Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines. Slowly only because of the aforementioned Youngest (and the exhaustion that overwhelms me most times by the time she's in bed). I was in the mood for urban fantasy, since lately I really can't seem to immerse myself in epic fantasy. Of course I found the premise intriguing, so I decided to try it. Libriomancy is magic that can be used to reach into a book and pull objects out into reality. I mean, what reader and writer wouldn't think that's an awesome idea?
For the most part, I'm enjoying the book, but it's also impossible to turn the writer part of my brain off. So I started thinking about how some urban fantasy can be very dated by what's in it. It's always a rough road if you're trying to not "date" your urban fantasy. I mean, some of my favorites when I try to read them nowadays, I find it odd that there are no cell phones around. Because in this day and age, almost everyone has a smartphone.
This can of course pull the reader out of the story, when the modern conveniences we take for granted aren't utilized. Some books even age rather terribly, and might turn more into historical fantasy - heh. That doesn't make them any less fun than they used to be, but they are definitely perceived in a different way from when they were originally published. Even some of my own urban fantasy stories are dated, and I totally know it.
Libriomancer was first published in 2012, so it's not too dated, at least not by my standards. But I'm guessing it was in the works years before publication, so some things that have been completely left out and not addressed seem odd to me. Here's my caveat - I may only have noticed this due to who I am, an indie author, and one who mostly works with ebooks.
Can you guess yet what I noticed? The protagonist talks about how they catalog all the books released by publishers, and he's pretty much just talking about hard copies. No mention of ebooks (so far), and no mention of indie publication at all.
I indie published my first short story in 2012, and I know that was the initial big surge for indie publishing. So, I could maybe understand why that wasn't addressed. Though self-publishing has been around for far longer than that. Ebooks, though? I wanted to see an explanation. Does libriomancy work with ebooks like with physical books?
I admit, due to my fits and starts while reading, I could have missed a line explaining this, but it seems like it should be touched on more than once. This isn't by any means a criticism. Again, it made me simply think about how books could be dated even after a short time being published (since traditional publishing has a tendency to take quite long from finished product to publication). Technology is evolving at such a rapid rate that it's hard to keep up.
My writer brain was just left with questions that I would love to see explored (this book is also the first in a series, so for all I know, some of this stuff is touched on in later books). How do the Porters (the organization that polices the use of libriomancy for the most part) keep track of all those indie published titles? There are millions of ebooks on Amazon, thousands published every day. This could lead to some major control issues, in my opinion, and a fascinating novel in itself.
And with the availability of ebooks, would this make things easier or harder for the protagonist if he had an ereader instead a bunch of paperbacks he toted around with him? If it's not possible to use libriomancy that way, why not?
These are all just my humble thoughts about how the future in essence effects the reading of past books (even books not even a decade old!). Libriomancer has still been fun to read so far, and Youngest willing, I hope to finish it this month.
What are you currently reading?
Speaking of ebooks in today's day and age, they've been an absolute necessity for me and my family. I mean, I've been out of shelf space in my house for years.
Not only have we ended up getting Kindle Unlimited (Eldest reads like mad, and I couldn't keep up with her), but I've found Overdrive to be so useful this past year, especially with not wanting to physically go to the library.
Most local libraries have access to an Overdrive collection, so you can check ebooks out for free. That's how I'm reading Libriomancer and Youngest has been plowing through the Magic Tree House and Rainbow Magic series (I love my little interrupting chicken, I do - she may not let me read, but at least she's enjoying reading a lot!).
So, if you're looking to stay safe at home and still grab some new books to read, consider looking into Overdrive through your local library. Libraries rock!