Literal Magic

Oh man, I just hate the grimdark universes. Don’t get me wrong, they’re usually extremely intricate and involved with layers of detail that can bewitch the senses and imagination; but they’re usually just a one-note sack of awfulness. Give me something a bit more nuanced, with some contrasts and possibilities. Don’t go the complete other way and get all utopian either, there’s very few of those universes that don’t stagnate just as quickly as the grimdarks.

So don’t read them, I hear you say. If only that was all it was. I’m a literamancer, so I really don’t get the option. Ah, I see you’re not familiar with the term. Don’t worry, not many are. It’s a portmanteau of two words. You’ll have encountered similar labels, trust me – necromancers and pyromancers should both be familiar to you, for example. They are magicians who work with the dead and fire respectively. Necro for dead, pyro for fire – you can see where this is going, I hope.

My particular speciality revolves around words, around literature. It’s a bit odd, but essentially I travel into fictional spaces and bring out elements to effect changes in this world. It means I have to be careful about what I read though because some of those worlds are barely fun to visit, let alone live in.

I can bring back horrific creatures to unleash for short periods, or go on dates with Jane Austen’s heroines. I can holiday on multikilometer long sentient starships or steal rings of power from subterranean cave dwellers but it’s never easy or without price of some description. Even worse, there are usually wrinkles in those fictional spaces that the authors never documented, and that can trip you up if you’re not careful.

Don’t mention Sherlock Holmes’ dental hygiene for example, or ask what they use for toilets in certain space opera franchises. Captain Nemo’s cooking is eyewatering, and so is Mrs Bennett’s handshake.

And don’t get me started on the pseudo chick-lit universes, or how many shades of grey my brain now refuses to process. Have some self-respect people! I suppose they’re fluffy enough hiding places on a rainy day, but there’s very little to work with in there.

Still, they are better than the grimdarks, but then that’s almost true of everything, practically by definition.