The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump
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The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump

3.84 of 5 stars 3.84  ·  rating details  ·  432 ratings  ·  20 reviews
David Fisher, a humble but dedicated bureaucrat of the Environmental Perfection Agency finds that an evil ancient deity (the sort that likes human sacrifices) is about to take over L.A. -- unless he can stop it
Paperback, 367 pages
Published December 1st 2002 by Baen Books (first published 1993)
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Sydney
This book is deceptively good. I originally picked it up based solely on the really cheesy illustration on the front. But the world is absolutely fascinating: a reality where EVERY SINGLE religion is correct and therefore is reflected in the world. It's an amazing interwoven tale that delves into theology as an everyday occurrence.

It's interesting to see how people relate in a world where one religion is not superior over another, and each religion impacts its members on a day to day basis. If...more
Steven
I've read better. The book's most serious flaw is the uneven application of same-but-different. We have Angels City, which is exactly the same as Los Angeles, except all religions are true and magic is real. You get flying carpet traffic jams instead of car traffic jams, wool fibers in the air instead of smog, toxic magic waste dumps instead of toxic industrial waste dumps...it pretends to be imaginative but it's an exercise in purely surface differences. This is driven home by a few diatribes b...more
Kathleen
This book was fun to read. If I remember correctly, it was based on the idea that, just as with mundane energy use there are by-products and waste products, with magic use there are by-products and waste as well. And the story is about a particularly toxic dump of such waste products and the efforts of the main character to clean things up.

Sounds pretty dreary, I guess, but I remember it as quite enjoyable. A nice twist on the idea of magic requiring a price.
Michael Burnam-fink
Nobody would ever accuse Harry Turtledove of originality. For a man who specializes in alternate history, his stories usually take a pretty blunt point of departure: time travelling South Africans give the Confederacy AK-47s, aliens with Gulf War military tech attack in the middle of WW2, thing like that.

The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump is set in a world where all religions are true, where magic works, and where magic is used to duplicate technology in the early 90s-mostly through endless puns...more
P. Aaron Potter
That was a disappointment. Turtledove, one of the SFF's most reliable story tellers, has not stood the test of time terribly well in the first place. However, if the voice is a little dated, the ideas are at least well developed and engaging. Usually.

Not this time though. Here Turtledove anticipates the Urban Paranormal movement with a story of an EPA inspector who is tasked with cleaning up the mess left behind by a society grown fat on spells and potions. It should be a successful premise, a p...more
Johnny
Harry Turtledove is, for me, one of the foremost practitioners of the alternate history genre. Since 1993, I’ve been secretly amused at the idea that Turtledove turned his hand to fantasy in addition to alternate history. I’ve passed by The Case of the Toxic Spell Dump on more than one occasion and, sadly for Mr. Turtledove’s royalty status, only picked it up on sale at a used bookstore. Even then, it was because I was picking up paperbacks that I could leave on trains, planes, and in hotels. Bu...more
Trayana
Още един роман, който се основава на идеята за общество, което е постигнало развитието си благодарение на магията, а не на технологията. Въпреки приликата си с „Операция „Хаос”, написаната през 1993 г. творба на Търтълдав не може да бъде определена като плагиатство.

Преди всичко, защото историята вече се развива в деветдесетте години на двайсети век в алтернативни САЩ. Проблемите там са съвсем същите като при нас – изострена външнополитическа ситуация, държавна бюрократщина и проблеми с индустриа...more
Marj
I really enjoyed this book. The first part is a bit slow-going, but it's fun to read about the differences between our world and the magic-centered world of the book. For example, phones exist, but voices are mimicked by the imps who live inside them. Magic carpets still get caught in traffic and investigating the potential hazards of introducing leprechauns into the California ecosystem requires research and reams of paperwork.

Things escalate as David Fisher, EPA (Environmental Perfection Agen...more
Andy
Good alternate history, most things turn out the same, except magic and religion do everything that science does in our world. David Fisher is a EPA agent - environment perfection agency - covertly tasked with investigating a toxic spell dump. The investigation takes david to various parts of st. Ferdinand valley (Silicon Valley?) part of Angels City, to various magical suppliers who dump stuff at the toxic spell dump.

A good read, though the 'investigation' often seems to take a back seat to fle...more
Chris Rayle
Like most of Turtledove, describing the story quickly ends up sounding cheesy. Well, it's modern times, but magic and religion are real. This is the story of an EPA guy trying to clean up a toxic mess. Sounds like a yawner, right? Nope. A well thought out world and decently paced story make this a fairly quick read. Only down side is the reader might need experience with the world of bureaucrats and pencil pushers to appreciate some of the story.
John
Oct 12, 2008 John rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Nerds
Shelves: science-fantasy
My all time favorite in the genre of "Magic as Science (Fiction)." Way out of the norm for Turtledove. This is a book filled with religious and linguistic jokes that only a the rare few nerd will apreciate fully. Bone up on your Latin, Spanish, Hebrew, and world history before diving in. And just remember: nothing is ever what it seems. Except when it is.

I can't recommend it highly enough.
Will
Warning. Do not go near this book unless you are a glutton for pun-ishment. It is simply efreetful. It really got my goetia. I hear the Infernal Affairs division is launching an investigation. Dr. Snappdove, you should be ashamed of yourelf!
David
This is good vacation reading: a light, funny mystery set in an alternate world that looks a lot like ours -- except with magic in place of technology. About what you'd expect if you've read any of Turtledove's other alternate history books.
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
Maybe more like 2.5. Another book I read when I was a teenager, and then tracked down again years later. Lots of good puns, though there are some right wing sociopolitical undertones that are a little twitch-inducing.
Kim
I've read this book before- it's funny, although I think I thought it was funnier the first time I read it when I was probably 16 or 17. Still amusing, and the first fiction book I've read since, oh, July, maybe.
Hawk
Pretty good overall. Good puns and jokes on an alternate universe where most everything is powered by some form of magic and/or god.
George Ashmore
A perfect stand alone novel I wish he would sequel. I keep rereading it
Paul Kemner
Fun. Quite a change from his historical fiction.
Zach Lym
Read when I was a kid, pretty funny.
Lorraine
Fun read, it was really interesting.
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Dr Harry Norman Turtledove is an American novelist, who has produced a sizeable number of works in several genres including alternate history, historical fiction, fantasy and science fiction.

Harry Turtledove attended UCLA, where he received a Ph.D. in Byzantine history in 1977.

Turtledove has been dubbed "The Master of Alternate History". Within this genre he is known both for creating original sce...more
More about Harry Turtledove...
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