Cover image for Magic time
Magic time
Zicree, Marc Scott.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : EOS, [2001]

Physical Description:
viii, 373 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"EOS an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers..."--T.p. verso.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 6.6 21.0 68895.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Adult Fiction Fantasy

On Order



Reality is not what it was. Desperate science run amok has collided with dark sorcery, and together they have ripped open a gaping wound into... something. Now, in an instant, everything is different. The horrific is mundane, the impossible rational. Nothing works and everyone pays. Welcome to ... Magic Time.

For rising young lawyer Cal Griffin, it's just another day in the Big City, full of stress, screw-ups, deadlines, and anxiety. That is, until New York is rocked by a series of bizarre tremors -- and the lights go off...for good. Trapped in a giant metropolis and cut off from the rest of the world, Cal tries desperately to make sense of the surreal chaos that engulfs his crippled city. Worst of all, the people around him are...changing. Once ordinary humans are becoming embodiments of their darkest desires, manifestations of their deepest fears. Packs of pale, crouched figures stalk the subways, glowing child-faces peer out of the shadows...and monsters prowl Times Square.

Similar weirdness is happening everywhere, from the dank, cold heart of a West Virginia coal mine to a remote lab in South Dakota -- where an overworked team of government physicists has unwittingly invited something catastrophic into the world -- to the highest levels of power in Washington, D.C.

And Cal Griffin is not the only one who will be forced into a strange new role in this brave new world of nightmare and wonder. A spinster school-teacher, a lonely miner, a refugee doctor, a visionary street person, a brooding Secret Service agent, all share a staggering responsibility with the young attorney to make sense of the senseless -- and to follow an awesome destiny. For they are to be soldiers in a titanic battle between darkness and light. And its raging hellfires will effect the most astonishing transformation of all -- turning a young man of pure heart into that rarest of creatures: a hero.

Author Notes

Barbara Hambly lives in Los Angeles, where she is at work on the sixth Benjamin January novel, "Wet Grave", which Bantam will publish in 2002. Her second Benjamin January novel, "Fever Season", was named a "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year.

(Publisher Provided) Barbara Hambly was born in San Diego, California on August 28, 1951. She received a master's degree in medieval history from the University of California at Riverside in 1975. She has worked as a high-school teacher, a model, a waitress, a technical editor, and a karate instructor. At one time, she also wrote scripts for cartoons like Jayce and the Wheeled Warriors and He-Man.

She writes many different types of books including fantasy, romance, and mystery. Her works include the Darwath Trilogy, the Benjamin January Mysteries series, Those Who Hunt the Night, The Emancipator's Wife, Someone Else's Shadow, and Patriot Ladies. She has also written for the Star Trek universe, the Star Wars universe, and the Beauty and the Beast television program. She is a Locus award winner.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Zicree and Hambly set a postapocalyptic stage for the quest of a man who begins as a junior lawyer but grows into something more. The scene-setting great disaster is the opening of the Source, which allows magic to work and makes modern technology fail miserably. Without electricity, cars, telephones, and other conveniences, New York, as well as everywhere else, becomes a mob-filled madhouse. Some people turn into fairy-tale creatures, not all from pleasant fairy tales. Hero Cal Griffin, now an ex-lawyer, determines to find the cause of the chaos and destroy it in order to save his sister, who has been transformed. Others, Griffin's fellow travelers, have been similarly affected. Of course, this book launches a series and thus concludes with plenty of loose ends. Still, if one's reading goal is sheer entertainment, this book is a rousing success. If that goal is some kind of epiphany, perhaps there are better choices. --Regina Schroeder The reviews in this section cover books for young people from preschool through high school. "Older Readers" encompasses the junior-high and high-school ages; "Middle Readers," grades three to six (and first chapter books for younger readers); and "the Young," preschool through grade two. Grade levels are used to indicate books that children can read themselves, age levels to indicate a recommendation for a picture book to be read aloud. Adult books with YA appeal or use are recommended in the adult books and Upfront sections and are marked with a YA symbol that is followed by brief comments from our professional YA reviewers.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Television writer Zicree teams with fantasy and SF bestselling Hambly (Knight of the Demon Queen, numerous Star Wars and Star Trek novels) on a story straight out of the Hollywood mold for vintage sci-fi disaster films. A government experiment so secret even the president doesn't know about it produces strange energy flows that wreak havoc with the space-time continuum, resurrecting skeletal prairie wolves and disturbing ancient Indian burial grounds. Despite his misgivings, Dr. Fred Wishart continues the questionable experiments, only to blast the United States with a force so destructive all electricity and communications are knocked out nationwide. The bulk of the book concerns various characters' attempts to adjust to the chaos left in the wake of the catastrophe one made still more dangerous by the frightening mutations it produces in the population. Cal Griffin, a young New York City lawyer, finds his vibrant teenage sister turning into a near-translucent ghost of herself. Meanwhile, Cal's boss is transformed into a demonic, reptilian killer who stalks Cal as he tries to lead his sister and a hodgepodge of friends safely out of the city. Zicree's TV experience he's written for Star Trek: The Next Generation and Sliders, among others is obvious in the swift, episodic pacing; unfortunately, that doesn't give Hambly's usual gift for characterization much to work with. Like the pilot for a new television series, this effort promises much and delivers only hints of bigger things. (Dec. 4) Forecast: Before the World Trade Center attack, this would have been a natural candidate for screen adaptation. Chances are the public will now have less of a taste for fictional disasters set in New York City. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When a top-secret government experiment goes wrong, a burst of energy nullifies the effects of technology and reawakens magical forces that transform some individuals into monsters with supernatural powers. To save his sister from a similar fate, New York lawyer Cal Griffin sets out on a difficult and dangerous trek across a devastated landscape in search of the cause of the transformation. Screenwriter Zicree collaborates with veteran sf and fantasy author Hambly (Knight of the Demon Queen) in this series opener that features a modern world suddenly infused with magic. Complex and unusual characters support a tale of personal heroism and self-sacrifice. A good choice for most fantasy collections. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Magic Time Chapter One Near Ground Zero--Before Dawn Randy Waller had heard all the stories about Medicine Water Creek. It was a load of bullshit, as far as he was concerned, dreamed up by some drunk sad-sack Sioux to make up for the fact that they'd got their asses kicked by the U.S. cavalry and hadn't done a damn thing since. He drew rein at the top of the draw and lit up, scanning the fence line in the glimmer of first light. Fuckin' miles to cover today, and they were saying it'd rain tonight. That meant Black Hat Coulee would flood by tomorrow and he'd have to dick around with wire and fence posts and nails while standing knee-deep in muddy water, oh joy. Better to get up early and get the whole thing done today and talk the foreman into letting him take the truck into town tonight. Under him his horse snorted, rubbed a cheek on the fence post. Randy nudged the animal forward along the fence, down into the long dip of bottomlands where the clay-colored stream appeared and disappeared among twisted hummocks of rock. The city kids who came up here in vans, with their long hair and their two-hundred-dollar hiking boots, to "find communion with the Earth"--which, by all Randy could see, meant smoking pot and humping in the bushes--talked about old Indian legends and ate up stories about how horses would spook here in broad daylight and even the coyotes would avoid the place at night. Of course, they didn't come here at night. Randy blew a double line of smoke from his nostrils and scouted the matte-blue shadows among the rocks, the waving thickness of grass that grew everywhere on the level ground. They were all over at the ranch house, raiding the garbage. And as for "Medicine Water"--which Randy's dad had called Piss Creek ... It was low this time of year, midsummer. A glistening thread among the dark convolutions of eroded rock, course echoed by the pale bands that marked the water-chewed banks. Mounds and turrets of gray-black lava lifted like sleeping buffalo from the deep grass. This time of the morning, before the prairie winds started up, the place was deathly silent, filled with the hard cold of the night. That'd wear off goddam soon. Randy stubbed the butt on his boot heel, flicked it away into the creek. "Let's go, Bean," he said and twitched the reins. Whole place'd get hot as the inside of a cow by ... Movement caught his eye. The horse flung up its head, reared and veered sidelong, and Randy hauled savagely on the bit. Just a goddam cow for Chrissake. Only it wasn't a cow, he saw, when he'd dragged his mount around to a trembling standstill. It was a buffalo. Shit, where'd that come from? Government herd taking up good grassland over in the national fuckin' monument ... The smell of blood hit him, metallic and savage. He saw it glisten darkly on the buffalo's muzzle, long strings dripping down to the grass. The buffalo shook its horns warningly and lowed; Randy saw the nasty glitter of a small black eye. More blood smell; ol' Bean jittered and tried to run again, and Randy saw there was another buffalo close to the first. Holy shit, must be them ritual mutilators like in the newspaper! Because this one, a huge curly-haired bull, had been hacked savagely, the whole hump cut off its back, raw meat gleaming where the skin had been pulled back. Like the old buffalo hunters used to do, he thought suddenly, the ones the city kids talk about--the ones that killed a hundred animals for their tongues or humps or hides and left the rest to rot. The world all around him seemed suddenly to breathe. Where the hell the buffalo came from Randy couldn't imagine. Hell, he'd looked down this way not ten minutes ago from the top of the draw, and there hadn't been so much as a chipmunk, let alone six--ten--twelve--full-grown buffalo. And why hadn't he smelled the blood? It stank to Christ now. In the thin gloom of the place he shouldn't have been able to see, but he could. Some of them had had their humps torn away, others, it seemed, only their tongues. Something came around the corner of a rock pinnacle, and Randy screamed, for this buffalo had been skinned, meat gleaming naked and pearly and rubied with dots and runnels of oozing blood--it worked its jaws, ruminatively chewing, and it looked at Randy with deep-set black eyes. Bean reared, fighting the brutal drag of the bit, humped his back and fishtailed, throwing Randy to the ground. Randy cursed, scrambled to his feet, made a futile snatch at the reins as the horse pelted wildly away, and the buffalo-- how the fuck many of them WERE there? --let it pass. Bloodied mouths. Bloodied fur. The hot smell of them, like thunder in the ground. A glimmer of blue lightning crept half-seen among the rocks before sinking into the dust. The earth quivered, and voices seemed to cry out--chants, maybe--endlessly far away. Randy screamed again and ran for the nearest hummock of rock. But something tore at his leg, what felt like huge broken tusks ripping through the leather of his boot, and looking down he saw the white bones of an old skeleton rising up through the grass and the earth. Ribs snapped shut on his leg like the bony fingers of a giant hand. He wrenched his leg free and stumbled two more feet, and then another skeleton speared through the topsoil, ribs closing around his ankle again. The ground shook a second time and there was a sound, and he looked up to see them--hundreds of them now, robbed of humps and tongues and skins--all lower their heads and charge. Magic Time . Copyright © by Marc Zicree. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Magic Time by Marc Scott Zicree, Barbara Hambly All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.