When anything in books can become real, you should watch what you read

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We've seen stories about worlds where anything from a book can become real, but Jim Hines has a clever twist. In his new series, the popularity of paranormal and urban fantasy novels leads to a plague of book-spawned monsters.

Hines just sold Libriomancer, the first book in his Magic ex Libris series, to Daw Books, for publication in 2012. He tells us:

Basically, libriomancy is the ability to draw objects from a book. The idea started with a short story, which ended with my protagonist pulling a light saber from a book and going to town on the bad guy. In the book, you've got a group who are responsible for basically "locking down" the more dangerous books and keeping magic in check.

Naturally, things go wrong. There's an attack against the libriomancers, which turns out to be the first blow in what could become an all-out supernatural war.


Actual vampires and werewolves aren't bursting out of books and attacking people, however — in Hines' world, you can only pull something out of a book that's big enough to fit physically through its pages. Hines elucidates:

You can't really pull a full-sized vampire out of a mass market paperback, for example. But someone with enough power could reach inside and be bitten. Likewise with werewolves and so on. So it's not characters escaping from books, but people falling so in love with the books (::cough:: Twilight ::cough::) that they actually reach through the pages and touch that world long enough to be infected.


So there are actual vampires — some of whom are sparkly and/or sexy — and werewolves running around, as a result of people's infatuations with these books.

The books with the most powerful objects in them are locked down by the Libriomancers — for example, they have the Lord of the Rings trilogy tightly under control, so there's nobody out there running around with the One Ring. On the other hand, says Hines, "my protagonist has this nifty fish in his ear, courtesy of Douglas Adams."


So what about e-books? Does libriomancy work with them too? Possibly, says Hines:

I'll touch on e-books as well. Given that the nature of libriomancy depends on your connection to the book, those who love e-books will probably have an easier time practicing their art with their Kindle, Nook, or iPad than those who love the feel and smell of paper.