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Mathemagics

Mathemagics, Margaret Ball, Baen, 1996, pbk, 338pp. ISBN 0-671-87755-0, (a chicks in chainmail novel)


Yes, that's right, a chicks in chainmail novel. You may very well ask, what on earth am I doing with a chicks in chainmail novel? For that matter, what in the deuce is a chicks in chainmail novel? From the title you might guess that it is the sort of thing that dirty old men buy in adult novelties shops.

Well it's not. Rather it is the sort of book that might be written by a woman who is a mathematician, computer scientists, and fantasy geek. In fact it is exactly that sort of book. The chapter headings are all mathematical expressions that evaluate to 1, 2, etc.

I have read nothing else in the "chicks in chainmail" series. Magic based medieval fantasy is quite the thing, and the ladies want to get in on the act too. Judging from Mathemagics, chicks in chainmail books are not intended to be very serious or taken very serious.

Our heroine comes from a planet in another reality where there is magic and the Bronze Bra Guild is the military. She is here on our world (the planet of the paper pushers) to give her daughter the education that she never got. Her education consisted of an abortive apprenticeship under an evil (and rather sleazy) magician, and some really advanced martial arts in the Bronze Bra Guild.

The school has some good teachers and some perfectly horrid administrators. A number of scenes read like revenge fantasies centered around some really ugly interactions in the PTA universe. One suspects that the author is getting in a bit of catharsis. One of her friends is a woman who writes romance novels and science fiction novels. Her name in the book is Norah, but her real name is Mary Sue.

There are a host of suitable villains, a mealy mouthed preacher who likes little girls, a couple of evil magicians, one on Earth and one on Dazau, some juvenile delinquents, and a really handsome bonehead hunk. The plot is, ah, well, let's just say that there is a plot and let it go at that. Some things are best experienced and not described. Suffice it to say that a Bronze Bra troop shows up in the huckster room of a science fiction convention.

It must have been a very satisfying book to write.


This page was last updated February 1, 2009.

Richard Harter's World
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