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.
Criminal defense attorney. Love audible and I'm kind of obsessed with writing reviews. No plot spoilers please. Seriously.
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".
I listen to many audiobooks and review the ones I find most notable.
This book was hilarious. It was fun and funny. And Luke Daniels, as always, nails it. I was worried it was going to be ridiculous (in a bad way), but it turns out it was ridiculous (in a good way).
Currently studying psychology in Norway. I primarily read fantasy, sci-fi and fictional books
Simple but fun
It's kinda like Hitchhiker's guide to the Galaxy where the protagonist happens to stumble upon something really incredible, has no idea what to do with it at first, but slowly gets the hang of it.
It's a short book, but for me it was not an "all in one sitting" kind of story. It's just an easy read that will make you smile, it's not overly exciting or page turning, but you'll find yourself wanting to return to it because of its humor.
PC wizards will have an easier time understanding this book, and might get an extra kick out of it. Some of the descriptions in this book of exactly what is going on are difficult to understand, it wasn't always easy to make the image inside my head of the situation, but luckily it's not that important.
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.
I already knew this would be at least half way decent with Luke Daniels narrating. He does an incredible of job of bringing life to the characters. But when I started getting into it, I realized this was a very smart and well written in terms of blending the modern day with magic. I thoroughly enjoyed the Matrix-esque ideas that were presented in a fun way.
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).
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.
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.
"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.
"Ruined by the appalling quality of the reading"
The story is not bad, but any good points it has are completely overwhelmed by the lunatic screeching and yelling of the reader who seems to be under the impression that he's auditioning for the part of a villain in SpongeBob SquarePants.
"Really enjoyed this!"
A cross between the Matrix and Harry Potter. Nice idea and really well read. I would and have recommended to others.
"loved this book , found the sense of humour great"
This was a great book and narrated brilliantly, easy to listen to, I have opted straight for the second book.
"Mr Meyers is the man!!!!!!"
best book I have listen to thus far. I really did not want this to end. and to make it even better the narrator was spot on as I feel he had every character down to a pin point. only disappointment is that it was all over too soon as I had no patients to relax an take my time, which is all on me. Mr Meyers plz plz plz plz continue this story plz
"Couldn't stop listening to it!"
What an excellent yarn, enjoyed every minute of it! Literally listened to it in one sitting thanks to the enjoyable voice acting. Light hearted and fun.
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