Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
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Reader's Corner

Myth Adventures Volume 1 and Myth Adventures Volume 2
by Robert Asprin

by TaoPhoenix

Aahz & Skeeve are back in force.

I had vaguely heard of the Myth series. Since they began to see print well before I was of an age to purchase books however, I read them for the first time this month.

Meisha Merlin Publishing has a contract to these books, and caught on to an important change in the state of marketing modern fantasy. Thing is, the Myth books are SLIM. They average 160 pages each. Since modern book distributions slap some $8.99 or such price on anything with a cover, no one would ever pay the $125-ish resulting price of books 1-12. Fortunately, Meisha Merlin came up with the grand idea to package SIX books per volume, twice. Now the dent to the pocket book is about the same as a full tank of gas for both volumes. I snapped them up, shooed everyone out of my life for the weekend, and settled down.

Skeeve is the timid apprentice whose magical instructor dies at the onset of the series in a fluke of inter-dimensional magical politics. Summoned by a now irrelevant spell with a practical joke tacked onto it, Dimen(sional Traveler) Aahz appears, minus any of his magical abilities. Stranded in a backward dimension, he settles down to become the instrutional half of the series lead duo.

While written with younger readers as a portion of the audience, I discovered that author Robert Asprin managed to address many nuances that people just beginning a working career can expect. Looking through the allegories, there is a crisp character development throughout the series until by the close of volume 1 Skeeve graduates from Apprentice to full partner in a newly formed company.

There is a change of mood between the two volumes though. The first six tales are very accessible, and are all told from Apprentice Skeeve's pespective. I churned through the 900 page tome in short order. In the second half, Robert Asprin reaches a little more, and lets other characters guest-star turns in first-person spotlight. This proved a little unnerving, and there I took a break. But when I go back, there are a few inside jokes waiting. Teaser: Brush up on your Chaucer.

© 2008 TaoPhoenix

TaoPhoenix is the Archives Editor of Aphelion, and a regular contributer to the forums.

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