#OffToBeTheWizard by Scott Meyer mini review


Off To Be The Wizard by Scott Meyer is a comical take on the premise of what if this life we lead is actually just a part of a computer simulation? Well, what if?

Our protagonist, Martin, works a mundane IT job and in his spare time does a little low level hacking of company servers to pass the time. Whilst rummaging through the server of a telecommunications company he stumbles across a seemingly innocent looking data file. When making changes to the file, he finds he can manipulate the physical world, his height; location; bank balance...

Of course who could resist a bit of a splurge if they discovered how to do this? And of course the authorities quickly discover the Martin has had an influx of wealth appear from apparently nowhere! Martin's contingency plan - to escape back in time to Medieval England - as after some (very) low level research he concludes this would be the optimum place to exist with the powers he's discovered.

Upon his arrival, Martin quickly realises he is not the only one like him that has had the same idea! He meet's Phillip, who sets about introducing him to the apparently magical world of Medieval England and training Martin for his wizarding trials, the successful completion of which will grant his acceptance into this new society, where as failure would involve some rather embarrassing naked banishment...

After getting used to life back in time, Martin uncovers a sinister plot where someone from the wizarding community is attempting to change the world to his own design specification... specifically turning Ye Olde' England into Ye Olde' Middle Earth, making changes to the local residents in quite disturbing ways.

Of course, they band together to try and thwart the scheme, using their knowledge of the file to help along the way. It's an apt analogy of computer coding, as anyone with little understanding of it may really think it is a little like magic!

The story is funny, easy to read and well paced, though some more back story about characters would've been nice to really add some extra realism. It's packed with lots of geeky references such as a Commodore 64 crystal ball and 80s sci-fi movie references.

There do seem to be a few plot holes - I don't rightly understand how Martin is able to keep editing the file using his phone in medieval England, when presumably AT&T are not quite established at this point... However, look over these niggles and you're in for a fun and entertaining geeky read. Definitely recommended for fans of Tom Holt and Ernest Cline. It also ends on a great cliffhanger, and I eagerly await somebody buying me the next entry...

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