A Wizard of Mars – Chapter Six


A Wizard of Mars chapter index.

Okay, and we’re back to Nita. First, she dreams about the waters of Mars, (not quite like this,) and being drowned by a wave, before waking up. A possibly oracular dream? Then, she has breakfast with her father, chats about what Dairine’s up to, remembers to tell him about Nereid’s invitation to talk, and takes off for Jones inlet.

Out in the water, Nita meets her old friend, the whale wizard S’reee, and they chat about several things, including dissolving dangerous land mines away without setting them off, and wizards who are in tune with a particular element, such as water, or fire. Ronan is mentioned as having a water affinity, with his Ordeal referenced, and Nita wonders if her sister is getting a fire affinity, working so closely with stars, and remembering that she was a pyromaniac as a kid.

Carmela transits over to the pier just as Nita is coming in, and lays down her plan about going over to Mars to tease the guys before taking Nita shopping at the Crossings for something more stylish than sweaters and jeans. Nita is hesitant to bother Kit and his friends as they male-bond over Mars, but remembers to check his mission precis at this point, and finds out that Kit let the message out of the superegg bottle. She tries to find out more, and finds out that something is blocking all of the sites that the signal energy pulses landed on – the manual can’t find out any more details, and nobody can transit in from Earth. But there’s another Mars site that is showing an active wizardry, and that one isn’t blocked.

So, Carmela transits Nita and S’reee over, since they’re both really interested by this point, and they start climbing into old lava bubbles inside a Martian volcano. They just find some more weird scorpion robot things, about fifty of them that are pony-sized. Carmela is fingering the trigger on her alien hair-curler, and Nita readying a moonlight wand, as the chapter ends.

I definitely loved this whole chapter. The plot development wasn’t anything astounding, though I’m wondering how much of the passing references are really foreshadowing later developments, and we’ve gotten Nita back to Mars, but still seperated from Kit by that mysterious blocking effect. The notion of Carmela and S’reee being Nita’s supporting characters, to contrast with the guy crew, is somewhat interesting – one of them isn’t a wizard, though she’s still a force to be reckoned with, and the mental picture of S’reee ‘swimming’ around Mars is hilarious. I keep wondering if S’reee will ever shapechange to human, since she obviously knows the principle, having taught Nita how easy it was to shapechange into a whale in ‘Deep Wizardry.’ But I guess she feels that it’s just not necessary.

There were continuity references from this chapter to every previous book in the series:

  1. So you want to be a wizard – walking on hardened air
  2. Deep Wizardry – Nita meeting S’reee, Picchu’s prophecy of ‘Fear death by water.’
  3. High Wizardry – Dairine going into the wrong species washroom at the Crossings.
  4. A Wizard Abroad – Ronan telling Nita about his ordeal.
  5. The Wizard’s Dilemma – Kit talking with S’reee about the dumped sea mines, and Jones inlet as a setting.
  6. A wizard alone – Darryl’s special status, The Lone power getting his butt kicked on an ordeal. (Okay, so I forgot about this book until I numbered my bullet points and had to stretch for it.)
  7. Wizard on Holiday – Dairine and Roshaun working together to save the sun, Carmela’s friendship with Sker’ret.
  8. Wizards at War – S’reee’s temporary promotion to Senior for the Waters of Earth, Carmela’s service in defense of the Crossings, Nita losing her wizardry, the worldgate in Carmela’s closet.

I did love the little bit of Nita and S’reee ‘girl talking’ about S’reee’s love life – she’d met a guy whale she likes, a ‘food critic’, and teases Nita that not all of them can date fellow wizards, which Nita lets pass by without comment, since she’s learned at school that protesting too much doesn’t convince anybody, but rather the reverse. The little touches of whale culture were good, like the passing mention that ‘what does he sing’ is the whale equivalent of ‘what does he do’, and the food critic whale makes me think of the buffet briefing scene in Diane’s very worthy Star Trek novel “Dark Mirror”, where it’s mentioned that intelligent dolphins don’t talk business except over food, because for a long time food was their only business, the rest of their lives being ‘play.’

Other favorite bits: When Nita wakes up from the dream, she lists a few ‘usual, safe, sane, familiar’ things about her room, and includes voucher plaques for shopping at the Crossings that Carmela gave her, because she was actually given too many to spend!

S’reee tells Nita about a water-affinity wizard that the Lone Power tried to drown on her ordeal. For a year later, other wizards from Earth who confronted the Lone One directly on assignment reported that it was dripping. Though that sort of restriction in time and space seems unusually specific for a being that exists largely out of time. I’d have liked it better if the dripping thing was reported off and on, for decades later and before, sometimes on planets where they didn’t know what it meant.

I think I’ll cut it at here for now, without picking one favorite passage to dissect for this week, because it’s all too good.

3 Responses to A Wizard of Mars – Chapter Six

  1. Hi! I’m in your crusader group. Looking forward to getting to know you.

    Like

  2. Tony Benson says:

    Hi Chris. I see we’re in the same crusade group. It’ll be great getting to know you. I’ve followed your rss feed.

    Like

  3. Michael says:

    These names are really hard to pronounce.

    Like

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