Welcome back to Roll Perception Plus Awareness, a column about roleplaying games and their place in a genre reader’s and writer’s world.
This time out, we’re going to do something a little bit different and look at two recent series of ostensibly series. From a 30,000 foot perspective both Jim C. Hines’ Magic Ex Libris (so far comprised of Libriomancer and Codex Born) and Michael R. Underwood’s Geekomancy series (so fra comprised of Geekomancy and Celebromancy) have strong similarity. Both series tap into a fair amount of wish fulfillment and have geeky protagonists whose geekery turns out to be useful for magic. But as you dig into the series, there are two distinct personalities. They take place in two distinctly different roleplaying game universes, and this can be used as a way to critique and example the series and their elements.
Fair warning: This is a somewhat spoilery discussion of both authors’ series.
Best Fan Writer Hugo-winner Jim C. Hines nominated me to moderate the first panel I was ever on. He loves breaking in new writers. His Jig The Dragonslayer trilogy, now out in a Daw omnibus, is a humorous sword and sorcery tale about a goblin. He followed that with the four book Princess cycle which are fairy tales gone awry crossing Disney princesses with Charlie’s Angels. Published by Daw Books, his latest book Libriomancer starts a new trilogy, Magic Ex-Libris, about a librarian hunting a killer. Because he likes to stretch himself, being as he lives in Lansing, he set this series in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. It’s an urban fantasy with a lot of humor, involving dryads, wizards, vampires, automatons and more. Jim’s short fiction has appeared in Realms of Fantasy, Fantasy, Andromeda Spaceways, Writers of the Future and several anthologies. He can be found online at Facebook, Twitter via his website at and his blog.
Bryan Thomas Schmidt talks to Jim C. Hines about his career and his exciting future projects.
SFFWRTCHT: Starting at the beginning, Where’d your interest in SFF come from?
Jim C. Hines: Ahem. Is this thing on? My interest in SF/F comes from the fact that swords and magic and spaceships and lightsabers are awesome.
Jim C. Hines‘s fiction has appeared in more than forty magazines and anthologies. His first published fantasy novel was Goblin Quest, after which he went on to write the princess series, four books often described as a blend of Grimm’s Fairy Tales with Charlie’s Angels. Jim’s books have been translated into German, French, Czech, Polish, and Russian, thanks in no small part to his wonderful agent. In 2010, he signed a contract with DAW Books for a new current-day fantasy series. His latest novel is Libriomancer. Jim lives in mid-Michigan with his wife and children, who have always shown remarkable tolerance for his bizarre and obsessive writing habits.
Photo © Denise Leigh
Libriomancer: A Behind-the-Scenes Tour
by Jim C. Hines
Libriomancer is the story of Isaac Vainio, a librarian from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with the ability to reach into books and create the items described on their pages: everything from disruptor pistols to Lucy’s magical healing potion from Narnia. He’s a member of Die Zwelf Portenære, a magical organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg, the man who invented libriomancy … a man who has now gone missing, and may be responsible for a string of supernatural murders.
Also, in chapter one, Isaac has to fight a trio of sparkling vampires.
This is the first book I’ve set in the real world—mostly real, at least—and part of the fun was working various Michigan settings into the book. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find in the pages of Libriomancer.