Mark Reads ‘The Wizard’s Dilemma’: Chapter 15, Part I

In the first half of the fifteenth chapter of The Wizard’s Dilemma, Nita meets some strange characters while on errantry. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards

Well, this is just getting weirder and weirder, isn’t it? I’m unsure how this might tie into the larger narrative, at least aside from two possible clues. I’ll get to those, but let’s first talk about… a wizard Break Room? Gym? There are a few real-world parallels to what we see here, and I want to discuss them!

This chapter (or at least the first half of it) gave me a better sense of what the wizard community is like and how much the Powers have considered when it comes to these practice universes. Just as a first impression, it made sense to me that the Powers would want to encourage wizards to explore out of their comfort zones or outside of what they thought possible. These universes and their tests are a way for wizards to do that without fear and uncertainty, at least since nothing can actually go wrong here. Given that, there’s great potential in the practice worlds! So it’s no surprise to me that they’re as popular and far-reaching as we see here. There’s not one repetition of species here, and that alone made this feel huge. How many other species make it to the default playroom? If Nita visited this regularly, I bet she’d be exposed to more people than if she traveled every day. The place feels like the kind of hub where ideas are exchanged, where support is offered, where theories can be tested and improved.

Indeed, that’s exactly what we see here! Pralaya first helps Nita to learn how to find a kernel while moving, and he also lets Nita know that the Powers specifically made a pocket universe so that wizards could rest before going home. EVERYTHING IS SO THOUGHTFUL RIGHT FROM THE START. So is the furniture! THERE IS WEIRD ALIEN FURNITURE, Y’ALL. Do you realize how cool that is?

And oh my god, SO MANY NEW SPECIES ARE INTRODUCED HERE. Admittedly, it was hard to keep up with them all and remember names and shapes, but I got the sense that this was intentional. Remember, we’re in Nita’s head, and we are experiencing this place for the first time, too! So I think this section should be as overwhelming as it is, at least so that we experience a similar feeling as Nita does. But it’s amazing to me how quickly this discomfort turns to hope:

While Nita was working out where the rim of her invisible glass was, she hard a lot of information and gossip from the alien wizards around her, and she quickly realized that in even a fairly short time she could find out all kinds of useful things, any one of which could possibly help her save her mother.

Nita now has a new resource. She has a new place to get ideas or to have a sounding board for her own! But  as soon as she realizes this, she’s completely bewildered by the appearance of a pig. And that’s not even the weirdest thing here, y’all. This isn’t just any pig; it’s a living being that exists somewhere between a wizard and one of the Powers. Oh, and it was never created by one of the Powers. IT JUST EXISTED. It’s so goddamn mystical that the manual requires every wizard to ask it the meaning of life IN CASE THE PIG ACTUALLY DECIDES TO ANSWER THE QUESTION.

When I told y’all that I love the strange and the surreal, I had no idea that this was awaiting me. The Transcendent Pig! A REAL CHARACTER IN THIS SERIES.

There was something about the Pig that put her at her ease – one thing being that, to her astonishment, it had a New York accent.

GODS ALL BLESS THIS BOOK, I WASN’T READY.

“Oh,” the Pig said, “you’re another one who can’t manage the music of the spheres?”

Y’all, Diane Duane took the concept of musica universalis AND MADE IT LITERAL. I CAN’T.

So, I figured that Nita would socialize a bit and then head back to practicing. If anything, Duane’s done a fine job of conveying the urgency of Nita’s task, so I started feeling impatient myself towards the end of this section. Nita had so much work to do, and she wasn’t doing any of it! Thus, I was shocked when Kkirl shared the project she was working on and Nita agreed to travel along with the group in order to help. It’s not a bad decision by any means. Nita will get a chance to work on a project that is at least tangentially similar to her own, since Kkirl must change a kernel, too. (Though for an entire planet, not just one body.) Plus, it’s just smart for her to help these people, too!

And then Dazel ruins everything.

“They’re leaving, apparently. We said to them, ‘Go well,’ and they said, ‘Some of us may, but one of us will not.’”

WHY. WHY HAVE YOU DONE THIS TO ME, DIANE DUANE.

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 POST A LOT OF CUTE PHOTOS, OKAY. Think of it like a private Tumblr blog that only SPECIAL PEOPLE get to read.
– I have updated my list of conventions and events for the remainder of the year and much of next year.  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.
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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since ’09.

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