A Wizard of Mars – Chapter Eleven


A Wizard of Mars chapter index.

Okay, so last week, we left off with Kit transiting back home after his weird flashback experience of the not-really-native Martian people from hundreds of thousands of years ago. In this chapter, as it seems to me, the plot gets a lot more complicated, partly because Nita’s POV and Kit’s start to alternate faster.

Nita stays behind on Mars to cover up the site from Earth-orignating artificial satellites, after the boys leave. She gets a very brief vision of a Martian pop culture character from her own childhood – Marvin the Martian from the Bugs Bunny cartoons, though he isn’t named as such, but uses his catchphrase. Nita suggests to Bobo that he should prepare any available counterspell for an Illudium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

Nita also uses Bobo to get a replay of Kit’s experiences with Aurirelde, or at least the beginning of them. She’s able to figure out that though the appearance of Aurirelde was based on Kit’s fantasies of the Barsoom books, she’s based on a Shamask-Eilith person, and penetrates the illusion to perceive Aurirelde’s true appearance, which has gray skin and isn’t as exotically pretty by human standards, but still humanoid and relatable. She has Bobo try to run the name-analysis ‘wizard’ on Aurirelde to learn more about her – and the replay wizardry, which was running off the stored wizardry at the site, crashes partway through. Bobo tells Nita that he’ll keep working on analyzing the incomplete data.

After all of Kit’s worrying about what Helena might think of him and his wizardry now that she’s back from school, he certainly didn’t expect the reaction that he got – she’s accepted the fact that he’s a mutant like the ones in the comic books, and she’s fine with it now. The more Kit protests that this isn’t really what’s going on, the more Helena seems to think that he’s just trying to throw her off the truth. Carmela refuses to take sides on this, pointing out that if Kit’s told Helena the truth and she doesn’t believe it, that’s not the same as lying to her.

Nita arrives home, itchy with Mars dust, and checks in with Dad, who’s getting an overload of Dairine data from the link Bobo set up between Spot and Dad’s cell phone. Apparently the data included a stream of consciousness of Dairine’s thoughts, (which I don’t think was ever mentioned before as part of a manual’s routine data capture,) and Dad decides that he doesn’t need to know everything that Dairine’s thinking of, that it’s a bit too much like reading his daughter’s diary. This makes Nita remember that she did once steal Dairine’s diary and read it when they were young, and she still feels ashamed of that.

Dad also starts talking more with Nita about Dairine’s quest to find Roshaun, which doesn’t have anything obvious to do with her studying with Roshaun’s father – but then, considering that Roshaun vanished in the middle of doing a complex wizardry on Earth’s sun in the middle of a very complicated and dangerous situation, maybe she felt that she needed to understand more about that kind of sun wizardries to have any idea what happened to him. Nita remarks passingly that Dairine isn’t that much like anybody else in their immediate family, that it was like she was born on another planet – and then stops short. Apparently, in the manual there are accounts of people who are said to have ‘took a wrong turn’ because of the lifelong affinity they show with different species, as if their souls were of that people but ended up on a different planet, and this often makes them bridge builders (or bridges) between cultures. Nita wonders about this concept, both in relation to Dairine and Roshaun’s species, and Kit’s affinity for Mars and the Martians.

Finally, we go back to Kit, as he has a remarkably vivid dream-conversation with Aurirelde, the gray-skinned version who Nita saw, and Aurirelde tells him more of the Shamaska side of their story – how they struggled against the temptation to war among themselves on the First World, and usually lost, and didn’t manage to divert a rogue planet enough to save that original world. So they came to Mars, but found that it was growing colder and losing most of its atmosphere to solar flares, and because the Shamask and the Eilith were squabbling so much among themselves, neither of them could work a wizardry on Mars’ kernel to adjust the world for their sake, so instead they had to go into a kind of suspended hibernation, sleeping until a wizard from another world came who could help them. And Aurirelde’s boyfriend, Khretef, said that if he died in his quest to get what they needed back from the Eilith, he’d find some way to come back as a wizard of the third planet from the sun. And that’s when Kit wakes up, freaking out.

So, a lot going on, but the plot threads are fairly easy to follow, when you get caught up in the story. It’s late, so I only have a few more things that I want to say this week. One is a notion that’s occurred to me several times as I’ve been reading, that Diane often sets up ideas for future books in the series fairly far in advance, and the title for Young Wizards #10 is supposed to be announced around the time that ‘A Wizard of Mars’ is released in paperback – which is now May 2nd 2011, according to Amazon. (Last I heard, I thought it was April, but oh well.)

I’m now thinking that the next book will center around Roshaun’s disappearance and Dairine’s attempts to track him down, and that “The Lost Wizard” actually makes a catchy title.

The other thing that I wanted to talk about is Bobo. He’s obviously becoming a more and more prominent character in the book at this point, and he’s a hard character to even describe – that he’s invisible, can only communicate with Nita for some reason, that he’s ‘the essence of wizardry’ or something like that, and can help her do much more complex and difficult spells than she could manage without him – though he can’t provide unlimited power and energy to her.

Aside from the upgrade in Nita’s wizardly power that Bobo provides, his primary plot function appears to be as a sidekick and confidante who doesn’t come entangled with a B plot, so far – whenever Nita is otherwise alone, she can bounce ideas off Bobo, or tell him what’s on her mind without needing to worry about him telling anybody else, or generally have to be careful about hurting her feelings, though Bobo sometimes acts like he’s offended when Nita chooses to do spells on her own and not let him help out.

That’s it for me – hopefully I’ll be nearly caught up on NanoEdmo by tomorrow!

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