WebMage is an interesting book if you are a computer geek. For one thing, the title of the book uses CamelCase. For another thing, the main characters are a hacker and his laptop. But since this is also a fantasy book, the main character is also a non-human (but you wouldn’t’ know to look at him) who is one of the best code hackers among his kind (which happens to include many of the Greek mythical figures you’ve heard of) and his laptop is a shape-shifting familiar, who changes between a laptop and an imp-like daemon thingie who is explicitly programmed to be snarky, like a modern human hacker might program his or her system event sounds but smarter.
I do not want to overstate the meaning of it all or provide an interpretation that does not match the world in which WebMage and author Kelly McCullough’s other four books in the series manifest, but I have a theory as to how it all came to be. First I should mention that I’ve read WebMage, but not yet Cybermancy, Codespell, MythOS or the newest volume, coming out today as I write this, SpellCrash. But I will. They’re on my Kindle.
It looks to me like this: Computers and networks existed for thousands of years and were part of the way of life of entities that we know of as the Greek Goddesses specifically and various fantasy or mythical features more categorically, as well as various kinds of magic that we humans have heard of but generally don’t believe in (witchcraft and such). But the computers are different (I won’t even begin to explain) and the network is way different (again, you’ll have to read the books) than the ones we use daily.
Let’s just say that what we humans have as computers and networks are either a pale parallelism or a leaked-out ort that fell into our collective hapless lap and with which we know not what to do.
Same with the mythologies. We have an ancient mythology (or would that be MythOlogy?) and crazy inconsistent ideas about mythical creatures and their abilities, but is seems to come from the occasional tampering with the mortal human world by those beings or from accidental encounters built up into a muddled tradition of belief over time. To get the real mythologies you need to read McCullough’s books.
In fact the reason I’m telling you about this today is because Spellcrash is just out. To quote from McCullough’s facebook status, “SpellCrash launches today, eep! Despite this being my fifth book launch, I find myself as elated and baffled and nervous and delighted and just plain punchy about the idea that something I wrote is hitting shelves all over the country _today_ as ever. I don’t think that I shall ever get used to the idea.”
Well, if he isn’t smothered by cats first, I’m pretty sure Kelly is going to write several more books, so he better get used to it!
This evening, at Har Mar Shopping Center (home of the Twin Cities Creationism Fair, as you by now know), in the Barnes and Noble (this is the largest B&N in the state of Minnesota) Kelly McCullough will be giving a talk and signing books to celebrate the launch of SpellCrash. See you there! Seven o’clock.
Oh, I should probably mention: If it is not obvious, I loved the book.