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Reviews 59 - People of the City by Marshall Ryan Maresca

Reviews 59
People of the City
Marshall Ryan Maresca

Here is a non-stop action series we've discussed before,

And I do recommend the whole series, as a study in "worldbuilding" -- even though it is not Romance Genre or Fantasy or Paranormal Romance.

It has a couple of "love story" threads, but they get buried in the detritus of action-action-action.

As in much fantasy-action, the fighters get badly injured but recover quickly, much more quickly than is realistic.  This casts a "comic book" atmosphere around the "Magic" so that "Magic" is just a way of imposing your personal will on the world, the adolescent male wish-fulfillment-fantasy.

But Maresca uses Magic as only one small thread of the tapestry he is weaving before our eyes.  Watch his future novels built on this foundation -- and use your imagination to figure how, if you and your readers explore such a "world," you could illustrate LOVE CONQUERS ALL.  The problems Maresca is setting up are exactly the type that love is best at conquering.

With PEOPLE OF THE CITY, Maresca brings to simultaneous climax all the threads begun and richly colored, woven and showcased in the previous Maradaine novels.

I do seriously recommend reading them in the order in which they were published, as it is actually one, continuous, long story -- a story-arc -- that behind the non-stop action-action format, leaves us with many serious issues to consider on a fundamental level.  And that is what fiction has traditionally been for -- challenging pre-conceptions, prejudices, and assumptions while at the same time provoking thoughtful consideration of other  explanations for how things are which lead to how things might be "....if only."

The essence of science fiction is the three ingredients, "What if...?" "If this goes on ..." and "If only ..."    When mixed with science, these three thinking processes lead to ideas that have never been promulgated before.

With this blast of novels centered on the city of Maradaine, Maresca uses political science, psychology, sociology and anthropology (and Magic) as his "science" ingredient, spending all 12 of these novels explaining "the problem" and setting that problem against a detailed survey of the sociological organization of a city based on neighborhood gang rulerships of territory, drug cartel rulership of imports, people-trafficking, a righteous constabulary, a corrupt constabulary leadership, a King with major political problems, a Throne in question, and a university struggling to teach two antithetical theories of the universe - Mechanics of Machines and Science-vs-Magic.  There are also mandatory Magic-user monitoring and controlling organizations called Circles which one enters upon completing certain University training to obtain "power."

But as with humans (and these people are human, though different, and with races and cultures unfamiliar to the reader), it is all about "power" --  physical, psychological, knowledge itself, or magic (or the knowledge of magic) and psychological power of trickery, illusion, misdirection.  Apparently, Magic is an individual endowment one is born with, but acquiring power takes real work plus some arcane tools nobody really understands or has ready access to.

We, as readers, can see the analytical thinking of engineers applied to investigating how these magical tools and substances can acquire, store and deliver raw Magic-power, but the denizens of this complex world can't see it.

Except, one suspects in the distant past, they did see the combination of science and magic, and came to a bad end.  Thus in the era of "The Maradaine Elite" there is a young generation beginning to awaken to this combination, willing to explore the possibilities to gain enough "power" to counter the corruption destroying their City from the top down.

The title page of PEOPLE OF THE CITY indicted the next book, coming soon from DAW Books, will be titled THE VELOCITY OF REVOLUTION -- a title combining a scientific mechanical concept "velocity" which has both speed and direction, with "revolution" which likewise has mechanical implications but is often used to discuss changing political leaderships.

It sounds like a very clever segue into a story about combining Magic and Science -- and that is a combination I find endlessly fascinating.

Jacqueline Lichtenberg

This post first appeared on Alien Romances, please read the originial post: here

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Reviews 59 - People of the City by Marshall Ryan Maresca


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