A Wizard in the Way
(Hardcover), ISBN 0-312-86648-8
World saver, psychic wizard Magnus D'armand (alias Gar Pike, son of Stasheff’s Warlock series hero Rod Gallowglass) travels the spaceways with his delectable female companion, Alea, looking for worlds to save. Pike's wonderful AI spaceship Herkimer and a secret stowaway (a cat-faced alien named Evanescent) aid Pike in this task.
During their travels Gar and Alea rediscover a lost colony on the planet Oldeira. Over the years the colony degenerated into a group of small tyrannies, each led by people who developed psychic powers. Over successive generations, these psychic lords became increasingly more cruel and evil.
In good old-fashioned, gung-ho style Gar and Alea join up with two Oldeira dissidents and, with the help of Taoistic teaching, work to bring about the demise of the tyrants and foster a unity amongst Oldeira's populace. But Gar and Alea know they can't foment a successful revolution on their own. To win the planet, space travelers and dissidents must form an alliance with Oldeira's native life forms -- life forms possessed by the spirits of departed humans who didn't want to die.
Well written, with good characterization and pace, A Wizard in the Way even gives its readers a little romance. Unfortunately, the novel's simplistic style -- which could be related to the book's length -- translates into no subplots or interesting red herrings to spice its rather bland taste. Stasheff's style in A Wizard in the Way approaches a WYSIWYG style of writing much more typical of the SF/F classics of the 1960s and early 1970s.
For me, the simplicity detracted from the book's appeal. I like more meat on the bones (and plots) of my books. But others may find a book that can be finished in a single evening ideal.
While not one I would deliberately select from the bookshelf, A Wizard in the Way, nevertheless, entertained me for an evening. If you like your novels short and to the point, then this would be a good one to choose.
Stephen John Smith
Click here to share your views.