Ask Luna #83

From: Justin

Hello Luna!

I was wondering if Wish magic, or any magic for that matter, can bring back or contact the dead?

Thank you!

Don’t think so. There are plenty of stories about some magic type or other bringing back the dead, but usually what it ends up being is some sort of construct made to look like the dead person. The stories never seem to go away though, maybe because people want to believe them.

From: Hrok

Hi Luna its me again,

I was wondering what you could tell us about Richards magic type. The description of it reminded me of how the Monkey Paws power was described when deflecting bullets, ie. as black threads. Did Richard get his hands on a weaker jinn at some point or is the description of it just coincidence?

I hadn’t thought of that connection, but it does make sense. I don’t know much more about it than you though. Richard doesn’t exactly give interviews, and as far as I know no-one’s picked a fight with him and survived, so there aren’t many eyewitness accounts. So we can make guesses, but it doesn’t really achieve very much.

From: Adam

Hi Luna,

I have enjoyed reading about your adventures with Alex and the others. The most recent installment raised some questions about “universal magic”. Could you answer the following for me:

1) Could Alex, Anne or yourself learn the sorts of untyped magical spells Richard uses? Speculation about his magic type seems to indicate you could…
2) What else can untyped magic achieve?

I’ll sign off with my own speculation as to Richards magic type – While his fighting style clearly reminds Alex of a Diviner could he be a time mage? Lots of time to react, aim and prep his spells, seriously rapid movement at critical moments could all be a function of time magic.

Thanks,

Adam

. . . And the time mage thing’s a possibility too. This is what tends to happen when we discuss Richard, we just keep saying ‘maybe’. Alex couldn’t actually detect any time auras any of the times he ran into Richard, but that doesn’t prove anything, he could just have some way to shroud himself.

As for whether we could use the untyped spells Richard does – short answer is no, because as far as I know, doing that kind of stuff with untyped magic isn’t supposed to be possible. Untyped spells are ‘gateway’ ones which are very general and universal, usually magic that works on other magic. So magesight, focus item use, construct creation, that sort of thing. It’s not supposed to be any use for combat at all, so god only knows how Richard can make it work that way. But that’s the problem with mages. There are so many weird niche uses for magic that no-one knows about, because the few mages who find out about them keep them secret to get an advantage over everyone else.

From: Randy

Dear Luna, was the monkey’s paw destroyed along with Alex’s shop.
Thanks!

Nope. It was in his safe room and Alex picked it up the next day, along with everything else in there. Though honestly, I’m not sure it would have been harmed even if it hadn’t been. I think burning that thing wouldn’t do much except annoy it.

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Fated at a Discount

Still working away on Book 9, but today’s news is that Amazon is selling the ebook version of Fated at a steep discount from May 17th to June 26th as part of their “Start a New Series” promotion.  At the time of writing it’s available for $1.92 on the US Kindle Store, and for £1.49 in the UK.  So if you don’t have a copy yet, or know someone who’s thinking about picking it up, now’s a good time!

Update:  Apparently the discount on the US edition only seems to be applying if you’re trying to buy from the UK.  Sorry to the US readers out there!

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Ask Luna #82

From: Brad

I may have missed it somewhere but could you explain the theory and magic behind constructs?

So, this isn’t something I have any first-hand experience of, but I’ve sat through a bunch of classes and heard a bunch of bits and pieces from Alex. The way I understand it, there are basically two ways to make constructs. The first is like making a magical computer. You get an energy source, tie it to a few animating spells, then add a sort of “program” that works as its brain. It doesn’t have any actual intelligence, so the instructions have to be really simple, and it can’t take initiative or think for itself. On the plus side, since they’re basically just lumps of matter with no internal organs, they’re pretty tough, so they’re good for dangerous work.

The second way is to get a magical creature like an elemental and bind it into a pre-prepared vessel. Basically you trap the thing and use it as the power source and the brain. It makes a much more powerful construct, and it doesn’t need fuelling the way the regular constructs do, so long as you don’t have any problem with the “enslaving a sentient creature” part. Those kinds are called golems, and they’re quite a bit rarer than the first type.

From: Jim

Hey Luna,

I have been thinking about the events that led to Alex having to exit the UK and you taking your journeyman tests.

Now, I am sure that Alex told you that Hakun warned him about Levistus at the end of the White Rose Affair. My question to you is doesn’t Alex seem to be really passive about this threat?

If I were Alex, I would have done a bit of World traveling and gambled my way into some money to hire a dozen or so assassins to kill Levistus. That would seem to be prudent to me.

Why do you think Alex sat around waiting to be killed?

Oh god. Where to start?

Alex already has plenty of money. Here’s the thing about money: it can only buy stuff that’s for sale. “Make a person on the Light Council dead” is not a thing that’s for sale. The only people who’d be able to do something like that probably don’t work for money.

I mean, let’s say you do find someone who’s scary enough to kill a master mage. Try and think about what would happen if you went up to them with a bag of cash and told them to kill one of the highest-ranking people in magical Britain. What’s easier for them – getting the money by killing Levistus, or by killing you?

From: Magnus

Hi, Luna. I have two rather average length questions.
Firstly, if a young diviner walked into Alex’s shop, how do you think he would react? The only other diviner I can remember him interacting with is Helikon (more than likely the wrong spelling, sorry), who’s Alex’s elder; he’s closed off and isolated. Would he treat them the same way he’d treat the other young mages and adepts who walk into his shop?
Secondly, I read, I believe in Taken, that it’s gotten to the point where you can come into contact with something without leaving any of your curse attached to it. Does this also work with people? Because if so, would that mean you’d be able to do things such as high-five people?

First one: I don’t think it’s ever happened, but it’s kind of interesting to think about. I have a feeling he’d probably try and take the kid under his wing. He’s got a bit of a mother-hen instinct that way.

Second one: Yes! And it was really, really satisfying. It’s taken me literally years of work, but it was worth it.

From: Todd Robinson

Hi Luna,

Did Alex ever tell you how he and Starbreeze met? or why Starbreeze gave him the summoning rod?

He did actually tell me the story, but it was a long time ago and I’ve forgotten it. He didn’t tell me why Starbreeze let him use the rod, but it’s not hard to guess – she just decided she trusted him.

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Ask Luna #81

From: Casey

Hi Luna,

I was wondering why Alex gave himself the name Verus. In your response to this same question asked previously, it seems that Alex did a vision quest. What was that process like?

I’m also curious about some of the other mages. I know some mages choose a name based on their mage type. For examples, Cinder and Caldera. Cinder is a fire mage, and his name means partly burned coal or wood. Caldera is an earth mage, and her name means a large volcanic crater. But why did Sonder, Talisid, Landis, Deleo, and Drakh choose their name? Did any of them choose to take the name of a historical mage, or did they just like the way it sounded?

Also, will you and/or Variam choose a new name after passing the journeyman tests? I apologize if you have already answered this somewhere.

Since a mage’s name is supposed to say a lot about them, I’m really curious to why each chose their ‘Mage’ name. Thanks!

Alex has told me a little bit about how he got his name. It sounded fairly weird. There was a castle or something, and some thing that looked like a woman but wasn’t. I had trouble following it, to be honest, but that’s kind of what you expect with Elsewhere. The place doesn’t translate well.

A lot of the mage names are historical ones. Landis was some famous guy back in the 19th century or something, and Talisid is from a myth. Sonder isn’t, funnily enough – he told me once that was actually a word, just an obscure one. Deleo is Latin. Don’t know about Drakh.

And yes, Vari and I both have our new names, though I still prefer going by my birth name with anyone I know.

From: Jeffrey

Is Alex, like okay, hormonally? It seems like he has 0 libido. I know he was on the run, but you’d think the man would have SOME inclinations, if you catch my drift.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Fan

Given my own issues, I’m not going to start throwing stones when it comes to other people’s sex lives.

From: Hrok

Hello Luna!
I was wondering how powerful djinn/genie are in comparison to the dragon beneath Arachne’s home. Hypothetically if a mage ever got control over one would they be able to defeat it? How powerful would one be in comparison with the Monkey’s Paw?

I think that’s kind of like asking who’d win in a fight between an eagle and a whale. They’re completely different playing fields. But I have the feeling that if a fight did somehow happen, it’d be extremely one-sided.

From: AcrossThePond

Hey Luna,

Quick Question– just wondering if Light Council political boundaries always line up with mortal nations? Seems like the case in Great Britain, but do they typically cover more or less area than your average country?

They don’t exactly line up in Great Britain – the magical boundary doesn’t include Northern Ireland, so it’s just Britain and Ireland. That’s why mages never say ‘Great Britain’.

In most cases magical nations are a bit bigger than mundane ones. There aren’t many tiny magical nations, because they wouldn’t have enough mages to make enough of a population. So there’s no independent magical government of Luxembourg – they’re grouped up with Belgium. The US and Canada were meant to merge some time in the past, I think, but there was some sort of argument and now they stick to the national borders.

From: Natter Volo

Dear Alex,

I have a few questions regarding the peculiarities of prescience.

Firstly, is it possible to be influenced negatively by the perception of alternate futures? For example, forseeing the paralyzing gaze of a medusa, or the transfixing beauty of a nymph? Can these sorts of “dangerous sensation” pose a risk to the present self?

Secondly, does the world ever retaliate against blatant and egregious changes to the future? For example, winning the lottery by cheating, but then suffering a series of expensive, disastrous coincidences which gradually strip away the ill-gotten gains.

Lastly,can a person ever see past a choice he does not understand?

Thanks in advance for taking the time to read these!

With sincere curiosity, your good stranger,
Natter Volo

You probably should be sending these to Alex, not me, but oh well.

First, yes, but not in the way that you’re thinking. You don’t get actually hit with the consequences, but Alex has mentioned more than once that it’s a bit stressful to see yourself getting killed or maimed in possible futures over and over again. The effects add up.

Second one, kind of. There’s no magical balancing mechanism or anything like that, but there are a whole lot of non-magical ones. For one thing, the police and the Inland Revenue start asking awkward questions once they notice that you’re spending ten times as much money as you’re legitimately earning. And if you do stuff too blatantly or visibly, the Keepers tend to come calling, too. The Order of the Cloak can clean that kind of stuff up easily enough, but it annoys them enough that they’re likely to do something about it.

Third one, no idea. Probably not.

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Ask Luna #80

From: DrizztMajere

Hi Luna,
I am sorry I have been on the fate kick recently, but this magic really intrigues me. My question is when Alex was using fate magic, did it feel like a mixture of divination, force, and time magic to him?

Another question is does Arachne ever talk about kids if she has any?
THANK YOU.

He’s never said anything like that. It could have been like that, I suppose, but given what was happening at the time, it probably wasn’t the uppermost thing on his mind.

And no, she doesn’t talk about it. I could ask, but it seems a bit awkward. It’s not like there are many giant intelligent male spiders around . . .

From: Logan Mayfield

Hey Luna!
I was wondering how many types of magic/mages there are. For example illusion magic wasn’t introduced until book 6. Then there was the light magic that was introduced in the bubble realm of book 7, which wasn’t even given a name. Thanks! (PS, I accidentally commented the same thing on #78, then I realized that was a comment on that one, not a post. Thanks again)

Pretty much as many as you decide you want. The magic types aren’t separate, they blend into one another (Is a storm mage the same thing as a lightning mage? Beats me). There are also lots of rare obscure ones like gravity which you hardly ever run into, but which are definitely out there.

From: West

Hey Luna,
Couldn’t you just pour your curse into a very large inanimate object, like a building? As you said your curse doesn’t effect inanimate objects very well, so pouring all you curse in a huge building would get rid of the effects so therefore you could make physical contact with people till it came back. And in one of the books when your were fighting belthas, you used to much of your curse and you tripped(bad luck) so your curse would have to run out eventually. Thanks!

That would be kind of like sticking a bucket under a waterfall and waiting for the water to be used up. I’d be waiting a really long time. Mages don’t “run out” of magic, and neither do I. You can get too tired to use it, but it doesn’t just turn off or anything.

From: Samuel

what about lightning magic and is there a mage that can control metal?

What about it?

And yes. Sort of.

From: Anneliese

Hi Luna,

Did you select (or were you given) a mage name? Alex says his mage name is Verus and he has commented when other mages don’t use one. Thanks.

Yup. Took me a while, but I found one that felt right.

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Back to Book 9

Well, now that the excitement of the release of Bound is over, it’s back to work on Alex Verus #9.  I’ve had quite a few people ask me when it’s going to be out, and the answer, unfortunately, is not anytime soon.  The book’s around 65% done, and my publishers typically take 10-12 months to turn a first-draft manuscript into a published book, so expect at least a year.  I’ll get it sent off as soon as I can!

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AMA – Finishing Up

My Reddit AMA is now mostly done.  I’ll keep checking back over the next few hours to answer any leftover questions.  Thanks to everyone who participated, I enjoyed it!

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Reddit AMA is live!

My Reddit AMA is live for the next 24 hours!  Come ask me any questions you have about Bound, the Alex Verus series, or pretty much anything else.  

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Reddit AMA tomorrow!

My Reddit Ask Me Anything will be tomorrow, Thursday April 13th.  It’ll be going live at 12 noon GMT, and will stay active for 24 hours.  I’ll try to keep checking back in regularly and answering questions until Friday noon.  

If you don’t know what an AMA is, here’s the link from the one I did last year.  Basically it’s what it sounds like – anyone can come along and ask me questions about Bound, the Alex Verus series or anything else.  You’ll need a Reddit account to post questions, but that’s easy to set up.  Hope to see you there!

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More Reviews & Reddit AMA

Some more nice reviews for Bound, one from I Smell Sheep and a very in-depth one from Whatchamacallit Reviews.  

Also, my Reddit AMA is next week, on April 13th!  It’ll be on Reddit Fantasy and it’ll be your chance to ask me questions about Bound, the Alex Verus series in general, and anything else you feel like.  I’ll post up a direct link when the AMA goes live, and I’ll answer questions for the next 24 hours or so.  See you guys there!

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