Rants, raves, fiction, and laughs

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Nature of Magic

This is an Excerpt taken from my YA novel, Madame Bluestocking's Pennyhorrid. It's slated for publication next winter. In this quasi-Edwardian world, Magic has all but disappeared. All that is left are a few stray Elves, Dragons, Magic Crystals, and ...occasionally a few very mad wizards. Evelyn Kelly is one of these sad magical men. His partner in crime is one of the last Elves, Lynald Wingaurd.

Kelly was lost to the world and it wasn’t due to any indulgence in spirits this time. In fact he hadn’t had a drink in over seventeen hours and it was beginning to tell on his sparking, fizzing nerves. But it meant that his brain was alive and running on energy more potent than a dynamo. He was reading his prized tomes, the hand-written heirloom grimoires of the Amazing Meriwether Maydock, wizard and machinist extraordinaire. Inspector Slaven had readily retrieved them, along with Lynald’s tools, from the evidence locker. Reading the grimoire was a lengthy process. Meriwether, whether out of typical wizardly paranoia or sheer bloody-mindedness, wrote in his journals using encrypted code. This code would differ from page to page depending on what Meriwether felt like using.

Maydock’s Code was derived using a complex magical algorithm written at the top of each entry, and each formula would vary, producing a different code. Being the product of a wizard’s imagination, the formulae tended to defy conventional mathematics and required a kind of (as Lynald put it) ‘fluffy wizard logic’ to solve it. Lynald had once tried to solve one of the algorithms and had needed to lie down for an hour afterwards. Kelly, however, had already solved two-thirds of the seven-hundred and ninety-two collective pages after only a year. His mind was more attuned to solving problems like “If green is to 28 as Jam is to Wednesday, where did I leave my socks?” The answer of course, being, “well, where did you last see them?”

Kelly would then plot the alphabet on a Venn diagram where the “x” was labeled Jam and “y” as Wednesdays and “z” as green. For example: There were 6 kinds of Jam beginning with “B”: blueberry, blackberry, boysenberry, bilberry, black currant and blood orange. None of those were green. He’d eaten two kinds last Wednesday and it had taken him 7 minutes to find his socks. So B was given a value of 15 with a green value of 0.

It didn’t make sense, but then sense always takes a back seat to “logic.”

You can currently read the first four chapters of Madame Bluestocking's Pennyhorrid at Dr. Fantastique's Show of Wonders.


(I coudln't get the images to fit.) :P


Natasha Hanova said...

Sounds like Kelly has a knack for solving code and finding socks. :-)
Thanks for sharing.

Mary said...

Wow! What a complex code you've created. Very interesting.

Raquel Byrnes said...

That was interesting, melding math and magic. Archimedes would be proud!
Edge of Your Seat Romance

stu said...

This makes a wonderfully amusing lack of sense, and is frankly the way I can see a lot of wizards thinking.

pat said...

This was a lot of fun - reminded me a bit of Terry Pratchett. The term 'Venn diagram' threw me off a bit, because I think of that as a series of overlapping circles rather than a line graph. What you describe sounds more like a three-dimensional graph, which might be even cooler because he couldn't do it on paper and might need to use magic.

Theresa Milstein said...

"...sparking, fizzing nerves."

Really like that line! Good luck with the book.

Tessa Conte said...

LOL great bit of writing! Maybe I should ask him where those socks landed that went in the wash and never came back...

Thank you for taking part in our blogfest!! And congrats on the publication-to-come!


ps. please do check in on the 30th March to vote on the finalists!

Anonymous said...

Wow, interesting! Thanks for participating!