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The Prince and the Program

(The Mordred Saga #1)

3.55  ·  Rating details ·  201 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Mordred Pendragon, the Bastard Prince, has done a Bad Thing—again. Exiled to Canada for seven years, he has to find a job to pay his bills. For reasons he refuses to reveal, Mordred decides “Software Engineer” has a nice ring to it. And though experience with “killing the Once and Future King, my father” and “that time in feudal Japan” makes for a poor résumé, he is hired ...more
ebook, 2nd Edition, 344 pages
Published January 20th 2015 by DSP Publications (first published June 24th 2012)
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Average rating 3.55  · 
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Julio Genao
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: loved
this book is crazy-go-nutz amazing.


a software engineer's love-letter to alan turing, arthurian legend, and... zombie death-majicks?

best sci-fi/fantasy book i've read in a decade—and the most recklessly inventive homo spec fic i have ever come across.

it's actually more like proto-arthurian. wayback arthurian.

somewhat before colin morgan's oh-so-toothsome rendition, y'see.

mixed with microserfs?

and a tribute to alan turing like a conflagration of love and admiration.

so, so good.

pretty sure i didn't
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: various-romance
What a TRIP!!! This is not your average m/m romance. Make sure you read the blurb carefully because there is no gentle lead in to this story, no explanations, no info dump... You just sink or swim! The author has created a unique, funny, totally amazing, compelling and often confusing world that is impossible to categorise.

Mordred (yes, THE Mordred) has been banished to Earth and stripped of his magic. He gets a job as a Software Engineer at a cutting edge start-up company and slowly begins a s
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody who enjoys the high qulity fiction and an awesome writing.
Recommended to LenaRibka by: After reading Royce Ree Omnibus I wanted more of this author

I was afraid to read this book.
And after the first chapter I knew, it would be something special.
And I knew that it would be CRAZY, WIRED, DIFFERENT.
And it was.

My thoughts during reading it:
"WHAT did he take/drink/eat to write SOMETHING like this??"

Because I wanted it too.

Not every day for a breakfast.

But I want to take/drink/eat it every Friday.

And hope it'll bring me through my grey weekends.

A joke. A bad one probably.

Because the writing of Aldous Mercer is like drugs.

The quote
Goodreads TOS-compliant review: (I think, let me know when they tell us what the rules are).

"The book I just read is about two (or three) lovely people, written in beautiful language, by a very good and prolific author. I liked it very, very much.
It is for sale on Amazon.”

For my honest and true view of the same book, please read

DISCLAIMER: As of today my reviews will all have this pretty face, so that all and everyone on Goodreads can stay happy and beatific. I’ll let you know if I change m
Jan 10, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: geeks, nerds, mathematicians
1.5* rounded up. I may yet round down, this will have to settle a bit.

I shouldn't have attempted reading this. Absolutely shouldn't. In fact I assumed and then told myself, maybe...

This book is the sort of geek-centric nerd-fodder which has the real geeks chuckle and be all chummy with each other for their superior intellectual capacities, while the wannabes pretend they see the Emperor's clothes, and people like me--who hate maths, physics, zombies and actively dislike most of what Pratchett an
Jess Candela
3.5 stars
Review Summary: A book that hit so many of my buttons I should have LOVED it, but it didn’t quite work for me, even as it did, which made rating it challenging.

Review: It was the best of books, it was the worst of books. Okay, that's a bit hyperbolic in both directions, but the fact is there were a lot of ways this book really worked for me and several in which it didn't. It variously fascinated, confused, and bored me. You might want to get a drink and get comfortable, this is going to
Serena Yates
This is certainly one of the most amazing books I have read in a while. It is imaginative, has some brilliant characters, made me laugh, had lots of computer-geekiness which I adore, the tension was exquisite, the questions asked profound, and I was only disappointed when it ended –much too soon. This story will make your head spin with its implications on multiple levels. Even if you read the blurb (which I didn't do a very good job of, I admit), this book will still manage to shock and surpris ...more
Aug 23, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can honestly say I've never read anything quite like this before. Good writing, fascinating concept--a peculiar blend of science fiction and urban fantasy. I can't say that it will be to everyone's taste, but then again most works that skirt the cutting edge won't. It's different. Neal Stephenson, Michael Chabon, Roger Zelazny different. The writer's not yet in their class, but I expect good things of him.

I'm not sure traditional romance readers will appreciate it, but if you like snarky, edg
Sep 27, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mir by: Julio

"It's Arthurian legend mixed with Microserfs and the single most imaginative tribute to Alan Turing I have ever read.

I'm pretty sure I didn't get some of the more obscure necromancy references, and the story plays with ancient, ancient tropes whose details I never learned or have forgotten, but I swear there's a terrific zombie joke in it."


You know what, fuck it. Cold, hard truths time.

This is partly/mostly/part of the reason I no longer read books Julio tells me to. (The other part is that one Crow Raven Whatever book. Oh, wait. Magpie. Magpie Lord or something.)

He loves it. Insists I read it. I read it. I stare at the story like, " I mean...I"

Maybe we just have horribly different tastes in things.

I agree with Steel. Wtf, man.

The plot was kind of plotty, but the latter part really was a down-the-rabbit-ho
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites

If judging a book does not define what the book is but it defines what I am, than consider me:

* confused
* bewildered
* with my mind still whirring away trying to comprehend
* actually considering re-reading while tripping
* angry (until I realised that this is just the first book)
* stimulated
* appreciative
* smiling
* wanting more immediately...

When I was a little girl, a door to door salesman convinced my father to part with his hard earned cash in exchange for an encyclopedia. Together with this
2.5 stars.

The last 25% percent of this book got so bizarre that I couldn't follow it anymore, and I couldn't even summon up enough energy to care. The first 75% wasn't exactly easy for me to understand, but at least I could attribute some of that to the fact that I'm a dunce at math and couldn't program my way out of a paper bag. The first 75% at least had a semi-logical storyline which could be followed. But it all fragmented and fell apart at the end. It was really disappointing, because I lov
Life, death, demons, inquisitors, souls, ghosts, exiled princes, familiars, symbiots, cyborgs…
Cocked eyebrow. I loved the chemistry between Mordred and Alan, their interaction was delicious. The problem is, I tended to skim over other stuff and I am pretty sure I missed some plot points in doing so. Even so, I did enjoy it. However, I feel that a reread is required if I want to tease out understanding of the many clues given about this universe.
Skye Kilaen
Feb 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Skye by: Julio Genao
A fantasy / high-tech / love story mashup about Mordred Pendragon (yes, that one) and Alan Turing. Intricate, at times hilarious, profoundly geeky, and I deeply wish the clearly intended second book would have been written - but it's worth reading anyway.

Mordred Pendragon has been exiled to Canada for committing an un-specified but heinous crime. To achieve solvency, he decides to get a job as a programmer, despite having almost no knowledge of computers. He gets hired, learns C++, and makes a s
MsMiz (Tina)
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sci_fi, uf, suspense
This book has scrambled my brains.
Angel Martinez
Sep 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let me start by saying what this book is not. Some of the issues readers have had, I believe, might have been headed off by adjusting expectations. I know this is a Dreamspinner title, so people walk in with certain expectations. Please leave them with your shoes at the door. We've just had the carpets cleaned.

First - this is a book for grownups, but it's not erotic fiction. Second - there is a romance or at least a desperate romantic longing as a centerpiece to the story, but it is not a tradit
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-e-things, queer, sff, lgbtq
4.5 stars. This book is bizarre and so confusing and so awesome. I finished it yesterday and I'm still quite puzzled about what I read. I'm not really sure I understand what happened at all, but I loved it! I have a feeling a lot of it went right over my head, but it was a really great experience. This is an exciting and complex sci-fi story taking place in Toronto. It's not a romance per se, but it's very romantic and so heartwarming at times. I know I would have understood a lot more of the re ...more
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is actually unratable. I gave it four stars, but it actually exists in two superimposed states: it is simultaneously a one-star and a five-star book. This is fairly appropriate, given the nature of the book.

So, what this is, it's about Mordred, half-son of Arthur Pendragon (kiiiiiind of), who is a software engineer in modern-day Toronto, and in love with a computer program/Alan Turing. Kind of. And that's the simple, sensible part of the book.

But, no, what this book really is -- the
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What can you say about a book that has as its main characters Mordred Pendragon and Alan Turing, is set in the present, skips from a small computer company to an inquisitional bureaucracy to the Sunless Planes and all points between, makes immortals via a diverse-genetics-hungry Symbiot, and features demons, robots, cyborgs, souls, Tom Thumb, Baron Samedi,and, well, you name it. With a sci-fi twist on faerie and a mystical twist on Artificial Intelligence, this novel takes science, myth, and leg ...more
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Featured on All Our Worlds!

Mori, once known as the Deathless Mordred Pendragon, solicits the help of some otherworldly contacts to land a too-good-to-be-true job at a mysterious tech company. And then he befriends a man he knows only through chatlogs, and all the while things are getting stranger and stranger.

This was a very bizarre book, but I enjoyed it. Humor keeps the story moving: Mordred's troubles with the demonic bureaucracy, puzzling through code that's mostly made up of caffeine, and
This started out really well for me, loved the excerpt, and I was really excited about reading it, but I got about 20% in and just can't push myself to read it anymore, and I'm tired of seeing it in my currently reading shelf when I know I don't want to go back to it.

It's possible I'm just a dumb-butt or don't have the patience that this book calls for to really enjoy it. I don't normally mind when little is explained--I'm fine with being thrown into the pool and asked to sort things out from t
The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears
Warning: if you're looking for just hot mansex, this book will sorely disappoint. However, if you're like me, a reader seeking something completely out of the ordinary, then The Prince and the Program is for you. I went into this expecting one thing and being taken for an Alice down the rabbit hole ride that skillfully and brilliantly blends cyberpunk and urban fantasy in a way that I've not seen in a long time. It's what would happen if Guy Gavriel Kay Charles De Lint and William Gibson sat dow ...more
Serena Yates
This is certainly one of the most amazing books I have read in a while. It is imaginative, has some brilliant characters, made me laugh, had lots of computer-geekiness which I adore, the tension was exquisite, the questions asked profound, and I was only disappointed when it ended –much too soon. This story will make your head spin with its implications on multiple levels. Even if you read the blurb (which I didn't do a very good job of, I admit), this book will still manage to shock and surpris ...more
Cam Rodriges
Jul 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: science fiction lovers, serious readers, deep thinkers
I had to think for a long time before I wrote the review. This book touched some raw nerves and brought up very painful things. I was laughing and crying (more crying than laughing by the end). This one line brought it all home "I had hoped it would be different. With you. For me." It allowed me to let go and understand.

I would be very surprised if Mr. Mercer not have direct experience of a loved one's Alzheimer's. He does not hit you over the head with it, he lets you experience memory and ide
Pixie Mmgoodbookreviews
3 1/2 - 4 Hearts

First published at MM Good Book Reviews

Mori (Mordred) is desperately seeking work. He finally gets a job working at a small start-up tech company, but his problems are only just beginning.

Well, what can you really say about a book like this except…damn? How do I explain what this book is like without making my own head explode? It has got to be one of the most interesting, humorous, slightly wacky, Oh My God what just happened there? Books
Sep 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this has to be the strangest book I have ever read. It reminded me slightly of Kafka on the Shore, in the way it gave me a headache trying to figure out what was going on.

I am geeky and love math so I did pick up a fair percentage of the references, but many of them also went way over my head. But while you could see the world was well-developed and conceived in the author's head, he never fully explained the rules in the pages of his book. There was no introduction, no exposition, just
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy, sci-fi
This book is impossible to describe, completely crazy, absolutely awesome.

Not what I would expect from a Dreamspinner Press' title, it's not a romance novel, but there are romantic elements and it's very well done and believable. And it wasn't a given. A budding romance between (view spoiler) Alan Turing and Mordred from the Arthurian Legend while they both work for in a start-up. It sounds weird and cracktastic but it's so well done I didn't doubt any second they'r
M.J. Willow
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The weird thing is, I'm not entirely sure why I like this book so much - half the time I barely understood what was going on, but at the same time I could not put it down, wanting to know what happened next, and I already know this will be added to my re-read list.

Mordred is a fun narrator, and the story has lots of things I really like - magic, tech, Arthurian legend, romance and humour. Even cyborgs and zombies. Well, sort of. All the coding and engineering stuff was definitely over my head,
KL (Cat)

Frankly, it has been one of - if not the - oddest novels I've read. There is an intelligible plot that was interesting (and some parts too computer-y technical for a mere teenage girl to understand) enough to read; Mordred and the cast of characters were likeable. Then, roughly 75% in, everything dissolves into a hyper-surrealist collection of words strung together to make sentences. Think Inception dreamscape, but with supernatural elements and a good deal of textual LSD. No really, I'm n
Aug 03, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: m-m, fantasy, sci-fi

So now I completely understand how people have a difficult time rating this book because I feel the same way!

So this is a bottom line type of review...I loved Mori as a character and his dry humor completely amused me...I will definately read the next book.

Yes, the pacing had some issues, yes I was lost at the end many times. But bottom line again, I love Mori :D (view spoiler)
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Gay Science Fiction: September Author: Aldous Mercer *SPOILERIFFIC* Thread 39 40 Oct 01, 2012 05:59PM  
Q&A with Aldous M...: Confused? Ask here 7 31 Aug 16, 2012 03:47AM  
Q&A with Aldous M...: Easter Egg Levels 1 14 Aug 06, 2012 05:40AM  
Q&A with Aldous M...: Welcome! A space for introductions 1 11 Aug 06, 2012 05:34AM  
Fantasy Aficionados: The Prince and the Program 1 11 Jul 18, 2012 03:40AM  
July 1st Amazon Gift Card Giveaway 1 5 Jun 29, 2012 03:13PM  

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A native of Toronto, Aldous Mercer enjoys martinis and relaxing on the beac-ha! No.

Aldous Mercer is a workaholic with a penchant for numerical mind games and caffeinated beverages. He uses his degree in Engineering to ensure that none of the spaceships in his books have cubic pressure-vessels. In real life he always annotates Engineering Drawings in Iambic Tetrameter.

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“And does Alan have a last name?" I asked.
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