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Forward the Mage (Joe's World) Mass Market Paperback – July 29, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Joe's World
  • Mass Market Paperback: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Baen (July 29, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743471466
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743471466
  • Product Dimensions: 12 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,101,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

While not as dazzling as Flint's Philosophical Strangler (2001), this prequel from the creators of the Joe's World series affords much the same kind of comic pleasure. The swashbuckling artist Benvenuti Sfondrati-Piccolomini arrives in the land of Grotum, hoping for royal patronage. Unfortunately, thanks to sorcerous machinations, the King of Goimr's wits have fled and so has Zulkeh, the sorcerer who holds the key to getting the king and his wits back in time to prevent an Ozarine invasion. With two trusty companions the gorgeous Gwendolyn Greyboar, sister to the strangler and militant revolutionary for the liberation of the dwarfs (and whose scantily clad body on the cover is far more eye-catching than the fully clothed mage or dwarf), and the deceptively affable giant, Wolfgang Benvenuti sets out on a quest to save the king's mental health. Along the way, they enjoy a fair amount of first-class sex and encounter a variety of obstacles that seem chosen more for zaniness than for plausibility. Readers of the earlier novel will be on firmer ground than newcomers, at least to the point of being better prepared for the intensity of the satire and the rather episodic narrative technique. The descriptions in 18th-century prose at the head of each chapter may be a barrier for some, but they do nicely set the tone for the goofiness to follow. Best of all perhaps, this is one humorous fantasy that does not rely heavily on puns. (Mar.)Victory (Forecasts, June 4) and other novels in the Belisarius series.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

This is epic fantasy in all the best ways, provided you adore an irreverent and witty take on the genre's cliches and formulas. The ostensibly historical narrative consists mostly of various first-person accounts, documents that range from chatty autobiography to florid "academic" depositions. The primary chronicler--narrator, if you will--isn't what one might expect but certainly a creature well placed to observe all the happenings at close quarters. The premise is simple enough: our, er, hero, Benvenuti Sfondrati-Piccolomini, newly landed in Goimr with hopes of finding his fortune as a court artist, has a run-in with a wizard on the run and then another with the law, which change his life forever by getting him mixed up in a rebellion and the theft of a precious relic. Although not exactly the cushy court job he had sought, Benvenuti's new career provides ample fodder for his artistic soul. Furthermore, the fate of the world rests on his and his confreres' actions. Fortunately, it is a thoroughly tongue-in-cheek fate. Regina Schroeder
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Eric Flint is the co-author of three New York Times best sellers in his Ring of Fire alternate history series. His first novel for Baen, Mother of Demons, was picked by Science Fiction Chronicle as a best novel of the year. His 1632, which launched the Ring of Fire series, won widespread critical praise, as from Publishers Weekly, which called him an SF author of particular note, one who can entertain and edify in equal, and major, measure. A longtime labor union activist with a Masters Degree in history, he currently resides in northwest Indiana with his wife Lucille.

Customer Reviews

I could see what the authors were trying to do but it was not enuf..
Dasugo
You won't miss much except a little of the background which really isn't needed to begin with.
Phillip B. Spotts
Not as comedy, exactly - though it has hilarious moments, they're not that frequent.
Andarcel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Andarcel on June 7, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book will prove difficult or boring for many people, partly due to the vocabulary and partly due to the scope of background knowledge necessary to really enjoy it. The book parodies not only the prose of eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (as with the page-long sentence on the evils of verbosity) but also the political and philosophical movements of the time. Throw-away references to experimental physics, ecclesiastical history, etc. will probably lose everyone at some point. I'm sure I missed some (or a lot) of the jokes. As well, the authors are overly faithful to the voice of their narrators. If you don't have the background to catch the (often subtle) barbs, many passages will read as unleavened pedantry.

In spite of that, I recommend this book for those with patience. Not as comedy, exactly - though it has hilarious moments, they're not that frequent. Instead, I'd place it more in the hazy area of the Princess Bride - a story superficially impossible to take seriously, but ultimately very serious indeed. Beneath the antics, there's a real message about human nature. The characters may be literally larger than life, but they are complex and compelling.

Having a large vocabulary or a willingness to expand it rapidly will help. So will knowing something about nationalism and imperialism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Peter D Hull on March 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Eric Flint has become an established SF Author. However he has more than one style of writing. This book is in an experimental style more related to Rabelais, Cervantes, Voltaire, Swift and Sterne. This book set in "Joe's World" is the second book in this series. Although not main stream in any way it is an enjoyable book and well worth reading. Once read I was hooked into asking "where is the rest of this story", this is quite normal for this style of writing and I await eagerly the next volume.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John A Lee III on August 6, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This piece is a companion to THE PHILOSPHICAL STRANGLER. It is a sequel in that it was written after the original but the story line takes place before that of the original book. It is also a collaboration and differences can be seen.

The biggest difference to me was the higher level of buffoonery. The characters seem less intelligent than in the original as they wander their way through this magical universe.

The wandering in this story is on the part of two principal characters. One is the mage who was called in to interpret the dream of a king. The king goes mad right after hearing what the mage has to say and said mage embarks on a quest to find out who is trying to thwart him.

The second wanderer is the artist, Benvenuti, from the original book. Since he was supposed to be hired by the mad king, he now has nothing better to do than wander around looking for the wizard who drove his patron mad. Eventually the two link up and set off on a greater quest.

This story is not as interesting as the original nor are the characters as likeable. Still, it is an enjoyable read and well worth the time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. J. McIntee on August 7, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I actually read this before I read "The Philosophical Strangler," and I liked it more. This was probably the book that got me to realize I should start collecting Flint books.

This was also the book that had me laughing out loud in the library. And again. And again. Perhaps it's because I have the background to appreciate it, as another reviewer mentioned, but the points of view are remarkably well done throughout the whole book and the various historical, social, etc references hilarious in context.

I firmly believe that if you are a big fan of dry humor, meta-humor, and absurdist humor, this will be one of your favorite books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Justin Bischel on March 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The authors (Eric Flint and Richard Roach) definitely had fun chronicling this book. The frequent changes of viewpoint are confusing at first, due to the very different biases each 'narrator' has, but once I figured that out, it became even more amusing. There is a lot of satire directed towards the modern-day American way of life - licensing agreements and privacy rights just being a couple of the gorings dealt out. A uniquely flavored novel and definitely not for everyone, but I found it well worth the hardback price.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Well-written but hardly ground-breaking sequel to The Philosophical Strangler. It essentially fills in the gaps in the previous book and manages to add some depth to the Joe's World setting. If you enjoyed the first book, this is definitely worth reading.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book pokes fun at the whole genre of fantasy books populated by supremely wise wizards, various races including dwarfs, epic battles of good vs evil, and many more staples. It is the second book in what looked to be a series featuring "Joe's World" but since this was published in 2002 there have not been any more volumes in the series, so it's probably defunct. Too bad.

The outlines of the story include the Wizard Zulkeh who is asked to solve the dream of a local King that is driving that King insane. The wizard cannot do it without consulting with a colleague so he is off on a journey with his dwarf apprentice. At the same time, a young artist comes to the same city to visit the same king in hopes of getting a commission to be the court artist. The King goes mad and the artist goes on his own journey after meeting a young woman who is active in the revolutionary forces trying to create changes in this world.

However, this does not tell you anything about the book. This book is meant to poke fun at things and so it does. It does so by its characters names, by the way they speak and interact and even by the way they are presented. I will only provide two examples here. The first is by way of a direct quote from the book: "Pushing down the peak of his picque hat to cover his widow's peak, and peeking through the window, Pike's picque peaked as La Madame's peke bit him on his peak of a nose". I was chortling aloud by this point so I actually had to read this sentence two or three times before I understood all of its subtleties. And this is but one sentence out of a book that is 585 pages long!

The second example I'll provide comes when the wizard provides a lengthy discourse on why he believes in this world's particular theory of gravity.
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