Off the Shelf

“The Time of the Transference”

By Marcus Pan

The Time of the TransferenceStruggling for plotlines with his Spellsinger series it seems, Foster has clumsy Jonny-Tom fall on his duar – the instrument which is responsible for his magic ability here in Clothahump's world – shattering it into bunches of pieces. So of course, the duar being the magical artifact that it is, there's only one (maybe two) craftsman in the veritable world capable of putting it back together. And of course the dude lives far across the Glittergeist sea which we go!

Unlike the last few romps with Jonny-Tom and his otterish friend Mudge, this time around the fate of the world doesn't hang in the balance. It's just a hop through the wilderness to get his guitar fixed. I suppose that might really piss some people off – and at first it did me – but after we're off on the adventure I got to thinking, well sometimes it's nice to just wander about and spellsing at shit just because we can. And that's what The Time of the Transference entails – it's just because Foster needed something to end (I think) the Spellsinger series on a comfy note.

After reading the Black Magician trilogy from Harper Collins, it was nice to just wander about and face pirates, cannibals and rocky mountain dragons for a change rather than hyperbolically skilled black magicians from Saskachan. Again, Foster shows how cute he is in this novel. If you're looking for something far reaching, theological, high-brow and worldy, this ain't 'yo coffee. If, like me, you've just gotten done with three or so book's worth of that and need some breathing time – have a go.

Romping across the Glittergeist, getting attacked by pirates on the open sea and then chasing after said pirates for Mudge's new girlfriend was a hoot. They spend a good portion of the book being chased by this ragtag bunch of over-cliche'd baddies as they try and pummel their way through the jungle southward to Chijeni, even going so far as to finding a cave that leads into Jon-Tom's real world to be followed. As they run about they get caught by pretty much everything around the area.

I particularly liked the idea of getting Teyva the flying horse's fear of heights wiped away by giving him a snootful of coke only to turn him into a crazed airborne loon. The different items Jon-Tom brings back from a long saunter into his homeworld after this long shopping trip were good choices and the afflicting demons of master Coulb who lie on his deathbed bothered by IRS imps was...funny!

So give it a go if you're looking for a bit of scruff 'n fluff. Sometimes we all need a taste of...nothing important. Not everything should mean something huge. Sometimes a light little story about a human stuck in an animal's world will suffice for the evening.

“The Time of the Transference” by Alan Dean Foster
Cover Art by Tim Hildebrandt
Copyright © 1987 by Thranx, Inc.
Published by Warner Books, Inc.
ISBN: 0446300098

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