Mark Reads ‘High Wizardry’: Chapter 6, Part I

In the first half of the sixth chapter of High Wizardy, THIS IS ONE OF THE COOLEST THINGS EVER. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards. 


Planet Hopping

No big deal, Dairine just hops through the solar system in a matter of seconds between jumps. THAT’S COOL, NO BIG DEAL. It’s as if Duane knew the sequence on the Moon in Deep Wizardry was intense and magical, and then she thought, “How shall I raise the bar on myself?” and then THIS HAPPENED.

Dairine traveled from marks to the Moons of Jupiter. She is the first person to, as Duane puts it:

…and the huge differences between the two planets’ masses, vectors, and velocities caused Dairine to become the first Terran to lose her lunch on Jupiter’s (then) outermost satellite, Ananke.

WHAT A SENTENCE, Y’ALL. It is just one bit of surrealism amidst a sequence full of nothing but images and experiences and feelings and sensations that none of us will likely ever go through ever. Dairine, in her quest to do the impossible, doesn’t look back on her journey. She just keeps pressing forward. Which is realistic, I admit, because Duane makes sure to write her as being naïve and short-sighted in her goals. While she jumps from planet to moon in our solar system, there’s a moment that highlights just how little she’s thought about the ramifications of what she’s done:

That brought up the question of food, which needed to be handled. Dairine considered briefly, then used the software to open a storage pocket in otherspace. By means of the transit utility she then removed a loaf of bread, a bottle of mustard, and half a pound of bologna from the refrigerator back home, stuffing them into local otherspace where she could get at them. Mom ’n’ Dad won’t notice, she thought, and even if they do, what’re they going to do about it? Ground my copy?

At that point in the text, this was the first real acknowledgement from Dairine that she might get in trouble, yet look at what she focuses on: ingredients for a bologna sandwich. (Which, first of all, I had a visceral reaction to that because bologna is one of the few things in the world that I despise, and my mom constantly tried to push it on me as a child, and THAT HORRID MEAT BY-PRODUCT SHALL NOT ENTER THE TEMPLE THAT IS MY BODY.) She literally references her copy without a single thought as to how messed up it is that she left a soulless copy of herself behind to avoid getting in trouble!

However, once Dairine decides to leave the solar system to find something interesting and “special,” Duane truly demonstrates how poorly thought-out this whole trip is. She doesn’t do so just to be cruel, and I wouldn’t ignore how incredibly powerful this is. Even prior to this, I couldn’t deny what a treat it was to know that Dairine could hear the remnants of the actual Big Bang while in space. But y’all. Y’ALL. I’m guessing that if Dairine had not cut off her computer, we would have learned that Rirhath B was called a “coreworld” specifically because it was intended to be the Crossings.

And wouldn’t it make sense that wizards would find a way to create a central hub for gateways to the entirety of the universe? That’s not to say that only wizards are in the Crossings, but still. I know I’m jumping ahead, but I can’t help it. I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO TALK ABOUT THIS SCENE. It’s like Diane Duane saw Star Trek, enjoyed it, but wanted to prove that she could represent interstellar travel a billion times better than that show ever could.

How? By not having every alien be an upright hominid.

I can’t even picture the metallic cube aliens in my head. I have no basis for them. Indeed, much of what we see in the Crossings is so ridiculous and out of the realm of human understanding that I felt overwhelmed by the whole thing, much like Dairine did. But that is a good thing. Duane had to show us that Dairine’s decision, made in ignorance, had unbearable side effects. She chose to travel to the hub of the universe without money, without the knowledge of how to translate other languages outside of what her computer can do, and without any preparation. Is it an amazing scene? Of course! I was thrilled to read it! Yet it’s not all joy and sunshine for Dairine, and I appreciate that. I think it’s brilliant of Duane to overstimulate Dairine to the point that she nearly regrets the trip. I don’t think it’s the sole point of her Ordeal, but it’s certainly a part of it. Dairine needs to learn what she’s getting into, and she’s learning the hard way that she just jumped into the deep end without swimming lessons.

She’s clever and observant, and I’m sure she’ll figure a way out. But for now… my gods, what an incredible turn of events. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.

Diane Duane is still offering a massive discount on the first 9 books in the Young Wizards series just to this community, so please take advantage of this deal while you still can:

Mark Links Stuff

I am now on Patreon! There are various levels of support, from $1 up to whatever you want! You’ll get to read a private blog, extra reviews, and other such rewards.
– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches have been announced here.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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