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Saph
2012-01-13, 08:03 AM
This is the thread for my new urban fantasy series being published this year, the Alex Verus novels!

The US edition (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1937007294/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=benejack-20&camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=1937007294&adid=15X001MHJX3RX1T1ZRNT&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fbenedictjacka.co.uk%2Falex-verus%2Fus%2Ffated%2F) was published on February 28 2012 by Ace Books, and here's the cover:

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j414/Saph7/358971572.jpg
And the UK edition (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0356500241/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=benejack-21&camp=2902&creative=19466&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0356500241&adid=11FGTTMXA8FJWB4NK7P4&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fbenedictjacka.co.uk%2Falex-verus%2Fuk%2Ffated%2F) came out on March 1 2012 from Orbit, and looks like this:

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j414/Saph7/9780356500249.jpg
Fated is the first in a series, and here are the release dates for the next two.

Book #2, Cursed: 29th May 2012 (US), 7th June 2012 (UK)
Book #3, Taken: 28th August 2012 (US), 6th September 2012 (UK)

About the Series

The series is urban fantasy, set in London, England. Magic is real, but most people don't believe in it and only a very small fraction can use it. The most skilled are called mages, and they can each use a specific type of magic determined by their personality - you can think of them in D&D terms as sorcerers or psions with very limited spell lists, or in WoD terms as mages who only get one part of one Sphere. The main character is Alex Verus, a diviner (aka a knowledge or probability mage) who runs a magic shop in Camden. Alex's magic lets him see the future but can't affect the physical world, and the first book follows his adventures as several other factions of mages try to use his abilities to gain access to a relic.

As of a few weeks ago, the series has a TVTropes page (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AlexVerus), too. Edits are appreciated!

Publicity with Jim Butcher

Genre-wise the closest match to my series is Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, which isn't a coincidence, as he's one of my favourite authors. In fact, we have the same US editor, Anne Sowards from Ace (she's excellent by the way).

Jim was kind enough to both read my book and send me a really nice email and blurb (which you can see an extract from on both front covers). He also did an email exchange/interview (http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Explorations-The-BN-SciFi-and/Believe-the-Hype-Benedict-Jacka-Author-of-Fated-is-the-Next/ba-p/1300917) with me, which was hosted along with a review (http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Explorations-The-BN-SciFi-and/Believe-the-Hype-Benedict-Jacka-Author-of-Fated-is-the-Next/ba-p/1300917) on Barnes & Noble!

My Website

As part of the run-up to the launch, I've revamped my old author's website, which can be found here (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/). I've also started a blog (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/), which I'm going to be updating regularly every Friday at 9 AM. The blog will contain reviews, news, and announcements about the series, but the main content will be the Encyclopaedia Arcana (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/category/encyclopaedia-arcana/), a series of background/setting articles about the universe of the Alex Verus series.

The website also has affiliate links to where you can buy or pre-order the books (meaning I get a small extra amount of money) and extracts of the published and soon-to-be-published novels.

My Name

I've been on these forums for five years now, and one of the odd quirks I've had during that time is that I've always stayed anonymous (okay, any poster could probably have figured out my real name if they really tried, but the posters on these forums are quite good about respecting people's privacy). But there's not much point in doing that anymore, so I'm going to drop anonymity from now on. (I actually thought about changing my name to match my real one, but I've been going by Saph on these forums so long that I'm used to it. I'll just update my signature instead.)

Updates

I'll use this thread to post any further information about the series as the publication date approaches, as well as any Encyclopaedia Arcana articles. Post any questions or requests!

And finally, thanks to everyone who's helped out with suggestions or contributions over the last few years concerning my books - I've been a member of these forums for a long time and I've had lots of help from them. :smallsmile:

Dvil
2012-01-13, 08:30 AM
March 1st, you say? Colour me intrigued; I'll probably pick it up at some point.

Feytalist
2012-01-13, 08:37 AM
Pretty cool that Butcher wrote such a nice blurb for you.

Yep, it sounds good. I'll definitely take a look at it when it comes out over here. I don't have a fanatic's member card at my local bookstore for nothing :smallsmile:

Fri
2012-01-13, 08:51 AM
**** this is awesome. I envy you with the strength of a thousand supernova now.

Saph
2012-01-13, 12:28 PM
Pretty cool that Butcher wrote such a nice blurb for you.

Yep, it sounds good. I'll definitely take a look at it when it comes out over here. I don't have a fanatic's member card at my local bookstore for nothing :smallsmile:

Thanks!

Yeah, I've never had the chance to talk to Jim Butcher before, despite having spent so much time reading his books, and it was nice to do. He was really encouraging.

factotum
2012-01-13, 12:31 PM
Might well buy a copy, but *reading* it is another matter...I have a stack of books about 3 feet high to get through first, and I keep getting distracted by video games! :smallwink:

Mr.Silver
2012-01-13, 02:30 PM
I remember those threads, nice to see it's getting published. Not sure why it would be out in the US first but I stopped trying to understand the nature of transatlantic publishing a long time ago.



The series is urban fantasy, set in London, England.
You don't say? :smalltongue:

Saph
2012-01-13, 02:36 PM
You don't say? :smalltongue:

Figured I'd be on the safe side. :smalltongue:

I actually got the UK contract first - the US rights came much later. So either Ace schedule their releases slightly earlier than Orbit, or they specifically went out of the way to release them a few days earlier.

Teron
2012-01-13, 02:55 PM
Congratulations on getting published and on getting that Jim Butcher endorsement! I must admit the latter has helped pique my interest.


Might well buy a copy, but *reading* it is another matter...I have a stack of books about 3 feet high to get through first, and I keep getting distracted by video games! :smallwink:
My thoughts exactly. :smallsigh:

Fiery Diamond
2012-01-13, 07:26 PM
Will be buying. As I said back when you were asking for title suggestions. Now I have an author name and title, so I shall be purchasing it sometime in the month after it comes out. Either that or waiting until all three are out and then purchasing them all, but probably better to see if it's good first. :smallbiggrin:

I, sir, envy you.

Saph
2012-01-13, 09:04 PM
Will be buying. As I said back when you were asking for title suggestions. Now I have an author name and title, so I shall be purchasing it sometime in the month after it comes out. Either that or waiting until all three are out and then purchasing them all, but probably better to see if it's good first. :smallbiggrin:

Thanks!


I, sir, envy you.

Heh, there were a lot of pitfalls on the way. Although this is the third book I've gotten published, it's the tenth book I've written . . .

Lord Loss
2012-01-13, 10:14 PM
Totally picking this up

Rock on! Congratulations on getting your book published! :smallbiggrin:

Saph
2012-01-20, 06:24 AM
Second Encyclopaedia Arcana post is up: The Three Families (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/01/20/encyclopaedia-arcana-2-the-three-families/). These are the 'families' of the magic system.

On another note, I'm going to be doing the email exchange with Jim Butcher this coming week. Trying to decide what questions to ask him at the moment - I've been reading the Dresden Files pretty much since they came out over here, so I'm looking forward to getting to do this. :smallbiggrin:

Melayl
2012-01-20, 10:54 AM
Second Encyclopaedia Arcana post is up: The Three Families (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/01/20/encyclopaedia-arcana-2-the-three-families/). These are the 'families' of the magic system.

On another note, I'm going to be doing the email exchange with Jim Butcher this coming week. Trying to decide what questions to ask him at the moment - I've been reading the Dresden Files pretty much since they came out over here, so I'm looking forward to getting to do this. :smallbiggrin:

I am both so jealous and so looking forward to reading the book. Congratulations, Saph!

IrnBruAddict
2012-01-20, 01:54 PM
Seems very interesting, definately going to pick up a copy. The magic sounds cool and it will be interesting to see how it is handled.

While we in the UK need to wait longer to get it we get a cooler cover so I'm happy.

MammonAzrael
2012-01-20, 05:52 PM
That's terrific, congratulations Saph! This is absolutely on my list of books-to-get. I like the simplicity of the title, btw.

I read the first chapter, very enjoyable. I liked the Dresden reference, nicely done. :smalltongue: Is Luna an English name? The only other place I've ever heard it as a name is in Harry Potty. And you may cover this later in the book, but I'm curious: is Luna's curse only distance-based?

Saph
2012-01-20, 07:00 PM
That's terrific, congratulations Saph! This is absolutely on my list of books-to-get. I like the simplicity of the title, btw.

So do I. :smallsmile:


I read the first chapter, very enjoyable. I liked the Dresden reference, nicely done. :smalltongue: Is Luna an English name? The only other place I've ever heard it as a name is in Harry Potty. And you may cover this later in the book, but I'm curious: is Luna's curse only distance-based?

It might be English (although I've never heard it used) but Luna has it because it's an Italian name - she's half-Italian, although I don't think I actually wrote that down until the second book.

The curse is primarily distance-based - there are some other factors that affect it, but that comes in later!

MammonAzrael
2012-01-20, 07:41 PM
The curse is primarily distance-based - there are some other factors that affect it, but that comes in later!

So she should move next door to a crack house and develop major friendships online (say, a hardcore WoW player)?

Only 1 chapter in and I'm already trying to exploit things. :smalltongue: Can't wait to pick it up!

pita
2012-01-21, 06:26 AM
Picking up a copy when it comes out. Good luck. I hope you get movie rights bought.

Saph
2012-01-21, 04:49 PM
So she should move next door to a crack house and develop major friendships online (say, a hardcore WoW player)?

Only 1 chapter in and I'm already trying to exploit things. :smalltongue: Can't wait to pick it up!

Heh. Minus the crack house part, that's not too far off how I imagined the last few years of her life to have been like. She would have spent a lot of time online. :smallwink:


Picking up a copy when it comes out. Good luck. I hope you get movie rights bought.

Thanks! My agent's working on it, but movie rights are very very uncertain. One of the other authors my agent represents is called Eoin Colfer, whose first book was released in 2001 - the movie's been in development limbo for most of the years since then.

MammonAzrael
2012-01-21, 05:06 PM
Thanks! My agent's working on it, but movie rights are very very uncertain. One of the other authors my agent represents is called Eoin Colfer, whose first book was released in 2001 - the movie's been in development limbo for most of the years since then.

Should you get TV/movie rights, I hope that what comes of it is better than the TV Dresden Files, that show makes me sad. :smalltongue:

Saph
2012-01-21, 05:08 PM
Should you get TV/movie rights, I hope that what comes of it is better than the TV Dresden Files, that show makes me sad. :smalltongue:

Never actually got around to watching that (although the changes didn't sound great). What was it like?

MammonAzrael
2012-01-21, 07:23 PM
It's something I might have enjoyed had it not been tied to the Dresden files. So much about the characters is altered that it doesn't feel right to call them the same.


In a forum post Jim Butcher stated "The show is not the books. It is not meant to follow the same story. It is meant as an alternate world, where the overall background and story-world is similar, but not all the same things happen. The show is not attempting to recreate the books on a chapter-by-chapter or even story-by-story basis." continuing by saying that viewers should not expect a duplicate of the books, and those expecting it would be disappointed.

For instance, Karrin is renamed Connie, and has a daughter. Bob is now a human ghost. And there are many more changes that ultimately make the show feel like a twisted, wrong, and not-as-good version of the books. I think you can check out all 12 episodes on Netflix.

Melayl
2012-01-22, 08:50 AM
It's something I might have enjoyed had it not been tied to the Dresden files. So much about the characters is altered that it doesn't feel right to call them the same.



For instance, Karrin is renamed Connie, and has a daughter. Bob is now a human ghost. And there are many more changes that ultimately make the show feel like a twisted, wrong, and not-as-good version of the books. I think you can check out all 12 episodes on Netflix.

While wrong, the tv show did get me into reading the books. For that alone I deem it worthwhile. To watch it after reading the books, though...

Feytalist
2012-01-23, 03:09 AM
For me, though, it did get the "feel" of the books right. Especially the first few, less dark, books.

Oh, and Bob the Human Ghost was kinda amusing, I must admit.

CarpeGuitarrem
2012-01-23, 02:09 PM
NICE!!! Congrats! Especially on getting the Jim Butcher endorsement. Looks like I'll have to check this out as well...

pita
2012-01-23, 03:22 PM
Thanks! My agent's working on it, but movie rights are very very uncertain. One of the other authors my agent represents is called Eoin Colfer, whose first book was released in 2001 - the movie's been in development limbo for most of the years since then.
I hope you're not offended by this - don't expect a movie. I doubt such a thing will happen. Enough books are stuck in production hell (Not just Artemis Fowl, but Ender's Game, Death: High Price of Living, and Rendezvous with Rama as well, off the top of my head)
But movie rights are the vast majority of an author's salary. If you get movie rights bought, it could mean that you could quit your day job (if you have one).
I should add that I am not an authority, but I spoke to Andrzej Sapkowski (Most successful Polish fantasy author, and I realize that's not THAT great) extensively on the subject and he said he refuses to trash talk the movies based on his books because it paid him more than anything else he did.

Saph
2012-01-23, 03:58 PM
I hope you're not offended by this - don't expect a movie. I doubt such a thing will happen. Enough books are stuck in production hell (Not just Artemis Fowl, but Ender's Game, Death: High Price of Living, and Rendezvous with Rama as well, off the top of my head)

Heh, don't worry. I've been a published author for long enough to have more than enough experience with how incredibly unreliable movie adaptions are. The mega-bestsellers are a fairly sure bet, but everything else is a complete crapshoot.

I'm doing the emails with Jim Butcher at the moment - it's pretty fun! I'll post the edited version once it's finished.

MLai
2012-01-23, 04:34 PM
I didn't click on this thread for the longest time because I thought the thread's title is "Alex versus #1: Fated."

As in, somebody's weird VS thread pitting some character named Alex (and I'm supposed to know what/which Alex he's thinking of) and some character named #1 (or this is the first thread of an Alex vs Anybody). And he's pretentious enough to subtitle his VS thread "Fated." :smalltongue:

I think you should change the title to "Published novel by yours truly, Alex Verus."

Saph
2012-01-27, 06:27 AM
Third Encyclopaedia Arcana post is up: Types of Magic (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/01/27/encyclopaedia-arcana-3-types-of-magic/).

This is the last general article on the magic system for a while - the next few will move on to the groups of people that live in the world.

I'm about halfway through the email exchange with Jim Butcher, and I'm really enjoying it. We've been talking about the differences between our protagonists (especially what they can do) and how that affects the stories you end up writing.

maratek
2012-01-27, 06:33 AM
Congrats :)

Just a quick Question i tend not to buy books just download them on the ipad, do i have a chance of getting them on there?

Saph
2012-01-27, 06:53 AM
Congrats :)

Just a quick Question i tend not to buy books just download them on the ipad, do i have a chance of getting them on there?

Yep, all the books are being released in ebook format as well as paper.

Saph
2012-02-02, 07:17 PM
Next entry in the Encyclopaedia Arcana is up: Normals, Sensitives, and Adepts (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/02/03/encyclopaedia-arcana-4-normals-sensitives-and-adepts/).

In other news, finished the email correspondence with Jim Butcher. It was REALLY fun. :) I've got the emails compiled, but I'm waiting on my US publicist to finish his edited version first.

I'm off to the SFX Weekender in North Wales tomorrow, so I'll be gone until the end of the weekend.

MammonAzrael
2012-02-02, 10:13 PM
Interesting, though it raises some questions.

Assuming your world is roughly equivalent to the real world with the exception of magic, a 10 to 1 ratio feels pretty solid for normal-to-sensitive, but the numbers feel like they fall apart after that. As it stands, you'd end up with over 7 million mages across the globe and 70 million adepts (assuming ~7 billion world population). Unless I've got an incorrect view on the world (I'm comparing it roughly to the Dresden'verse), that seems like an excessive amount of both categories (77 million people capable of utilizing magic to some degree!). From what I've read thus far, I was under the impression that the numbers would be closer to 70,000 mages world wide and 700,000 adepts.

1 Mage
10 Adepts
10,000 Sensitives
100,000 Normals

Or only 0.001% of the population are mages.

On a non-numbers topic, but continuing the Dresden'verse comparisons, would Agent Tilly from Changes be considered a Sensitive or an Adept? What about The Alphas?

Don't let my nitpicking dissuade you, I'm very much enjoying the updates (and that you're keeping this thread updated), and I can't wait to read the book and the emails with Butcher!

Mewtarthio
2012-02-03, 01:12 AM
Assuming your world is roughly equivalent to the real world with the exception of magic, a 10 to 1 ratio feels pretty solid for normal-to-sensitive, but the numbers feel like they fall apart after that. As it stands, you'd end up with over 7 million mages across the globe and 70 million adepts (assuming ~7 billion world population). Unless I've got an incorrect view on the world (I'm comparing it roughly to the Dresden'verse), that seems like an excessive amount of both categories (77 million people capable of utilizing magic to some degree!).

Bear in mind, though, that a good number of adepts don't really know the nature of their powers. From the Chapter 1 excerpt:


Above the sensitives on the magical pecking order are the adepts. These guys are only one percent or so, but unlike sensitives they can actually channel magic in a subtle way. Often it’s so subtle they don’t even know they’re doing it; they might be ‘lucky’ at cards, or very good at ‘guessing’ what’s on another person’s mind, but it’s mild enough that they just think they’re born lucky or perceptive. But sometimes they figure out what they’re doing and start developing it, and some of these guys can get pretty impressive within their specific field.

---

Okay, so another question for Saph: In the Encyclopaedia, you mention that magic is a reflection of your inner self, and that changing your magic would require changing your entire personality. Is the "changing your personality" thing meant to be mostly sarcastic, or does that happen with the normal passage of time? Say a mage is an idealistic revolutionary at age 23 and a bitter cynic at age 65*. Does he cast entirely different spells at 23 and 65 (leaving aside the differences from practice)? Does the mere potential for change mean that he always has a list of spells that could be interpreted as fitting either personality? Or is there some sort of self-reinforcing loop, where revolutionary idealism makes you an X mage and casting X spells gives you revolutionary idealistic feelings? None of the above?

MammonAzrael
2012-02-03, 01:33 AM
Bear in mind, though, that a good number of adepts don't really know the nature of their powers. From the Chapter 1 excerpt:

Fair enough, at least on the Adept level. But 7 million mages in the world still feels like an awfully high number, given how they've been portrayed thus far. Admittedly this portrayal could be slightly skewed by the fact that Alex happens to be one of the rarest types of mages out there.

Saph
2012-02-05, 12:46 PM
Whew, just got back from the SFX Weekender convention. Was fun!


Interesting, though it raises some questions.

Assuming your world is roughly equivalent to the real world with the exception of magic, a 10 to 1 ratio feels pretty solid for normal-to-sensitive, but the numbers feel like they fall apart after that. As it stands, you'd end up with over 7 million mages across the globe and 70 million adepts (assuming ~7 billion world population). Unless I've got an incorrect view on the world (I'm comparing it roughly to the Dresden'verse), that seems like an excessive amount of both categories (77 million people capable of utilizing magic to some degree!). From what I've read thus far, I was under the impression that the numbers would be closer to 70,000 mages world wide and 700,000 adepts.

1 Mage
10 Adepts
10,000 Sensitives
100,000 Normals

Or only 0.001% of the population are mages.

Now that's interesting. So you think a more appropriate number would be a 1000-fold dropoff between the sensitive/adept layer, rather than 10-fold? Why do you think that would work better?


On a non-numbers topic, but continuing the Dresden'verse comparisons, would Agent Tilly from Changes be considered a Sensitive or an Adept? What about The Alphas?

They're both pretty much perfect examples of adepts - at least from my memory of them. If I remember right, Tilly's particular trick was being able to tell if someone was lying to him, which is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind for adepts in general.


Don't let my nitpicking dissuade you, I'm very much enjoying the updates (and that you're keeping this thread updated), and I can't wait to read the book and the emails with Butcher!

No problem! :smallsmile: I never know how many people are reading these Encyclopaedia entries, so it's really nice to get thoughtful responses.


Okay, so another question for Saph: In the Encyclopaedia, you mention that magic is a reflection of your inner self, and that changing your magic would require changing your entire personality. Is the "changing your personality" thing meant to be mostly sarcastic, or does that happen with the normal passage of time? Say a mage is an idealistic revolutionary at age 23 and a bitter cynic at age 65*. Does he cast entirely different spells at 23 and 65 (leaving aside the differences from practice)? Does the mere potential for change mean that he always has a list of spells that could be interpreted as fitting either personality? Or is there some sort of self-reinforcing loop, where revolutionary idealism makes you an X mage and casting X spells gives you revolutionary idealistic feelings? None of the above?

The second one is closest. It isn't something I've written down yet, but the idea is that magic has positive feedback on the user's personality in pretty much the way you describe, so mages tend to stabilize at a certain point on the spectrum.

Magic does change over time to match the user's personality, but there's a difference between a natural evolution and a complete personality overhaul. Your example of idealist to cynic is more of an evolution - you'd still use the same general type of magic, you'd just lean towards different aspects of it. Actually changing your personality on a fundamental enough level to use a different type of magic would mean changing yourself so much that other people would have difficulty recognising you as the same person.

MammonAzrael
2012-02-05, 03:34 PM
Now that's interesting. So you think a more appropriate number would be a 1000-fold dropoff between the sensitive/adept layer, rather than 10-fold? Why do you think that would work better?

Despite Alex stating that mages aren't as rare as you might think, having ~7 million of them on the planet seems like an awful lot. And then 70 million people on top of that capable of magic (even if they don't realize they're doing it) makes it seems like it'd be difficult for the world at large to not grasp that something wonky is going on. Particularly sense most adepts would likely rise to prominent positions in their fields given their unique advantages (think of the Hollywood exposure!). If 1 in every hundred people were capable of magic, it just feels to me like it'd be a lot more noticeable, especially since 1 in 10 people (at least) would notice it and not dismiss it. And since magic stems from personality, there is very little chance that adepts wouldn't tap into their magical ability in their daily life, much less have it go completely undiscovered.

Then numbers I posted above were a complete eyeball, based on what just felt like a better chance of being rare and remaining hidden. I can completely see 1 in 10 people being sensitive or open to magical forces. I could even see 1 in 5. But the step from being open to magic to actually being capable of it...it seems like there should be a large gap between the two for magic to remain hidden from humanity at large.

I don't know what ratios you're working with, but the impression I got was something like:

60-75% elemental mages
24-30% living mages
1-10% universal mages

Alex lists off 3 other diviners close enough to London for the Council to tap (and being cut off, I would assume the full list is between 6-12 people total). It seems like Brittan would be a natural congregation point for mages, given it's history and it housing the Council. So if there is 1 diviner in say every 200 mages, and given the size of Alex's list there would be maybe several hundred diviners in the world. Say 300 diviners total, multiplied by 200 for a total of 60,000 mages worldwide.

Obviously these ratios are just from the impressions I got, but this is essentially an in depth thinking-through of my gut reaction to why the ratios presented in Arcana #4 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/02/03/encyclopaedia-arcana-4-normals-sensitives-and-adepts/) seemed off.

Now ratios can be tweaked and changed (and the ones presented above are obviously just my own general guess-work based off initial impressions and a single chapter), and ultimately it may not even matter very much, if at all, to the story. But when it's boiled down, 1 in 1,000 people just didn't seem all that spectacularly rare to me. With 1 in 100 being magic-capable, it feels pretty unlikely that the world wouldn't be generally aware of it's reality, as the sensitives would have too much evidence for the normals to convince them magic isn't real.

I'd be happy to talk about this more if you want, but hopefully that was clear enough to give you an idea of where I was coming from!


They're both pretty much perfect examples of adepts - at least from my memory of them. If I remember right, Tilly's particular trick was being able to tell if someone was lying to him, which is exactly the sort of thing I had in mind for adepts in general.

Yes, Tilly's trick was being a lie detector. The reason I asked about the two was because I could see them both being adepts (with Tilly obviously being in the not-aware-of-what-I'm-doing camp), but the complexity of the two magics seems very different (telling lies from turning into a werewolf). So it sounds like adepts can have a singular magic, and that magic can range from fairly simple to complex, as long as it's a singular spell.

Saph
2012-02-05, 04:24 PM
Obviously these ratios are just from the impressions I got, but this is essentially an in depth thinking-through of my gut reaction to why the ratios presented in Arcana #4 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/02/03/encyclopaedia-arcana-4-normals-sensitives-and-adepts/) seemed off.

Huh. That's a very impressive analysis.

I'm going to have to think about this, but my initial reaction is that you're right and that the ratio I was using is too high.

Since you've done such a thorough job on it, I hope you don't mind if I enlist your help in coming up with a better figure. :smalltongue: Here's some extra information which I haven't written down up to this point.

The first mistake (which I'm going to have to correct) is that the numbers I was using shouldn't be referring to the active population: they should be referring to ability at birth (or, if not birth, the point at which magical ability develops, which is the subject of another article later). So out of the fraction of potential mages, the majority get whittled down by:

• Death: This is something that I haven't openly stated but which is kind of implied in the books - mages and adepts have a much higher rate of violent death and/or insanity than normal people. In particular, many die young due to being preyed upon by older mages or apprentices.

• Quitting: Largely as a result of this, a lot of potential mages and apprentices make a conscious decision to abandon their talents and shut themselves off from the magical world. Less chance of madness and a higher life expectancy.

• Quiet Lives: Mages who don't want to take the previous option but don't want to be at risk of the first option usually choose to lead low-profile lifestyles. They don't get involved in magical politics or conflicts, avoid drawing attention to themselves, and generally make it hard for people to identify that they're mages at all.

I haven't worked out exactly what fraction of potential mages fall at one of those hurdles, but my first guess is that it's around 10:1. So the ratio of potential mages to normals would have to be higher than 1:100,000 to support the death/dropout/quitting rate.

The ratio of diviners to other mages . . . hmm. I haven't decided on it for sure, but your guess of 0.5% isn't a bad one. I'd say somewhere between 0.1% and 1%.

MammonAzrael
2012-02-05, 05:28 PM
I'm more than happy to help. :smallsmile: Here are some thoughts I've got thus far:


Death: So perhaps 1 in 10-15 mages die/go insane as babies/when their talent manifests/etc. This would be high enough to be a serious concern and allow you to increase the commonality of mages by an order of magnitude. This would probably have a fairly well-defined time span (modified by exposure to magic and if the mage has help or is discovering magic solo), after which it is generally assumed that mages have enough control/maturity to not kill themselves or go nuts. Mages that go insane from other things (mundane to harrowing experiences) do not fall into this category.

Quitting: Given that magic is tied directly to the personality of mages, I would assume that early death and madness is a far higher likelihood than cutting themselves off from their magic, for your universe in particular. I would think the most rare of reasons. Unlike the Dresden'verse where magic is more accessible (think of Charity) magic in Verus'verse is much more personal - what you're capable of supports and reinforces who you are. Quitting that wholesale is probably a very unusual event. In fact it may represent such a personality shift that their magical abilities shift to reinforce their desire to be cut off from magic, say by dampening other magics.

Quiet Lives: I would guess that most mages fall into this category. Most just want to live their lives, not get mixed up in international magic politics or devote themselves to magic enough to become prominent experts. Instead they likely live like normal people, using their gifts to augment their normal living. From the neighborhood mom who works as a nurse to the highly successful pimp downtown, they live like pretty normal people, just exceptional. These are bread and butter mages, not who a story would focus on. I would estimate that 50-90% of mages fall into this to some degree.


Adepts are, for the most part, not going to suffer these effects, as their extreme focus should seem very normal to them as it only reinforces who they are (and has likely helped define them). So to keep a logical balance between adepts and mages, adepts should likely be about two orders of magnitude more common than mages after the above issues are weeded out. Pretty sure that's just wrong math there.

The way I see people like Alex is that they're the experts, the professionals. So say they played sports instead of casting magic. Alex, Lyle and so on all play in the pro league. There are Micheal Jordans out there, but everyone is good enough to make it their life. People leading the "quiet life" are people who've played sports, but just aren't dedicated to it like pros.

It seems like the divisions between the three families of magic is a lot more sharply defined that the divisions inside those families. So the ratios of specific magi is probably something that can remain fairly vague (given that no two diviners will be capable of the same things, despite sharing the same general classification).

I could keep going on with random thoughts, but I suspect more directions would probably be better. I've typed 5 different questions but none of them have seemed right! :smalltongue: Hmm...things to figure out:


Ratio of normals-sensitives-adepts-mages
Mortality rate of developing mages
Percent of mages that take an active part in the magical world (aka pro sportsmen)
Ratio of the three magic families


Let's work with the population of London at ~7.8 million people. For the sake of establishing ratios, for now lets ignore the fact that large metropolitan areas, and London in particular, likely have a higher concentration of magic-users due to history and government.

Ratio of normals-sensitives-adepts-mages

The normals is a pretty obvious number, no work needed there.
10% of the population being sensitive to magic seems just fine - plenty of people believe in magic as it stands, so this wouldn't affect the "normal" part of Verus'verse all that much.
How many people in London would likely be adepts? Using my ratios above, there would be 1 in 10,000, or ~780 adepts in London. This would mean that you'd have a decent chance of having met at least 1 adept, but it wouldn't be uncommon for you to not know any. Moving it to 1 in 1,000 means there would be a solid-to-good chance that you know at least one person that is an adept. Using your initial figures of 100 to 1 pretty much guarantees that you (as a random normal) know multiple adepts, as London would be populated with 78 thousand adepts.
How many people in London would likely be mages? Starting with your initial ratios and figuring in the estimated 10% loss, there would be roughly 7,000 mages living in London (including children and elderly). So roughly 1 in 1100 people is a mage, meaning John Smith is likely to have met at least one. Stepping up in rarity to the middle ground of 700 mages in all of London means that you may have met a mage, but the chances of knowing one is on the lower side of things. Personally I could see 700 mages living in London but only if the location is factored in (though it still feels high). Reducing to my initial ratio theory, we'd get ~70 mages in all of London, making the chances of knowing one pretty low.


Mortality rate of developing mages

Your initial suggestion is 10% of mages don't make it into adulthood. This seems like a solid jumping off point. It's certainly dangerous, but not enough to majorly affect things. You could exagerate this significantly if you wanted unguided maglings to have a lower chance of survival. It could even be something like a +50% mortality rate for solo maglings, particularly if the normal-to-mage ratio is high enough.

Percent of mages that take an active part in the magical world (aka pro sportsmen)

Presumably a low number, 5-20%. Most people are just going to want to live their lives. And the cream of the crop needs to rest of the crop to be a large majority to really stand out anyways.

Ratio of the three magic families

Totally up to you, and by far the easiest for you to just decide.

Saph
2012-02-06, 10:17 AM
Okay, had a chance to think about it some.

Looking at the numbers you're putting out, my initial inclination is to put the rarity of adepts and mages at about one order of magnitude higher than the initial numbers: so 1 mage to 10 adepts to 1,000 sensitives to 10,000 normals.

However, these numbers for adepts and mages represent potential rather than the actual fraction of the population. For mages, my current thoughts are that out of every 10, somewhere between 8 and 9 die prematurely (mostly at the hands of other mages), quit, or live quiet lives (which makes them functionally indistinguishable from non-mages unless you go digging into it).

So going with the population of London as 8 million (rounding up) that gives roughly 80 practising, active, and involved mages and 8,000 adepts. The adept number seems too high at first glance, but that does include ones who have weak/useless abilities or who never particularly develop their powers. Haven't decided on those ratios, as most of the series so far has focused on mages rather than adepts (though the new book I'm planning at the moment is going to deal with them a bit more).

With regard to the ratio of the magic families, I was thinking somewhere in the neighborhood of 55%-60% elemental, 30% living, and either 10% or 15% universal.

MammonAzrael
2012-02-06, 12:55 PM
Those numbers feel a lot better. Particularly once you factor in the fact that only 10% of mages are involved and active members of the magical community.

I'd suggest figuring out how many of those 9 out of 10 mages actually died instead of just leading "normal" lives, as that could certainly be relevant at some point.

What percentage of adepts actually focus and hone their gift? For simplicities sake I would guess roughly the same percentage as active mages, with even less realizing their gift is actually magic.

The number of adepts you have doesn't seem too large at all, considering that a lot of them probably never discover their singular ability. I mean, someone could be very good at calming rage and anger, and they happen to have the magical ability to consume fire like food - when would they ever discover that?

As for the magic families, I'd go with ~55-30-15%, or in factions 3/6, 2/6, and 1/6.

On a different note, are the articles in the Encyclopedia Arcana being presented by someone in-universe, or are being presented from your omniscient author point of view? Because if these articles are being presented from in-universe (say by a legendary book or scholarly mage) then you've got some wiggle room as they could be slightly misinformed about how things work. But if you're presenting these articles yourself, then the information presented is 100% certifiably correct.

Saph
2012-02-06, 04:38 PM
Those numbers feel a lot better. Particularly once you factor in the fact that only 10% of mages are involved and active members of the magical community.

I'd suggest figuring out how many of those 9 out of 10 mages actually died instead of just leading "normal" lives, as that could certainly be relevant at some point.

True. I'll think on it.


On a different note, are the articles in the Encyclopedia Arcana being presented by someone in-universe, or are being presented from your omniscient author point of view? Because if these articles are being presented from in-universe (say by a legendary book or scholarly mage) then you've got some wiggle room as they could be slightly misinformed about how things work. But if you're presenting these articles yourself, then the information presented is 100% certifiably correct.

Sort of a mix between the two. It's intended as info I present myself, but it takes its name from a reference book in the universe. I think in this case I'll just edit the article once I've finalised the numbers.

Saph
2012-02-10, 04:34 AM
Encyclopaedia Arcana #5 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/02/10/encyclopaedia-arcana-5-light-mages/) is up, with an introduction to the main power bloc in mage society, the Light mages.

Edited version of the conversation with Jim Butcher is finished! It's looking at the moment as though it'll be hosted by Barnes & Noble rather than Amazon, so we're just waiting for them to post it. I'll put up a link as soon as they do.

MammonAzrael
2012-02-10, 04:07 PM
Firstly on entry 4, the numbers look a lot better now. I notice you tuned things down even at the sensitive level; with only 1% of the population being sensitive, it's very feasible that magic hasn't been unveiled by humanity at large, even with our current level of connectivity.

As for entry 5, I don't have much to say, It's a solid, informative piece. it might be worth making a note that the Light Mages are the one who invented the terminology of Light and Dark, and while the labels aren't equivalent to good/evil, Light Mages (and the Council particularly) is quite willing to push the implication that Light=good and Dark=bad anyways. Yay politics!

Perhaps the largest question I have is "Why is the Council located in Britain?" It's not a question that needs to (or even should) be answered by this entry, but it's certainly something that should have a significant historical answer.

Saph
2012-02-10, 05:38 PM
Yep, the sensitive fraction was suggested by a friend for pretty much that exact reason - it made things more plausible.

Regarding the Council, it's in Britain because that's what it rules. :) This is one area where I've done things differently from the Dresden Files - mage government is mostly done on a national rather than an international level.

MammonAzrael
2012-02-10, 06:27 PM
Yep, the sensitive fraction was suggested by a friend for pretty much that exact reason - it made things more plausible.

Regarding the Council, it's in Britain because that's what it rules. :) This is one area where I've done things differently from the Dresden Files - mage government is mostly done on a national rather than an international level.

Ahh. Well that makes perfect sense then. The only thing I'd suggest is making that more obvious then, as it doesn't come across, at least in the entry. I assumed it was a world-wide governing body, not one nationally bound. Does that mean that Light/Dark terminology is generally exclusive to Brittish/Western mages, or are they universal terms?

On the note of national government, I would think that given the population most governing bodies would include more than a single country. For Britain it makes sense, given the history of the country and its connections to magic and myth, but particularly as you moved eastward I would assume that various ruling bodies would follow older boarders, rather than current ones.

Saph
2012-02-17, 05:47 AM
Encyclopaedia Arcana #6 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/02/17/encyclopaedia-arcana-6-dark-mages/) is posted, introducing the Dark mages.

I also did a guest blog (http://qwillery.blogspot.com/2012/02/guest-blog-by-benedict-jacka-limits-of.html) for a review website called the Qwillery on the subject of the limits magic should have in a story (as opposed to balance-wise in a game!)

Finally, I'm going to be signing copies of Fated in an early release on Thursday Feb 23rd at Forbidden Planet, 6pm-7pm. If you're in London at the time, drop by! :smallsmile:

MammonAzrael
2012-02-19, 04:05 PM
Like entry 5, entry 6 is a solid piece of of information. Perhaps the best tidbit of knowledge I gleaned was the part detailing the average size of Dark households and cabals.

It does raise my interest in the Great Rune War. While it happened decades ago and thus you probably aren't planning on dedicating a book (or even a significant chuck of time) to it, it seems like a great part of history to receive an Arcana entry. Was the GRW tied to a modern war, like WW1 or 2 (or a smaller war), or was it independent, fought largely without the general populace's knowledge? Was it confined to Britain, or did it encompass multiple countries?

Saph
2012-02-20, 08:25 PM
It's a good question, and so far I only have a vague set of answers.

I designed the world of the Alex Verus setting with an "inside out" approach - I started with Alex and what he could do and the people and creatures he was in contact with, and built outwards. So the degree to which I've developed each elements of the world is directly proportional to how close they are to the events of the story.

One of the reasons for the Encyclopaedia entries is to give me a structure for building up the world myself. In some of these cases I'm writing down stuff I've had planned for a long time, but as the articles go on I'm likely to be making up new material more and more often.

Saph
2012-02-24, 05:17 AM
Next Arcana article is up, this one the first of a two-parter: Divination magic (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/02/24/encyclopaedia-arcana-7-divination-magic-part-one/).

Did an early release and signing at Forbidden Planet (the big London genre/fantasy/SF shop) yesterday. It was lots of fun, and I ended up selling a surprising amount of copies, which cheered me up a lot. :)

Fated is coming out in a few days! US release date is the 28th February, and UK release date is 1st March.

Prime32
2012-02-25, 04:44 PM
The big local book shop should be getting Fated in next week. Will try to pick up a copy.

Answerer
2012-02-26, 08:50 PM
Oooh, I'm a big fan of the Dresden Files; I'll definitely take a look.

Actually, I have a question, seeing as you're a published author and all: I recently read all of the Dresden Files books to date by taking them out of the library (like, legitimately walked to a brick-and-mortar building, checked them out on my library card, read them, returned them), and I was wondering: how does that sort of thing affect authors? I mean, obviously libraries are 'legit' compared to illegal downloading or something (which I would not do), but the effect ends up being the same, no?

Gralamin
2012-02-27, 01:40 AM
So couldn't sleep, and started reading the encyclopaedia entries. Now I am very interested in your book :smallsmile.

A note, however: You mention in part 2 that:

That said, their way of solving that problem is unlikely to be subtle. Elemental magic is usually very obvious and attracts a lot of attention. Keep getting straight flushes in a poker game and you’ll get some funny looks, but most people won’t think you’re using magic – they’ll think you’re cheating. Go flying down the high street and you’ll get quite a different reaction.

However in part 4 you mention the following about normals:

and if they see a mage using their powers they’ll assume it’s a trick

So if a mage flies down the street, will it just look like a trick (as suggested in part 4), or will most people think you are using magic (as suggested in part 2)?

MammonAzrael
2012-02-27, 01:49 AM
So if a mage flies down the street, will it just look like a trick (as suggested in part 4), or will most people think you are using magic (as suggested in part 2)?

Not quite contradictory, but more of a question of timing. If you saw someone randomly flying down the street, what would your thoughts be? You might have an initial reaction of thinking "What the hell?!" and magic, but unless that flight and further magical events are shoved in your face, aren't you more likely to eventually dismiss it as some weird fluke or trick? We, and all normals in the Verus'verse, know that magic doesn't actually exist. Take the loup-garou incident in Fool Moon (I'm assuming you've read the Dresden Files) - even though it was recorded on cameras in a police station, it was dismissed as a hoax.

Saph
2012-02-27, 06:30 AM
So if a mage flies down the street, will it just look like a trick (as suggested in part 4), or will most people think you are using magic (as suggested in part 2)?

Mostly, the first, but the small minority who are the second are the ones who are going to cause trouble for you. There are quite a few reasons why being subtle is an advantage for mages, and they're scheduled to go up on the Encyclopaedia Arcana articles over the next few weeks.

Glad you're interested in the books, by the way! :smallsmile:

Gralamin
2012-02-27, 11:20 PM
Mostly, the first, but the small minority who are the second are the ones who are going to cause trouble for you. There are quite a few reasons why being subtle is an advantage for mages, and they're scheduled to go up on the Encyclopaedia Arcana articles over the next few weeks.

Glad you're interested in the books, by the way! :smallsmile:

Ah, so it is both. That is what I suspected, but its good to be hear.



(I'm assuming you've read the Dresden Files)
I actually have not yet. Its on my rather long to read list (This happens when I re-read all of discworld...). So I probably will have in ~2 to 3 months. Which means I will probably end up reading Saph's book in like, September, but hey, it happens.

Saph
2012-02-28, 05:37 AM
Fated is released in the US today (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/02/28/fated-out-in-us/)!

Here's the cover (which I think is awesome):


http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j414/Saph7/FatedUSCover300.jpg

I started writing Fated in 2008. In 2009 I started getting interest from Orbit, in 2010 I rewrote it and got it signed by Orbit and then Ace, in 2011 I was talking about titles here on this forum, and now in 2012 it's finally out. It's been a long trip!

Thanks to everyone who's helped out along the way - whether it's been to buy a copy, to read and give feedback, or just to take the time to say a few kind words (it all helps). And for those on this side of the Atlantic, the UK release is in two days time!

Mewtarthio
2012-02-28, 09:24 AM
Just got the e-mail saying my eBook is ready for download.

Saph
2012-02-29, 06:59 AM
A bunch of reviews have been coming in over the last few weeks:

Publisher's Weekly (http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-937007-29-4) (the most influential one)
SFSite (http://www.sfsite.com/02b/ft362.htm) (the most fun one)
BookThing! (http://www.bookthing.co.uk/2012/02/fated/), Candace's Blog (http://www.candacesbookblog.com/2012/02/review-fated-by-benedict-jacka.html), Whatchamacallit (http://whatchamacallitreviews.blogspot.com/2012/02/fated-by-benedict-jacka.html) (all ones I'm less familiar with, but still nice to read!)

I've also been told that the Jim Butcher exchange is due to (at last!) go online on the B&N website this Friday, which is going to be great when it does.

And finally, the UK release of Fated comes out tomorrow!

MammonAzrael
2012-02-29, 01:10 PM
Those are some great reviews, congratulations! :smallbiggrin: And I'm sure you'll get some more right here in a few days. :smalltongue:

Saph
2012-03-02, 07:35 AM
Lots of news today!

Firstly, the email exchange between me and Jim Butcher (http://bookclubs.barnesandnoble.com/t5/Explorations-The-BN-SciFi-and/Believe-the-Hype-Benedict-Jacka-Author-of-Fated-is-the-Next/ba-p/1300917) is online at Barnes & Noble! Topics covered include the world-building of the Dresden Files, the makeup of Harry Dresden's character, and some hints about what's coming next in the main story for Harry after Ghost Story and Changes. Jim was amazingly nice and I loved talking to him - it was really generous of him to do the whole thing.

It also comes with an excellent review by Paul Allen which calls me the "next coming of Jim Butcher". No pressure or anything. :smalltongue:

Next, Fated is out in the UK! Here's the cover:


http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j414/Saph7/FatedUKCover300.jpg

Very different design from the US one, but I like it just as much. They went for a subtler layout with more detail, compared to the bright flame-patterns of the US book.

Oh, and the next Encyclopaedia Arcana post is up: Divination Magic (Part 2) (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/03/02/encyclopaedia-arcana-8-divination-magic-part-two/).

It's been a really good week. :smallsmile:

Feytalist
2012-03-02, 08:23 AM
That review has made me even more intrigued in the book :smallbiggrin: And that exchange with Butcher was interesting too. It must have been a lot of fun doing that, heh.

I haven't bothered to check the encyclopedia yet, because I'd like to read the book first with a fresh face before delving into the lore, but I'll give it a scan afterwards.

i'm gonna put an order for Fated in with my bookstore tomorrow :smallsmile:

MammonAzrael
2012-03-02, 04:34 PM
Yet another great review! And completely deserved, as Fated is excellent. :smallbiggrin: Any idea when you'll start to see sales numbers?

The interview with Butcher was really interesting, great info on both of your processes. And don't forget the Jade Court makes at least 4 different vamps in the Dresden'verse! :smallwink:

I think I actually like the UK cover better. While I have no idea how those things related to the contents of the books, it feels more whimsical and unique. But then, you guys always seem to have the better cover art.

The new Encyclopedia entry is good, more useful info.

Saph
2012-03-03, 05:27 PM
Yet another great review! And completely deserved, as Fated is excellent. :smallbiggrin: Any idea when you'll start to see sales numbers?

My publishers probably have them already, at least early ones (bookshops order a fair bit in advance of publication). They're hard to rely on though, as these days many books are returned.

I do know that Amazon.co.uk sold out of the UK edition within a day, so at least some people are buying it. :smallsmile:

Eakin
2012-03-03, 06:54 PM
I JUST finished the Dresden files, all 13 of 'em over about 4 months, so this looks right up my alley. Getting to support another Playgrounder doesn't hurt either :smallsmile:.

I'll check it out! And congratulations! Just out of curiosity, does it make any difference to the author whether someone buys the book on a kindle or e-reader, versus a traditional bookstore or online?

Saph
2012-03-04, 06:03 AM
I'll check it out! And congratulations!

Thanks!


Just out of curiosity, does it make any difference to the author whether someone buys the book on a kindle or e-reader, versus a traditional bookstore or online?

The main difference is due to the method of sales - ebooks can be copied indefinitely, but traditional bookstores have to get in stock (which then hangs around until it's sold or returned). So ordering a book at a bookstore has a more lasting impact. A sale's a sale, though!

Saph
2012-03-09, 06:49 AM
Encyclopaedia Arcana #9 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/03/09/encyclopaedia-arcana-9-chance-magic/) is up, on chance magic - Luna's area. Next week will be time, and after that the articles will switch away from magic types and onto spells for a bit.

I've been watching the Goodreads page for Fated (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11737387-fated) to see the ratings and reviews going up - it's strangely addictive. At the time of writing the average rating has climbed to 3.88. I'm rooting for 4 but that's going to be pretty difficult. :smalltongue:

Mauve Shirt
2012-03-09, 06:53 AM
Began reading this book. Can't take my e-reader to work or I'd have finished it by now. I was a little nervous when it started similarly to the Iron Druid Chronicles, and the fact that there's a seer with a cursed girlfriend named Luna reminds me too much of an infamously bad webcomic, but I'm still enjoying the character and his low power level, using smarts instead of breaking things.
Will be back with thoughts at end of book.

Saph
2012-03-09, 07:39 AM
Began reading this book. Can't take my e-reader to work or I'd have finished it by now. I was a little nervous when it started similarly to the Iron Druid Chronicles, and the fact that there's a seer with a cursed girlfriend named Luna reminds me too much of an infamously bad webcomic, but I'm still enjoying the character and his low power level, using smarts instead of breaking things.

Hehe, I was wondering how many people on these boards would see "seer" and "Luna" and think "oh god no". :smallbiggrin: Oddly enough I didn't get the name from Dominic Deegan - I got it because at the time I was hanging around a lot of Italian teenagers and it's a reasonably common name over there.

Haven't read the Iron Druid Chronicles but several readers have brought them up now - I might have to take a look.

MammonAzrael
2012-03-09, 01:45 PM
Encyclopaedia Arcana #9 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/03/09/encyclopaedia-arcana-9-chance-magic/) is up, on chance magic - Luna's area. Next week will be time, and after that the articles will switch away from magic types and onto spells for a bit.

I've been watching the Goodreads page for Fated (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11737387-fated) to see the ratings and reviews going up - it's strangely addictive. At the time of writing the average rating has climbed to 3.88. I'm rooting for 4 but that's going to be pretty difficult. :smalltongue:

It's like watching Metacritic when a game launches! And it is so addicting. :smallbiggrin:

This was one of the best Encyclopedia entries, IMO. Explains the idea of the entire branch of magic quite well. I like the note that chance adepts are unusually common compared to mages.


Began reading this book. Can't take my e-reader to work or I'd have finished it by now. I was a little nervous when it started similarly to the Iron Druid Chronicles, and the fact that there's a seer with a cursed girlfriend named Luna reminds me too much of an infamously bad webcomic, but I'm still enjoying the character and his low power level, using smarts instead of breaking things.
Will be back with thoughts at end of book.

Girlfriend? O.o Where'd you get that from? I mean, there's some potential floating around in the air, but I wouldn't call it anything more than that.

I'll have to check out these Iron Druid Chronicles you speak of. Are they any good?


Hehe, I was wondering how many people on these boards would see "seer" and "Luna" and think "oh god no". :smallbiggrin: Oddly enough I didn't get the name from Dominic Deegan - I got it because at the time I was hanging around a lot of Italian teenagers and it's a reasonably common name over there.

I didn't connect those dots...but that's because I've never read Dominic Deegan. :smalltongue:

Mauve Shirt
2012-03-09, 04:21 PM
Ok, love interest how about. :smalltongue:
The Iron Druid Chronicles are pretty good, but because of the same e-reader problem I haven't finished the first book of that either. Or even the first chapter. :smallsigh:

IrnBruAddict
2012-03-09, 04:32 PM
This is why I prefer paper books, and I got my copy today. So far so good. Love the whole idea of using a wand as a distraction. Gonna dig in to it tonight.


Hehe, I was wondering how many people on these boards would see "seer" and "Luna" and think "oh god no".

What has been seen cannot be unseen! :smalltongue:

Mauve Shirt
2012-03-10, 08:00 AM
Well, you've passed the good read test. I was up until 1 reading it, and then it featured in my dreams. :smalltongue: 4 chapters left.
I notice you lifted a line straight out of SoD. On purpose or accident? :smallconfused:

Also, the wizard in Chicago has to be an urban legend. These universes would NOT get along. That's a crossover that would be hard until Dresden or Verus get to visit alternate universes in a few books. :smalltongue:

FINISHED! Will write a review on my blahg probably later today.

Saph
2012-03-10, 05:08 PM
Well, you've passed the good read test. I was up until 1 reading it, and then it featured in my dreams. :smalltongue: 4 chapters left.
I notice you lifted a line straight out of SoD. On purpose or accident?

Heh, well spotted. Honestly, I'm not sure. I wrote the thing more than three years ago and I can't remember what my original reasoning was. I did think of messing with the sentence structure in later rewrites to make it harder to identify (would have been easy enough) but it was just such a perfect line for the character.


Also, the wizard in Chicago has to be an urban legend. These universes would NOT get along. That's a crossover that would be hard until Dresden or Verus get to visit alternate universes in a few books. :smalltongue:

FINISHED! Will write a review on my blahg probably later today.

Cool! Look forward to it. :smallbiggrin:

Mauve Shirt
2012-03-10, 06:58 PM
Did I say "review"? I meant "ramble aimlessly about" (http://www.jarofbees.net/blog/?p=341).

MammonAzrael
2012-03-10, 07:57 PM
It's interesting to see other people's opinions. When I was reading through Fated, I thought that calling Alex and Luna friends would be rather generous. I felt the same with Starbreeze. Alex may have been pleasant and friendly enough towards them, but I never felt like Alex had anyone I'd actually term a friend (except perhaps Arachne). I'm not saying this is a bad thing, it just made Alex stand out more, not really as a loner, but just someone who, through the circumstances of his life, doesn't have anyone. Obviously things are changing by the end of the book though.

Saph
2012-03-11, 09:44 AM
Did I say "review"? I meant "ramble aimlessly about" (http://www.jarofbees.net/blog/?p=341).

Cool! That was fun to read. :smallsmile:

The power thing in the setting that you comment on actually makes the stories a lot of fun to write. One of the problems with magic-using heroes in general is that it's hard to write interesting conflicts for them without the fights ending up feeling kind of arbitrary (there are lots of visual effects but one side ends up winning just because). Having Alex's power only provide information has turned out to work very well in limiting that.

Sallera
2012-03-15, 11:26 PM
I do find the occasional reference enhances the experience, myself, as long as they're not done too heavily; both that line and the Abithriax the Red thing had me giggling far more than was probably appropriate.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed the book! (And probably shouldn't have waited a week before posting my thoughts, but here we are.) The first several chapters had me a bit wary, if only because a top-level view of the world doesn't really do it justice, but the style (not to mention knowing what you're capable of) kept it going, and once we started having things explained in more detail, it all unfolded quite nicely. You seem to have a decent level of Sanderson's-Law-compliance going on with your magic as well, which is always something I like to see in fantasy, but I'll reserve judgement on that point until I see where the next book takes it. There's a lot that seems to be just mentioned in passing, but most of it appears to fit into a coherent whole. I shall have to read those Encyclopaedia articles you've been writing, too; I'm sure those will help.

Saph
2012-03-16, 02:44 AM
Cool, thanks for the feedback! Yeah, as you can probably guess I'm more on the 'hard magic' side of Sanderson's law. I really like those articles of his, by the way - the Second Law is very good too.

Encyclopaedia Arcana #10 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/03/16/encyclopaedia-arcana-10-time-magic/) is up, this one on time magic. Next three are going to be on spells, and the three after that are on the political factions of the Light Council.

Lots more good reviews have come in, too, and it seems like my publishers are using Google Ads too, which is nice (I keep on seeing adverts for my book when I'm browsing Goodreads. Kind of unnecessary for me, but hopefully that means some other people are seeing it as well . . .)

In other news, I got my first terrible review! I'm still very new to having my book get any real exposure, so this is kind of a new thing for me. I've had a minority of six-out-of-ten reviews up to now, but they've all been of the "Well, I didn't like X and Y, but I liked A and B, and I'll pick up the next in the series to see where it goes" type, which is fair enough really. In this one though, the guy's reason for disliking the book was - quite literally - that there was a homage to Jim Butcher on page 3. Here's the link (http://www.graemesfantasybookreview.com/2012/03/didnt-finish-it-fated-benedict-jacka.html) if you're curious.

MammonAzrael
2012-03-16, 03:12 AM
Cool, thanks for the feedback! Yeah, as you can probably guess I'm more on the 'hard magic' side of Sanderson's law. I really like those articles of his, by the way - the Second Law is very good too.

Encyclopaedia Arcana #10 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/03/16/encyclopaedia-arcana-10-time-magic/) is up, this one on time magic. Next three are going to be on spells, and the three after that are on the political factions of the Light Council.

The initial wording on Time sight feels a little off. I feel like what you meant was "...a time mage can view a single the past, learning what did happen instead of what might have happened..." I mean, there is only one past, right? Not multiple pasts? Unless you're referring to individual pasts of objects and people, rather than the blanket term of "the past?"

Given the close connection of past and future, am I right in thinking that diviners also happen to be users of "time magic?" Theirs just happens to be rather specialized and unique, but it's still "time" magic. Or is divination in a completely separate category? And if so, why?

What safeguards are there to ensure that time mages, and by extension diviners, are honest about what they see? While I recognize that trust and repeat customers plays into it, there must be magical means of ensure the truth is spoken, yes?

In other news, haste, slow, and time hop are awesome. :smallbiggrin:

I really like the way you separated this entry, particularly the section on Nature and Demeanor. I hope future articles on types of magic share this section!


In other news, I got my first terrible review! I'm still very new to having my book get any real exposure, so this is kind of a new thing for me. I've had a minority of six-out-of-ten reviews up to now, but they've all been of the "Well, I didn't like X and Y, but I liked A and B, and I'll pick up the next in the series to see where it goes" type, which is fair enough really. In this one though, the guy's reason for disliking the book was - quite literally - that there was a homage to Jim Butcher on page 3. Here's the link (http://www.graemesfantasybookreview.com/2012/03/didnt-finish-it-fated-benedict-jacka.html) if you're curious.

I've never been to Camden so I can't comment on the portrayal of it in Fated, except for the fact that it struck me as extremely quiet with very little going on and not at all an interesting set piece or location, notable only because that happened to be where Verus set up shop.

As for the rest of the review...

http://cache.ohinternet.com/images/thumb/7/73/JeanLucPicardFacepalm.jpg/618px-JeanLucPicardFacepalm.jpg

Saph
2012-03-16, 06:41 AM
The initial wording on Time sight feels a little off. I feel like what you meant was "...a time mage can view a single the past, learning what did happen instead of what might have happened..." I mean, there is only one past, right? Not multiple pasts? Unless you're referring to individual pasts of objects and people, rather than the blanket term of "the past?"

Hmm - so you think it's a bit confusing? I could rewrite it along your lines - the idea was to get at the fact that time mages can just see one sequence of events rather than having to sort through countless possibilities.


Given the close connection of past and future, am I right in thinking that diviners also happen to be users of "time magic?" Theirs just happens to be rather specialized and unique, but it's still "time" magic. Or is divination in a completely separate category? And if so, why?

Either way is a valid way of looking at it. One of the things I decided on a while ago is that all the types of magic are basically just labels. There's no completely objective measurement for what kind of magic someone can use.


What safeguards are there to ensure that time mages, and by extension diviners, are honest about what they see? While I recognize that trust and repeat customers plays into it, there must be magical means of ensure the truth is spoken, yes?

There are . . . kind of, but they're highly intrusive and pretty much no-one is going to voluntarily go along with them. As for the issue of how anyone can tell that a time mage is being honest about what he sees . . . well, that's a good question! It's the problem you'd expect to have when only a very small minority of people are qualified to give evidence on a subject: there's a lot of room for corruption.

And yes, Time Hop was in fact the inspiration for that spell. :smallbiggrin:

MammonAzrael
2012-03-16, 11:53 AM
Hmm - so you think it's a bit confusing? I could rewrite it along your lines - the idea was to get at the fact that time mages can just see one sequence of events rather than having to sort through countless possibilities.

The reason I found it slightly confusing was because of how divination works. Since divination allows you to see the branching paths of the future for various people and objects, there are obviously multiple possible futures. With time magic being so similar to divination (in theme, if nothing else), the way you worded it made me think that perhaps instead of just looking at a piece of the past (like watching a security tape or something), time mages followed individuals through their specific past.

Of course, it looks like you've updated, so moot point. :smalltongue:


There are . . . kind of, but they're highly intrusive and pretty much no-one is going to voluntarily go along with them. As for the issue of how anyone can tell that a time mage is being honest about what he sees . . . well, that's a good question! It's the problem you'd expect to have when only a very small minority of people are qualified to give evidence on a subject: there's a lot of room for corruption.

So it sounds like the most common limiter is a very small field in which a reputation for dishonesty can spread very quickly. Makes sense. Which implies that when a time mage/diviner does want to be dishonest, they won't want any survivors...or anyone able to catch them in the lie at least.

Mauve Shirt
2012-03-17, 10:59 AM
Hey Saph, how did you get Jim's endorsement? Did you just email it to him? Was it arranged by the people who published your book?

Saph
2012-03-17, 05:56 PM
Hey Saph, how did you get Jim's endorsement? Did you just email it to him? Was it arranged by the people who published your book?

The second. My American editor/publisher is the same as Jim's (which I was very happy about when I found out).

The Glyphstone
2012-03-18, 08:47 AM
My local newspaper's book column gave a good review of Fated this week - I saw it and knew the name of the book looked really familiar, but took me a few minutes to remember who I knew wrote it. I'll have to round up a copy now to check it out.

Saph
2012-03-18, 08:54 AM
My local newspaper's book column gave a good review of Fated this week - I saw it and knew the name of the book looked really familiar, but took me a few minutes to remember who I knew wrote it.

Cool! Is there a link to it anywhere? I'm collecting reviews on my blog at the moment. :)

The Glyphstone
2012-03-18, 08:56 AM
It was just a free university rag, I don't think it has a website. It was a good review though, and also mentioned the Butcher connections.

Saph
2012-03-23, 02:47 AM
Encyclopaedia Arcana #11 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/03/23/encyclopaedia-arcana-11-introduction-to-spells/) is up, this one an introduction to spells.

I got a bunch more good reviews, including a really nice and detailed one on an English site called Fantasy Faction (http://fantasy-faction.com/2012/review-of-fated-by-benedict-jacka). So that put me in a good mood!

Oh, and I saw the first reference to Fated go up on TV Tropes, which made me happier than it really should have (given how much time I spend reading that site). I almost want to make a trope page for Fated myself, but it's way more fun to see what other people come up with. :smallbiggrin:

Saph
2012-03-30, 09:04 AM
Something new this week - I wrote a short story (http://www.tyngasreviews.com/2012/03/paf-story-by-benedict-jacka-giveaway.html) featuring the characters from Fated for the Paranormal April Fools' event at Tynga's Reviews. It's definitely on the silly side, but if you liked Fated I think you'll enjoy it. :)

And Encyclopaedia Arcana #12 (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/03/30/encyclopaedia-arcana-12-spell-components/) is up, this one dealing with spell components. If you've ever wondered why spellcasters say magic words and make gestures with their hands, here's the reason!

I'm still getting reviews coming in, even a month after release, which is really encouraging. I'm putting up a new post's worth of them every week or so.

Mauve Shirt
2012-03-30, 06:46 PM
Hee! That short story was cute. :smallbiggrin:

pita
2012-03-31, 04:01 AM
Finally got around to ordering Fated from Amazon. Should be here in about a month.
...
I hate not living in Europe/America.

Saph
2012-04-06, 09:30 AM
New Encyclopaedia Arcana (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/04/06/encyclopaedia-arcana-13-learning-spells/) is up: the last part of the Spells series. Next up is a look at the factions of the Light Council.

Yet more reviews, too, which is a nice surprise - I hadn't expected to still be getting them more than a month after release. It's made me realise just how many review sites/blogs are out there.

Saph
2012-04-13, 02:37 PM
New Encyclopaedia Arcana (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/04/13/encyclopaedia-arcana-14-council-factions-part-one/) is up: the first of a three-part series on the factions of the Light Council.

Yet more good reviews, too, which always makes me happy.

And in other news, the Alex Verus series has a TV Tropes page (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AlexVerus)! Now it just needs content. :)

Dragonus45
2012-04-14, 10:02 AM
Some of you may remember a couple of threads I started last year looking for suggestions on a title for a book. Well, time's gone by and that book, Fated, is being published at the end of next month!

The US edition (http://www.amazon.com/dp/1937007294/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=benejack-20&camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=1937007294&adid=15X001MHJX3RX1T1ZRNT&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fbenedictjacka.co.uk%2Falex-verus%2Fus%2Ffated%2F) is being published on February 28 2012 by Ace Books, and here's the cover:

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j414/Saph7/358971572.jpg
And the UK edition (http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0356500241/ref=as_li_ss_til?tag=benejack-21&camp=2902&creative=19466&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=0356500241&adid=11FGTTMXA8FJWB4NK7P4&&ref-refURL=http%3A%2F%2Fbenedictjacka.co.uk%2Falex-verus%2Fuk%2Ffated%2F) is coming out on March 1 2012 from Orbit, and looks like this:

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j414/Saph7/9780356500249.jpg
Fated is the first in a series. Book #2, Cursed, is coming out May/June 2012, and Book #3, Taken, is coming out August/September 2012.

About the Series

The series is urban fantasy, set in London, England. Magic is real, but most people don't believe in it and only a very small fraction can use it. The most skilled are called mages, and they can each use a specific type of magic determined by their personality - you can think of them in D&D terms as sorcerers or psions with very limited spell lists, or in Mage terms as mages who only get one part of one Sphere. The main character is Alex Verus, a diviner (aka a knowledge or probability mage) who runs a magic shop in Camden. Alex's magic lets him see the future but can't affect the physical world in any way, and the first book follows his adventures as several other factions of mages try to use his abilities to gain access to a relic.

Publicity with Jim Butcher

Genre-wise the closest match to my series is Jim Butcher's Dresden Files, which isn't a coincidence, as he's one of my favourite authors. In fact, we have the same US editor, Anne Sowards from Ace (she's excellent by the way).

Jim was kind enough to both read my book and send me a really nice email and blurb (which you can see an extract from on both front covers). We're also scheduled to do an email interview exchange towards the end of January, which I'll be posting when it's done. :smallsmile:

My Website

As part of the run-up to the launch, I've revamped my old author's website, which can be found here (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/). I've also started a blog (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/), which I'm going to be updating regularly every Friday at 9 AM. The blog will contain reviews, news, and announcements about the series, but the main content will be the Encyclopaedia Arcana (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/category/encyclopaedia-arcana/), a series of background/setting articles about the universe of the Alex Verus series.

The website also has affiliate links to where you can buy or pre-order the books (meaning I get a small extra amount of money) and extracts of the published and soon-to-be-published novels.

My Name

I've been on these forums for five years now, and one of the odd quirks I've had during that time is that I've always stayed anonymous (okay, any poster could probably have figured out my real name if they really tried, but the posters on these forums are quite good about respecting people's privacy). But there's not much point in doing that anymore, so I'm going to drop anonymity from now on. (I actually thought about changing my name to match my real one, but I've been going by Saph on these forums so long that I'm used to it. I'll just update my signature instead.)

Updates

I'll use this thread to post any further information about the series as the publication date approaches, as well as any Encyclopaedia Arcana articles. Post any questions or requests!

And finally, thanks to everyone who's helped out with suggestions or contributions over the last few years concerning my books - I've been a member of these forums for a long time and I've had lots of help from them. :smallsmile:

well around the same time you mentioned Jim Butcher you won me, ill be ordering the book next paycheck.

Ecalsneerg
2012-04-17, 09:25 PM
I bought this book on a whim upon recalling this thread, and seeing it in a Waterstone's... and then messily devoured it within a couple of days. The plot just grabbed me, began choking me and demanded I finish the book or it would choke the life out of me. Fantastic, dude, I will be definitely following your writing career from now on.

Saph
2012-04-20, 05:08 AM
I bought this book on a whim upon recalling this thread, and seeing it in a Waterstone's... and then messily devoured it within a couple of days. The plot just grabbed me, began choking me and demanded I finish the book or it would choke the life out of me. Fantastic, dude, I will be definitely following your writing career from now on.

Cool! Glad you liked it so much, always good to hear. :)

Next Encyclopaedia Arcana is up: part 2 of the Council Factions series (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/04/20/encyclopaedia-arcana-15-council-factions-part-two/).

And it's only six weeks until Cursed comes out! Need to update the first post in this thread soon.

Kurald Galain
2012-04-20, 05:32 PM
Hey, congrats on getting your books published! I don't usually read this part of the forums or I would have noticed earlier :smallsmile: I'll keep an eye out at my local Waterstone's.

Reverent-One
2012-04-20, 09:46 PM
Bought the book, read the book, liked the book, will buy the next book.

To be slightly more wordy, I really enjoyed the whole uber-planning aspect of diviner mages, which is not surprising to me in the least. I could just picture the scene where (probably not significant enough to need to be spoilered, but I'll do it anyway)

Alex walks right in the museum door just as the guards happen to be looking away.

perfectly, and it was great.

Also, six weeks till the next one? Really? Man, if all the writers I followed put out books as fast as you, that would be great.

Saph
2012-04-22, 04:23 AM
Heh. I don't write quite that fast, unfortunately. :smallbiggrin:

The reason books #1, #2, and #3 are coming out in such quick succession is that the publisher scheduled it that way - I finished the first book a couple of years ago. The idea was to "save them up" so that we could release the first three at three-month intervals to build up momentum. I've actually just about finished all three now (just doing proof-reading for the third) - at the moment I'm trying to sort out book #4.

MammonAzrael
2012-04-22, 05:34 PM
Woo, I've been out of touch with the Playground lately!

I quite enjoyed the story, very fun.
Arcanas 11 and 12 are good. I like how you've likened spells to numerous different activities, instead of a single one. It seems to me that spells with a more instantaneous duration would tend to be more like skills (and more likely have components), while longer-lasting spells, particularly those that can conceivably be always on (like divination or a time mage's past-sight or an endure elements like spell) to be much more similar to a theorem, and much less likely to contain additional components. Is it possible for a mage to have two spells that are more or less identicle, save that one has components while the other does not? Or would the similarity of the two make that impossible?

Arcana 13 is a solid piece. What I take away from it the most is an excellent reason why Alex really has such a limited arsenal of spells. He had no teacher under Richard, so he had to come to grips with his divining alone. And since his escape, it doesn't feel like he's had the time or inclination to delve into his magic and start experimenting with new spells. I feel like this leaves the door open for him to come up with some new ideas and tricks (perhaps "inspired" by various things he's seen Helikaon or his other peers pull off).

You have my thoughts on Arcanas 14 and 15. While there are still numerous unanswered questions, the entries are informative and I'm looking forward to the final one.

Thrawn183
2012-04-26, 08:26 PM
The reason books #1, #2, and #3 are coming out in such quick succession is that the publisher scheduled it that way - I finished the first book a couple of years ago. The idea was to "save them up" so that we could release the first three at three-month intervals to build up momentum. I've actually just about finished all three now (just doing proof-reading for the third) - at the moment I'm trying to sort out book #4.

The only piece of advice I can give you is to make absolutely certain that you have all of your work (not yet submitted to editor/publisher) saved in more than one location. There comes a point where you've put in an immense amount of work into something and then lose it all. That's.... a bad place to be. It can really kill your motivation to keep going.

Saph
2012-04-27, 04:51 AM
Yeah, it's happened to me once before. Luckily at the time it was between books, so I didn't really lose anything.

Final part of the Encyclopaedia Arcana series on Council Factions (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/04/27/encyclopaedia-arcana-16-council-factions-part-three/) is up! Next week will be one on mage names.

I really need to update the first post in the thread, too.


Arcanas 11 and 12 are good. I like how you've likened spells to numerous different activities, instead of a single one. It seems to me that spells with a more instantaneous duration would tend to be more like skills (and more likely have components), while longer-lasting spells, particularly those that can conceivably be always on (like divination or a time mage's past-sight or an endure elements like spell) to be much more similar to a theorem, and much less likely to contain additional components. Is it possible for a mage to have two spells that are more or less identicle, save that one has components while the other does not? Or would the similarity of the two make that impossible?

I would have thought so, yes, but there'd usually be little reason to - it's a fair bit of work to develop a spell, so most mages would just have one and modify it. But if they spent enough time, they could come up with as many variations as they liked.

Cieyrin
2012-04-27, 10:41 AM
I'm slowly but surely making my way through Fated and I'm enjoying it immensely. I especially liked the Gythka, subtle allusion to Thri-Kreen, there. :smallwink: The way Alex makes use of his magic of knowing and the plans he enacts off of it are right up there with what Harry Dresden pulls but perhaps better, given Harry has to do so with just his deductions, instincts and skills, rather than observing the possible futures and enacting a plan to grab it. And yet, there remains the possibility of failure from looking at specific futures but not others, which can get him in just as much trouble. It works, it's engaging, I look forward to finishing the book and picking up the next one. :smallbiggrin:

Weimann
2012-04-27, 11:40 AM
I purchased this book a while ago, but I'm currently studying literature so I have quite some books to read anyway. I got a bit through it, however, and from where I stand, it has some good and some less good parts. I'll have to read it probperly once I get less satiated with other books. :smallsmile:

Saph
2012-04-27, 04:06 PM
I'm slowly but surely making my way through Fated and I'm enjoying it immensely. I especially liked the Gythka, subtle allusion to Thri-Kreen, there. :smallwink:

Heh. It always surprises me how few people notice a lot of the references, but I guess some of the stuff I read is fairly obscure outside of these forums. Glad you liked the story!

Mauve Shirt
2012-04-28, 06:54 AM
I purchased this book a while ago, but I'm currently studying literature so I have quite some books to read anyway. I got a bit through it, however, and from where I stand, it has some good and some less good parts. I'll have to read it probperly once I get less satiated with other books. :smallsmile:

Did you ever finish Ghost Story?

Weimann
2012-04-28, 05:46 PM
No, not yet. I'll still finish it before the next one comes out, though. It doesn't really help that I got it in ebook format. I should get a Kindle if I want to do that again.

In fact, recently I've started with a lot of books but finished very few. It's possible I might be growing picky. :smallconfused:

Saph
2012-04-29, 05:35 AM
I might go back and have another look at Ghost Story. At the time I found the conflicts and the fight scenes less fun than usual, but thinking about it that might be because I couldn't help comparing it to the concentrated awesome of the final battle in Changes.

Mauve Shirt
2012-04-29, 07:09 AM
Ghost Story is a breather episode, and you could probably skip it. It's got some really great parts though.

Mewtarthio
2012-04-29, 10:47 AM
You really can't skip Ghost Story. It is much more slowly-paced than Changes, but that's not entirely because it's a breather episode. Bear in mind that Changes had a lot of dramatic changes in it (hence the name), plus there's a timeskip afterwards (granted, every book has a bit of a timeskip, but stuff actually happens between Changes and Ghost Story). The status quo gets completely upended during Changes. Ghost Story is all about establishing the new order and setting the stage for the rest of the series.

So, yes, Ghost Story is slower than the rest of the series. It's also important to the rest of the series (presumably; I suppose Cold Days could end with Harry traveling back in time and erasing the last two books, but I doubt it).

Cieyrin
2012-04-29, 11:12 AM
You really can't skip Ghost Story. It is much more slowly-paced than Changes, but that's not entirely because it's a breather episode. Bear in mind that Changes had a lot of dramatic changes in it (hence the name), plus there's a timeskip afterwards (granted, every book has a bit of a timeskip, but stuff actually happens between Changes and Ghost Story). The status quo gets completely upended during Changes. Ghost Story is all about establishing the new order and setting the stage for the rest of the series.

So, yes, Ghost Story is slower than the rest of the series. It's also important to the rest of the series (presumably; I suppose Cold Days could end with Harry traveling back in time and erasing the last two books, but I doubt it).

Indeed. I'd also have a look at Side Jobs, which has a short story featuring Murphy and giving some more background on the Fomor. Also collects all the rest of the Dresden Files short stories, some of which are hard to find or are downright hilarious and should not be missed.

MammonAzrael
2012-04-29, 01:05 PM
Indeed. I'd also have a look at Side Jobs, which has a short story featuring Murphy and giving some more background on the Fomor. Also collects all the rest of the Dresden Files short stories, some of which are hard to find or are downright hilarious and should not be missed.

I agreed that Side Jobs is very entertaining, I just want to stress that reading it is not required like Ghost Story is.

EDIT: Wait, this isn't the Dresden thread! Gotta stay on topic! :smalltongue: Only a month til Cursed! Once again I love the cover the UK is getting (they'll look fantastic should they ever see a hardcover release).

Cieyrin
2012-04-30, 12:09 PM
Just finished Fated this morning and the final fights were well executed, especially the fight between Alex and Onyx, Battle Cognition at its finest. After it was revealed that Deleo was Rachel, I was sure that Cinder was Tabruk, though I'm not sure now, since Alex implied Tabruk had died when Alex escaped from Richard's mansion, so I guess we'll have to wait to see if they make a reappearance, which it would be a shame if they didn't.

Saph
2012-04-30, 03:27 PM
Cinder and Deleo ended up turning into much longer-running characters than I'd originally intended when I wrote them into that first scene. I'm always surprised by how popular they are . . . but then I kind of like them too, so I can see where it's coming from, really. :smalltongue:

Saph
2012-05-04, 04:56 AM
And the next Arcana article is up, this one on names (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/05/04/encyclopaedia-arcana-17-a-mages-name/).

Quiet week otherwise - the main news is that I got my English Cursed copies in the mail yesterday. They look REALLY good. :smallsmile:

MammonAzrael
2012-05-04, 12:49 PM
That was a fun little lesson. It seems pretty apparent that the power of names is much different in your world compared to the Dresden'verse.

Mauve Shirt
2012-05-05, 07:41 AM
So is "Alex" our main character's birth name and "Verus" his mage name, or are they both his mage name, or will we find out in a later book?

Cieyrin
2012-05-05, 11:50 AM
So is "Alex" our main character's birth name and "Verus" his mage name, or are they both his mage name, or will we find out in a later book?

I'm pretty sure at the beginning of Fated Alex said Alex isn't actually his name.

Mewtarthio
2012-05-05, 02:31 PM
I'm pretty sure at the beginning of Fated Alex said Alex isn't actually his name.

"My name's Alex Verus. It's not the name I was born with, but that's another story."

That being said, "Alex" is such a mundane name that I can't help but wonder if he's make some sort of deliberate statement. It certainly wouldn't be out of character for him.

Mauve Shirt
2012-05-05, 04:33 PM
Ach, it's been a while since I read that part of the book. Yeah, it's the mundanity that made me think it was a birth name. But it would be like him to use his name as a statement.

Saph
2012-05-11, 04:47 PM
New Encyclopaedia Arcana (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/05/11/encyclopaedia-arcana-18-fire-magic-part-one/) is up, this one the first of a two-parter on fire mages!

Also updated the front page with some links and info.

Oh, and on a random bit of news, my site now has more US traffic than UK traffic. So I'm getting visitors from somewhere!

Cieyrin
2012-05-11, 06:19 PM
Hmm, I'm wondering if Fire Mages, given they can draw heat away from things, could perform cold magic just by utilizing thermodynamics to that extreme...

Saph
2012-05-12, 04:49 AM
Hmm, I'm wondering if Fire Mages, given they can draw heat away from things, could perform cold magic just by utilizing thermodynamics to that extreme...

It's something I've been wondering about. It makes sense for them to be able to use it to some degree, but then ice magic is supposed to be a different type.

MammonAzrael
2012-05-12, 11:46 AM
Easy solution: Your style of magic is extremely fluid, with no two mages commanding the exact same skill set. If you can have fire/lightning mages, you can have fire/ice mages. A fire mages ability to draw heat from objects or areas is not unlimited, but rather governed by their command of ice magic. For a fire mage that has little connection to ice magic, perhaps they can only draw out a little heat, reducing things to body temp if you're generous. To reduce or draw out the heat to anything lower, a fire mage would need at least some command or connection to ice magic.

Additionally, fire mages could possibly redirect heat rather than dissipate it.

Oh, very good article, btw. :smallsmile:

Saph
2012-05-12, 04:08 PM
Easy solution: Your style of magic is extremely fluid, with no two mages commanding the exact same skill set. If you can have fire/lightning mages, you can have fire/ice mages. A fire mages ability to draw heat from objects or areas is not unlimited, but rather governed by their command of ice magic. For a fire mage that has little connection to ice magic, perhaps they can only draw out a little heat, reducing things to body temp if you're generous. To reduce or draw out the heat to anything lower, a fire mage would need at least some command or connection to ice magic.

Makes sense. I think I'll go with that. Oh, and glad you liked it. :)

Saph
2012-05-18, 05:49 AM
The second and last part of the Fire Magic (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/05/18/encyclopaedia-arcana-19-fire-magic-part-two/) article.

Less than two weeks until Cursed is released in the US! I've just finished writing a piece on curse magic at the request of my US editor - the plan is to use it for a feature on Cursed for Penguin's SF/F page at the beginning of June.

MammonAzrael
2012-05-18, 12:18 PM
Another great entry. I like how vague you kept everything. You really give the sense of how fire mages are all similar, and yet leave the door open to make room for future ideas. And leave it open for all those unique abilities that will vary from person to person thanks to the fluid nature of the system.

I really like the personality description of fire mages. It is very general, but feels extremely right.

Saph
2012-05-25, 04:17 AM
New Encyclopaedia Arcana (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/05/25/encyclopaedia-arcana-20-the-concord-part-one/) is the first of a five-part series on the Concord, the main legal system/treaty in the magical world.

And Cursed (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/alex-verus/us/cursed/) comes out next week! :smallsmile: I've been booked for a whole bunch of guest posts/interviews and I've been working frantically on those - it's been keeping me busy, but in a good way. They should start going up in June.

Mauve Shirt
2012-05-25, 05:31 AM
Just preordered Cursed! Take that, book budget! :smallbiggrin:

MammonAzrael
2012-05-25, 12:36 PM
Loving part 1 of the Concord entry. It covers ground well and explains a lot. I do wonder when the Great Rune War occured, but that's food for another entry/book! :smallsmile:

Oh, in the second to last paragraph you say, "The Light Council might not enforce the Concord consistently..." which, based on the tone of the preceding sentences, implies that the Light Council of Britain has international authority. It might be better to change that to the Light Alliance.

Saph
2012-05-25, 05:56 PM
Just preordered Cursed! Take that, book budget! :smallbiggrin:

Cool! Tell me what you think of it when you get the chance!

@Mammon: good catch, I'll go edit that.

Saph
2012-05-29, 03:55 AM
Cursed is out in the US! I love the cover.


http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j414/Saph7/CursedUSCover295.jpg
I'm going to be very busy over the next few weeks with a series of interviews and guest posts (not to mention the next book). The good news is that there's been definite interest from both my publishers in some more Alex Verus novels. No contract yet, but fingers crossed!

Mauve Shirt
2012-05-29, 04:23 AM
Ah, the unmistakable ding of a book being downloaded to my ereader. Will read this evening, hopefully.

Cieyrin
2012-05-29, 02:19 PM
I'll definitely look into getting my hands on a copy soon. Looking forward to how Luna works as Alex's apprentice in the new book. :smallbiggrin:

Sallera
2012-05-30, 10:22 PM
Shiny. Got my copy in the mail this morning, and remembered to take a note or two per chapter while reading, too. Not that I really ended up having much constructive to say, but I can at least mention the bits that stood out.

Spoilered for obvious reasons:1) The opening flowed much more smoothly this time. I don't know whether it was just because this is a second book and the setting's already established, but it felt a lot more like... its own story, I guess?
2) The bit with Alex frantically searching through all his drawers for the stiletto was amusing. Nice to see the expected consequences of actually keeping something on hand for every situation.
3) I liked the training scene; Alex and Luna's dialogue always seems natural, to the point where it actually stands out.
4) The initial confrontation between Luna and Meredith felt a bit... forced? I know it's a classic of the genre, but it sort of felt like it was only there because it's a classic of the genre. On the other hand, it does keep the reader guessing as to Meredith's actual personality (My note says "OOC Meredith? Don't know enough yet, but it kind of felt like it;" in the end, it didn't turn out to be, but if that's the feeling you were going for, it worked.) I did like the notes on mage politics sprinkled everywhere, though.
5) Luna's character development is quite impressive through here; her actions are often a bit surprising, but they never feel unrealistic.
6) I love how much use Alex's talent for throwing things gets. It's such a quirky little skill, but it comes up all the time. Sonder's really likeable here; he's grown up a bit since last time, aye? The end of the first confrontation makes a good midpoint; it's just about convincing, even though we know it can't be over.
7) Belthas plays the game well. A credit to his field.
8) My notes for this chapter pretty much amounted to "Dragon!" With the equivalent mental squeeing, and all. I love force-of-nature style dragons, and yours seem to fit the picture. I kind of hope none of them meddle in the third book, though; that might be one appearance too many.
9) Elsewhere is done well; it's a good blend of the real and surreal.
10) Apparently I forgot to take notes for this chapter, but that's probably not a bad sign. Good action scenes, though, and Alex and Cinder have an amusing working relationship.
11) Heh. The climax did play out well, but the one thing that really stood out was Luna casually cursing Meredith, and the subsequent reactions. That was just brilliant.
12) I admit, I wasn't quite sure of what exactly happened with Martin's last wish, but I did get the feeling that all the information was given to us, and if I just went back over it, I'd understand. Haven't tried yet, and I might not; the last scene was a nice comfortable closing regardless.

Overall? Yeah, the series is just getting better as it goes on. The introspection and handling of emotion stood out in more than a few places, and even though I was trying to remember to take notes, I never felt drawn out of the story. Also, I don't remember whether I mentioned this last time, but I really like imbued items. The idea of it being literally impossible to create a permanent magic item without making it sentient... yeah, it's just lovely.

Saph
2012-05-31, 04:24 AM
@Sallera: Cool! Answers in spoiler.

Glad you liked the overall flow and character development. I wrote Cursed a good year/year and a half after Fated, and it felt quite different while I was writing it. I never know for sure whether something that feels better actually is, though, so it's really good to hear it from other people.

Meredith was the trickiest character to write, and I was never 100% happy with her. She was intended as a character who was good enough at false faces that you never knew very much about her . . . but the problem that I found was that it made her quite difficult to write in an interesting way, because she hardly ever revealed anything.

Luna's turning into one of my favourite characters to write. She probably gets the most character developments out of all the cast, and I've found it fun to watch the progress from book to book, especially in her relationship with Alex.

I was happy with the dragon, too, and no, I'm not planning to overuse them. Would spoil it. :smallbiggrin: Besides, the way I've designed them they really ARE in the force-of-nature power bracket, so any conflict involving one is going to be really one-sided.

MammonAzrael
2012-06-01, 01:39 PM
Encyclopaedia Arcana #21: The Concord (Part Two) (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/06/01/encyclopaedia-arcana-21-the-concord-part-two/)

Starting off, calling most of the Concord filler seems a bit disingenuous and disrespectful. Technical jargon or detailed particulars or something seems more accurate.

The information in the entry looks fine, but one thing jarred me a bit. You open with talking about 5 important clauses, but you only tell us about one. Then you move on to other matters, and I'm left thinking "what about the other 4?"

Saph
2012-06-02, 01:29 AM
Encyclopaedia Arcana #21: The Concord (Part Two) (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/06/01/encyclopaedia-arcana-21-the-concord-part-two/)

Starting off, calling most of the Concord filler seems a bit disingenuous and disrespectful. Technical jargon or detailed particulars or something seems more accurate.

Heh. Fair enough, I'll give it an edit.

Re: the other clauses, it's a 5-part series. They'll be covered!

The Glyphstone
2012-06-02, 11:19 AM
I plan on picking up a copy of Fated on my way to ComicCon today. After that, I should be able to read through this thread.:smallbiggrin:

Saph
2012-06-07, 05:46 AM
And Cursed is out in the UK as of today!

http://i1084.photobucket.com/albums/j414/Saph7/CursedUKCover300.jpg
First reviews have gone up, collected on my site here (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/06/07/cursed-uk-release-day/).

Early sales in the US have been pretty good, according to my editor, and I just got told that there's something in SciFiNow magazine. I'll have to see if I can take a look. :smallsmile:

Mauve Shirt
2012-06-07, 06:12 PM
I'm not done yet, but
DAMN. Never trust anyone named Martin. :smalltongue:

Reverent-One
2012-06-07, 09:22 PM
Finally got my copy of Cursed. :smallbiggrin:

Saph
2012-06-08, 02:12 AM
Yay! :smallbiggrin:

And the next Encyclopaedia Arcana (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/06/08/encyclopaedia-arcana-22-the-concord-part-three/) is up, this one making up the third part of the series on the Concord.

Saph
2012-06-15, 06:29 AM
Part 4 of the Concord series (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/06/15/encyclopaedia-arcana-23-the-concord-part-four/) is up!

I'm also going to be doing a live podcast interview (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/06/12/podcast-interview-on-june-19th/) this coming Tuesday. It's the first one I've done, so I'm curious to see how it's going to go.

Saph
2012-06-22, 10:00 AM
Final part of the Concord series (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/06/22/encyclopaedia-arcana-24-the-concord-part-five/) is up! Bunch of interviews and guest posts in the past week too.

I'm thinking of introducing a new feature that I'll run on Fridays as a replacement of the Encyclopaedia Arcana: a sort of Q&A column where the readers can write in and ask questions of one of the characters. Still working on the details though!

Serack
2012-06-25, 12:46 AM
I'm a big fan of Jim Butcher's works and started reading your series based off his and his fans recommendations.

I was slogging through another book when I realized that Cursed had been released. It took me a couple more weeks to finish that book, which was only about 50% longer page wise (I don't have word counts for either though), then it only took me about 2 days to finish yours. It was just that much more enjoyable.

I got brought to this topic while looking for something else, but having just finished your book yesterday, I just had to leave a few comments.

You did an awesome job on so many fronts, however the thing that really stuck out to me afterwords was actually the adept initiation at the end. Jim's Dresden Files have an awesome overall story arc, but one of the only shortcomings in his story telling is how frequently in the later books, after the main climax, he has a chapter or 2 of info dump/hints with respect to the overall arc. After reading that initiation scene, I got the impression that you were doing a great, subtle job of squeezing in some hints at the end of your book, but in the setting of a scene that had been alluded to fluidly earlier in the book, and with plenty of other interesting character interactions other than just the information/hints being conveyed.

Serack
2012-06-27, 01:27 PM
I've been scratching my head trying to come up with a worthy question for Luna (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/category/ask-luna/)

Saph
2012-06-28, 03:32 AM
You did an awesome job on so many fronts, however the thing that really stuck out to me afterwords was actually the adept initiation at the end. Jim's Dresden Files have an awesome overall story arc, but one of the only shortcomings in his story telling is how frequently in the later books, after the main climax, he has a chapter or 2 of info dump/hints with respect to the overall arc. After reading that initiation scene, I got the impression that you were doing a great, subtle job of squeezing in some hints at the end of your book, but in the setting of a scene that had been alluded to fluidly earlier in the book, and with plenty of other interesting character interactions other than just the information/hints being conveyed.

Glad you liked it! It actually took me quite a while to write the initiation scene – it turns out writing ritual dialogue is harder than you'd think.

Oh, and I'm still waiting on questions for Luna too. No hurry though!

Robert Blackletter
2012-06-28, 07:23 PM
Well I've just read both books, and their awesome, please hurry up and write more! I put them in my "you must read this now" recommendation pile for my friends. Even read the online parts which I don't brother with normally! Looking forwards to the next Encyclopaedia Arcana.

One thing that seem out of place is why is a Divination Mage seen as a wizard rather then a powerful adapt? They only have one trick, a powerful trick, but still only one one.

Anyway awesome book, if you do any book tour in the south-west, i get you a pint if you sign my books

Robert

Saph
2012-06-29, 04:03 AM
One thing that seem out of place is why is a Divination Mage seen as a wizard rather then a powerful adapt? They only have one trick, a powerful trick, but still only one one.

That's actually a valid way to look at it, and it's one of the reasons divination's thought of as a 'weak' type. The mage/adept distinction is fuzzy and there isn't really a right or a wrong way to categorise them.

Either way, really glad you like them! I'm working on number 4 at the moment and publication looks hopeful, but nothing definite yet!

Oh, and new Encyclopaedia Arcana's up, this one on the Council Keepers (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/06/29/encyclopaedia-arcana-25-the-keepers-of-the-flame/).

Mewtarthio
2012-06-29, 10:23 PM
Are we going to hear more about the Dark Mages once we're through with the Council series? I'm particular curious about what the term officially signifies, given that Dark Mages don't seem to have officials ("There is no Dark Alliance"). Is "Dark Mage" just a philosophical label, like "utilitarian" or "anarchist," with no legal meaning? If so, how does the Concord recognize them--Are they treated like independents?

Serack
2012-06-30, 08:02 PM
Just sent up my ask Luna questions. I understand if you want to leave out any of the questions in your response. It's quite possible that answering some of this stuff might be more fun in text.

Saph
2012-07-01, 04:27 AM
Are we going to hear more about the Dark Mages once we're through with the Council series? I'm particular curious about what the term officially signifies, given that Dark Mages don't seem to have officials ("There is no Dark Alliance"). Is "Dark Mage" just a philosophical label, like "utilitarian" or "anarchist," with no legal meaning? If so, how does the Concord recognize them--Are they treated like independents?

The Concord doesn't draw any distinction between the factions – they're all just considered "mages" with equal rights under the law. Theoretically, Dark mages are under the authority of the Council like everyone else. In practice, obviously, things don't quite work out that way.

I've got a piece on the Dark factions in draft stage, but it won't be ready for a good long while.


Just sent up my ask Luna questions. I understand if you want to leave out any of the questions in your response. It's quite possible that answering some of this stuff might be more fun in text.

Answered them – well, most of them. :) I've got about enough questions to make up half an article, so you'll have to wait for the answers until I get a few more questions!

Saph
2012-07-06, 04:49 AM
New Encyclopaedia Arcana is up, this one on the Keeper Orders (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/07/06/encyclopaedia-arcana-26-the-keeper-orders/).

I got a ton of Ask Luna questions on Wednesday, so I think I'll give the Encyclopaedia a break and run the first Ask Luna next week!

Gralamin
2012-07-11, 12:59 AM
So I finally got around to reading Faated, read it over two days, and now I'm getting Cursed. I've also recommended it to a few friends. Very well done Saph. :smallsmile:

Dante & Vergil
2012-07-11, 07:24 PM
Ok, just started reading Fated, only a couple of chapters into it, and I'm loving it a lot! I also really like the fact that we have the author of the book on the Playground, which is awesome! Great work, Saph! Keep it up!:smallbiggrin:

Saph
2012-07-13, 06:05 AM
Great, thanks! Very much appreciated. :)

And the first Ask Luna (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/07/13/ask-luna-1/) is up! I got a bunch of questions via the Jim Butcher forum thanks to Serack, so there'll be a second instalment next week.

Saph
2012-07-20, 04:14 AM
Second Ask Luna (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/07/20/ask-luna-2/) is up. It's interesting to see the kind of questions I've been getting via this – I'd been expecting a lot more personal ones or questions related to the stories, but it seems people want to know more about the world-building info.

The covers for Taken are out, and it's about time I put up the first extract, too. I'll try and get that done the coming week.

Serack
2012-08-02, 07:29 PM
Second Ask Luna (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/07/20/ask-luna-2/) is up. It's interesting to see the kind of questions I've been getting via this – I'd been expecting a lot more personal ones or questions related to the stories, but it seems people want to know more about the world-building info.

The covers for Taken are out, and it's about time I put up the first extract, too. I'll try and get that done the coming week.


Speaking for myself, I asked more world building questions (although I did ask questions about characters too, although I'm not sure what you mean by "personal"), because 1: the website has a lot of world building so I kinda kept with the theme, and 2: I kind of try to maintain the perspective that I would probably enjoy more about the story within the frame of the story. (which I expressed in saying that I understood that you might prefer to save details that might answer my questions for future stories).

Saph
2012-08-03, 11:10 AM
Speaking for myself, I asked more world building questions (although I did ask questions about characters too, although I'm not sure what you mean by "personal"), because 1: the website has a lot of world building so I kinda kept with the theme, and 2: I kind of try to maintain the perspective that I would probably enjoy more about the story within the frame of the story. (which I expressed in saying that I understood that you might prefer to save details that might answer my questions for future stories).

Yep, that makes sense - since it's going in parallel with the Encyclopaedia entries, it's not surprising that people have been taking their cue from that.

And on that note, the new Encyclopaedia entry is up, this one on gate magic (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/08/03/encyclopaedia-arcana-28-gate-spells/)!

Feytalist
2012-08-28, 02:39 AM
So I FINALLY picked up Fated and Cursed this weekend. I'm about halfway through the first one. Allow me to add my voice to the growing pile of congratulations. It's a pretty good read so far. It's probably going on my recommended list (I have to finish it first, you see :smallbiggrin:).

And now I can finally start reading the Encyclopaedia, heh.

Cieyrin
2012-08-29, 07:39 PM
So I FINALLY picked up Fated and Cursed this weekend. I'm about halfway through the first one. Allow me to add my voice to the growing pile of congratulations. It's a pretty good read so far. It's probably going on my recommended list (I have to finish it first, you see :smallbiggrin:).

And now I can finally start reading the Encyclopaedia, heh.

And you can pick up Taken after that, since it came out this week. :smallwink: I need to see about getting a copy, as I finished Cursed a couple weeks back and it handled wish magic quite well, especially when Martin wished to take Alex's Divination skills and were overwhelmed by them. Well done, Saph, well done. :smallcool:

Reverent-One
2012-08-29, 08:18 PM
And you can pick up Taken after that, since it came out this week. :smallwink:

It did? Sweet.

Mauve Shirt
2012-08-30, 05:28 AM
Taken is out? Brilliant!
Oh wait, I have to finish all those other books before I can buy a new one? And one of them is 700 pages long? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?
Totally buying Taken this evening, I'll finish it in a day. Omnomnom urban fantasy. :smallbiggrin:

Cieyrin
2012-08-30, 05:21 PM
It did? Sweet.

So says Saph's blog (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/08/28/taken-is-released-in-the-us-today/), so I would assume the author should know. :smallwink:

Saph
2012-08-31, 04:20 PM
Yep, it's now out in the US, though UK readers are going to have to wait another week. Should update my forum sig really. :)

Thanks for all the kind words, they're much appreciated!

The Glyphstone
2012-08-31, 07:27 PM
Got my copy today. But I'm re-reading Fated and Cursed before I touch it.

Dragonus45
2012-09-04, 11:28 AM
I just started the series on Friday, I'm still trying to track down a copy of the third book. I forced Fated and Cursed onto my brother and Im still waiting for his opinion. I like the way that the main character has an ability that can be so massively overpowered but still so useless at the same time.

Saph
2012-09-04, 11:58 AM
I just started the series on Friday, I'm still trying to track down a copy of the third book. I forced Fated and Cursed onto my brother and Im still waiting for his opinion. I like the way that the main character has an ability that can be so massively overpowered but still so useless at the same time.

Heh, I get entertainingly mixed reactions from readers on that. About half think that Alex's ability is overpowered, the other half think it's underpowered. :)

Feytalist
2012-09-05, 02:19 AM
Heh, I get entertainingly mixed reactions from readers on that. About half think that Alex's ability is overpowered, the other half think it's underpowered. :)

The feeling that I get is that it has the potential to be extremely powerful, if one is able to have it "on" all the time. If you're constantly scanning the future, you'd never have to be surprised either in conversation or combat. But I get the idea that it takes a whole lot of concentration to do that, so it's unfeasible, especially what with Alex constantly dodging attempts on his life and whatnot. So he still gets ambushed and surprised occasionally, and that's what limits the exploitation of power. And what makes the books interesting, heh.

That's just the idea I got, anyway.

Dragonus45
2012-09-05, 03:39 PM
Heh, I get entertainingly mixed reactions from readers on that. About half think that Alex's ability is overpowered, the other half think it's underpowered. :)

I figure its to situational to be the end all be all super power, but when applied properly to a situation it has the ability to overcome absolutely anything, provided the person using it can manage to enact what he can see. Also it seemed to be a bit of a joke about how a protagonist always seems to find the right thing to do or the right way out.

BRC
2012-09-05, 03:54 PM
Heh, I get entertainingly mixed reactions from readers on that. About half think that Alex's ability is overpowered, the other half think it's underpowered. :)
I read Fated and Cursed rather recently, and had a great time with them both.

Part of the issue with Alex's power is the rather poorly defined "Look for a future where you are successful, then figure out what made that happen" trick. It's described as "Quickly Scanning futures looking for success", and assuming he can watch futures flick by like a slideshow it makes sense. For Example, how he cracks passwords, every future but one will be almost identical: The password is rejected, so it's easy to pick out the right one, the single outlier.

It's a little more dubious when you have things like his first conversation with Cinder, or distracting the guard by throwing the rock. With those situations there are tons of potential "Bad" out comes, so the Slideshow metaphor dosn't work as well, since not all the bad outcomes look the same, and his power seems to turn into "If it is possible to succeed, you can instantly know how".

It dosn't help that, the narration describes how everybody considers Diviners somewhat useless compared to other mages of their power level, and then the rest of the book is Alex using what seems to be rather straightforward applications of his power to do extraordinary things.

Saph
2012-09-06, 05:53 AM
It's a little more dubious when you have things like his first conversation with Cinder, or distracting the guard by throwing the rock. With those situations there are tons of potential "Bad" out comes, so the Slideshow metaphor dosn't work as well, since not all the bad outcomes look the same, and his power seems to turn into "If it is possible to succeed, you can instantly know how".

The thing is that learning how to use divination is a skill like any other – you can get good at it and you can learn specific tricks that help in certain situations, but it's never 100% predictable. Think of it as being like professional sports – sometimes a batter will hit a really difficult pitch for a home run, but no matter how good they are, they won't do it every time. No-one has a perfect batting average.

In Alex's case, he can reliably pull things off as long as he's dealing with predictable/deterministic systems, like machines, passwords, etc. Once he's dealing with people though, there's a certain inherent level of unpredictability in there. Sometimes his magic'll let him take a shortcut, but sometimes it won't.


It dosn't help that, the narration describes how everybody considers Diviners somewhat useless compared to other mages of their power level, and then the rest of the book is Alex using what seems to be rather straightforward applications of his power to do extraordinary things.

Well, in a straight fight, diviners are weaker than combat mages. Seeing possible futures isn't much help if all the futures are telling you "you're about to get blown up". If you look at the way the fights in the books play out, Alex generally only wins if he can ambush his opponent or pull some kind of trick on them . . . on the other hand, that's exactly what divination magic is good at. It's sort of like the arguments on D&D boards about divination spells vs conjuration/evocation spells. Which is better, Orb of Force or Scrying? :)

Saph
2012-09-14, 05:03 AM
Big announcement up on the website today about Alex Verus #4 and #5, and the future of the series (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/09/14/alex-verus-the-future/)! Been sitting on this one for a while, so it's good to have it out there at last.

Cieyrin
2012-09-14, 09:13 AM
Big announcement up on the website today about Alex Verus #4 and #5, and the future of the series (http://benedictjacka.co.uk/2012/09/14/alex-verus-the-future/)! Been sitting on this one for a while, so it's good to have it out there at last.

Congratulations! I look forward to reading Taken as well as future endeavors. :3

Feytalist
2012-09-14, 09:59 AM
So there's going to be at least two more books? Awesome.

And given the level of enthusiasm thus far about the current books, I wouldn't be surprised if the series gets picked up for as long as you can churn out more.

What I'm trying to say is, just keep on writing, you crazy author you :smallbiggrin:

Saph
2012-09-14, 10:23 AM
So there's going to be at least two more books? Awesome.

And given the level of enthusiasm thus far about the current books, I wouldn't be surprised if the series gets picked up for as long as you can churn out more.

What I'm trying to say is, just keep on writing, you crazy author you :smallbiggrin:

That's the plan! :smallbiggrin:

VonDoom
2013-05-09, 03:45 PM
Hey Saph,

I don't want to browse through this thread too much in order to avoid being tempted by spoiler tags so I'm sorry if this came up before, but I saw mention of your series in the Dresden Files thread and wanted to go check out your first Alex Verus novel -- thing is, I was trying to buy the Kindle edition and it will only let me do that through amazon.de. Do you happen to have an associate link for that version of the site, too? I'd rather support a fellow GITP user as much as possible.

Partysan
2013-05-11, 06:25 AM
This thread smells rather zombiefied...

Anyway, I followed the link in your signature and got myself all three books by now. I'm having a good time with them and your worldbuilding articles are an enjoyable extra. Put one of my own stories on hold for being too similar though, but yours is better anyway. Guess I'm a fan now. Love Arachne, by the way.

One question I have: How difficult is it for an elemental mage to use AoE attacks? It seems that once your opponent dodges any attack you'd resort to attacks that cover too large an area to be dodged, however Alex is still alive. So, is it difficult to cover a lot of ground with offensive magic, or does it take longer and thus give time to exit the area?

Saph
2013-05-13, 10:35 AM
Hey Saph,

I don't want to browse through this thread too much in order to avoid being tempted by spoiler tags so I'm sorry if this came up before, but I saw mention of your series in the Dresden Files thread and wanted to go check out your first Alex Verus novel -- thing is, I was trying to buy the Kindle edition and it will only let me do that through amazon.de. Do you happen to have an associate link for that version of the site, too? I'd rather support a fellow GITP user as much as possible.

Don't have one to hand, unfortunately. But as long as you like the book, I'm happy!


This thread smells rather zombiefied...

Anyway, I followed the link in your signature and got myself all three books by now. I'm having a good time with them and your worldbuilding articles are an enjoyable extra. Put one of my own stories on hold for being too similar though, but yours is better anyway. Guess I'm a fan now. Love Arachne, by the way.

One question I have: How difficult is it for an elemental mage to use AoE attacks? It seems that once your opponent dodges any attack you'd resort to attacks that cover too large an area to be dodged, however Alex is still alive. So, is it difficult to cover a lot of ground with offensive magic, or does it take longer and thus give time to exit the area?

Elemental mages can do AoE attacks very easily, but the bigger an area they spread the attack over, the more diffused it gets, which means they tend not to use it against single targets. You're right that they're harder to dodge, though, which is one of the reason Alex tends to break off fights as quickly as possible, before an opponent can get the chance to figure out that they need to change tactics.

Glad you like the books, and yes, Arachne does seem to be popular. :)