The Alchemist

The Alchemist

by Paolo Bacigalupi, J.K. Drummond

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Magic has a price. But someone else will pay. Every time a spell is cast, a bit of bramble sprouts, sending up tangling vines, bloody thorns, and threatening a poisonous sleep. It sprouts in tilled fields and in neighbors' roof beams, thrusts up from between street cobbles, and bursts forth from sacks of powdered spice. A bit of magic, and bramble follows. A little at first, and then more--until whole cities are dragged down under tangling vines and empires lie dead, ruins choked by bramble forest. Monuments to people who loved magic too much.

In the paired novellas, The Alchemist & The Excecutioness, award-winning authors Tobias Buckell and Paolo Bacigalupi explore a shared world where magic is forbidden and its use is rewarded with the axe. A world of glittering memories and a desperate present, where everyone uses a little magic, and someone else always pays the price.

In the beleaguered city of Khaim, a lone alchemist seeks a solution to a deadly threat. The bramble, a plant that feeds upon magic, now presses upon Khaim, nourished by the furtive spellcasting of its inhabitants and threatening to strangle the city under poisonous vines. Driven by desperation and genius, the alchemist constructs a device that transcends magic, unlocking the mysteries of bramble s essential nature. But the power of his newly-built balanthast is even greater than he dreamed. Where he sought to save a city

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013805910
Publisher: Windup Stories, INC
Publication date: 12/20/2011
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 96
Sales rank: 743,924
File size: 834 KB

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The Alchemist 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting premise and each author compliments the other. Looking forward to other installments... hopefully there will be more installments.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A nice short story and quick read set in a fantasy world.
revslick on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Alchemist is a novella in a world where magic has led to the destruction of the world (bramble) and is punishable by death. The Alchemist gets lost in his work (task oriented) looking for a way to combat the bramble all the while missing several social clues along the way. One of the better lines was "If we grant individual mercies, we commit collective suicide."
jshillingford on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After finishing this short story, my first thought was "this would have made a fantastic novel"! As it is, it made for an enjoyable read, but one not worth the price of admission. Subterranean Press issued two companion novels, this and The Executioness by Tobias Buckell, set in the same fantasy world. Each hardcover of about 96 pages is $20 retail. That is way too much for what you get. Why not combine them in one hardcover?Magic has a price; whenever it is used, a bit of deadly bramble pops up somewhere. Eventually, bramble brought down an entire empire and is creeping upon those few cities left. This story had an interesting undertone about personal and collective responsibility. Jeoz is one of those people who uses a bit of magic, only to stop his daughter's terrible illness. Other people surely have their own important reasons for using a bit of magic. But, those bits are destroying their society. Quite a moral dilemma. When Jeoz develops a machine that destroys bramble, he expects the leaders of his city to reward and praise him. He couldn't be more wrong.Though I enjoyed this story, I think the idea was short-changed. Time is rushed and the ending is fade-to-black without knowing the future of the characters, let alone their world. This would have made a brilliant novel and I hope the author considers expanding it someday. It is definitely worth reading, and I will read the companion story. But, I recommend borrowing it from the library if you can find it, or get the audible version which is only $9.95 for BOTH stories.
mamzel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This short read is an interesting vision of what happens when the use of magic has dire consequences. Use of magic feeds an invasive bramble that chokes out all other plant forms and is lethal if touched. Jeoz is an alchemist who is working on a way to fight the brambles. He seems to have been successful and has to make his first attempt to destroy it when his daughter is brought home covered with the poisonous hairs from the vines. He brings his invention to the mayor of his town expecting to be richly rewarded but things have a way of going bad.A very quick read and a fascinating twist on magic.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Alchemist is good, but not as good as Bacigulapi's earlier books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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