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Off to Be the Wizard Paperback – March 29, 2013

4.4 out of 5 stars 930 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Magic 2.0 Series

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Paperback, March 29, 2013

Pandemic by Sonia Shah
"Beacon 23"
A network of beacons allows ships to travel across the Milky Way at beyond the speed of light. The beacons are built to be robust. They never fail. At least, they aren't supposed to. Learn more

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Scott Meyer grew up in the small town of Sunnyside, Washington. He began his career in humor by working as a standup comedian and radio personality, a highlight of which was participating as the opening act in Weird Al Yankovic’s “Running with Scissors” tour. Following a long stint touring the United States and Canada, Scott settled down in Orlando, Florida, where he works on his ongoing comic strip, Basic Instructions, and performs as a cast member of Walt Disney World. Off to be the Wizard is his first novel. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Rocket Hat industries; 1 edition (March 29, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615786596
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615786599
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (930 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,601,814 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Meyer has been a radio DJ, a stand-up comic, a writer for video games, an office manager, and a pretend ghost bellhop. He now creates the comic strip Basic Instructions, and has written several novels.

He and his wife live in Florida, to be close to their cats.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading this book was a great time. The type of humor that you see in
the Basic Instructions webcomic is throughout, but magnified a
thousandfold by the fact that there are more than four panels of
words. :) The characters are nicely developed without being overdone,
and the interactions between and among them are great. The use of
different eras of technology shows a little of the author's geekiness
(which is a good thing!).

For a first novel, taking on time travel is a bit ambitious. But the
boundaries are well-laid out up front, sensible (as much as time
travel can be :) and internally consistent. And the use of characters
from different times all together is very well executed -- more
sophisticated than a lot of established authors' attempts at the
topic. Plus, the shout-outs to other culture (Star Trek, Star Wars,
Tolkien, Apple, mythology, music, and so on) are nice touches without being

All in all, it was fun and funny AND quirky and clever. *Really*
great when you remember it's a first novel.

I highly recommend it, and I'm a fairly tough customer. The E-book
version is a steal, as well -- the ratio of enjoyment/$ is WAY up

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I became aware of this book because I'm a longtime fan of the author's webcomic, Basic Instructions. I wasn't sure whether I'd really like it - I love the comic, but a full-length novel's a different thing entirely - but the Kindle version is super cheap, so I gave it a shot, and was pleasantly rewarded. In fact I had trouble putting the book down until I had reached the end.

Not only was the book filled with a very enjoyable brand of wry humor - and a more sophisticated, subtler type of humor than usually appears in the comic, in my opinion - it was well-written, with likable characters, good character development, a rewarding (if fairly standard) plot, and just about zero time-travel inconsistencies or plot holes. That last bit is important to me because I'm picky enough that any incongruencies can definitely un-suspend my disbelief, but the author defined the rules early and then stuck by them fastidiously.

The prose, sure, is not going to compete with Updike or Wallace for sheer sentence-by-sentence beauty or complexity, but it's really quite good, and never clunky or strained. Better than the prose in a lot of the novels on "best seller" lists, at any rate.

All in all, the book delivers exactly what it says on the tin - "a light comedic novel about computers, time travel, and human stupidity" - and delivers it well. A really enjoyable read.

Scott - Mr. Meyer? - if you chance to read this: Well done! You clearly left yourself some room for a sequel, and I think you should go for it! :)
1 Comment 35 of 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a lightweight spoofy Matrix novel where, at the start, the protagonist learns that the universe and most notably, the humans in it, are really just entries in an editable .txt file. That discovery leads to his adventures most notably in time travel.

In more deft hands, say a Terry Prachett or John Scalzi, this setup may have led to some sharp satire but here we only get a straight ahead bash them on the head, get frantic and then charge to the ending sort of short novel. There is nothing wrong with that except perhaps some lost opportunities, but gosh, no novel or any art form is really complete in the fullest sense.

The upsides to this bit of fluff have been lauded by other reviewers here so I won't repeat them. The issues I had which others may not have had are a few and lead to the docking of a few stars. First, I'm fine with suspension of disbelief. There is no way you can enjoy this novel if you can't accept the existence of that .txt file and I can. What bugs me is when authors distort what we know is real. Frex, if I am reading about dragons attacking France, I'll go for the dragons but if the author has Germany west of France just over the Pyrenees, I don't buy that.

Here the time travel takes us to roughly King John era England. The protagonist specifically travels there because they speak English and by gosh, they do. They speak 21st century American English as well. Gimme a break. Then we have the natives who are casual with not only modern devices (among them a Pontiac) but 'wizards' who have more tricks than Superman and Batman combined. However, we're told they won't accept a female doing these tricks. So the natives aren't disturbed by Pontiacs but they are by tricky females. Hmmm.
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10 Comments 94 of 118 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Scott Meyer, creator of the Webcomic "Basic Instructions," has written a fast-paced, wry and very funny sci-fi/fantasy novel that takes old themes and turns them upside-down. If you like virtual reality, time travel, computer gaming, the "Lord of the Rings," the Arthurian legend, the Law of Unintended Consequences, and some surpises, join Meyer's goofily endearing protagonist Martin Banks as he tries to cope with suddenly having (almost) unlimited power to remake his world and himself in the process.
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