Mark Reads ‘A Wizard of Mars’: Chapter 2, Part III

In the third part of the second chapter of A Wizard of Mars, Nita and Carmela rendezvous with other wizards to meet the coolest goddamn wizard in the history of everything. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.

Let me be real with y’all: it is an immense achievement that Duane is able to introduce a character like Mamvish so late in this series, and yet I was still able to understand what a huge deal this was. It’s not like she’s been mentioned outside of A Wizard of Mars, but that doesn’t dilute her importance. Look, I didn’t even know what a Species Archivist was until the final third of this chapter! I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THAT MAMVISH WASN’T HUMAN, Y’ALL.

On a purely superficial level, of course, this is amazing because Diane Duane found a way to make to combine a fantasy narrative about wizards with one about biological diversity and DINOSAURS. THERE IS A WIZARD DINOSAUR IN THE YOUNG WIZARDS SERIES, SOUND EVERY ALARM OH MY GOD. I did not know this book was just existing out there in the wild, waiting for me to come along and read it and fulfill my every dream.

So, I was wrong about them traveling to Mars; this chapter involves a trip to Indonesia, where EVERY WIZARD EVER is visiting Mamvish as she tries to convince the Komodo dragons to leave Earth with her. A Species Archivist is pretty much what the name claims it is, and it’s such a logical role to have within this fictional universe. If wizards are dedicated to stopping the spread of entropy, then preserving (or archiving) species makes a lot of sense. The very act of it is a blow to the Lone One! And I loved that Duane defined this within the text as being more than just preventing a species’s extinction; some species are able to “preserve” themselves, and finding that information is part of the job. It’s through this that we finally get the context we needed from Kit’s chapter: Mamvish has been trying to find the “hidden” information about a possible Martian race that disappeared hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of years ago. (I’ll say it again: the trap is set, and I shall willingly walk into it.)

There’s so much more here beyond the full introduction of Mamvish, but it’s also so good that I just want to yell at all of you. Like… Mamvish is basically a rainbow dinosaur, right? THE TRUE GAY ICON. Also: a saurian who loves Earth tomatoes more than any food in the whole universe. I literally could not make up anything better than this. PLUS: Even Mamvish recognizes what a big deal it is for Carmela to be present. (There’s no hint that maybe she’s a late-blooming wizard, though. Hmmmmm. Not that I need her to be a wizard! I am satisfied with her as a character in either state, but I am curious what Duane will do with her.)

So what exactly is the “bottle”? Mars has no kernel, but after a long search, there’s apparently some sort of clue to the fate of the Martians hidden 560,000 years ago. That’s… that’s a really long time ago. Mamvish said that some species know that they’re on their way out and… actually, lemme just quote her:

“Many species have seen a catastrophe coming and found ways to archive or preserve not just the news about what happened to them but themselves as well.”

I’m guessing that this means the Martians did this, so… what will they discover? HOW IMPORTANT IS IRINA, THE PLANETARY WIZARD FOR EARTH, TO THIS STORY??? I feel like Duane wouldn’t introduce her for the first time just to have her pop in and leave. Ah, y’all, this is such a fantastic start to this novel. I’m quite thrilled.

I am thrilled to confirm that I will be a Guest at CrossingsCon 2017! Badges are now available, so COME HANG OUT WITH ME THIS SUMMER.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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