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 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 taste differs from kid books to gory horror books.
JUST BECAUSE YOU CALL SOMETHING, SOMETHING, DOESN'T MAKE IT, IT.
If you like John Scalzi and Wil Wheaton, then you will love this. During the first hour, I thought this is cute, but it is going to grow old. Over nine hours later, I am still laughing. As the story grows, it gets funnier and more interesting. If you are driving be careful, you may miss your exit, it is that engaging.
TECHNICALLY I AM OLDER THEN YOU, I WAS JUST BORN LATER
I am 56 and barely understand computers, so this was not aimed at me, but I loved it anyway. It was a fun light book, with plenty of surprises. After a while some of the jokes become predictable, but they are still funny. There is a little Connecticut Yankee in here, an updated version. This has time travel, wizards, Lord of the Rings, orcs, etc...
SILENCE SO THICK, YOU COULD LEAN ON IT.
I can not say enough about Luke Daniels. His performance is above and beyond. This would be a great book to read, but I believe that Daniels makes it so much more. Don't miss out on this experience.
HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ME EAT ANY OF THAT STEW?
I will be getting the sequels.
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!
On Audible since the late 1990s, mostly science fiction, fantasy, history & science. I rarely review 1-2 star books that I can't get through
I came into this book with high hopes - it had been compared to Ready Player One, which was a really fun young adult style wish-fulfillment romp for grown up geeks. I understand the comparison, since this is also a wish-fulfillment romp for grown up geeks, but, man, is this book bad.
It is badly written, and not just in a first novel kind of way. It is full of awkward phrases and mediocre descriptions, sure, but the problem goes deeper. The novel is set in Medieval England, but there is no attempt to actually engage with the setting which is barely described, and everyone acts (and talks) like 21st century stock characters.
It is badly plotted. Very little happens overall, and much of it makes little sense. This would be okay if the author wasn't trying to justify consistent rules for the universe he creates, but Meyer spends a lot of time setting up the world and magic system, making all of the glaring logic problems hard to ignore. Further, much of the joy of a time travel novel is seeing the interaction between the time traveler and the setting, but the main character is entirely incurious and Meyer uses the excuse of an "alternate timeline" to avoid any consequences of their actions.
That leaves us with the humor, which many people seem to like. I am a fan of geek reference humor (see: Scalzi, Stross, Ready Player One, etc) but this generally fell flat, though there were some cute moments. More troubling is the fan-fiction feel to the whole novel, where all the main characters are all-powerful computer geeks in a world full of dumb brawny people. And, of course, there are no women in the novel for reasons that are, ultimately, both stupid and insulting. At least the reader does a game job, providing excellent, completely over-the-top voices to accompany the story.
The reviews of the book repeatedly mention that it is good value for money, since it is a cheap self-published novel. It may be worth the money per page, but it isn't worth 10 hours of your time. There are many better books out there to scratch your geek wish fulfillment fantasy.
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'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.
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!
The whole story line was fun, I didn't think I would enjoy it as much as I did, but my boyfriend loved it, so I thought I'd give it a try. Excellent story, left my laughing my whole way home in traffic, while getting stared out by the grumpy folks stuck in gridlock.
I loved Luke Daniels performance, he really is fantastic, I can't explain in words what a great job he does; even doing the voices of women. Listen to a sample, and I'm sure you won't be disappointed!
Not only did I want to listen to this in one sitting, I probably would listen to this story again.
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.
easy listening not much thought required good but not if your looking for high fantasy.
"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.
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.
"Rules of Wizarding."
Whacky, Fun, Lighthearted.
Martian passing off clingfilm as magic.
Phillip, he just injects the character with so much personality.
Do not make the obvious joke.
"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!
"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.
"Funny time travel yarn of geek"
This was on an Audible offer, and was recommended by the NABCC goodreads club that I frequent. I am so glad I did. This book is spot on for my humour and I liked the general principle of the story. The cover is also great, and reminds me of my early computer RPG playing.
In essence, this is a about a guy who finds a file that amends reality. After the usual blow out, he draws the attention of the government. A plan is devised to escape the Feds to Medieval England - and earn a trade as a Wizard.
What could possibly go wrong?
Turns out a fair bit. Mainly because there are other Wizards.
This book is character focused with a sense of humour. The story is fairly basic, but it does have a fun modern day pop culture reference about it. I loved that the other wizards came from different time periods, and one had a C64 computer.
It doesn't get too soppy, doesn't go too slow and introduces a lot of Geek culture references. All in all, this is a great book.
Luke Daniels did this Audible version as he was brilliant. In fact, I enjoyed this book so much that I bought the second book from audible straight away.
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