographic- I'm 30 years old and a lifelong geek-child of the techie generation. But I think if you are interested in a book like this, you will probably be of a similar bent and will find the various pop culture references/nods entertaining.
If you are looking for an engaging, light, happy, and entertaining listen, give this a try. You won't be disappointed.
I found this book because my favorite narrator, Luke Daniels, is reading. As an added bonus, I also fall into the demographic--White girl nerd who started with tech in the '80s.
Now, I know that previous viewers have said this is more for guys, but that is untrue! In life, I've found, nerd > gender. While we may not make the "obvious jokes," we have certainly heard enough of them to make us smirk when the obvious jokes pop up...so to speak. Oops, I think I just broke the first rule of Magic.
But I digress. Mr. Daniels' narration was perfection, as always! The storytelling was nimble, witty, and filled with nerdtastic goodness. Unlike another reviewer, I found Martin's reactions to be completely believable and probable, considering the circumstances. I also thoroughly enjoyed the bits of nostalgia. All in all, a highly recommended read!
I value intelligent stories with characters I can relate to. I can appreciate good prose, but a captivating plot is way more important.
The opening of the book had me worried... it was sloppily written, in fashion to get the plot moving as quickly as possible. The protagonist isn't well thought out... he's smart enough to be an elite hacker, but his intelligence is otherwise absent from anything he does thereafter... for the entire duration of the story.
The character discovers that he has the powers of a god, but this is quickly forgotten by both him and apparently the author. Like in the movie "Bruce Almighty", we're supposed to believe that our character is so unimaginative and selfish that the only thing he can think to do with his powers is to improve his own little life in small and insignificant ways.
But before you can get to frustrated with the story, Meyer throws you backwards in time, and the story takes a turn for the weird(er). Here in the past, Meyer has thought things out a little bit more. If he researched the time period, it doesn't really show... but he has built an amusing cast of characters.
Here the book starts to take on the flavor of Cline's "Ready Player One", one of my favorite light reads. Meyer's characters are funny, and the humor is geared at an audience who is familiar the life of 1980s computer geeks.
Everything stays fun and light. I wasn't bored for an instant. Oh, and the narration was hilarious.
The ending was satisfying within the scope of the story... but then, the scope of the story was very small.
As a listener, what I really longed for was for our hacker protagonist to play around more with the code he's discovered... outside of this one little pocket of use that he's fixated on in the past. Play with more variables... discover things... surprise me.
Anyway, Meyers has a lot of promise. I hope that he continues writing... and that next time he takes his writing to the next level.
Good listen for the price. I recommend it if you liked "Ready Player One".
My Opinion of the Book: B+
The author, Scott Meyer, delivers a humorous story of how Martin, a 20-something computer geek, discovers that reality is actually determined by a computer file. Through a series of events, Martin finds himself in medieval England posing as a wizard! Things get really interesting when Martin discovers that many other geeks have found the same file and, for similar reasons, have ended up in medieval England.
This book is definitely targeted towards those who are a little tech-savvy. While you don't necessarily need to have any experience with coding or technology to enjoy this book, there are many moments where some prior "geek-knowledge" will let you in on private jokes. Moreover, Meyer commonly references technology from the past 40 years, so those who remember DOS or why a Commodore 64 is better than a VIC 20 are treated to some fun memories. Again, if you are not a computer geek, you can still enjoy this book!
I dinged the score on the book slightly because I had some issues with inconsistencies (read the remainder of this paragraph with a nerdy, overly exaggerated, "computer geek" voice). Martin discovers the ability to teleport by changing his GPS (latitude and longitude) coordinates within the master file; however, when he does so to teleport to the second floor of a parking garage in his town, altitude is never considered. In fact, Meyer commonly refrains from broaching this issue. Meyer has created this entertaining way of teleportation, describes in excruciating detail how certain aspects of it works, and then never addresses the possibility of Martin (or any other "wizard" for that matter) to teleport a few inches into the floor or above the ground. It's as if Meyer thinks that the GPS coordinates provided by Google Maps are precise to within a hair's width and that altitude is something that we can just assume will work itself out. This flaw became glaringly obvious when Martin started using his cell phone to help him teleport a few hundred yards at a time when first arriving in medieval England - the ground should change in altitude by at least a few inches, but this is never a consideration by Meyer.
My Opinion of the Production: A
If you have read any of my other reviews, then you know that I have raved about two narrators in the past - MacLeod Andrews and Michael Kramer. The narrator for this book (and series), Luke Daniels, is at the top of the list of my favorites. His performance in this book is incredibly engaging and every character is easily distinguished within a word or two. I must admit that I removed the "+" from the "A" rating for this read because he made Philip sound like a 70-year-old man (when he is supposed to be in his mid-40's); however, that actually makes Philip funnier.
The audiobook was produced by Brilliance Audio. The recording quality is superb.
Say something about yourself!
What would you do it you discovered a computer program which alters reality? Martin was going to stay under the radar but could not resist the temptation to improve his life status. Within 48 hours of staying under the radar Martin was visited by the government.
While it was predictable that Martin would not stay under the radar, what happens after he gets to his safe spot is unique and funny. The references to pop culture are entertaining. I enjoyed how the geeks developed the programs to perform magic.
With the influx of the 20th century computer geeks in to Medieval England, time travel, levitating and take out pizza are part of a evening at game night. The story would not be interesting without the main character, Martin, stumbling around with naive stupidity making things messy. I cringed when Martin's come back to a bully leaked the secret how to get the upper hand on him. When the first instruction to Martin's wizard training was to think, think, think. You know Martin will have moments of ... not thinking.
The writing is witty and funny. I know my neighbors thought I was crazy as I would laugh out loud while walking around the neighborhood.
I have listened to the Iron Druid series narrated by Luke Daniels. That series does not provide the opportunity for him to effect as many voices. He does a great job. The voice of Philip fits his pompous wizard persona.
Enjoy the book, I did!
This book is just honest to goodness fun.
It reminds me of such fun and delicious - can you say delicious when it's a book? - books as "Old Man's War," and "Ready Player One," Its the story of a guy who discovers an interesting thing about our world and exploit it to his everlasting happiness, joy, and a kind of paradise - it is escapism at its most fun. You lose yourself for a few delightful hours in a mixture of technology and magic(?) or is it simply just technology and more technology? Anyway, you lose yourself in wonderful imaginings. Then, unfortunately, you have to wake up and wait for the next installment!
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
I can imagine a dad reading this to his child, and enjoying it at least as much as the listener. Of course there are the required dense paragraphs of double-talking scientific gobbledygook that modern sic-fi authors need to numb the reader into suspending disbelief. And of course I don't pay attention to any of it. Why not just employ a shortcut like warp-drive oe whatever to move us into the plot? Hey, I paid for this thing to be amused, entertained, maybe even awed. Not distracted by a magician's trick.
Ah well, everyone's doing it today. In fact I even gave up Neal Stephenson who eventually gave up writing plot for just so much "look at how smart I am" blather. But Meyer gets over that stuff and tells a fun Harry-Potter kind of story.
I liked it. Definitely because of the great job that Luke Daniels did in reading to me.
I would have enjoyed this book quite a bit when I was a pre-teen/teenage geek. If you are one now, then feel free to stop reading this review and go ahead and read & enjoy this series as light fiction. But as an adult I found the main character (and other characters), setting, and plot all disappointing. Has such a limited view of people, society, etc. that it is almost offensive in how insular and unaware it is (and yes, I am a white male geek!). As humorous SF/Fantasy it is supposed to be light, but falls short and just feels flat and contrived. My memory tells me that even Piers Anthony was better, and certainly this book is not even a pale echo of humor/parody as written by Terry Pratchett, John Scalzi, Connie Willis, Douglas Adams, Steven Brust, etc. Read those authors first, then don't come back to this book. (As for the narration -- it was good; light in tone befitting the materials. I would listen to other books read by Luke Daniels).
I'm a technician that does a lot of driving for his job. I use the "windshield" time to listen to audiobooks.
This is Scott Meyer's first book. He has an online comic that I've been reading fro a few years also, and so I'm guessing that's where he's honed his writing skill (I think he also used to be a stand up comedian). Anyhow, the story is pretty good, and it's very well written. The narrator, Luke Daniels, does a great job, and I think he really adds something to the audiobook. Both a coworker and I agreed that we will listen to Scott's next book. It's been quite a few books since I've given straight 5 stars all the way across. It's also been a while since I've bothered to write a an actual review. This is worth it.
Recently I listened to "The Death of Ivan Ilych" and "Siddhartha" as well as a number of intense non-fiction titles ("Beyond Anger" and some Great Courses titles). All very serious, all very deep. This book is light fare, but is very funny, well done, and aimed at middle-aged male nerds like me. It's just the antidote I needed.
I enjoyed every second of this story. I even tortured my family by insisting on listening to the last few chapters non-stop through breakfast the rest of the morning and lunch until the book was done.
[SPOILER ALERT] The premise of the book is a fun take on the idea that humanity are the white mice in someone else's science experiment or game. The fun starts when a few learn how to game the game. The characters are all geeky and likable. The basic conflict in the story is a classic. A Machiavellian narcissist psychopath wants power and doesn't give a hoot about those he must crush in the process (just like your bosses at work!). And the good guys are determined to stop him. The catch is they are all very powerful wizards in mediaeval England.
I can't wait to listen to the next installment.
Highly recommended for middle aged male nerds looking for funny, light reading/listening.
"Gum and geeky-ness"
An enjoyable tale which made me laugh several times, while being quite clever. Very light and extremely enjoyable even if your not a fan of wizard stories.
"Matrix meets mediaeval fabtasy"
Put it this way, the story is like a mash up of the matrix, ready player one and mediaeval english fantasy. like those? then this is for you. Some parts are really original, but weren't embraced to their full potential. The basis for the story allowed for many possibilities and scenarios, but the resulting plot just seemed extremely unlikely and almost forced to set up the theme mashup. If you put logic aside and just forgive it's shortcomings in setting up the scenario, its a unique story that worth a listen. Can't fault the performance though, great job acting out each character.
easy listening not much thought required good but not if your looking for high fantasy.
I have been contemplating this book for some time. I was dubious about it but finally decided to take a punt and I was very pleased I did. Reminiscant of the Myth Adventures series by Robert Asprin and with hints of the Thursday Next series by Jasper Fforde I found this fun and enjoyable. As they say in the book it 'avoids the obvious joke' and the humour grew on me. Although the story in very fantastical, it is still well thought through. The characters are likeable and believable (for a fantasy novel) and I am looking forward to the next books in the series.
Was a little skeptical about whether I'd enjoy this or not, pleased to say my skepticism was entirely unfounded.
A witty and entertaining story, Luke Daniels does a fantastic job with character voices although his English accent is unfortunately not very good and as an Englishman myself is quite annoying, I can look past it and still enjoy the book because he is able to read in such a way that you know which character is which and get drawn in to the narrative. Very well done,.
I look forward to the second book and hope this gets picked up and turned into a TV comedy series or film franchise.
"great story with a great speaker"
A friend sugested me this story a few months ago. I should follow his advice more often.
I greatly enjoyed the story and the speaker is very nice to listen to!
"The start of a brilliantly funny series"
Funny, engaging characters
The geeks will inherit the earth
The reading of this well written, funny and engaging book with strong characters is brilliant. In what is fairly rare, the narrater is an American who can do a good range of British accents. In fact the voice range is as good as the story itself.
"Light and breezy, but could've been much more"
I think I expected a bit too much from this book and consequently it didn't quite deliver. The excellent reviews and innovative idea for the novel suckered me in, but I found it a bit wanting. Perhaps even a bit simplistic/childish (although what should I have expected, I hear you ask!?).
The story was a very straight-forward A to B affair and the humour never got beyond me thinking it was amusing, rather than actually laughing out loud. I think I was just a bit underwhelmed by it all, to be honest.
Having said that, it was in no way a bad listen and I'm still thinking about getting one of the follow-ups because I like the whole concept of the piece so much... but the fact that I have been spending my credits on alternative books might tell you all you need to know!
The narration was excellent.
"A Nerdtastic Adventure"
Yes, I loved the premise of this book and the humour was great. The only downside of this book for me is that I hoped for the story to be a little more epic and/or gritty but if you go into this book just expecting a fun time and some quirky characters, you'll have a lot of fun with it.
I loved the idea behind the book and found the characters quirky and fun to read about. Luke Daniels has done an amazing job at bringing the characters and story to life.
Luke Daniels surprised me. I'm new to listening to Audiobooks so I haven't got much to compare this narration to but having said that, I can't imagine there are many out there that can bring a story to life like he does. He does a really good job at giving each character a distinctive personality, or at least portraying their personalities.
There were many fun times in the book that had me grinning from ear to ear but in all honesty, there was something missing in the emotional department, I think this is why I was hoping it would be a little more epic and gritty rather than a fun, light hearted adventure.
"Very good listen"
I wasn't sure about this at first but about half way through o bought the second book because I was that engrossed by it. The narrator Like Daniels was brilliant. I can honestly say he was the best narrator I have heard.
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