Magic is about to get an upgrade
Ravirn is not your average computer geek. A child of the Fates--literally--he's a hacker extraordinaire who can zero in on the fatal flaw in any program. Now that twenty-first-century magic has gone digital that makes him a very talented sorcerer. But a world of problems is about to be downloaded on Ravirn--who's just trying to pass his college midterms.
Great Aunt Atropos, one of the three Fates, decides that humans having free will is really overrated and plans to rid herself of the annoyance--by coding a spell into the Fate Core, the server that rules destiny. As a hacker, Ravirn is a big believer in free will, and when he not only refuses to debug her spell but actively opposes her, all hell breaks loose.
Even with the help of his familiar Melchior, a sexy sorceress (who's also a mean programmer), and the webgoblin underground, it's going to be a close call...
Starred Review. Remember the Fates, those ancient Greek spinners, weavers and snippers of life's threads? They're back in McCullough's original and outstanding debut, and still ruling destiny--but with their own digital web, based on a server called the Fate Core. Power-hungry as ever, they've coded a spell to eliminate human free will. Unluckily for them, one of their demigod descendants is a cheerfully rebellious hacker-sorcerer named Ravirn who, when not studying for college midterms, likes to mess around on their web with the help of his familiar, Melchior, who can change from a goblin to a laptop. Ravirn and Melchior, let loose in McCullough's delightfully skewed and fully formed world--much like our own, but with magic, paranormally advanced technology and Greek gods--set out to thwart Ravirn's "great-to-the-nth-degree aunt[s]," careening from one discovery to another, enlisting unlikely allies and narrowly evading destruction at the hands of both Fates and Furies. McCullough handles his plot with unfailing invention, orchestrating a mixture of humor, philosophy and programming insights that give new meaning to terms as commonplace as "spell checker" and esoteric as "programming in hex." Though a preponderance of techie-talk may put off some readers, this is the kind of title that could inspire an army of rabid fans; it's a good thing a sequel is planned for 2007. (Aug.)
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July 24, 2006
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Excerpt from WebMage by Kelly McCullough
No time for second thoughts now
Scorched Earth is not a spell that can be aborted halfway. Ultimately, all spells draw power from the same source, the primal chaos that churns between the worlds. But my family mostly uses the predigested forces my grandmother and her sisters channel into the net via their mainframe webservers. Scorched Earth isn't like that. It taps directly into the interworld chaos. That means it's both very dangerous and very powerful. It also means I don't have to have web access to run it. Melchior's voice interrupted my train of thought.
"There's no carrier wave and no Mweb line," he said. "I think we just took the entire net down, Boss."
"Sweet necessity," I murmured. "What have I done now?"