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Off to Be the Wizard

(Magic 2.0 #1)

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3.98  ·  Rating details ·  26,841 ratings  ·  2,350 reviews
Martin Banks is just a normal guy who has made an abnormal discovery: he can manipulate reality, thanks to reality being nothing more than a computer program. With every use of this ability, though, Martin finds his little “tweaks” have not escaped notice. Rather than face prosecution, he decides instead to travel back in time to the Middle Ages and pose as a wizard.

What c
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Paperback, 373 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by 47North (first published March 22nd 2013)
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Anthony Kramer This book is actually pretty tame given that it follows such a mature cast of characters. There -is- some language and suggestive situations but both…moreThis book is actually pretty tame given that it follows such a mature cast of characters. There -is- some language and suggestive situations but both are mild and few-and-far-between. I believe there -may- have been some instances of the words "Damn/Damnit" and "Hell" used in this book. The worst instance of bad language in this book is when the main character tells someone that he "looks bitchin' ". There was one reference to a character being "turned on" but it was a humorous one I'm sure most readers not knowing the meaning of that phrase would glaze over. There are, however, some other overt reference to sexuality is when one character tells the protagonist (again, in a humorous tone) that she's sure she doesn't need to fear him "ravishing her" since she jokingly suspects he's celibate. (SPOILER ALERT) Possibly the most suggestive part in the book is when the protagonist is talking to a fellow wizard who is a novelist in his spare time and apparently writes very trashy fantasy books teeming with "gratuitous sex" (pg. 146). The sex scenes in his novels are briefly mentioned as well as the "naked priestesses" and the seduction of a "beautiful, wealthy countess," (pg. 146). They don't go into any detail beyond mentioning the nakedness and the fact that sex took place. (/SPOILER). Apart from that, there is only one other mention of sex I can think of that your child will most likely not notice. And then there's two other references to male genitalia I can think of (one recurring, subtle reference and one singular, pretty overt reference--both of them, like all the inappropriate content in this book, humorous) that I think a 9 year old will probably not pay much attention to. Really, I can count most of the inappropriate elements of this 375 page book on two hands, so it's definitely safe for your child, I just figured I'd outline all the inappropriate content for you so you can determine for yourself if it's something you want to share with your son.


As for violence, there is some but 95% of it is cartoonish. Literally. Since (SPOILER ALERT) most of the characters cannot sustain bodily injury. The other 5% of the violence can possibly be a bit disturbing, involving references to bodily transformations--one of which is described as being painful and just a pinch bloody. But I don't think a 9 year old would process these mildly cringe-worthy details. (/SPOILER ALERT).

As for religion (if that matters to you), this book does deal with our whole existence and reality as we know it being controlled by a bunch of lines of code. Thusly, this book does mention--very briefly--the Christian faith, its church, and its god and there are a couple very brief instances where the validity of all these things is sort-of, kind-of brought into question. (SPOILER ALERT [kind of]) Rest assured, the stance and tone towards these things ends up being very safe and neutral, actually promoting the validity of religion and science and showing they're not necessarily mutually-exclusive ideas. While I think this is a very excellent message for children to receive, I will leave it to you whether you think this is a good thing or a bad thing. (/SPOILER ALERT) Regardless, the references to religion are limited to exactly two and are both very safe and short-lived.

Overall, this is a great and presently under-appreciated book. It's extremely hilarious, smart, clever, imaginative, well-written, and bears some very worth-while moral messages. The characters are all well fleshed-out and loveable, each in their own way; and it's certainly big enough to make for some excellent bed-time story reading over the course of a few weeks. I trust your son (and yourself) will eagerly look forward to each time you two are ready to delve into another few chapters together, especially once the story starts getting into the Medieval England, magic'y bits. I've only read this one so far, but I can tell it's the beginning of a wonderful and enthralling series that I hope you and your child can share in together.

So yeah. Read it to him if the stuff I mentioned doesn't bother you. Happy bonding!(less)
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Tim Gautier
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Patrick
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've been hearing about this book for years from various folks who said they really enjoyed it. So when it popped up in my audiobooks, read by the same narrator who performed the Iron Druid chronicles, I figured I'd give it a try.

It's fun. Which might seem like I'm damming it with faint praise. But personally, I don't often read books that take a fairly silly premise and just charge ahead being kinda silly with it.

It's nice, lighthearted, funny, and easy to listen to. Plus the author has a nice
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Austin Dixon
Jul 03, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Being a programmer by trade and a fan of fantasy, I had high hopes for this book. Unfortunately, it did not deliver.

The premise is interesting enough, so it could have been great, but the book falls apart on two points:

First, the main character is completely unlikable. So at no point was I emotionally invested in him. If he succeeded or failed or died, I couldn't care less.

Second, the book is written is a very odd, straightforward manner that runs through every scene as fast as possible witho
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TS Chan
May 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to TS by: Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
4.5 stars, rounded up due to its creativity.

A delightfully charming story that is a unique blend of science fiction and fantasy, Off to Be the Wizard will satisfy geeks who secretly (or not-so-secretly) wish they can be a wizard. I personally found the novel brilliant in its simplicity and originality.


The story is about a modern-day computer geek, Martin Banks, who came across a discovery that changed his life forever; that life on earth is a computer programme that allows anyone with access t
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Rob
Executive Summary: A really funny sci-fantasy story that will largely depend on your enjoyment of the humor.

Audio book: Everyone seems to love the Iron Druid books. I just didn't. The one thing I did really love was Luke Daniels narration of those books however.

I'll admit that probably more than half of the reason I chose to review this book for SFFAudio was because Luke Daniels was the reader. He did not disappoint. Another excellent performance.

Full Review
This book started really slow, despi
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Celeste
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Full review now posted!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

I can’t remember the last time a book made me laugh this much.

Imagine if you stumbled across a computer program that is basically running the entire planet, and that you can manipulate that program. Imagine that you’re able to dramatically increase your bank account without stealing a cent from another person. You can teleport. Heck, you can even travel back in time, though you’re admittedly unable to visit the future. Now, imagine that the government fo
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Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
I’m torn on how to rate this one. It was a fun premise and it was decently written well, but it definitely didn’t blow me out of the water 🤷🏼♀ I read this bc it was one of the books Aldo challenged me to read this year but I honestly never would have picked it up otherwise. If the premise interests you, READ THIS! If not...... eh. ...more
Allison
Off to Be the Wizard has an interesting concept that I really liked. The world is a huge computer program (no one knows it), and Martin discovers a file that controls the world that he can hack and give himself all kinds of money and powers. That was really cool.

He does start out making a fool of himself over it at first, but I liked it a lot more once Martin met a few other people and started training on how to manipulate reality properly. There are a couple of side characters that I really li
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Mary ~Ravager of Tomes~
Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars

This was definitely a refreshing read!!

Our main character, Martin, accidentally discovers that reality is actually an elaborately written computer code and proceeds to do what any average-looking, twenty-something, tech-savvy fellow would: he goes back to the Middle Ages to pretend to be a wizard.

This story was fast paced, very straight forward. Cleverly crafted situations and hilarious interactions had me literally laughing out loud. Meyer knows exactly how to capture h
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Lyn
Jul 29, 2015 rated it liked it
A weird, Kafkaesque post-modern re-telling and re-visioning of A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

But fun.

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this 2013 publication but it was not what I expected. Essentially, protagonist discovers that all of creation, including himself and his bank account, are a part of a computer file. After some early tomfoolery, he gets himself into trouble, then we have some time travel and lots of wild adventures. Off To Be The Wizard is entertaini
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Michael Britt
Jun 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
As many problems as this book has, I have to give it 4 stars for creativity. I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi, but Meyer has found a way to blend sci-fi and Fantasy in a pretty cool way. So i had to bump it up from a 3 star rating to a 4.

This is a book best enjoyable if you don't take it too serious. The worst part, for me, was all the technical jargon he would get into. This is mostly in the first 75 pages or so. Once he finally went back in time, I found myself really enjoying this book.

The
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Inge
3.5 stars

I’ve wanted to read Off to Be the Wizard desperately ever since I learned of its existence. So when Amazon offered it for $2, I jumped at the chance. Also because it was Christmas, and Merry Christmas to me.

I was expecting a nerdy and magical read, and that’s exactly what I got. Martin is a computer whiz, who accidentally stumbles upon a random file on his computer; a file that holds all kind of variables of every person in the world. He discovers he can change is height by messing with
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Nikki Plummer
Mar 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed this a lot, the premise is great and there were a lot of genuinely funny moments. The main reason I’m not giving this book a higher rating is the lack of female characters, and how the solitary female character is treated, I just found it really grating. It seemed like Scott Meyer said to himself “crap, I don’t know how to write women, I know, I’ll just write in a lame excuse for why there are no women in this world and then I don’t have to think about it!” And then there’s Gwen…she’s ...more
Dan
Jan 04, 2016 marked it as abandoned
Despite Alex saying "It didn't make me cringe," it did make me cringe. Ugh. Alex and I continue to have almost universally incompatible taste in books.
❀Aimee❀ Just one more page...
3.5 STARS

I enjoyed this one a lot. There were flaws, but hey, I liked it.

So apparently Martin finds a random file whilst hacking away that shows that the world as we know it is a created computer program. Every little thing has parameters and can be altered. He screws with it to make his life easier, and surprise! He gets into trouble. So he goes to Medieval England (his backup plan after figuring out the safest time in that period of history) and plans to pretend to be a wizard. Guess what? O
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Jay  The Crippled God
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-immortal-list
THIS BOOK KICKS Armada's ass soooo hard!!!!!!

I know, I know, it's not fair comparing books but I mean come on... you gotta give it that at least.

1) Exploring the idea of how life is a super computer complex simulation.
2) How magic is nothing more than manipulating numbers in a complex program.
3) Kick ass characters.
4) a D&D-loving mentor that is chillaxed and awesome yet he is strict when he is training you "You will be hog-tied and naked, and sent back to your own time."
5) TIME TRAVELING!!!
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Sesana
The premise is interesting: the world is indeed the Matrix, and it can be hacked. And if you're a good enough hacker, you can manipulate reality in ways that can only be described as magic. Not a bad premise, in and of itself. And that premise is indeed one of the best things about the book.

It is, however, very slow to start. And the lead character, Martin, is awfully hard to like for the first half of the book. But these are minor things, compared to the sheer ordinariness of the majority of th
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Scott
Oct 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This book is fun.

Fun, Fun, FUN.

Or at least… that’s what I thought for the first hundred pages. This a book that starts great, but partway through begins to tire, its characters becoming wan and thin, until it splutters over the finish line in a sweaty heap.

That's not to say this is a bad book. It's just a flawed one, and it's still a fun read.

Off to be the Wizard isn't going to win any writing awards. The Booker Prize is likely not coming Scott Meyer's way anytime soon, and A Suitable Boy or The
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Ashley
Martin Banks is a jackass.

That's all I kept thinking during the first half or so of this book. To be clear, my thinking the main character was a jackass in no way hindered my enjoyment of the story. In fact, I'm fairly certain the book encouraged that opinion.

See, one day Martin is sitting at home being lazy, hacking websites just for the fun of it (he sees himself as a benevolent hacker, because he doesn't cause any harm--he just likes doing it) when he comes across this file hidden deep in the
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Eric
Jul 27, 2015 rated it did not like it
Added to my to-read shelf after seeing this review:
A fun romp through (and at times subverting) tropes; recommended for those who enjoyed Ready Player One and thought, "What this book needs is more time in ZORK." Here’s book one: "It’s a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more
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Kristina Horner
Feb 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, fantasy
I loved this book.
I really didn't know what to expect going into it, but what I got was a humorous romp through a sharp, witty fantasy tale that was extremely self aware (in the very best way).
Also - I can't recommend the audiobook enough. I think it really brought this novel to life in a way I wouldn't have been able to on my own, with the sarcastic narration, the incredible range of accents and amazing storytelling.
Overall, highly recommended. Extremely entertaining; the kind of book that st
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Nenia ✨ Queen of Literary Trash, Protector of Out-of-Print Gems, Khaleesi of Bodice Rippers, Mother of Smut, the Unrepentant, Breaker of Convention ✨ Campbell

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Remember those cheesy movies from the 80s? You know, the big budget ones that don't stand up to the test of time, with the bad acting, laugh-worthy special effects, and stoic action hero-esque one-liners a la Arnold Schwarzenegger? This book could so easily be one of those that I can almost picture the synth music intro and the young Matthew Broderick-cast main character.



OFF TO BE THE WIZARD has been on my radar for a while. I used to be a
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Brett
Nov 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
When you find yourself verbalizing abuse at the main character while reading, it's not usually a good sign. It would of taken a monumentally good story or amazing supporting characters to rescue this book (and both are merely adequate).

Here is one string of actions (of many) where the main character acts as a dim witted man child with impulse control issues.

Main character emergency ports to a medieval setting from modern times. He is hungry, needs shelter and has a bare understanding of his ne
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Lindsay
Aug 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Fun, relatively harmless nerd power fantasy book. Lots of humor, although much of it quite juvenile, but with occasional peeks into something a bit more profound. Peeks only though.

I'm also not a fan of how this book deals with male and female geeks. It's very much in the camp of all-male nerd culture that doesn't get those weird women-folk even when they have the same interests. That was old when I was a kid. I believe this is better addressed in the next book, although the setup doesn't look p
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Stevie Kincade
Dec 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, reviewed
(Audiobook) 5 stars for the sheer fun factor. This was about as fun as Audiobooks get.
Everything in this story is familiar, a composite of elements we have all heard before but they were melded together in a very satisfying, not to mention hilarious way.

The plot is pretty simple. We live inside a simulation and our young protagonist Martin has found the cheat codes. He can now go through life in a sort of "God Mode" but soon runs into trouble in the modern world and decides he should take refug
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David H. Rogoff
The idea here is cute, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The only female character in the book exists solely as an object of lust for the otherwise entirely male cast of characters. The whole thing just reeks of GamerGate sexism. If the gender politics on the Smurfs never bothered you, you'll likely be able to get some enjoyment out of this book, but otherwise I'd pass.
Jakk Makk
Page four DNF. My concept of believable character reactions and perceptions differ from the author's. I abandon time travel books nine out of ten times and this is no exception. Also not a big fan of modern fantasies, as my bias continues to show.
Stephen Cagle
Mar 01, 2015 rated it did not like it
Martin is some sort of programmer/hacker. He discovers a file that lets him manipulate reality. We will accept that without question. Fine.

I just couldn't accept the characters.

I am a programmer, many of my friends are programmers, almost everyone I know is either a programmer or engineer; Martin is no programmer.

There are personality traits and characteristics that (broad strokes here) go with being a technical person. Martin seems to exhibit none of these. If I were to pigeonhole the character
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Hiu Gregg
Dec 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can see why this would be a bit of a "marmite" book, as it's a comedic fantasy that leans very heavily on its humour.

Some of the basic "good storytelling" rules go out the window, and so we sort of rush through a series of jokes and ridiculous scenes with cartoonish characters, while neglecting things such as emotional responses from the characters. On top of that, this seems to be a very male-heavy book with only the one woman character of note, although admittedly she is a bit of a badass.

So
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Alatea
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
The beginning was really good, but I lost interest somewhere in the middle. Liked the idea, though. Okay, I loved the idea. It looks like it might pay off to be a geek one day, haha.

The style was okay, the plot - amusing and the dialogues alive. But I lacked... something more. The characters felt flat. And as I said before, I really enjoyed its weirdness... in the beginning, but then it was just a strange book.
Christopher
July 2018 reread (re-listen):

Still a lot of fun, even on the second read. My favorite bits are not the plot, but the exploration of what is possible once you can manipulate reality. Like the different ways the wizards prefer using the restroom in medieval England. Are you the type to warp back to the twenty-first century to use the modern toilet in your modern apartment, or would you put a hole in the floor and when your mess falls through it, it gets transported through space and time to foul u
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Scott Meyer has been a radio DJ, a stand-up comic, a writer for video games, an office manager, and a pretend ghost bellhop.

He is the creator of the comic strip Basic Instructions, and has now written a novel.

He and his wife live in Florida, to be close to their cats.

Other books in the series

Magic 2.0 (5 books)
  • Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0, #2)
  • An Unwelcome Quest (Magic 2.0, #3)
  • Fight and Flight (Magic 2.0, #4)
  • Out of Spite, Out of Mind (Magic 2.0 #5)
“He had spent a lot of time thinking about himself, and had come to the conclusion that he was definitely not self-absorbed.” 36 likes
“You see, faith doesn’t have to make sense. If it did, it wouldn’t be faith, it would be logic.” 15 likes
More quotes…