Jennifer Brozek | Tell Me – Jim Hines

Tell Me – Jim Hines

by Jennifer Brozek 5. August 2013 09:55

Jim Hines is a friend of mine, a great writer, and I love these books. I think all readers and writers want to know what it would be like to pull something--a lightsaber, a wand, the grail--from a book to have for their very own. Here, he talks about his protagonist's greatest love.


One of my favorite things about Libriomancer and Codex Born is the protagonist’s attitude toward magic. Isaac Vainio is a librarian and shameless geek, with the ability to pull things from books—phasers, light-sabers, magic rings, pretty much anything that fits through the pages.

And he loves it. Isaac is completely and utterly in love with magic … occasionally to the detriment of whatever he’s supposed to be doing at the time. Even when he’s facing steampunk-style insects that escaped from a book and are oddly determined to kill him, a part of Isaac’s mind is distracted by the beauty of their construction, the combination of magic and miniature jewels and gears, the elegance of the metalwork...

He’s constantly asking “What if?” about both the books he reads and magic in the real world. How far could Harry Potter travel with that apparating spell? Did J. K. Rowling’s witches and wizards ever blip over to Mars to explore the planet? Could magic seeds from Piers Anthony’s Xanth series be pulled into our world to revolutionize farming? And where could Isaac get his hands on a magical chronoscope that would let him check out the lost episodes of Doctor Who?

Magic comes with a cost, of course. Overusing a particular book leads to magical charring, damage that spreads through every copy of the book and can make Bad Things happen. Magic also weakens the boundaries between the lirbiomancer and the book, meaning characters from those books can begin to creep into the libriomancer’s mind. And there are the occasional monsters and villains trying to use magic to take over the world.

But the core of the series is about hope and discovery and the thrill of learning something new. It’s about an insatiable need to learn, and to explore the possibilities of magic.

I have nothing against darker, grittier fantasy novels. But there seems to be an awful lot of it these days, where the world is a harsh, ugly place, and magic is a burden to be suffered with stoicism and occasional angst.

Isaac’s life certainly isn’t perfect. Any number of things are busily trying to kill him, his love life is confusing to say the least, and he’s not on the best of terms with Johannes Gutenberg, the centuries-old founder of the world’s magical organization. I mean, what kind of author would I be if I didn’t torment my characters?

But no matter what I put Isaac and his companions through, it never takes away that central thread of joy. The thrill Isaac feels when he discovers something new or finds that a long-understood “rule” of magic was actually more of a guideline.

At the heart of the series is the idea that magic is awesome. And that’s one of the things that makes these stories such an absolute blast to write.


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8/6/2013 6:30:27 AM #


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Jennifer Brozek: Writerholic

Jennifer Brozek is a multi-talented, award-winning author, editor, and tie-in writer. She is the author of the Never Let Me Sleep, and The Last Days of Salton Academy, both of which were nominated for the Bram Stoker Award. Her BattleTech tie-in novel, The Nellus Academy Incident, won a Scribe Award. Her editing work has netted her a Hugo Award nomination as well as an Australian Shadows Award for Grants Pass. Jennifer’s short form work has appeared in Apex Publications, and in anthologies set in the worlds of Valdemar, Shadowrun, V-Wars, and Predator. Jennifer is also the Creative Director of Apocalypse Ink Productions, and was the managing editor of Evil Girlfriend Media and assistant editor for Apex Book Company.

Jennifer has been a freelance author, editor, tie-in writer for over ten years after leaving her high paying tech job, and she’s never been happier. She keeps a tight schedule on her writing and editing projects and somehow manages to find time to volunteer for several professional writing organizations such as SFWA, HWA, and IAMTW. She shares her husband, Jeff, with several cats and often uses him as a sounding board for her story ideas. Visit Jennifer’s worlds at

"I see story ideas. All the time. They're everywhere. Just walking around like normal ideas. They don't know they're stories."