A Wizard of Mars – Chapter Eight

March 2, 2011

A wizard of Mars chapter index

Okay, a lot of interesting things are starting to happen now. Facing the scorpion constructs from her last cliffhanger, Nita gets an uncertain premonition, that kneeling down in front of the lead scorpion will either result in safety or a quick death. She impulsively gambles on it – and the scorpions pass all three of them by.

Moving on, Nita, Carmela, and S’reee find themselves in a sort of a Martian library archive, where Carmela quickly develops a partial knack for reading their writing and begins to decipher the story. S’reee suggests to Nita that Carmela may have ‘the steganographic gift’, an intuitive knack for learning languages without a teacher or textbook, and that this might explain how she learned the Speech. (The name of that gift also led me to the fascinating Wikipedia article on Steganography.)

There’s also apparently a wizardry in the archive, helping with the translation, and latching onto Carmela as the person easiest to communicate with.

The story that they learn, briefly, is one of a planet between Mars and Jupiter, one where civilization descended into horrible thousands-of-years-long wars, with wizards on both sides helping in the fighting rather than working towards peace with the enemy. Eventually, a rogue planet was discovered, on a close enough approach course to doom this planet, so both sides try to evacuate only their own people, and then fresh hostilities break out when they realize that each was trying to leave the other in the dark. Near the end of the story, Nita and Bobo feed power into the archive wizardry, and they get some visual effects, but the wizardry breaks down permanently just after they get to the point where a few cities are evacuated.

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A Wizard of Mars – Chapter Six

February 16, 2011

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.

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A Wizard of Mars – Chapter Five

February 9, 2011

A Wizard of Mars chapter index.

Okay, we’re back to Kit again. Kit misses Ponch. This was mentioned before, but we’ve got several more references in this chapter about how much Ponch being gone is hitting Kit, and so I thought I’d mention it here. From the ending to “Wizards at War,” I kind of got the impression that though the old Ponch was gone, Ponch would be able to spend time with Kit in his new sheepdog avatar – especially since it had been foreshadowed that nobody knew if the sheepdog had an owner in the neighborhood, back as early as “Wizard’s Holiday.” But that’s a minor point, and I can appreciate the angst of Kit being lonely because his dog’s gone, not to mention that having him actually take part in the plot might make certain things too easy or familiar.

We get an indirect answer to my question about Nita going back to Mars after everybody’s gone, too, via a text message in Kit’s manual, which made Kit think that Nita was scowling. And she doesn’t want to be bothered until after lunch, by which time I suspect Kit will be in the middle of other business, and thus our main characters will be separated for a good portion of the book.

So Kit’s up in the middle of the night, and antsy about his little discovery on Mars, so he decides to go back. He chats with the Edsel on his way out of the house, (who was mentioned as the source of the antenna back in ‘So you want to be a wizard’, but never shown as far as I recall,) transits over to Mars, and talks with a rock about the weather. And only an American wizard could possibly talk with a rock in the language of the Making, and translate those words into degrees Fahrenheit. Celsius or Kelvin would make much more sense to anybody else from planet Earth. The martian rock, presumably, hasn’t heard of any of them, and would use some kind of absolute scale that’s built into the Speech.

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A Wizard of Mars – Chapter three

January 26, 2011

A wizard of mars chapter index.

So, we’re finally on Mars, and apparently the ‘message bottle’ is exactly where Kit always thought that they’d find something, but couldn’t pinpoint it. (Is that foreshadowing also, perhaps?) Irina and Nita talk a bit about Mamvish, and Irina mentions a detail that I almost included in last week’s chapter review, because I’d been reading ahead a bit and thought that it had been introduced earlier.

Mamvish is an ‘abstainee’ – which means that when she had her Ordeal, her big showdown with the Lone Power to prove that she’s worthy of keeping her powers… the Lone Power defaulted, sent a message saying that he wasn’t going to mess with her. Apparently that has something to do with why she’s such a badass high-power wizard, but it’s unclear which way the cause and effect goes.

Incidentally, I do wonder how literally it’s true that every wizard confronts the Lone Power directly on their ordeal. From what we heard about Ronan’s time-sliding ordeal in Ireland, (in ‘A wizard abroad,’) the maker of entropy didn’t put in a personal appearance, and though he didn’t say that he told Nita the whole story, I’m not sure how Balor could fit in. Ronan had to face the darkness inside himself, though, so maybe that fits.

Moving onward – Kit has to use the ‘Mason’s word’ and reach through solid rock to get the bottle out, but Nita’s cell phone goes off just once he’s got it – Dad’s calling, and he’s pissed, probably something to do with Dairine that’ll send Nita off on a subplot for half the book. She makes sure that Carmela can get a ride back home to Earth, and then transits home, leaving the rest of the chapter POV to Kit. Incidentally, I can’t remember, did Nita have a cell phone during “Wizards at War?” She definitely didn’t during Wizard’s holiday, because I remember her calling her father’s cell phone using her manual, and Dad getting a call from Mars on his cell phone at the end of it, foreshadowing the arrival of this book.

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A Wizard of Mars – Chapter Two

January 19, 2011

A Wizard of Mars chapter index

This is a big one, fifty-six pages, so I might be going a little quick. We open with Nita POV – I think that around two thirds of the chapters in the book start with Nita POV, though the number that end on Kit POV may be close to half.

Nita is learning to be an Oracle, which makes some sense, as she’s shown a rough talent for premonition in the past few books. She’s over at Tom and Carl’s house – taking lessons from the koi who pronounce prophetic haiku. Nita predicts a cloud passing over the sun – but she calls ‘now’ nearly a minute early, which is apparently not good enough in the Oracle trade.

Nita chats with Tom for a while, talking about how Dairine is still out looking for Roshaun. Nita asks if Tom’s manual has any status info on Roshaun, and Tom just asks Nita if she’s checked her own manual and says that anything he reads in his might not be relevant information for her – but says that if she does look in hers, he’d like to know.  Read the rest of this entry »


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