Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Dog Wizard

Dog Wizard

Barbara Hambly

Date: 23 December, 1992   —   Book

product page


Fiction, Fantasy

Wow, what a horrible cover this links to. Really. I much prefer the Darrell K. Sweet cover on mine, and I'm not a fan of Sweet's artwork in general. (I apologize, Mr. Sweet. By all accounts you're a very nice person and a dedicated artist.)

*cough* Anyway...

Dog Wizard is a sequel of The Dark Tower and The Silicon Mage, and focuses on Antryg, the crazy wizard from those novels. My only objection, in fact, is that Antryg is far too functional to truly deserve the epithet of "crazy." He's traumatized, sure. He's certainly weird. But he doesn't even act as far off the beam as an under-medicated bipolar type or schizophrenic, and yes, I've had friends on adjusting medication so I know what I'm talking about. Yet everyone, including Antryg, refers to him as crazy as though it were settled and accepted, even though in many cases he's acting saner than the rest of them.

I'm referring in particular to the malady of "selective blindness" ot "not seeing what you don't wish to see." The wizards of the tower, who look down on Antryg because they are both uncertain of his loyalties and because he doesn't hold himself aloof from human concerns, actually daring to use magic to interfere, are the most selfish and obnoxious group of people you'd ever hope to avoid. The fact that they need Antryg's specialized knowledge makes them even haughtier, of course.

Hambly's a good read, usually, and this is no exception. The only thing that grates in her writing is the misogyny of the societies she creates, depressingly accurate as it probably would be. Quite honestly, less misogyny in fantasy, while it makes for an easier read, is a little more fantastical— only a few societies in history, and most of them recently, have ever been equitable between the genders.

Ah, well.

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