Off to Be the Wizard
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.
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)
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
This book started really slow, des ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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.
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 ...more
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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 ...more
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? ...more
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!!! to ...more
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...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 T ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
This is an odd, quirky book that some will love and others hate. Essentially, it’s written by a nerd about nerds for nerds. It’s Matrix meets Connecticut Yankee.
A lonely nerd accidentally discovers a computer code that can manipulate reality:
He quickly gets himself in trouble and escapes back to Medieval times because they speak English (even though they’d really be speaking Middle English, which would not be understood by him). He figures he can impress the uneducated locals and make h ...more
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 ...more
4 stars but still not sure how i feel or if i will continue the series. I really like the idea of the story and most of the story, as well as the humor but theres just something i cant put my finger on that knocks it down a star.
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 ...more
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.