Ask Luna #98

From: Fade

Why is Alex so vehemently against the title of Dark Mage? Every time somebody labels him with it, he denies it vehemently, but it seems to me that Alex does abide by the principles pretty extensively, determined to live his life my his own terms rather than those that anybody (the council) would impose on him. I understand that he has had a lot of negative experiences at the hands of Dark Mages, but isn’t the over all philosophy to maintain the freedom to direct one’s own life? Alex once criticized Talisid for the mentality: Light mages good, Dark mages bad! But it seems that Alex draws the same sorts of lines, at least on the dark side of the fence.

Probably because he rejected the whole Dark philosophy in a big way personally and so doesn’t like getting associated with it. Though he does seem to be getting less vehement about it than he used to. Either he’s changed his mind or he’s just tired of repeating it. Your guess is as good as mine as to which.

From: Hazel

Hey, Luna. I was wondering if Alex has ever mentioned his mum? I know it took a long time to even get to his dad, who we know is still alive, but maybe he talked about her?

I know she’s still alive, but I don’t know much more than that. I think he said something about her not being English, but that’s about it. I got the impression that his relationship with her might be even worse than with his dad if anything. Still, not like I’m in any position to throw stones as far as that goes.

From: Malachi

Why did the Light Council(or just a sect of them) devote so much time and resources towards trying to kill Alex?
Sure, he was legally supposed to be executed. But isn’t he kind of a low priority target if he’s somewhere really far away?
I don’t know; Just seemed like a waste of resources that could be put towards actual pressing threats.

How the hell are we supposed to know? You think death squads show up at your front door with an audit or something? “Hi, Miss Mancuso, we’re here to execute you, please take a look at this cost accounting for our time and sign the receipt.” Whoever was behind it, it was obviously a high enough priority for them.

From: Malachi

Are certain mage hybrids impossible?
Like a hybrid between a Fire & Ice mage or a Diviner & Probability mage?

Well, the Council seems to think so anyway. There are a bunch of magic types that supposedly can’t be mixed, and yes, fire and ice are among them. But then, some fire mages can lower temperature as well as raise it, so I’ve got the feeling some of those ‘impossible’ hybrids might only be ‘impossible’ for very specific definitions.

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Off Again

And here we go again.  Alex Verus #10 is underway as of today.  

Target date for completion of the first draft is June 2018.  Given how late the last one was, I’m not sure if I’m going to make it, but I’ll do my best.  I do have a clearer idea of what I’m doing than I did when I was starting Alex Verus #9, so there’s that.  

I wonder how many more times I’ll be opening up a new text file and typing ‘Alex Verus’ in the title page?  At least twice more after this one, but probably not very many beyond that . . .

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How Many Alex Verus Books Will There Be?

This was something that was asked a couple of times in relation to my last post, (and has been asked lots more times in the past) and I figured it deserved its own post to answer. 

The short answer is that the series is more than half done.  The Alex Verus books that are out there right now are most of the ones that there ever will be.  This isn’t an absolute 100% guarantee (since I haven’t planned everything out in that kind of detail) but I’m almost sure that Fated through Bound will outnumber the rest of the series.  Call it ninety percent certain.  

Nailing down an exact number is harder.  I know what’s going to happen in Book #10, and I have vague plans for Book #11, but I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen beyond then.  That said, I don’t think all the books ‘beyond then’ will add up to very many.  Book #10 will leave the series in an unstable position, to the extent that it won’t really be possible to keep things going for all that long afterwards.  If I had to make a guess, I’d say #13 will be the last, but I might be underestimating.  We’ll see.  

In any case, don’t expect the series to go on forever!  I might be wrong on the exact numbers, but I’m pretty sure about the overall shape.  So the total might be 12, or 14, but it’s not going to be 16 or 20.  That’s the best guess I have at the moment.

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Preparations

Currently planning out Book #10.  

I’m looking forward to this book.  In a lot of ways it’s going to be the big turning point of the series – not the end, but the last major set of reveals/dramatic changes before the end. By the time the book’s done, all the major characters in the series should have been established, and it’ll be clear who’s on who’s side for the final battles.  

Book #10’s also going to resolve a lot of long-running sideplots and things that have been hinted at.  One of the more common questions that I get asked is whether Alex is ever going to get some sort of power-up.  That’s going to get addressed in a final way, along with Alex’s relationship status and the question of what Richard’s been planning all this time.  To the best of my knowledge no-one has yet correctly guessed the answers to any of these questions (or if they have, they haven’t put it online where I can see it) so it’s going to be a lot of fun to finally get it out there.

The downside to all this is that doing all these resolutions is going to be a LOT of work.  Since Book #10 builds on so much previous material, it’s going to have an enormous amount of references to past books. I’m actually considering going back to drawing out diagrams just to keep track of everything. Well, we’ll see how it goes.

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Edits are Done

The first-round edits on Book #9, Marked, are finished.  There are still copy-edits and proofreader corrections to do, but they’re relatively minor – the version of the book that I sent off to my publishers yesterday is 95% identical with the version that you guys will get hold of when it’s released in July of next year.  

Time to start planning Book #10. I’ve been looking forward to this one for a while, so let’s hope it goes a bit faster than the last one did!

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Ask Luna #97

From: Mike

Did Alex ever consider Starbreeze to be a friend? If so, then why hasn’t he reached out to her. If not, then can anyone actually befriend an elemental?

Yes, he considered (still does) her to be a friend. He hasn’t reached out to her because the world’s a big place and it’s not very easy to find an air elemental in a billion cubic miles of sky. It’s not like she has a phone number.

From: Hazel

Hey Luna! It’s me again, I was hoping you could answer more of my questions, these are a little bit more random, sorry about that.
Does Alex have a drivers licence?
Do you like working at the shop?
Have you ever met a Canadian mage?
Does North Korea have a council? (I am actually guessing that a lot of people don’t really know anything about NK but i wanted to ask anyways.)
And finally, Do you ever want to become a Master someday?
I hope this wasn’t too much trouble! Thanks a bundle (Of kittens)!

Yup, Alex has a licence, though I think he pretty much never uses it.

I do like working at the shop, yeah. I’m starting to see why Alex did it for so long.

No, no Canadian mages, though plenty from the USA. They rarely seem to make it over here.

I think North Korea has a Council, though it’s a pretty weird one.

And no, I don’t really want to become a master. I’m pretty much done with the Council at this point and I’m happy staying as an independent.

From: Mickey

So Anne is “infected” or “merged” or “linked” with a wish entity. I remember that they could not wish for themselves, but since Anne has “compassion” could she not “wish” for a compatible body for the entity to transfer to? How dissimilar would it be from the tree spirit that transferred to a new tree? Wishes are supposed to be pretty powerful things! Sorry, it’s been awhile since I read “Bound” and I’ve forgotten the specifics … but I keep chewing on this. I know it’s Disney and everything, and Alex usually is patient to a point with us mundanes… but the parallel is when Alladin set (Robin Williams) the Genie free.

Sorry if this is a stupid question. BTW I cannot believe we have to wait nearly a year to find out what happens next!

We’re still not a hundred percent sure what happened with Anne and that jinn. According to all the tests we’ve done, it isn’t currently in residence in her head. We think. So it’s possible that nothing further’s going to come of it.

If that turns out to be wrong, then I think her making wishes is going to be the last thing any of us want. Those things tend to come with really high price tags. The idea of giving it a new body would be . . . I dunno. I suppose it could be a nice Disney-movie-type ending, but a part of me wonders if it’d be the equivalent of getting rid of one kind of ancient evil by creating a new one.

From: Henesys

What happened to Morden? Is he still alive or did they execute him right away? If they haven’t, what are they going to do?

He’s alive, sentence pending. In theory he’s due to be executed, but the Council seem to be dragging their feet over actually carrying it out, so he’s been locked up while they make up their minds.

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New Covers!

So some of my UK readers might have noticed as of a while back that Burned (book #7) and Bound (book #8) have a slightly different cover design from books #1 through #6.  This has actually been UK Orbit’s plan for a while now – they’ve had an adjusted cover style in the works.  Fated, Cursed, Taken, Chosen, Hidden, and Veiled are now going to be re-released with the new covers, so take a look!

I like the new style quite a bit, though I do have a sentimental attachment to the old ones (they were my first successful books, after all).  Still, I can keep them around as collector’s items.  

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Marked Release Date Change

Just heard from my publishers – the release date of Marked has been changed slightly to July 5th 2018 (so about one month later than previously planned).  This should be the final release date for both the UK and the US.  

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Marked Update

Edits for Book #9, Marked, are underway.  The good news is that they’re relatively easy ones.  Back when I did my series on The Process, I mentioned that waiting for first-round edits can be a little stressful, since the edits an editor can ask for range from minor touch-ups to major rewrites that require months of work and which can significantly set back the release date.  Thankfully, that isn’t the case this time – the changes are all very straightforward.  Currently I’m aiming to finish them by the end of the month, after which I can get started on Book #10.  

All of which means that Marked will be coming out in June 2018 as planned.  More details closer to publication.

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Ask Luna #96

From: Gurndolf

Hi Luna! I’ve got a question on the dream stones, do they have their own will? Can they influence their user?

Thanks!

In theory they’re supposed to be just focuses, which means they aren’t alive and they don’t have their own goals to exert influence towards. From some of the things Alex has said, though, I’m not sure if that’s true. Arachne mentioned that they don’t fit neatly into the imbued item/focus categories.

From: Mage_David

Are you familiar with Witchfest? It is the biggest gathering of Occultists in Europe? This year it will be held in Brighton, in October.

First I’ve heard of it.

From: andy deal

Hey Luna, just two quick questions. What does it mean to say that with the Dreamstone Alex can physically enter Elsewhere. And can Alex do more than communicate with someone when he reaches out with the stone. I’m really curious about Elsewhere and his new deep diving ability

I have no idea about the first one, since Alex hasn’t been able to do it, and as far as I know no-one else thinks it’s even possible. As for the second, it’s supposed more than just communication, it’s more like a two-way link. Not sure exactly what the difference is in practice, but Arachne seems to think it’s important.

From: Allomancer Jack

Dear Mistress Vesta,

I see a lot of people asking you things you don’t know, so here’s one that might be more up your alley.

Now that you’ve got a full grasp of your powers (it’s not a curse, just a different form of chance magic!) are you now able to take public transport or fly on planes? Could you just hang out at the beach and get a tan?

Congrats again! And I’m proud to see how far you’ve come.

Best wishes,
Jack

Well, I could always hang out on the beach, it’s just that now it’s a lot safer. Though I sunburn really easily.

As for public transport, yeah, I can actually use it these days. Rush hour on the Tube is a bit tricky, but something like an overground train is no problem at all. Sad thing is, now that I can do it, I don’t really need it anymore, since anywhere I want to get to I can usually get a gate stone or catch a ride with someone who can gate themselves. I’ve still done it a few times, though, just to prove I can.

From: Allomancer Jack

Dear Mistress Vesta,

Sorry for sending two questions at once but I forgot to ask one. Are you ever tempted to talk to the dragon yourself?

Best wishes once again,
Jack

I’ve thought about it once or twice, but no, I’m not, for two reasons. First, there’s nothing I desperately want to find out. I mean, there are things I’d LIKE to find out, but there’s nothing I NEED to find out. And going just out of curiosity feels like a bad idea. I’ve had a bit of experience with these sorts of powers now, and one thing I’ve learned is that they always come with price tags. You’re better off solving your problems on your own.

From: Kurt Von Bosse

Hello Luna/Vesta, and thank you for answering my last set of questions.

I was wondering, does the Light Council have an official ceremony for announcing your Mage name to the rest of the magical community? If so, I’d guess dark mages simply tell people their new name and let word get around.

Second question: Thinking about Alex’s new position, do you know; in general terms, what the function of the Junior Council is as opposed to the Senior. I was thinking that even if you don’t know specifics you might have learned from Alex the type of issues Junior Council members sometimes deal with.

I almost forgot. Has Alex had to find an assistant to fill the job position he performed for Mage Morden or perhaps one was appointed to him?

For their naming, Light mages usually throw a party. Depending on how famous/ambitious their master is, it can be a quiet dinner with friends or a big social event with lots of networking.

The big difference between the Junior and Senior Council is that the Senior Council gets to vote on resolutions and the Junior Council doesn’t (they’re supposed to be advisors/administrators). Other than that, they have the same rights and privileges that the Senior Council do.

And yes, Alex has had several tries at finding an aide. There have been problems.

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