August 28th, 2016


Urban Fantasy and Civilization: 'Flex'

I've just had the pleasure of reading Flex by Ferrett Steinmetz (known on LJ as theferrett).

The book's premise is that magic exists and can be used by certain gifted individuals (known as 'mancers, with various prefixes) to good ends or bad. What makes this book's universe unique is the centrality of the role of 'flux', or karmic blowback, from the use of magic. Like the crash after a drug high, the flux is inevitable, and experienced users must learn how to plan for it.

What I especially liked about the book was the moral motivation behind protagonist Paul's and villain Anathema's characters. The 'bureaucrat as superhero' idea is novel in itself and FS could have just played it for comedic value and left it there and it would have been fine. But what's truly new is Paul's guiding insight that "bureaucracy is civilization; paperwork is civilization". And conversely, Anathema's psychotic fixation on going back to the primitive world.

I read 'Flex' in a day, and I'm looking forward to reading more books in the series. Highly recommended.

Sunday afternoon: Weekend work!

As advertised, my boss gave me the go-ahead to let myself in today and knock out some scanning, so that's what I did from 10a to 6p. Should be a nice little bit of overtime in my next paycheck.

Still lots of time to take it easy for the rest of the day. I'm looking forward to getting deeper into haikujaguar's book 'Earthrise'.

PS - One other accomplishment I might modestly (ahem) note here, is that I was asked to lead the prayers again this morning at Chabad. And the Rabbi is making me the regular chazzan for Sunday mornings now.
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