Mark Reads ‘A Wizard of Mars’: Chapter 11, Part II

In the second half of the eleventh chapter of A Wizard of Mars, I will never forgive all of you. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read Young Wizards.


I’ll get there, cousins. Some other things first.

Nita’s Father

Never gonna get over just how kind and thoughtful Harry Callahan is, and I’m just letting y’all know that. Duane has written a character here who has an entire life outside of the protagonist, yet the conflict he has with his daughters feels so real. He’s concerned about what Dairine is going through, but he’s aware enough of the uncomfortable implications of the wizardry that Nita set up for him. Hell, even I was surprised by how detailed the information was that got sent to his phone. He could read Dairine’s stream-of-consciousness thoughts!!!

What I love about the scene at Nita’s home is how Duane is allowing these characters to grow in quiet, understated ways as they deal with problems that are a million times more intense and dramatic. There’s room for both of these kinds of stories within A Wizard of Mars, and I admire that.

Plus, Harry is becoming closer with his daughters, which fills me with FEELINGS, given how hard that’s been after his wife died. Her absence is still felt (and the same goes for Ponch) all the time, but Harry has had to craft a new kind of life within the vacancy left behind. That includes coming to understand how Dairine and Nita function, on both a day-to-day basis and for much bigger dilemmas. That’s… that’s such a good thing for a father to go through??? Realizing that maybe he hasn’t been approaching Dairine in a way that she’ll hear? That maybe his sternness is the wrong kind???


Wrong Turn

Okay, Duane had been building towards this for a while, so I’m not ready to discount it. It’s a compelling theory, because Dairine certainly shows all the signs of someone who was meant for other worlds, yet was stuck in the body of a human on Earth. As I noted on video, her ordeal was on another planet. She’s constantly leaving Earth. SHE HELPED CREATE A SENTIENT RACE OF SILICON CREATURES. And, above all, she’s just different.

Is it possible that Dairine took a wrong turn at birth? I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case. Now, as for Kit… y’all, I’m re-reading that realization from Nita, and I CAN’T BELIEVE HOW RELEVANT IT IS. I still have some questions I need answered in regards to Kit’s role, but… god. His obsession with Mars. IT WASN’T AN ACCIDENT.

The Truth

It wasn’t a history of the First People. It was incomplete.

In hindsight, I can see why I fell so thoroughly for this trick. Duane had seeded the existence of wizardries that reveal histories of lost peoples early in the book. By using Irina and Mamvish, she gave legitimacy to the idea that all these wizards would find is the reason why Martians disappeared. Why had they died off and left no evidence of themselves behind?


So let’s get to Kit’s dream, which… how does that work? Did the wizardry reach out to Kit FROM MARS? I mean, dreams are a huge deal in wizardry, so I wasn’t surprised that Aurilelde appeared to Kit in one. However, it’s what she says that RUINED ME. (In front of an audience at CrossingsCon, oh my god!!!! IT WAS THE PERFECT PLACE TO READ THIS CHAPTER.)  See, I’d been wondering when Kit was going to get the full story from Nita or Carmela. He was missing so much information and context, and I knew it would help him to know what had happened to Aurilelde, Khretef, and their people!

I HAD NO IDEA JUST HOW MUCH IT WOULD HAVE HELPED HIM. I realized something after I finished recording my reading of this chapter, though, as I sat there trying to digest this twist at CrossingsCon. My gut reaction is that freeing these people is a bad, bad idea. They do not seem to have learned what set them on a destructive path in the first place! Aurilelde in particular bothers me, but not because of what she told Kit. It’s what she left OUT of her story that’s unnerving.

I expected that she would more or less corroborate the same story that Nita, Carmela, and S’reee discovered in that volcano. To a point, she did. However, she left out a HUGE part of the story: that the Shamask-Eilitt people were constantly at war with one another!!! She only briefly makes reference to it towards the end. THAT SEEMS TO BE AN AWFUL THING TO CASUALLY OMIT FROM YOUR STORY. She included the rogue planet part, which also reveals HOW OUR SOLAR SYSTEM CAME TO LOOK AS IT DOES NOW. Our moon! The silicon-based life that originally lived on Earth???? What the HELL.

The story mostly matches up, but I found it suspicious that she hadn’t told the truth. That suspicion only became exacerbated once the real reason for all of this was revealed: the soul of Khretef is inside Kit, and the superegg and it’s test were meant to find an Earth wizard worthy of WAKING UP THE FIRST PEOPLE AND RETURNING THEM TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM. Oh my god, THEY DID NOT DIE OFF. THEY HAVE BEEN HIDING IN THEIR SHIPS UNDER THE SURFACE OF MARS. Waiting for Kit!!!

I can’t help but feel that this is super, super creepy. Khretef never got Kit’s consent, first of all, and Aurilelde isn’t giving Kit all the information he needs to make a fair decision. Plus, the way she seems to be pressuring him in the end? I DON’T LIKE IT, FRIENDS.

I can barely believe what this book has turned into. It’s all your fault.

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About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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